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Daniel J. Dill (1830-1917)

Daniel J. Dill was born in February 24, 1830, in Dillsburg (York County), Pennsylvania, to Mathew and Hanah Dill.  He came to Prescott (Pierce County), Wisconsin, in 1859, following his younger brother George who moved there in 1855.

Dill was a Mexican War veteran and a prominent Prescott merchant by the time the Civil War broke out.  Dill enlisted on April 27, 1861, in the Prescott Guards, which became Company B of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry.  With the assistance of other local businessmen and lawyers, he organized the Prescott Guards and served as the elected captain of the company.  According to Michael H. Fitch’s published memoir (Echoes of the Civil War as I Hear Them, New York: R.F. Fenno & Co., 1905; available on Google Books), Dill “went up the river to Hastings, Minnesota, and down the river to various towns, in pursuit of recruits” (p. 18).

Dill was formally commissioned as captain on June 17, 1861.  On July 22, 1862, he was promoted to colonel of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry, after a failed attempt to make him captain of the 25th Infantry—he could not get a release from the 6th.  By the end of the War, he served as commander of the Union military post at Louisville, Kentucky, until April 18, 1865, when he became the provost marshal for the Department of Kentucky until he mustered out on September 20, 1865.

After the War, Dill returned to Prescott where he was a merchant.  On March 17, 1867, Dill married Mary (Mollie) P. Johnson in Red Wing, Minnesota.  They had three children:  Grace Belle, Alice J., and Abigail H.

Daniel J. Dill died February 7, 1917, in Prescott, Wisconsin, and is buried in the Pine Glen Cemetery in Prescott, along with his wife.

The Dill marriage announcement appeared in the March 23, 1867, issue of The Prescott Journal.

At Red Wing, on the 17th inst., by Rev. J. BROOKS, Col. D. J. DILL, of Prescott, and MISS MOLLIE P. JOHNSON, of Griggsville, Ill.  The general surprise at the Colonel’s “taking off,” is equalled only by the general congratulations of his friends.  We always feel glad when a bachelor, tossed on the sea of uncertainties, is safely moored in the haven of matrimony, and say with Hamlet, “Rest, perturbed spirit.”

The following short biography of Dill is from the History of Washington County and the St. Croix Valley (Minneapolis: North Star Publishing Company, 1881):261-62.  The book is available in the UWRF Archives (F 612 .W3 H6 1881).

Col. Daniel J. Dill was born in Dillsburg, York county, Pennsylvania, February 24th, 1830.  Remaining on his father’s farm until nineteen years old, he received a good practical education, then was employed as a traveling agent for a whip manufactory in which he continued ten years.  In 1859, came to Prescott and engaged in merchandising until 1877, and is still counted among the leading business men.  In 1861, answering to his country’s call, he enlisted in Company B, Sixth Wisconsin, being appointed captain, served one and one-half years in the Army of the Potomac, then was appointed by Gov. Solomon [sic], of Wisconsin, colonel of the Thirtieth Wisconsin, and was honorably discharged at Madison, 1865.  One year previous, he was on the plains under General Sully, and assisted with the regiment in building Fort Rice, Dakota.  During his last year was provost marshal general of the Kentucky department on General Palmer’s staff.  He married in 1867, Miss Mary P. Johnson.  Three children have been born to them, all living.

In 1910, for Dill’s 80th birthday, The Prescott Tribune printed the following photograph of Dill, along with birthday wishes (February 24, 1910).

Daniel J. Dill at 80

The above is a good likeness of Col. D. J. Dill, who is passing the eightieth mile-stone today.  His friends extend best wishes and hope for many happy returns of the day.

The photograph was picked up by The Pierce County Herald, the following week (March 3, 1910) and they wrote their own short article to go with it.


Col. D. J. Dill of Prescott is still hale and vigorous, and stands erect and firm under the burden of eighty years.  The record of his life is without a blot.  He has held many important places of trust, such as Chairman of the County Board, Assemblyman, &c., and his ability and integrity have never been questioned.  But the people of this county have a particular pride in him on account of his war record, and the soldierly bearing which seems a part of his nature.  A typical chevalier of an era never more to be.

“The old Wisconsin Colonel, we know him when he comes,
With memories rife of many a strife, and rattling roll of drums;
We know him by his courtly grace, white haired, and bronzed and gaunt,
For he trod the fields with Sherman, and he scaled the heights with Grant.”

A very small obituary appeared in The River Falls Journal of February 15, 1917.

Colonel D. J. Dill Dead

Col. Daniel J. Dill, one of Pierce county’s most prominent pioneers, died at his home in Prescott last Wednesday at the age of 87 years.  Col. Dill was born Feb. 24, 1830, and had been a resident of Prescott and a leader in that city’s business and social life since 1859.  He served in the Thirtieth Wisconsin during the Civil War.  He was a member of the state legislature for two terms.  Funeral services were held at the home last Saturday.

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