ECW Welcomes Tonya McQuade

Please join us in welcoming ECW’s newest member!

Tonya McQuade is an English Teacher and Department Chair at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, California, and is a member of South Bay Writers, Poetry Center San Jose, and the National League of American Pen Women. She is a great lover of both history and nature, frequently visiting museums, state and national parks, and historical sites with her husband and children, as well as reading and teaching historical texts, literature, and primary source documents. In many cases, her reading of historical fiction has driven her to dig more deeply into the historical figures and events being portrayed, leading her to new discoveries and areas of interest.

After acquiring 50 family Civil War letters in 2022, Tonya began researching the American Civil War in Missouri and began posting about her writing journey on a personal blog, Chasing History: Exploring My Ancestral Roots, as well as writing articles for the Emerging Civil War website. She is currently working on a book that incorporates the letters with historical commentary, titled A State Divided: The Civil War Letters of James Calaway Hale and Benjamin Petree of Andrew County, Missouri. She is also especially interested in the role women played in the Civil War, the history of slavery and abolition, and the ways the Civil War has been depicted in literature, film, poetry, and song.

Tonya earned B.A. degrees in English and Communication Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and served there as a writer and editor for the student newspaper, the Daily Nexus, for four years. She also earned her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English at UCSB and later her M.A. in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University.

10 Responses to ECW Welcomes Tonya McQuade

  1. Congratulations and welcome to the official ECW lineup. I recall your “Invalid Corps” article. What a dumb name.

  2. Congratulations Tonya! Our daughters went to early education together. During this time Tonya hosted book reviews at her house for the class. She is very dedicated, wonderfully passionate about writing and exciting this passion in others.I look forward to reading her work and exploration into this time period of our history!

    1. Thanks for your support, Patricia! I remember all those Mother-Daughter Book Clubs quite fondly – though the girls often seems more interested in the related projects than discussing the books!

  3. I’d like to know more about these two fellows from Andrew county Missouri. What did they write about? Did they serve in the Missouri state militia?

    1. Thanks for checking in, Bryce. They were both in the Missouri militia from Oct 1861 to April 1862. Later, James Hale (my 3rd Great Grandfather) enlisted in the 33rd Regiment, Missouri Infantry. After he became ill in Helena, AR, he was transferred to the 13th Company, 2nd Battalion of the Veteran Reserve Corps in St. Louis, MO (I wrote about that in one of my ECW posts). Benjamin Petree (the brother of my 2nd GGF) was in the 18th Regiment, Missouri Infantry, Company B. I’m hoping to get their letters published in the book I’ve written. If you want to read a bit more about how I got started researching the Civil War in Missouri and how I acquired their letters, you can check out this post on my personal blog –

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