William M. Rusco was born in 1836 in Greenwich, Huron County, Ohio, the son of Laura (b. 1808).
New York native Laura was married sometime before 1826 by which time she was living in Ohio. By 1850 William was living with his mother and family and attending school with his siblings in Greenwich; next door lived his uncle Jeremiah and his family. (In 1864 Rusco listed his nearest relative as one J. E. Rusco living in Greenwich, Ohio. This may very well have been Jeremiah Rusco. ) William eventually left Ohio and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was a mason and farm laborer living with and/or working for Levi L. Phillips, a wealthy farmer in Alpine, Kent County.
William stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 25 years old and possibly residing in Crockery, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was reported on detached service at General Heintzelman’s headquarters from July of 1862 through January of 1863. He reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Algoma, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to duty on or about the first of February.
William was probably shot in the right leg sometime around June 2 or 3, possibly near Cold Harbor, Virginia, and was transferred as absent wounded to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. William was admitted from the field on June 28, 1864, to Second Division (or “Sickles’”) hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, suffering from a severe gunshot wound to the right leg, and was reported in a hospital in Alexandria in late July. In fact he probably remained absent wounded until he was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
William eventually returned to Michigan after the war and by 1867 was probably living in Eaton Rapids, Eaton County.
He married Michigan native Emma S. Childs and they had at least three children: Laura May (b. 1867), Edith (b. 1870) and James (b. 1872).
(In 1870 his mother was living alone in Union City, Branch County, in a house located between two Eddy families.)
By 1880 William was working as a stonemason and living with his wife and children in Eaton Rapids, Eaton County.
For many years William worked as a mason. He was living in Olyphant, Arkansas in 1889 when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 1117) on November 15, 1889.
In 1896 he applied for and received a pension (no. 255928).
William died of “fits and convulsions” at the Home hospital on November 6, 1890. He was buried in the Home cemetery: section 3 row 3 grave 1.
In 1891 his widow was residing in Illinois when she applied for and received a pension (no. 307096).