My wife can trace her family roots back into the 17th century, when James Mackerwithee sailed from Scotland to eventually settle in Dedham, Mass. outside Boston around 1660. Two of her distant relatives served in the American Revolution, and James Morrison Quivey, her great-great grandfather, served on horseback during the Civil War. For this we have proof, in the form of Quivey’s Military Memorial War Record, a sepia-toned, poster-size lithograph that has been proudly displayed in her parent’s home since I have known her.
On August 20, 1862, at age 23, Quivey mustered into the Pennsylvania Volunteers to fight with what would become the famous Ringgold Battalion, according to his obituary written in the Canonsburg, Penn. Daily Notes March 5, 1927, shown below.
James M. Quivey, aged 88 years veteran of the Civil war, and a member of Company D, Ringgold Calvary, 22nd regiment died at his home in Pike street last night, at 7:30 o’clock. Mr. Quivey served in the War of the Rebellion in the famous Ringgold command for two years and ten months and was one of the last of the veterans in this community. A native of Chartiers township, Mr. Quivey spent practically all his life in this community, being a widely known farmer until his retirement some years ago. Mr. Quivey was born March 1, 1839, in Chartiers township. In 1867 he was married to Mary White, who died in 1904. In 1912 Mr. Quivey married Mary T. Camp, who survives. Mr. Quivey also leaves the following sons and daughters of his first wife: John W. Quivey, Chartiers township; Harry G. Quivey, Wylandville; Mrs. Allie Porter, Houston; Miss Lena E. Quivey, Sewickley, and Mrs. Charles Campbell, of Beaver. Eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren also survive.
Books were written detailing the exploits of this battalion during the “War of the Rebellion,” as it was referred to at the time. Here are two that can be researched online:
The Twenty-second Pennsylvania cavalry and the Ringgold battalion, 1861-1865; by Samuel Clarke Farrar. Quivey is listed at the end of the book on page 494, along with his fellow troops. There is also a book by John W. Elwood entitled Elwood’s stories of the old Ringgold Cavalry, 1847-1865: the first three year cavalry of the Civil War: with introduction by the Rev. H.H. Ryland.
I am assuming Quivey filled in his name and information on the memorial himself, as other Civil War memorial lithographs, sometimes given as gifts, can be found with more professional-looking calligraphy. It would also appear that he did quite well during the war, never being in a battle, thereby never being wounded or taken prisoner. Or perhaps he purposely left these fields blank some 20 years after, being too much for his growing family to take. Who knows?
At 30 inches wide, the lithographed portrait takes serious time to study, and details decisive military battles, highlights all the important military generals (from the North anyway), displays US Army Corps badges, breaks down how many men were furnished by each state, including over 93,000 “colored troops,” and over 3,000 from Indian Nations. It also highlights that more men, on both sides, died of disease during the war than were killed in battle, died of their wounds or died in prison.
What I don’t yet know and tried to find out was how Quivey acquired the memorial. Was it at a GAR reunion? I have the helpful and knowledgeable specialists at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and Ron Meininger at Antebellum Covers to thank for providing me with more information than I knew at the beginning of my research. Check out both these sights and their links for a wealth of information on the Civil War and beyond. If you have ever watched The History Detectives on PBS, then you’ll know of Wes Cowan.
The lithograph shows signs of water damage, and it is not hand-painted as other memorials were. These two strikes lessen the value of this mass-produced piece somewhat. But overall, the 135-year-old memorial holds up, and is the kind of family conversation piece that any Civil War buff would drool over. Thankfully, it is under glass.