This site was created by Larry Shively who is researching the history of the Shively families. The goal is to have a site where all Shively researchers can share and ask questions in regards to their Shively lines. The largest majority of the Shively family records are located in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. There are early records of Shively's also in Virginia and Kentucky. There are not many established Shively lineages back to Europe. There are documented lineages to Switzerland and Germany. Through the sharing of information from all of our research it is desired that all can learn about our Shively families.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Civil War Back Pay Received By William Thomas Shively

The following article was located in  The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Saturday, September 18, 1909, Page 17, Column 4-5:
Veteran Gets ‘Way Back Pay
Government Remits After Half Century
Captain Shively of Council Bluffs Receives $26.50 He Earned In Civil War—Led His Company In Charge After His Captain Had Prepared To Surrender
Omaha World-Herald: It took the government forty-seven years to pay a debt of $26.50 to Captain William Thomas Shively of 3256 Avenue A, Council Bluffs, valiant veteran of a Kentucky regiment.  The captain has but recently received this money from Uncle Sam.
Back in ’61, Private Shively was promoted to second lieutenant for a piece of gallantry.  A little later he was made a captain.  For the first month that he was made a captain he was not paid the wages that he was entitled to in that office.   He made some complaint at the time, but never took it up with the department.
He had never received any bounty for his service, so he wrote to the department last year about it.  He received a reply that there were a good many claims ahead of his, but that as soon as it could be reached it would be looked into.  Recently, however, he received the money and the itemized statement:
Difference of pay, second lieutenant and captain,
Nov. 18 to Dec. 13, 1862…………………………$14.00
Subsistence to Dec. 31, 1861……………………    1.50
Clothing, Oct. 8 to 27, 1861………………………    2.33
For pay, Oct. 3 to 27………………………………    8.67
It was necessary to serve two years as a private to obtain the bounty, and as he was promoted just before the two years was up, the letter explained to him that he not entitled to that.
Kentucky Situation.
Captain Shively is a Kentuckian, born and bred.  He was born on a big tobacco plantation, between Lebanon and Campbellsville, in the central part of that state.  His father had twenty slaves, his father-in-law more and he himself had five, at the time of the war.
The boom of the cannon at Fort Sumter resounded through the land, and in those border states, such as Kentucky, there was an extra somberness to its tone, a deeper dread in the hearts of the people.  For there it sent brother against brother, father against son, neighbor against neighbor.  Sometimes they parted with a godspeed and a choking sensation that almost forbade speech—sometimes there was a bitter feeling at the heart, and a desire to meet in the midst of the conflict—but always it meant that they would be thrown constantly against each other, in some of the most hotly contested battles of the war, where blood, friendship, meant nothing, only the spirit of kill or be killed.
Six stalwart sons there were in the Shively family.  The call for battle came. They had been accustomed to slavery all their lives.  The negroes were almost essential as laborers on their plantation, but they loved their country.  The loved the glorious red and white and blue of the nation’s banner, and everyone of the six sons enlisted in the union army.
Their wives and children came to live at the home of their father, and they bade farewell to neighbors who went into the rank of the conferates, and fared forth to battle in the cause of their country, determined to aid in keeping it one great nation.
William T. Shively enlisted in Company H of the Tenth Kentucky regiment.  He was in many a hot battle in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.  He won his commissioned office by a singular piece of heroism, though he says of it, “I just happened to do the right thing at the right time.”  He was under General Thomas at the time, and Companies A and H had been sent to guard a bridge, down in Alabama.  A force of the confederates five or six times as large as the union companies, attacked the bridge.
Would Not Be Surrendered.
“Hold the bridge at all hazards, and reinforcements will be sent,” was the word that General Thomas sent to the company.  The bullets were storming around them and the enemy was drawing closer all of the time, Captain Shively tells of the struggle:
“Our capting was a good man, but he was a little timid.  I saw that he was preparing a white flag, as a signal of surrender.  I didn’t want to give up, with those orders from the general.  I stepped out and said, ‘Boys, did you come down here to fight or to be taken prisoners?” “’To Fight,’ they shouted. “Let’s do it, then, I said, “Get under the bridge and fight them.  You can surrender yourself, but you can’t surrender me or the boys, cap.”
“The major was sick, so that he wasn’t down at first, but presently he came down.”  “’Who’s in charge here?’ he asked.  I stepped up and said, ‘I’m doing the best I can, major’”
“’Bully for you,’ was his reply.  I looked around then, and saw that the captain had given up making his flag, and had taken a rifle and was fighting in the ranks with the rest.  The two lieutenants had run down into the brush, thinking we were going to be captured and wanting to get away.  One of them was later mustered out for cowardice.”
“Finally, as the odds were so overwhelming, and relief had not come, the major decided to surrender.”
“After I was exchanged, I was made second lieutenant of the company, the captain resigning, and later became captain.”
On the second day at Missionary Ridge, in the charge that won the ridge for the union troops, Captain Chively was wounded, but he fought right on through.  The order had come to charge, and so rapid was the advance on his part of the line that the rebels did not get their range at all, but kept firing over their.  Also they got ahead of the rest of the line and were ordered to lie down.
Place For Real Courage.
That was harder for them than charging around them, striking down a man here and there, and doing absolutely nothing.  To lie there with the bullets whistling in return—having time to think that any second a bullet might end it all, that indeed takes courage.
Here it was that a bullet penetrated the captain’s arm.  One of the officers told Second Lieutenant Funk to place him behind a tree trunk or in a hollow, but the lieutenant who had been fighting with him all through the war, said “No, I’ll take him where I go if I have to carry him on my back.” But the captain went on without any assitance.
“That was one of the most welcome words I ever heard in my life, ‘charge,’ after we had been lying there,” said the captain. “We did charge and our division swept up the ridge and over, capturing it.
“One of the most thrilling sights I ever saw was in that same series of battles, the battle of Lookout mountain, called the ‘battle above the clouds.’  We had been fighting the day before and building breastworks, so that we were resting. Some rebels were within gunshot, in breastworks also, that ran up close to the ridge.  From our position we could see all of the charges and the hotly contested battle.
“But we and the confederates in the breastworks were not fighting.  We were talking back and forth to each other.  The rebels had been driven back repeatedly, ‘but they can’t get us out of here,’ they shouted.
“They will trick you and have you out of there all right,” was our reply.
“Meanwhile a brigade had been forming behind the crest of the mountain, and swept down in the open space between the breastworks and the ridge, and made a flank attack.  There was a yell among the confederates, and unable to withstand the cross fire, they fled, with our shouts following them.”
United States Supreme Judge Harlan was colonel of this regiment, and Captain Shively became well acquainted with him, later visiting him at his home in Kentucky.
“I liked him better than any other officer in the regiment,” said the captain. “He was brave, conscientious, thoughtful of the men, and he was popular with them all.  But he used to take us into all kinds of places.  The colonel would go to headquarters and ask to take the regiment into engagements.  So thinking of the men, I used to be kind of afraid of where he would take us, sometimes.  His father, who was attorney general of Kentucky, died during the war, and he was called away from the regiment to that position.”
In one of the battles near the old home, word came to his father’s house that all of the sons had been either killed or captured.  A pitiful scene followed, the wives and children in tears, the negroes stricken with grief, the whole household in mourning.
But none of them had been captured.  In this battle one of the six was wounded and sent home, where he was taken sick with typhoid fever and died.
Following the war, Mrs. W. T. Shively was ill, and the doctors advised a change in climate.  Mr. Shively determined to bring her west.  Her folks had been pioneers in Kentucky, too, as her grandfather, John B. Hayden, journeyed to Kentucky with Daniel Boone, and her father, James Hayden, was a prominent citizen of that locality.  When he persuaded her to leave her relatives, he had a wagon built, and they started overland for the west, in 1867.  They made the trip slowly stopping whenever Mr. Shively desired.  Within a few days she was up and about, and her health rapidly improved.
Victim of Grasshoppers.
They journeyed through Iowa, living near Council Bluffs for a while, Mr. Shively teaming for the Union Pacific railroad, which was putting a line through to Omaha at that time.  In 1869 he went to LeMars, Iowa, and took up a homestead there.  He remained until 1881, then his crops were all eaten by grasshoppers, and he sold out and moved to O’Neill, Neb., where he took a timber claim.
Four years ago, he moved to Council Bluffs and built the cottage where he now lives, his oldest daughter, Mrs. Anderson, whose husband was killed in a railroad accident, keeping house for him, as here the faithful partner of his sirenuous life as veteran of the civil war, and pioneer of Iowa and Nebraska, departed this earth.
And Captain Shively has sacrificed much for his country, and is still sacrificing.  Ever since the battle in Hoover’s Gap, where it was expected that the confederates would make a desperate stand, but where they were driven back, he has been afflicted at times with rheumatism, which has badly crippled him.  That day was a torrid one, and the battle was fiercely contested, so that he was perspiring freely.  Toward night it clouded up, and a heavy rain fell, soaking them through and through.  He was sick that night, and at intervals it comes back to him with redoubled vigor.
Now Captain Shively is 80 years old.  Crippled with the rheumatism, so that it is difficult for him to leave the house at all, he welcomes a visitor, and receives him with hearty southern hospitality.  He loves to talk of the old experiences, is thoroughly familiar with the battles in which he fought, remembering a great deal of the conditions in the war.  He is a warm admirer of General Thomas, who was said to be the only union general who never lost a battle, and ardently defends all his moves.
Nine of his twelve children are living, and he has thirty-seven grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The following information was taken from "History Of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, From The Earliest Historic Times to 1907" by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, copywrite date 1907, pages 743-746:
William Thomas Shively, who is living in honorable retirement in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was born in Taylor county, Kentucky, March 8, 1830.  His father, John B. Shively, was likewise a native of that state, born in 1804.   His wife bore the maiden name of Sarah Heavrin and was a daughter of Robert Heavrin, of Marion county.
In the district schools of Taylor county, Kentucky, William T. Shively acquired his education, and afterward began flatboating on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, going down to New Orleans in 1850.  He was thus engaged for three years and on the 15th of October 1853, he married and settled on a farm on Cloyd's creek in Marion county, Kentucky, where he continued for five years.  He then removed to Taylor county, Kentucky, and bought four hundred acres of land, upon which he remained until after the outbreak of the Civil war.  Espousing the cause of the Union he entered Company H, of the Tenth Kentucky Infantry, serving under Colonel John M. Harlan, now one of the judges of the supreme court of the United States.  He was in that command for nearly four years and was mustered out at Louisville.  He joined the army as a private and won promotion of the rank of captain.
When the war was ended Mr. Shively bought a farm in Taylor county, Kentucky, which he sold after a year and then gave his attention to the milling business until he came to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, in the summer of 1866.  For several months hs worked in the steam sawmills at Lewins Grove near Avoca, and in the spring of 1867 he began farming, in which he continued until the following winter, when he entered the employ of the Rock Island Railroad Company. He worked at grading until the road was completed to Council Bluffs in the same year.  Subsequently he entered the car repairing department of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and so continued until 1869.  In that year he removed to Lemars, Iowa, where he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land and turned his attention to farming, cultivating and developing that place until the spring of 1882, when he went to O'Neill, Nebraska.  He there pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he brought under cultivation, and upon that farm lived for sixteen years, his labors converting it into a rich and productive property.  Removing to the city of O'Neill, he there lived for six years, and in 1904 he came to Council Bluffs, where he has since lived retired, enjoying well earned ease.  His life has been one of untiring activity and enterprise and thus he acquired a handsome competence, enabling him now to live in honorable retirement.
On the 4th of October 1853, Mr. Shively was married to Miss Terresa Hayden, a daughter of James and Elenor (Hayden) Hayden, who though of the same name were not related.  The marriage was celebrated at St. Mary's Church in Calvary, Marion county, Kentucky.



  1. Nice job Larry. I will have share this on the Facebook Group (Shively) if you have not already posted it.

  2. Larry,
    This was so cool to read. My g-g-g grandfather was the 1st Lt. of Company I of the 10th KY. Where did the first-hand account of William T. Shively come from - the one where he talks about the surrender at Courtland, Alabama?
    Can you contact me at