Biographical Sketch of
Transcribed by Sandra Boudrou
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Green Lake, Marquette and Waushara Counties, Wisconsin, published 1890 by Acme Publishing Co., Chicago, Pages 592 - 593 Patrick Croarken, the present efficient County Clerk of Marquette County, was born in Deerfield, Herkimer Co., N. Y., July 7, 1843, of Irish parentage. He is a son of James and Alice (McCarran) Croarken, both of whom were natives of County Monaghan, Ireland, where they were married July 16, 1842. In the spring of the following year they removed to this country, their first location being in Deerfield, Herkimer Co., N. Y., where they remained until 1849. One of the most important events of their life in Deerfield, was the birth of their son as above mentioned. In the spring of the year above stated, they left the East, and came to Wisconsin, locating in Wauwatosa, now Milwaukee, where they remained until the following October, when they came to Marquette County, taking up their residence in the town of Shields, where Mr. Croarken pre-empted a homestead, which he afterward improved until it became quite valuable. His widow is still living on that farm. On the 20th of December, 1861, he responded to the call of his adopted country for troops to put down the Rebellion, enlisting in Company C. 3d Wisconsin Cavalry, and was with the 2d Battalion in Kansas, and other Southwestern States, through all of its service there, acting as train escort, fighting Quantrell's guerrillas, and skirmishing with the Indians. One of the most notable of the engagements in which he participated was the battle of Baxter Springs, Ind. Ter., on the 6th of October, 1863, when Quantrell's band disguised in Federal uniforms, assaulted Gen. Blunt, who was commanding the Army of the Frontier, escorted by about 100 cavalrymen and colored troops, en route for Ft. Scott. The General escaped, together with about fifteen men, including Mr. Croarken, but the remainder were all captured, robbed and murdered in cold blood. He became disabled, and was discharged May 6, 1864, under a special order issued by the War Department April 26, 1864. His death occurred on the 4th of April 1868. Our subject made his home with his father, doing his share in the work of improvement and progress which the pioneers of this part of Wisconsin found awaiting them, and at times attending school until sixteen years of age, when, though a mere boy he enlisted in Company E. of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry without the knowledge of his parents, but they were made aware of his action before he was mustered into service, and the would-be soldier found his hopes suddenly dashed by parental authority. His father entered the service soon afterward as a member of Company C. 3d Wisconsin Cavalry, and during his absence Patrick again enlisted in the same company to which his father belonged on the 11th of November, 1863, and joined the regiment at Dry Wood, Mo. Both tall in stature, father and son were frequently placed side by side in the center of a company, certainly an odd occurrence, and one which rarely happened during the entire war, though thousands were engaged in the struggle. The following account of Mr. Croarken's military service has been published in a work devoted to a record of the boys in blue from Wisconsin. "In the spring, his company was stationed at Ft. McKean, and did frontier duty. The nature of the service was necessarily of the most revolting character, as it was necessary for self preservation and for the protection of Government trains, to execute summary justice on bushwhackers, guerrillas and murderers of every grade, as that was the mode of warfare they themselves had followed. Mr. Croarken was a member of the Army of the Border under Gen. Blunt, and with the command was sent to the vicinity of Lexington, to ascertain the whereabouts of Price, and was in the action near that city, Independence and on the Little and Big Blue Rivers, and fought at Westport, Mo., where Price's army was in force, the rebel having crossed the river with 26,000 men. In the last engagement at Wine Creek, where 1,000 men, including Marmaduke and Gen. Cable were captured, and a large amount of ammunition and army stores, also. Mr. Croarken was mixed up in a hand to hand fight, and was injured. At the moment of surrender of Marmaduke, he was within twenty feet of the rebel guerrilla chief. That campaign lasted forty-eight days, and some times the men were in the saddle a week at a time. After it was over, the command pushed on after Price, whom they fought at Newtonia, and were victorious. After they had driven Price across the Arkansas River, the company returned to Ft. Scott, where it remained until March, 1865, when Mr. Croarken was detailed with a number of others to proceed to Lexington, and was occupied in the guerrilla warfare until June, 1865, when orders were received to report at Leavenworth, for 'muster outs.' On arrival there they were sent to Denver, Col., and Mr. Croarken went as far as Ft. Riley, where he was left on sick leave. Soon after, he was sent back to Ft. Leavenworth, where he remained in the hospital until he was discharged Aug. 24, 1865, from Company H, to which he had been assigned in March, previous." Upon his return to Wisconsin, Mr. Croarken was engaged in lumbering in the northwestern part of the State for some time, and afterward devoted his energies to farming in the town of Shields, where he made his home until 1882. During that year he bought the Fountain House at Montello, which he has since owned and managed, making it one of the most popular hotels in the county. It is furnished with all the modern conveniences and improvements, and no effort is spared to promote the comforts of its guests. In 1878, Mr. Croarken was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Sarah, daughter of John and Anna Winn, both of whom died in Gant County during the childhood of their daughter. Two children grace the union of this worthy couple: Anne Eliza, born Nov. 10, 1879; and Francis James, born Oct. 15, 1887. Though never in any sense an active politician, Mr. Croarken has always advocated and voted to support such measures as he believed would bring the greatest good to the greatest number. He was elected Sheriff of Marquette County in the year 1884, and served until the expiration of his term of office, with great credit to himself, and satisfaction to the citizens of all classes and parties; and had it not been for a law by which a man holds that office but one term without intermission, it is safe to say that he would have been re-elected. He was elected County Clerk in the fall of 1888, and is the present incumbent, having entered upon the duties of that office in January, 1889. Socially, he is a member of the W. D. Walker Post, No. 64, G. A. R., of Montello, and is otherwise identified with the dearest and most important interests of the town and county. As a citizen, he has ever been liberal and loyal; as a husband and father, he has done all in his power to make those dependent upon him happy and prosperous; as an official, he has ever had the public weal uppermost in mind and considered the interests of the county paramount to his own; and as a soldier, he made a record of which his descendants may well be proud, placing him as it does, high on the list of those young patriots who have been often referred to as "the boy soldiers of the Union," for he was a little more than a boy when his military service began, and he grew to manhood amid some of the most soul sickening scenes of a long, and sometimes inhuman war.
Transcribed by Sandra Boudrou
This site is maintained by Joan and this page was last updated May 2005
Click here to send Joan an e-mail Back to the Marquette pages Menu