William Ketchum - the son of Major Daniel Ketchum, distinguished in the War of 1812-15 against Great Britain - attended the U.S. Military Academy from July 1, 1830, to July 1, 1834, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to Bvt. Second Lieut., 6th Infantry, July 1, 1834.  He served in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1834-36; as Bearer of Dispatches.  Promoted to Second Lieut., 6th Infantry, on Dec. 31, 1836), he remained in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1836-37, and on frontier duty at Camp Sabine, La., 1837-38.  He was promoted to First Lieut., 6th Infantry, Dec. 25, 1837.

He served in the Florida Wars (1838-42), and served thereafter as as Adjutant, 6th Infantry, from Oct. 1, 1838, to Feb. 28, 1839.  Promoted to Captain in 1839, he served on the Staff as Assistant Quartermaster during 1839-42 he was on Quartermaster duty, 1839-42; as Bearer of Dispatches to Washington in 1842; and returned to Quartermaster duty at Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory as Captain, 6th Infantry during 1843-45.  

After his service with the 6th Infantry during the Military Occupation of Texas (1845-46), Ketchum was on frontier duty at Ft. Gibson and Ft. Wayne, Indian Terr. (1846-48), and on frontier duty at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas (1849).  During 1849-52, his unit was posted at Ft. Laramie, Dakota to protect emigrants.  During 1852-54, Ketchum was on recruiting service, and guarding the mails between Ft. Kearny, Neb., and the Sweet Water, 1854-55, -- on Sioux Expedition, 1855; as Member of Board to Examine Subalterns appointed to 6th Infantry, from civil life, 1855-56; on frontier duty at the Infantry, Howitzer Battery, and Park Train, during the Action of Solomon’s Fork, Kan., July 29, 1857, -- in quelling Kansas Disturbances, 1857-58, -- Utah Expedition 1858, -- March of two thousand miles to California, 1858, -- Benicia, Cal., 1858, -- New San Diego, Cal., 1858-59, -- Majave Expedition, 1859, -- New San Diego, Cal., 1859-60, -- Major, 4th Infantry, June 5, 1860  Alcatraz Island, Cal., 1860, -- Ft. Vancouver, Wash., 1860-61, -- Ft. Dalles, Or., 1861, -- Ft. Townshend, Wash., 1861, -- San Francisco, Cal., 1861, -- and Southern California, 1861; and on voyage to New York, 1861.

Promoted to Lieut.-Col., 10th Infantry, Nov. 1, 1861, he served as Acting Inspector-General, headquarters at St. Louis, Mo., of the Department of the Missouri, Dec. 8, 1861, to Mar. 11, 1862, of the Department of the Mississippi, Mar. 11 to July 11, 1862, -- and of the department of the Missouri, July 11 to Aug. 5, 1862; in organizing Pennsylvania


Volunteers, at Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 11-24, -- and Illinois Volunteers, at Springfield, Ill., Aug. 29 to Oct. 28, 1862; on Special duty in the War Department, auditing accounts, etc., etc., Nov. 3, 1862, to Feb. 13, 1866, being detached to superintend the muster out and payment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, at Harrisburg, Pa., July 23 to Aug. 20, 1863, 

Ketchum was made Brig.-General, U. S. Volunteers, on Feb. 3, 1862 and Bvt. Colonel, Feb. 1, 1863, for Meritorious Services in Missouri, in the Line of the Army.


-- on special tour of inspection in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, June 28 to July 22, 1864, 

Colonel, 11th Infantry, May 6, 1864

-- on Board to examine into the management and military control of General Hospitals, Aug. 5, 1864, 

-- in organizing Pennsylvania Volunteers, at Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Sep. 7 to Oct. 4, 1864, -- on special tour of Harper’s Ferry, Va., to secure paymasters and their funds, Oct. 14-15, 1864, -- as Member of a Commission to inspect and report on the Quartermaster Department in New York and Philadelphia, Mar. 25 to June 24, 1865, as required by joint resolution of Congress, approved Mar. 3, 1865, -- and on inspection of Staff service in Florida, Sep. 29 to Oct. 31, 1866; and on Special duty under the Treasury Department, “to investigate the audit the accounts presented against the Government by the several States for Military Expenditures chargeable against the Treasury,” Feb. 13 to July 5, 1866.  Mustered Out of Volunteer Service, Apr. 30, 1866.

Bvt. Maj.-General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Diligent, Faithful, and Meritorious Service in the War Department

He served on special duty in the Adjutant-General’s Office, at Washington, D. C., July 5, 1866, to Dec. 15, 1870. After 30 consecutive years of service, Ketchum retired from active service on Dec. 15, 1870.  Ketchum died on June 28, 1871 in  Baltimore, Md. at the age of 58.