JOHN HENRY ARCHEY, Company "H" - (Later in Company "N" 6th West Virginia Infantry.)

By Susan Volkman Gardner, Great Great Granddaughter.

Private John Henry Archey (alias Archy and Archer) was born in Pultney, Belmont, Ohio in 1840. His Father was John F. Archey (alias John F. Harchey/Frederick Archey/John Archer) (1787) who was born in Germany according to the 1850 census and his Mother was Margaret Balis Archey (alias Archer) (1806) who was born in Ohio. He had one brother, Joseph (1840); and two sisters, Elizabeth (1844) and Sarah Ann (1845).

His Father, John F. Archey was in the War of 1812 and his Pension Application shows that he moved to Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and that he had been there for twenty years in 1873. It is unknown if his wife, Margaret Balis Archey and their daughters went there with him. I am unable to find a census for 1860 for any of the family, but we must assume that John Henry and Joseph must have remained in the area. According to the U.S. Civil War Soldiers database John Henry, who worked as an Iron Boiler, joined the 1st West Virginia (Virginia) Cavalry, Company H Volunteers as a Private on August 11, 1861. His brother, Joseph Archey (Archy), his Father-in-law to be William Shaw; and his brother-in-laws-to-be, Victor and Joseph Shaw also joined the Cavalry.

John Henry and Mary R. Shaw had a son, John Archey born in Richland, Ohio, Virginia (later becoming West Virginia) in December of 1861 while John Henry was away at war. There are very conflicting reports on where and when John Henry joined the 1st West Virginia (Virginia) Cavalry as a volunteer. This could be due to the different spellings of the name Archey. The Adjutant General’s Report lists him as joining the Cavalry on April 15, 1862 at Berryville, Virginia for three years. John Henry states on his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, Certificate #475106 that he was injured in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas) outside of Manassas, Virginia on August 30, 1862. John Henry was in the Cavalry and while in a charge on the ensuing he was thrown from his horse causing injury to his head, that later lead to his insanity. This was a very hard-fought battle for the Union Army. John Henry was captured at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Virginia on September 2, 1862 and was reported as a paroled prisoner at Camp Banks, Virginia on November 17, 1862. He had been received from Bell Isle on September 13, 1862. He was again captured at Warrenton Junction on May 3, 1863. He was paroled at City Point, Virginia on May 6, 1863 and reported at Camp Parole, Maryland on May 8, 1863.

Mary R. Shaw and John Henry Archey were married by H. Henke, Minister of the Gospel in Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia on July 4, 1863 when their son was almost two. In September and October of 1863 he was reported ill and sent to the Washington Infirmary. John Henry at the age of 24 mustered out of service from the war in Cumberland, Maryland on April 19, 1865 from Company N, 6TH West Virginia Regiment Infantry as a Private. He was 5’10” tall, had a fair complexion, light hair and blue eyes. On his final record he owed the U.S. $18.81 for his clothing and $28.96 for his missing Army revolver, holster, light cavalry saber, and saber butt and plate, as well as other equipment. They owed him $100 pay for October 31, 1864 through April 19, 1865. He had been transferred to Company N, 6th Regiment earlier in February of 1865 because of neglect of his horse. He had brain damage. He was unable to properly care for himself, let alone his horse and weapons because of his head injury. It is just unimaginable what he went through.

In the 1870 census Mary and John Henry lived in Richland, Ohio, West Virginia with their son, John. John Henry was listed as a farm laborer. On July 9, 1871 John Henry and Mary had a daughter, Ida May Archey in Richland, Ohio, West Virginia. Little is known of Ida after the 1880 census where she shows up, but his wife, Mary states on the 1900 census that she only has one live child out of five children. That would be John, her son, who was living in Pittsburgh. This means that we must assume that Ida May is deceased by 1900.

On March 8, 1875 Mary and John Henry had a third child, Henry Archey. He had a deformity and died on March 20, 1875 in Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia. They had a fourth child, Myrtle Archey who was born in Wheeling, Ohio West Virginia in 1876 and died in Bellaire, Belmont, Ohio of Diphtheria on June 12, 1882 at the age of 6. The 1900 census states that there is a fifth child, but this child is unknown.

In the 1880 census it shows John Henry and Mary living with their children, John, Ida and Myrtle at 439 Harrison Street, Bellaire, Belmont, Ohio. John Henry is listed as an Iron Puddler and he is listed as insane. Mary’s brother, Joseph Shaw, another Civil War Veteran and his wife, Hannah and child, Mary also lived with them. The fact is that either at this time or shortly after John Henry was in the Weston State Hospital Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia on the West side of the river – 1st ward. As far as we can tell he would never return home. He died at the Asylum of supposed heart disease on November 26, 1890. God only knows what atrocities he had to endure there. As if the Civil War was not enough. The West Virginia Register of Deaths, Page 78 also shows that his body was sent away for burial. Sad to say it is unknown where he is buried. His wife, Mary Shaw Archey is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery, in Belmont, Ohio.

The Declaration for Original Invalid Pension was filed on October 9, 1882 in Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia on John Henry’s behalf. I am not quite sure if John Henry gave the information or if Joseph, his brother gave it for him. It has John’s information and is signed Joseph Archey. It states that John was an Iron Boiler through 1871 at which time he became totally disabled. This makes you wonder how they made ends meet until they might be lucky enough to receive a pension. His wife, Mary then filed for John Henry’s Pension as a Widow, Certificate #334670 from the Civil War on December 4, 1890. Mary married George Henry Woolweaver in 1891 and he died in 1894 leaving her a widow again. John Henry Archey and Mary Shaw Archey’s son, John Archey married Anna Jeffers in Belmont, Ohio on July 31, 1892 and they moved away to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

John Henry Archey spent almost four years of his life fighting in the Civil War. The fierce battles, the fall from his horse, being a prisoner of war, the harsh weather all had to take a toll on his health and mental state. Being ill and fighting in the war had to be very hard on him to say the least. We must assume that the 24 year old man that came out of the war was not the young man who entered it in 1861. Within six years of his discharge he was totally disabled and in fifteen years he was put into a mental hospital. The curator at the asylum told me that on their tours they tell of a Civil War soldier who had brain damage from falling from his horse. This asylum still stands today for tours as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia and it is said to be haunted. Haunted by the man that John Henry Archey might have been had the Civil War not occurred; but then who can say for sure.