William Jones was born in 1833 in either Wyoming County, New York or in Indiana.
Sometime in the late 1850s William settled in western Michigan, and by 1860 he was working as a blacksmith for James A. Belknap in Grand Rapids, Fifth Ward. Shortly before the war broke out William probably became a member of the Valley City Guard, the prewar Grand Rapids militia unit many of whose members would form the nucleus for a company.
He stood 5’7” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 28 years old when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. George W. Miller, also serving in Company A wrote, home to his parents on November 21, 1861, and described the men sharing his tent during the winter of 1861-62. He said that Jones was formerly a blacksmith in Grand Rapids, and was the bedmate of Francis Kimball, also of Company A. Sometime in May of 1862 he was struck down with consumption and hospitalized until he was discharged for consumption of 4 months’ standing on September 29, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia.
After he was discharged from the army William returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company M, Tenth Michigan cavalry on August 20, 1863, at Eureka, Montcalm County for 3 years, crediting Eureka, and was mustered on September 21 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was organized between September 18 and November 18, 1863, when it was mustered into service. It left Michigan for Lexington, Kentucky on December 1, 1863, and participated in numerous operations, mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee throughout the winter of 1863-64. Most of its primary area of operations would eventually be in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. (He is found in both Third infantry and Tenth cavalry 1905 Regimental histories.)
William was absent with leave from January 4, 1864, through May when he was sick at Knoxville, Tennessee. He was promoted to Corporal on October 1, 1865, and mustered out on November 11, 1865 at Memphis, Tennessee.
Following his discharge from the army in 1865 William returned to western Michigan and eventually settled in Algoma, Kent County. He was probably working as a blacksmith and living with the Halsey family in Algoma in 1870.
He may have been a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association (his death is mentioned at the Association reunion in December of 1897). In1882 he applied for and received a pension (no. 490326).
William was admitted as a single man to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 378) on July 20, 1886; he listed his nearest living relative in 1886 as one Emil Jones who was then residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He was discharged from the Home the first time at his own request on August 27, 1887, readmitted on May 3, 1888, discharged August 29, 1890, admitted once again on June 25, 1891, discharged on April 22, 1892, readmitted on December 18, 1893, discharged a fourth time on April 26, 1895 (?), and admitted for the final time on July 11, 1895.
William he died at the Home of general debility and hematemesis (vomiting blood) on October 25, 1897, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section 1 row 1 grave 3.