1885 Civil War reunion quilt a ‘phenomenal find’

The South Charleston Heritage Commission recently received a patchwork quilt that dates back to 1885. Information about a Civil War veterans reunion in South Charleston is printed on one of the patches.

(Posted March 29, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Two recent donations to the South Charleston Heritage Commission have set local history buffs to buzzing. One has them smiling in wonder, and the other one has them scratching their heads.

The first is a colorful patchwork quilt that includes a piece of cloth on which the following words are printed: “Sixteenth Annual Reunion of the 110th Reg’t O.V.I., South Charleston, Ohio, August 6th, 1885.” The 110th was the Civil War regiment in which South Charleston area men served. The Civil War ended in 1865.

“It’s amazing that the Civil War veterans were meeting like that,” said Sue Mattinson, Heritage Commission president. “It’s just a phenomenal find.”

Credit for the find and donation goes to Josh Murray, who purchased the quilt from an antiques dealer. A Springfield resident, Murray grew up in South Charleston and teaches at Miami View Elementary.

Civil War veterans from South Charleston included: Joseph F. Bennett, William Cheney, Wilson M.D. Clemans, James W. Griffith, John T. Griffith, Freeman Marshall, Russell McCollum, George McMillen, Charles Paullin, Darwin Peirce, John T. Pierce, Lewis J. Reeder, Joseph Schickedantz, Bynner B. Sweet, George P. Truitt, John W. Warrington and Thomas C. Wilhide.

The South Charleston Heritage Commission is asking for help from the public in identifying the man in this photo. It is estimated the photo was taken in the mid-1930s in South Charleston.

As for the other fun artifact, Lynn Dickerson, a South Charleston farmer, donated a photo of a man decked out in a sharp suit, coat and hat. The man is holding a cigar and standing outside a car. Heritage Commission members estimate the photo was taken in the mid-1930s.

“But we don’t know who the man is,” Mattinson said. “He might be a banker or some other professional.”

The Heritage Commission is hoping someone in the community can identify the man. Ideas can be emailed to hccofscoh@gmail.com.

Women of South Charleston

Mattinson has gained a following for her well researched talks about local history. She was set to reprise her presentation on prolific South Charleston architect Edward Edwards last month before coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns postponed the event.

Now, she is hard at work on another talk topic: Women of South Charleston. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women’s constitutional right to vote. Using the milestone as inspiration, Mattinson is focusing on what local women were doing before they had the right to vote.

Mattinson doesn’t want to give away too much about the stories she’s unearthed so far, as she is still doing research and formulating her talk. But she did offer up some teasers. Her presentation will explain why Hannah Peirce was the most widely known woman in South Charleston at the time of her death in 1918 and why Abigail Paist, wife of Charles Paist for whom South Charleston is named, made the history books in her own right.

Mattinson said the research for this talk has been both fascinating and challenging. Resource books from 100 years ago generally don’t offer much detail about women’s lives beyond their relationships to other people as daughters, wives and mothers.

“I want to know what they were doing. Yes, they were having babies and keeping house, but some of them were doing more,” she said.

Mattinson welcomes input from others who have stories, letters, family histories or other documentation about interesting women living in South Charleston in the years leading up to the 19th Amendment passage in 1920. She hopes to give her talk sometime this fall.

To share stories and information, contact Sue Mattinson at hccofscoh@gmail.com or (937) 503-2492.

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