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Captain James E. Sarjeant, of 1426 Wells street, Fort Wayne, who was widely known among people of the older generation; a veteran of both the Mexican and civil wars and a resident of Columbia City, for many years, died Friday night at 5:45 o’clock from a complication of stomach and kidney troubles and the infirmities of old age. Mr. Sarjeant was seventy-nine years old. He had been seriously ill since Tuesday of this week.
Few men have had a more eventful career than Captain James E. Sarjeant. He was born in Canterbury, Kent, (England), September 27, 1827, and was one of a family of sixteen children. With his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Sarjeant, and a brother and sister he came to this country in the early ‘40’s. The family settled in Fort Wayne shortly after their arrival in America and Mr. Sarjeant began to learn the harness making trade. He developed into an expert workman, and later in life embarked in business for himself.
Mr. Sarjeant was a soldier in the Mexican war, enlisting in 1846 at New Albany in the First Indiana regiment. He served for one year and was actively engaged in the celebrated battles of Matamoras, Monterey and Buena Vista. At the end of his term of service he was honorably discharged and went back to the quiet life of the civilian.
Then in 1861 came the outbreaking of the war that threatened the existence of the union, and Mr. Sarjeant, along with thousands of other men in the north, swept with the passionate resolve that the union should not be destroyed, prepared to again enter military life. He enlisted from Whitley county, April 25, 1861, and was the second man to enlist for service in the great civil war from Whitley county. He enlisted in Company E 17th Ind., under Capt. Geo. W. Stough and was made 1st Lieut. at Indianapolis before the organization entered the service. The regiment did valiant service in the West Virginia campaign. Capt. Sarjeant resigned in 1862 and returned to Columbia City. The same year he organized Co. B 74th Ind., and was made captain of the company.
During the war he was in some of the principal battles where heavy losses of live were sustained by the union forces. At Chickamauga, Perrysville and Rolling Forks he did valiant service on the field. At the battle of Rolling Forks he was wounded in the knee by the fragment of a bursting shell.
Captain Sarjeant, who in later years was fond of telling his experiences and of the many narrow escapes which he and the men under him had in the war, often related how while in battle one day he noticed the simultaneous discharge of a number of shells in the direction of his company, and in a flash his mind dictated the command to lie down. His men in obedience flattened themselves on the earth, thus minimizing the danger that would otherwise have caused the deaths of many. As it was, only seven or eight of the number were killed.
In 1863 he was granted an honorable discharge on account of disability and came home to live the life of a private citizen, re-entering the harness business which he had forsaken at the opening of the war.
Since the close of the civil war Captain Sarjeant lived with his family in adjoining parts of the state, at Columbia City, Auburn, and for eight years in Wisconsin. For the past twenty years, however, Fort Wayne has been his home.
Capt. Sarjeant was married Sept, 28, 1848, to Miss Margaret Gill, who lived in Whitley county not far from Columbia City. From this union eleven children were born, only two of whom survive – Mrs. Henry Meyers, of Cincinnati, O., and Mrs. Mattie Rodwick, of Richmond, Ind. There is also a sister living – Mrs. Charlotte Swain, residing at 323 West De Wald street in Fort Wayne. There are twelve grandchildren, some living in Ohio, some in this state, some in Illinois and some in California.
Capt. Sarjeant was a member of the Union Veteran legion and of Sion S. Bass post No. 40, G. A. R. He was a man not only of a wide acquaintance but of a great many friends both among young and old. He was quiet and unassuming in manner and not given to making wide acquaintanceships.
Capt. Sarjeant entered the saddlery business in Columbia City in 1854 in a building owned by F. H. Foust the site of which is now occupied by the building in which S. O. Briggs conducts a plumbing business. He was an expert saddler and enjoyed a liberal patronage. He returned to Columbia City after the close of the war and resumed the saddlery business [part of sentence blacked out on microfilm] until 1882, when he removed his family to Fort Wayne. Some of Capt. Sarjeant’s children died in this city and are buried in the Masonic cemetery. Capt. Sarjeant married Margaret Gill, daughter of Abner Gill, who resided on the William Sisson farm east of this city, in 1848.
The time of the funeral has yet not been determined as it is not known when members of the family desiring to attend the services can be present. Interment will be in the Lindenwood cemetery.