H.W. Quigley, Mason County’s last Gettysburg veteran

September 4, 2013

Henry QuigleyBy Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

Sometimes I get a little behind in the human interest stories I want to write. This is one of those stories. I’ve been contemplating it for over a year and it should have been written and posted back at the beginning of July, but nonetheless, here it is the beginning of September. I still think it’s an interesting story though.

I have always been interested in history, especially local history. I have equally been interested in genealogy. As I was researching my family tree, I came across the story of my great-great-grandfather, Henry White Quigley. Henry not only fought in the Battle of Gettysburg but, to my understanding, was the last Civil War veteran to have lived in Mason County. His gravestone can be found in front of the monument to the Grand Army of the Republic in Lakeview Cemetery.

July 1-3 of this year marked the 150th anniversary of the battle, The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war’s turning point. UnionMaj. Gen. George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee’s invasion of the North.

graves of henry and lydia quigley 1Henry, also known as H.W., was born in Lancaster County, Penn. on Aug. 28, 1843. He enlisted in the 28th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from Philadelphia in 1861 and was later transferred to the 147th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment when it was organized in 1862. The regiment’s first assignment was reconnaissance to Rippon, West Virginia on Nov. 9, 1862. It then served in several campaigns in Virginia until eventually ended back in Gettysburg, Penn.

Following the battle, the regiment pursued Gen. Lee and his army It was involved with campaigns in Tennessee, including the Battles of Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Ringgold Gap and Taylor’s Ridge. It’s last campaign was the occupation of Releigh, N.C. in April, 1865 where it saw the surrender of Gen. Joseph Johnston on April 26, 1865. The regiment then made its way to Richmond, Virginia and to Washington, D.C. where it mustered out on July 15, 1865.

During its time of service, seven officers and 71 enlisted men were killed in action while three officers and 61 enlisted men died of disease, a total of 142.

Following the war, Henry married Lydia Martin, also of Lancaster County, Penn. The two had 11 sons and daughters. They eventually made their way to Ludington, by way of Illinois. Henry’s May 5, 1932 obituary reads: “After several years in Lancaster they moved in 1882 to Delavan, Ill. where they engaged in farming. Twenty-five years ago they came to Ludington. For two and a half years they were on what is known as the LaBar farm in south Pere Marquette (Township) and then moved to Ludington, which had ever since been their home.” They lived at 404 E. Loomis St.

graves of henry quigley 1Henry and Lydia established a grocery store on South James Street known as Quigley and Sons Grocery. He was also involved with the Pap Williams Post of Grand Army of the Republic veterans. In fact, he was the post commander for many years and was the last member of the post before he relinquished its charter in 1927, “when convinced that there were no longer members of the old squad able to attend the meetings.”

Lydia died in 1924 and she is buried next to Henry, as is their son, Harry. Henry and Lydia’s daughter, Ella Mae Nicely, was the mother of my grandmother, Helen Alway.

I have lived over 40 years and just only recently found out about Henry’s story. I have walked past his grave probably 100 times, without knowing that this man was my great-great grandfather. This wasn’t necessarily a mystery in my family, but just a story that somehow I had never heard. During this sesquicentennial anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, I found it fitting to pay tribute to H.W. Quigley, last of Mason County’s Civil War veterans.

 

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