1864 : Lt. Colonel William McCreery Escapes Libby Prison

February 9, 2018 all-day

February 9, 1864

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The Great Escape, American Civil War era.

In one of the Civil War’s great prison escapes, William McCreery of Flint was one of many Union officers who tunneled their way out of Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.   McCreery, who entered service in May 1861 as a sergeant in the Second Michigan Infantry, and later served as a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 21st Michigan Infantry.

He fought with valor and was serious wounded at Williamsburg, Virginia, and at Chickamauga.  In the latter battle, he was captured by the Confederates and sent to the rebel prison in Richmond.

After his escape in 1864, he eventually resigned his commission on account of the many wounds he received during the war.

The rest of the story.

Born in Mt. Morris, New York, in Aug 27, 1826(?), McCreer moved to Genesee County with his parents in 1839.

He was admitted to the bar of Genesee county in 1859 and practiced law until the breaking out of the Civil War.

Returning to Flint after serving in the military, McCreery entered the general merchandising business with F. W. Judd and also participated in the lumber industry with a sawmill on the banks of the Flint River just south of the Saginaw Road bridge.

In the Grant administration, he became the district collector of internal revenue.

He was involved in the Flint City Water Works Company as its president and as an original stockholder.

He also invested in the Grand Trunk Railway  and facilitated a Flint-Lansing extension.

He was elected as the ninth mayor of the City of Flint in 1865 serving two 1-year terms.

Elected Michigan State Treasurer in 1875 serving until 1878.

He served as a member of the state board of agriculture for seven years.

Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1888.

Appointed in 1890 as U.S. Consul in Valparaiso, Chile under the Harrison administration.

He helped organize and served as the first director of First National Bank of Flint.

McCreery died on December 9, 1896 in Flint, Michigan and was laid to rest at Glenwood Cemetery, Flint, Michigan.

Sources :

Michigan Historical Calendar courtesy of Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

Colonel William Barker McCreery Find a Grave entry.

William B. McCreery wikipedia entry.