William Zilky was born January 20, 1847 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
William stood 5’3” with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was a 17-year-old laborer possibly living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company C on December 30, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Spring Lake, and was mustered the same day. William joined the Regiment on February 18, 1864, at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was treated for a headache from March 9 to 11.
He returned to duty and was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. William was sick with fever on June 29, 1864, and from July 2 to August 18, and was reported in a hospital in Washington, DC, in late July suffering from diarrhea. He may have been returned to duty but was hospitalized for dysentery on November 6. William was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
After the war William returned to Michigan, probably settling in Muskegon, Muskegon County, where he worked as a farmer for many years. He was living in Muskegon in 1887 and 1890, and 1896.
At some point William may have moved to Cahoon, New York, where his wife Cordelia was residing by the time he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 3308) on December 27, 1899. He was living in Grand Rapids Township (probably at the Home) in 1910. He was discharged at his own request on May 4, 1912, and by November was living in North Muskegon.
In 1896 William applied for and received pension no. 935,101, drawing $8.00 in 1899, increased to $12.00 per month in 1902, $16.50 in 1912, $21.50 in 1917 and to $27 by 1922. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and in religious matters a Protestant.
William was residing in North Muskegon when he died on February 9, 1920. He was presumably buried there.