Ludington’s last Gettysburg veteran

November 19, 2013

graves of henry and lydia quigley 1By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

I posted this story back in September. Though it was a few months after the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, I still thought it was noteworthy. Those who know me know that I am interested in history, especially local history and family history. Since today is the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, I thought I would re-post the story and also include the Address. 

 

Henry QuigleyI 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.

Henry, 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.

The Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

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