William W. Dorry was born around April 16, 1822, in Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, probably the son of William (b. 1781) and Lovisa (b. 1790)
William’s parents were both born in Massachusetts and presumably married there. William (younger) had a twin brother who died when seven years of age. By 1820 there was one William Dorry living in West Springfield, Hamsphire County, Massachusetts. According to one source, his parents removed to the State of Connecticut in 1829, and afterward to Dansville, Livingston County, New York, where they resided until their death. Indeed, by 1850 William (elder) and Lovisa were both residing in North Dansville, New York. William (younger) may have settled in Sparta, Livingston County, New York by 1840.
William married Ohio or New York native Sarah Filkins (b. 1828) sometime before 1849, probably in New York, and they had at least three children: William H. or Jr. (b. 1849), James Albert (b. 1852) and Edmon or Edward (b. 1856).
By 1850 William was working as a paper-maker and living with his wife and son in Pike, Wyoming County, New York. Between 1852 and 1856 William took his family and moved to Michigan, and by 1860 William was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and children in Plainfield, Kent County.
William was 38 years old living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on June 10, 1861. According to George Miller also of Company A and a tentmate in the winter of 1861-62, he was “ a hard old customer, but good natured and full of fun.” William was absent sick in the hospital from August 16, 1862, through December, eventually returned to duty, and was again hospitalized on April 28, 1863. By June he was reported as a nurse in the Regimental hospital where he remained through September, although in late July he was reported apparently transferred to a general hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and working as a nurse.
By the end of the year he had returned to the Regiment when he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids. He was absent on veterans’ furlough in January of 1864, probably at his home in Michigan, and returned on or about the first of February, the same month he was reported as a hospital attendant. He was listed as a nurse in the Regimental hospital in March and April, on detached service as nurse, probably in the Division hospital, when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained on detached duty through April of 1865. According to one postwar source, he “served till the close of the war as division field hospital steward.”
William was reported as a teamster in May, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
“After the close of the war,” William “returned to Michigan and engaged in farming and practicing medicine.” Indeed. William eventually went to medical school, and, according to one source, “Dr. Dorry studied medicine when a young man, and . . . practiced, more or less, for thirty years.”
He left Michigan and moved to Wisconsin, and by 1870 had settled in Eau Galle, Dunn County, in 1870, where he still owned a farm in 1880. He was probably living in Wisconsin in 1875 when he purchased 160 acres of land through the Eau Claire land office. (His son William H. purchased 80 acres through Eau Claire in 1884 and 160 acres in 1891 through the Ashland land office.)
By 1880 William was working as a physician and living with his wife Sarah in Spring Brook, Dunn County, Wisconsin; also living with him was his some James and they all lived next to his son Edward and his family. He moved to Knapp, Wisconsin in December of 1880, where he kept a boarding house for the manufacturing company of Hall, Dann & Co.
William W. died around 1890 in Wisconsin.
His widow was living in Wisconsin in 1890 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 353176?).