History of Quincy - History

History of Quincy - History

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(Collier: dp. 6,500; 1. 367'; b. 51'; dr. 21'4"; s. 11 k.; cpl. 100; a. 4 3")

Quincy, formerly Vope~en, was built in 1909 by William Doxford and Sons, Sunderland, England for H. Vogemann acquired by NOTS 8 May 1917, and commissioned at New Orleans 2 February 1918, Lt. Comdr. John C. K. Redington USNRF, in command.

Upon the declaration of war with Germany, Voqesen was seized by Customs and Navy officials at Pensaeola, Fla. and was renamed Quiney 4 June 1917. After a refit at New Orieans she was quickly placed in service by NOTS as a collier.

During World War I Quiney made three round trip transAtlantic voyages. She sailed from Norfolk 27 February 1918 with a cargo of lumber destined for Paulliae, France, and returned to Norfolk 1 June. While at Norfolk she was fitted out to earry fuel oil. Quiney departed 21 July for Brest, France with a cargo of lumber, cement, and airplanes, and returned to Philadelphia 26 September for a short refit. On her third eastward crossing she left Galveston, Tex. 1 November bound for Genoa, Italy with a cargo of aviation material. On the return voyage, Quiney called at Gibraltar to take on a Navy cargo, and arrived at Philadelphia 25 March 1919. Quincy subsequently carried cargo between east coast ports and visited Guantanamo Bay and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

After the war Quiney continued to operate along the East Coast. She was designated AK-10 on 17 July 1920. From August 1920 until May 1921 she was laid lln at Norfolk. Quiney got underway 13 May for Gibraltar and Brest. Upon her return to the U.S. she remained on the east enast a short time and then sailed to the California coast via the Panama Canal makblg various ealls enroute to take on and di.seharge cargo. Quincy arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard, Calif. 3 November 1921 and visited Hawaii in January-February lD22. She returned to Philadelphia 11 April.

Quincy decommissioned at Philadelphia 5 June 1922 and was sold 25 September 1922 to the Navigation Steamship Co.

Quincy, Illinois, Settlement

The city of Quincy, Illinois, is best known in Mormon history as a point of relocation for Latter-day Saint refugees after their expulsion from Missouri in 1839. The people of Quincy first encountered Mormons when groups of Latter-day Saints passed through the village on their way to Missouri between 1834 and 1838. When Mormons were driven from Missouri in the winter of 1838–1839, thousands of displaced Saints left the state, walking eastward across the frozen Mississippi River and settling temporarily in Quincy. As the weather warmed, others came, using skiffs, canoes, or small boats to cross the river until ferries opened for the season. With the arrival of the Mormon refugees, the population of Quincy swelled from 800 in 1835 to 2,300 in 1840.

The Quincy Democratic Association publicly denounced Missourians for their injustice toward the Saints and pledged to assist Mormon refugees. They gathered donations, arranged housing, and coordinated with other local communities to provide assistance for the impoverished Saints. Eliza R. Snow praised the generosity and charity of the townspeople in her poem “To the Citizens of Quincy,” thanking the “Sons and Daughters of Benevolence” for meeting the “urgent wants of the oppress’d and poor.” 1

During the next year, the majority of the Saints who had stopped in Quincy moved 45 miles upriver to Commerce, Illinois, where they founded the city of Nauvoo. Sadly, in 1845, a committee from Quincy traveled to Nauvoo to demand that the Saints leave the state.

David W. Grua, “‘We Weep When We Remember Zion’: Early Latter-day Saints as Refugees,” Perspectives on Church History, July 6, 2016, .

Sarah Jane Weaver, “Viewpoint: Remember the Example of Quincy, Illinois,” Church News, May 22, 2017, .

The following publication provides further information about this topic. By referring or linking you to this resource, we do not endorse or guarantee the content or the views of the author.

Glen M. Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 30–34, 536–38.

History of Quincy, MA

Quincy is a city in Massachusetts, particularly in Norfolk County. The city, which is regarded as the “City of Presidents,” is home to John Adams and John Quincy Adams—former presidents of the United States. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence and, also spent his childhood days in the city.

The first established settlement in town was recorded in 1625. Quincy became a section of Boston and Dorchester for a few years before it became Braintree’s north precinct in 1640. It separated with Braintree in 1972 and was named to commemorate Colonel John Quincy. In 1888, Quincy became a formal city.

Quincy became the center of a developing granite industry for more than a century. The first commercial railroad in the entire country and the Granite Railway can be found in the city. Creating ships also became an integral part of the city’s growing economy. Dunkin’ Donuts and Howard Johnson’s were both established in the 20th century.

Colonial Period to The Revolution

Moswetuset Hummock was initially settled in by the Massachusett sachem Chickatawbut even before the English colonists came. The hill was located east of the Neponset River, close to what people know now as the Squantum. Commander Myles Standish and Squanto explored the site in 1621. Captain Wollaston set up a post near the Quincy Bay, where they found that the place was ideal for farming. They called the settlement “Mount Wollaston” after their leader. At present, the Wollaston neighborhood has kept its name.

After Captain Wollaston left, Thomas Morton assumed leadership of the post. Morton opposed the Plymouth settlement, whom he accused of tarnishing the colony, drunkenness, and immorality with Indian women. He was later sent back to England but got arrested by the Puritans the following year.

In 1630, the area was incorporated as part of Dorchester. After three years, it was annexed by Boston. In 1640, the area became Braintree with borders to the north of Weymouth and along the coast of Massachusetts Bay.


In 1792, after the American Revolution, Quincy was formally incorporated as an independent town. The establishment of the Old Colony Railroad in 1845 was marked as the beginning of suburbanization in the city. As the economy grew, the population expanded by 50 percent in the 1920s.

One of the most historical firsts in the city was the creation of the Granite Railway in 1826. It was built to carry granite from a quarry in Quincy to Milton. The town was known for its granite industry, and stonecutting became one of its key economic drivers. The town was also the venue of the John Winthrop Jr. Iron Furnace Site—the nation’s first iron furnace.

For many years, ships were built in the city, including “Thomas W. Lawson,” the only seven-masted schooner ever created. Apart from being an important shipbuilding center, Quincy was also integral in the history of aviation. The world’s pioneer airports were located in the Squantum section of Quincy.

The Dunkin’ Donuts and Howard Johnson’s were both established in Quincy. In 1996, Dropkick Murphys began its career in the city. Quincy also hosts the longest-running Flag Day parade, which began in 1952.

Quincy: City of Refuge

Quincy: City of Refuge
October 27, 1838, Missouri Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued an executive order decreeing that all Mormons in the State of Missouri must either leave the state or be exterminated. Thousands of State militiamen descended on the Mormons and forced them from their homes, raping, burning and pillaging. 10-15,000 Mormons, robbed of their property and means of support began fleeing for their lives beginning in December 1838, but where could they go? They could not go west—that was wilderness and there was no one there to take them in. Such was the same going north into Iowa territory. They could not go south into the lower counties of Missouri because of the Governor’s order. The shortest and only road open to them was due east the Mississippi River.
Across the cold windswept prairie slogged thousands of Mormons seeking refuge. The weather was cold and the snow was deep. They had not adequate food, clothing, or bedding for the 200 mile journey—some were barefoot. There are multiple accounts of women and children and their blood-stained footprints on the ice.
When they arrived at the Mississippi River they could not cross. The cold had filled with the River with ice floes running so thick and heavy that it would swamp the rafts, barges, and canoes they would use to cross.
There, lining the banks of the Great River, north and south for miles, the Latter-day Saints huddled against the cold, waiting for the River to freeze over so they could cross. All the while, Missourians mocked and laughed at their plight or in some cases beat, tortured and tormented them. They could not cross and they could not stay.
Across the River in the small community of Quincy, Illinois, citizens looked anxiously across the River and saw the plight of the refugees. ‘We have to do something’ became the hue and cry of some. Canoes were loaded and men braved the huge chunks of ice to carry supplies to the helpless. Finally in February 1839, the River froze and the saints crossed into the open arms of the citizens of Quincy. 1600 Quincyans and their neighbors out in the county took in more than 5000 Mormons for 4 months. They gave them food, shelter, jobs—kindness!
When Joseph Smith escaped imprisonment, he found Emma in Quincy. It was May 4, 1839, at a late General Conference of the Church when Joseph rose to speak, but he could not. As he looked out over his people and their benefactors, he was so moved, that in quiet dignity, he wept!
He would never forget Quincy’s kindness. Nor should we. To this day the citizens of Quincy, Illinois remember with fondness and pride the time when their fathers took in our fathers. Had it not been for them, and only them, how many thousands of our people would have died searching for a good Samaritan? It is a story that ought to be engraven on the rock to endure forever.

10 Responses

I am so moved hearing of this and just remembering the sacrifice of so many and the generosity of an entire community! Thank you, History of the Saint, you have my support forever for always bring to light such key events in our rich, and sometimes tragic, history!!

God has blessed and will bless these people. Let us all learn from them, and help our fellow man.

Thank You for sharing these incredible stories!

God bless the people of Quincy for extending assistance so compassionately and extensively.

This account of what happened in Missouri to the Saints shocked me. “…rape, pillaging…an extermination order…”, and the governor was okay with that?

Wow, thank goodness things have evolved. I honor those early Saints.

Beautiful piece. It really depicts emotion and despair of a little family running for their lives in the dark of night with little to nothing of their material possessions. Finally shown kindness from modern day good samaritans in Quincy, IL.


After George Gille, John Kathe, and George Wall discovered there was no interest in their vacuum design where they worked, they found financial backing for a new company in the form of Elation and Maculae Irwin. The Wall Pump and Compressor Co., with headquarters and manufacturing located on Quincy’s riverfront, was born in July 1920.

By 1924, the company had expanded its line beyond its original products, vacuum pumps designed for milking cows and its name to Quincy Compressor Company. By that time, Quincy Compressor had begun selling reciprocating air compressors, and the company grew with the increasing demand for compressed air.

In 1937, Quincy Compressor introduced the Quincy QR-25, which has become an industry symbol of quality over the past 82 years. These same durable characteristics are present in all of Quincy’s complete reciprocating line, which is manufactured in Quincy, Illinois.

In 1980 we began machining and manufacturing operations in our Bay Minette, Alabama, plant, where we manufacture our rotary screw compressors and vacuum pumps. We expanded the Bay Minette plant’s capacity in 1996.

In 2004, we expanded into Kunshan, China, as we opened Q-Tech Air Systems, Ltd. Q-Tech currently employs about 35 people and is expanding. This facility assembles and tests Global rotary screw compressors. The first official production was in July 2004, and the official opening of the facility was in September 2004.

Today, Quincy Compressor is dedicated to delivering uncompromising reliability and performance, customized for the most demanding applications.

History of Quincy

This story is part of our Connected Communities project, a vision for a recreation-focused lifestyle through community investment, shared stewardship, economic opportunity and important new local jobs in California’s Plumas, Sierra, Butte and Lassen Counties. Find out more about the project and read about the towns on our Connected Communities web page.

Located halfway between Oroville and Reno on the Feather River National Scenic Byway, Quincy and its surrounding neighborhoods total nearly 5,000 residents, the largest community in Plumas County. Situated in the lush and expansive American Valley at 3,432 feet elevation, Quincy is known for its rolling green ranchlands buttressed by towering peaks, beautifully preserved historic buildings and a vibrant downtown area.

Trails leading to the town of Quincy nestled amongst the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Before settlement by white pioneers in the early 1850s, the American Valley was home to the Mountain Maidu tribe, as the valley provided ample sun, water, good soil and habitable weather for year-round living. The Mountain Maidu escaped summer heat up into the mountains above Quincy, including the Buck’s Lake area, prime hunting grounds for the tribe.

Originally affiliated with Elizabethtown, a Gold Rush mining camp, Quincy came to be in 1858 after settler Hugh J. Bradley donated land and laid out the town, naming it after his Illinois farm (allegedly named after the sixth U.S. President, John Quincy Adams). Soon after the town was established, hordes of miners surrounded the American Valley, hunting up countless streams and tributaries of the North and Middle Fork of the Feather River, finding extensive pockets of auriferous gravel.

Eastman, Jervie Henry. Sugar Pine Lbr. Co. Spanish Ranch, near Quincy, Calif. University of California, Davis

The completion of the Western Pacific Railroad in 1910 saw the rise of lumber in Quincy, as well as the town’s growing community of African American loggers who moved to Quincy, leaving the deeply segregated south and its dying logging camps. By 1940, 40 percent of Quincy’s population was African American. Even more remarkable was the rapid desegregation in Quincy schools were fully integrated in the 1940s, and in the Spring of 1954, Quincy High School had its first African American student body president. Although there were still challenges, Quincy’s African American citizens experienced integration far earlier than the rest of the United States.

In the early 1990s Quincy made national news, having significant impact on federal land management policy with the formation and success of the Quincy Library Group. Fed up with watching the area’s once healthy forests become overgrown, then county Supervisor Bill Coates approached environmental attorney Michael Jackson, and met with Tom Nelson, a forester with Sierra Pacific Industries, California’s largest private landowner and the primary employer of the town at its Quincy sawmill.

This potent threesome of local representation, private enterprise and environmental watchdog brought focused goals of repairing the area’s forests, including a more stable economy, job preservation, funding local public resources, reducing fire threat and protecting the environment. Early in the group’s existence, there were heated discussions, prompting the group to find a neutral meeting place. Legend goes the group chose the Quincy library because it was the only place they couldn’t yell at each other. The name stuck.

Eastman, Jervie Henry. “Beautiful Buck’s Lake” near Quincy, Calif. UC Davis. General Library. 1937

The Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery and Economic Stability Act of 1997 was one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation ever created, not only because it passed almost unanimously in the House of Representatives – 429 to one – but also because it balanced environmental concerns with the preservation of local forestry and logging jobs. After the overwhelming majority vote, Supervisor Bill Coates was quoted as saying, “You couldn’t get a deal like that voting for the American flag.”

Automobiles and the Rise of Personal Mobility

Across all nations over the past century, nothing has changed everyday life for the average citizen more than personal transportation, which owes much of its existence to compressed air systems. From cars and vans to light rails and Greyhounds, the vehicles that populate the world’s thoroughfares are assembled at factories that are largely reliant on air-powered machines and tools:

  • Cars and trucks. On everything from compacts to vans, air-powered tools are largely responsible for the assembly of each vehicle from the ground up. What begins as a set of engine and body parts is eventually built into a fully assembled and finished vehicle thanks to such equipment as pneumatic drills and spray painters.
  • Buses. The production of buses is similar to that of cars, but with a lengthier and more complex series of assembly work. At various stages of construction, pneumatic tools are used to fasten together engine parts, tires and pretty much everything found in the passenger compartment.
  • Trains. Though long predating the automobile, trains have become much easier to assemble since the advent of modern-day air compressors. Moreover, compressed air has proven far preferable to the steam systems of earlier times in the operation of rolling stock.

The Quincy School District services a far-flung geographic area covering approximately 450 square miles. Before there even was a Grant County, this area was served by many one-room schools. Wherever settlers homesteaded, schools sprang up: Trinidad, Winchester, Frenchman Hills, Burke, and in every compass direction around the present site of Quincy.

During the summer of 1903, the first regular school building in Quincy was erected and 50 students enrolled that September. By 1905, enrollment had jumped from 56 to 165, or a little over 300% in two years. In 1909, Quincy became an accredited high school, at that time employing three teachers. 1911 saw the first graduating class with two young people receiving their diplomas. As the children in the outlying areas grew up, more of them came to town for high school, and by 1922 there were buses from many of these communities bringing the children to Quincy.

A three story wooden building was constructed in 1907 at a cost of $13,000. this structure housed all twelve grades. This school served the people of Quincy long and well, 31 years all told. A new building was built in 1938 at a cost of $90,000. This building also held all the grades until consolidation and water came to Quincy. In 1942, the last of the one-room schools in the area was consolidated into the Quincy School District.

But then, the real boom started: the population of Quincy skyrocketed in the early 1950's as farmers came to work the newly irrigated land. Their children came too and schools needed to be built.

In 1909, when Grant County was formed, the Quincy School District consisted of 108 students and five teachers. As of 1998, the District had a staff of eight administrators, 124 certified teachers, 101 classified suport staff and an average of 2176 lively young children. In 2006, our staff has grown to 150 certified teachers servicing 2300 students from Preschool to 12th grade.

Remember the Ladies: Woman’s Suffrage and the Black Holes of Local History

Local historical institutions play an important role in expanding the conversation surrounding significant national events and individuals. They are often the keepers of documents and artifacts that contribute more detail to the overarching national narratives. They are also often the meeting point between academic research and the general public. These institutions put on exhibits, or host events in which new ideas are shared and the conversations about our history flourish.

However, what happens when the national conversation turns to subjects where the story was under-reported or undervalued in its own time? Historians then encounter black holes in their research from which it becomes incredibly difficult to add anything new or to focus locally on that topic.

Photograph of Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, 1900. A Massachusetts Suffrage leader, and editor of “The Woman’s Era”. From The New York Public Library.

Over the past several years, as our nation approached the Centennial, a renewed interest arose around the story of women’s suffrage. In particular, there has been an impulse to approach the history differently. Much of the early scholarship on the Suffrage Movement took Susan B. Anthony’s A History of Woman Suffrage as gospel. But her six volume opus leaves out many important details, including the significant contributions of women of color to the Movement. This new wave of scholarship seeks to give increased visibility to minority leaders in the Movement, such as Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and Boston’s own Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin. These new studies also seek to reconcile the less honorable aspects of the Movement, such as the overt marginalization of women of color and allying with segregationist legislators, with the heroic narratives that many of us grew up hearing.

On August 18 th , 2020 the nation honored the one-hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the 19 th Amendment to the United States Constitution the Amendment which officially granted all women the legal right to vote in the United States. Of course, the reality is a great deal more complicated than this one sentence summary. The fight for women’s suffrage lasted approximately 72 years, from its canonically recognized beginnings at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, to when the Movement’s goals were finally achieved in 1920 and the federal amendment was ratified. But even so, after the Amendment’s passage, legal and cultural roadblocks were immediately thrown up to prevent women from exercising that newly won right. This was particularly true for women of color, who did not truly gain access to the ballot until 1965 when the Voting Rights Act of that year gave the Federal Government the power to protect voting rights.

This work is important and necessary to understanding who we are as a nation.

Women’s Suffrage and Local History

For local historical institutions, this reexamination of suffrage history provides an opportunity to delve into our archives and to tell the stories of the Movement from the perspective of our own communities. However, this effort is not always as simple as cracking open the old municipal records or combing through the old issues of the local newspaper. For example, in Quincy we do not yet have a strong understanding of the scope of Quincy’s involvement in the Suffrage Movement. We know the names of only a handful of the women who participated, and the Historical Society’s archive only contains one relevant document — that being a pamphlet from an Anti-Suffrage Organization meeting.

One of the other main sources for local history are newspapers. However, in Quincy’s case the Patriot-Ledger did not cover the local groups in any great detail.[i] The Ledger does reveal that Quincy’s popular Women’s Clubs and Temperance Clubs were involved in the larger state and national Suffrage Organizations. But we are rarely given any reports about what the local groups did to participate, or how suffrage was discussed in their meetings or in town generally. We do not even know how many women voted in Quincy in 1920, the first Presidential election in which they could participate.

Photograph of Adalaide A. Claflin, from “A
Woman of the Century: Fourteen
Hundred-seventy Biographical
Sketches”. F. E. Willard and M. A.
Livermore, editors. 1893

And in some cases, the information that we thought we knew turns out to be wrong, as we discovered in the case of Mabel Adams and Adelaide A. Claflin. For many years we believed that Mabel Adams, a teacher and principal of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, was the first woman to hold elected office in Quincy. She served as a member of the School Committee from 1895 to 1904. But recently, the research of Society board member Wayne Miller, determined that Adelaide A. Claflin was really the first woman to hold elected office in Quincy. She also served as a member of the School Committee, but from 1884-1887.

Without the benefit of the usual sources of historical information, historians of Quincy are left with large gaps in our knowledge. Right now, it is impossible to give a coherent narrative of Quincy’s involvement in the Suffrage Movement, but we can share some of the names and deeds of those we do know were involved.

Quincy Women in the Suffrage Movement

“Remember the Ladies” Abigail Adams implored her husband John in a letter from March 31, 1776, while John was serving on the committee that worked to draft the Declaration of Independence. Her letter advocated that in the new Republic, women be treated better and be given more rights than they had been under English law. She went on to say, “be more generous and favorable to them [the Ladies] than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.” Whether she argued for women to be given the right to vote or not is a matter of much scholarly debate. However, this letter does make Abigail Adams one of the first women to advocate for women’s rights in Quincy history. She would not be the last.

The first Quincy-resident that we can tie directly to the Suffrage Movement is Adelaide A. Claflin. She was mentioned above as the first woman to hold an elected office in Quincy in 1884, but she was also well known in the Suffrage speaking circuits as a passionate and entertaining presenter. She moved to Quincy in 1870 after getting married, and quickly devoted herself to public service and to the fight for women’s suffrage. Claflin petitioned the Commonwealth of Massachusetts multiple times to pass a suffrage bill. In 1894 Claflin ultimately left public service and became a minister. Her life is also discussed in more depth in the Summer 2020 issue of the Quincy History Newsletter.

Mabel Adams was the second woman to hold elected office in Quincy in 1895. A descendant of the Presidential Adams family, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College. Adams then went on to be a teacher at and, ultimately, the principal of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She served on Quincy’s School Committee for three consecutive three-years terms.

It is worth noting that both of these women were elected in Quincy before any woman could cast a ballot in their favor.

Classroom scene with teacher Mabel Adams and students, ca. 1891. From Horace Mann School photographs, Collection 0420.047, City of Boston Archives, Boston.

Mary Parker Follett ca. 1920.

Mary Parker Follett was a social worker and political thinker, whose theories about the management of non-profit organizations drew the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt would appoint her as his personal consultant based on her ideas and expertise. Follett was born in Quincy in 1868 and stayed in the Massachusetts area for most of her life. She graduated summa cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1898, and also studied at University of Cambridge, and even applied to Harvard though it did not accept women at the time. Her works defined management as “the art of getting things done through people” and her ideas have been influential in management theory.

Mary Dewson was born in Quincy in 1874, and after graduating from Wellesley in 1897 she quickly began working in fields relevant to the advancement of women’s rights, and the minimum wage movement. Dewson then went on to participate in the Woman Suffrage Movement and even volunteered with the American Red Cross during World War I. After the war she began moving in the same circles as Eleanor Roosevelt, who recruited her for politics. Dewson’s Reporter Plan became a key information campaign in support of the New Deal, and Dewson is frequently credited with securing positions for women at all levels of government.

One of the loudest voices that we know of in Quincy for the Suffrage Movement was Miriam N. Marsh. Marsh was born in 1889, and was a descendant of one of Quincy’s most successful families. On top of being a Suffragist, she was also a vocal champion of various charities in Quincy. Many of the contemporary articles regarding suffrage that we were able to find site Marsh in some shape-or-form. One memorable quote from the Quincy Telegram reads:

“The best way to show our patriotism is by trying to make our country a better place to live in. This means that we shall seek to make our country not the nation with the biggest commerce, or the nation with the biggest fleet, but the nation with the best government and the highest level of citizenship. All of us can be good citizens by living uprightly and obeying the laws but we cannot make our country, or our state, or our city a better place to live in unless we can elect the men who make the laws. And it is because the women are just as patriotic as the men that they are asking for the ballot, in order to have part in bringing about better social conditions.”

Miriam N. Marsh, as transcribed in the Quincy Telegram, May 10, 1915
Mary Dewson (left) and her lifelong partner Mary G. Porter (right), ca. 1925, at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Image courtesy of Castine Historical Society.

Black Holes and Local History

A large part of the reason for the gaps in the historical record on the topic of women’s suffrage was the contemporary societal attitudes towards women and other marginalized groups (such as the poor, immigrants, and people of color). Their cares and thoughts were often not deemed important enough to report upon or to preserve. Thus their stories were neglected, leaving today’s historians with a great number of black holes in our archives and in our narratives. Historians today seek to remedy the oversight by previous generations of scholars, but the work is not easy for the reasons stated above.

As the curator for Quincy Historical Society, I frequently find myself parodying the proverb “all roads lead to Rome” when talking about Quincy’s remarkable ability to be relevant to any given event or movement in American history. When it comes to the history of the Revolution, sports, aviation, the World Wars, cinema, music, the 1918 Flu Pandemic, Temperance, fast-food, or virtually any other topic, it is remarkably easy to find a connection to Quincy itself or to a Quincy resident. But when we began researching the history of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Quincy, we were shocked to discover how little the historical record has to tell us.

I am highly incredulous that Suffrage was the one political movement in American history that Quincy just sat out. And I received some vindication of that incredulity in the last few days of researching for this article. On a whim, I typed in Miriam Marsh’s name into a database of the Patriot-Ledger and was rewarded with an entire issue from 1917, dedicated to discussing Woman Suffrage. While that issue ultimately didn’t give me any new information, it did give me a few ideas for where to look next.

Being a public historian is part-gumshoe detective work, and part-storytelling. Not only do you have to present a narrative to the public, but you also have to track down the information that you need in order to tell that story. And sometimes it just doesn’t turn up where you expect it to be. The quest for Quincy’s unique story in the Suffrage Movement is not over. Sadly, it did not reveal itself in time for the Centennial, but I have no doubt that the story will reveal itself in time.

Political cartoon from the “Patriot-Ledger” that ran on June 23rd, 1919 and heralded the ratification of the 19th Amendment in Massachusetts.

[i] Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, I was unable to have full access to the Patriot-Ledger archives at the Thomas Crane Library. As such I was not able to check the Ledger for the period between 1910 and 1915, and specifically the months leading up to a vote in Massachusetts for a referendum on Women’s Suffrage at the State level, a referendum which ultimately failed.

Our History

The Quincy Police Department was organized sometime between 1823 and 1838. It consisted of one official known as the town Marshall, who was elected annually. The Town Marshall was paid a salary of $400.00 annually, plus 7% of all taxes and fines collected.

In 1860, the Town Council assigned the Marshall full responsibility of town patrol. All citizens were relieved of patrol duties in return for a $2.00 fee to hire a replacement. In 1866 Town Marshall Jesse Dickson was shot and killed while he and a posse attempted to arrest several men who were creating a disturbance in Quincy. The suspects opened fire on the posse, killing Marshall Dickson. Five of the suspects were convicted of his murder and hung in Quincy five months later. In 1876, the Town Council passed an ordinance, requiring that the Town Marshall wear a badge, indicating his authority. Prior to this time, no badge or uniform was required.

On May 31, 1897, at a called meeting of the Town Council, a Police Department was created for the first time in history for the City of Quincy. The Town Council hired a night watchman at a salary of $35.00 per month, with the understanding that the Mayor clothe this Watchman with police authority. The Night Watchman was to assist the Town Marshall in enforcing all laws and regulations, as well as collecting taxes and inspecting privies. The single Night Watchman was given a uniform and eventually an automobile.

An ordinance (#107) was passed, February 08, 1899, indicating the Town Marshall's duties as to report to work at 7:00 a.m. and work until 8:00 p.m. Upon reporting to work, he would patrol the business district, inspect all streets, private lots, and privies. He would also be responsible for all city tools and the street repair crew.

On April 03, 1900, the Town Marshall was re-titled to become Quincy's first Chief of Police. Along with his title, he was allowed to hire two regular police officers. Duncan Sullivan and W. Powell. In 1921, the Town Council allowed Police Chief Clyde Roberts to open a shooting.

Through the years, the Quincy Police Department continued to grow. Chief J.W. Haire was hired around 1948 as a police officer and was later promoted to Chief of Police

On July 01, 1963, the Police and Fire Departments combined and the Department of public Safety was created. City Manager Harbert Gregory appointed Chief Haire as Director of the Department of public Safety. The Fire Chief, Woodrow McPherson was named as Assistant to the Director. When the Department of Public Safety first formed, there were a total of 21 full time personnel.

Chief Haire served as the Director of Public Safety from 1963 to 1965. Chief R.D. Edwards took over as the Director of Public Safety in 1965. Prior to his appointment as Director of Public Safety, Chief Edwards worked for the city 18 years. Chief Edwards served as the Assistant Police Chief under Chief Haire, and when the Director of Public Safety was first formed, he became a Public Safety Captain. Chief Edwards served as the Director of Public Safety for another 18 years, until his retirement in 1979.

In 1979, E.M Spooner took over as the Director of Public Safety. At the time of his appointment, the Public Safety Department employed 38 sworn personnel, 12 being state certified firemen. There were also 8 civilian employees ranging from a custodian to communication personnel. As the Director of Public Safety, Chief Spooner oversaw both police and fire operations. To assist him with this complex task. Chief Spooner, for the first time in the history of the Quincy Police Department and the Department of Public Safety, created two Major positions. One Major oversaw police operations and the other fire operations.

During the period of 1979 to 1988, the Department of Public Safety had a high turnover and attrition rate. During this period, 93 employees were hired and 56 either resigned or were terminated. This was partly due to the other major agencies and state institutions being so close by.

The starting salary of a Public Safety officer was 14,400.00. Other law enforcement agencies, particularly in Tallahassee, Fl as well as State agencies, paid their starting officers well above what a Public Safety officer made. Because of this, the City of Quincy conducted a study. Several recommendations were made by experts and followed by the city. This lead to many improvements for the Department of Public Safety, as well as increased salaries for the officers.

Chief Spooner retired as the Director of Public Safety in 1991, to take a seat on the Florida Parole Commission.

After his retirement, 1991 saw many changes for the Department of Public Safety. Major R.E. Griswold was appointed interim Chief of police and Major R.E. Joyner was appointed interim Fire Chief.

For the first time in 28 years, there were two separate chiefs. Later in 1991, interim Chief of Police, R.E. Griswold was appointed full time Chief of Police and interim Fire Chief, R.E. Joyner was appointed full time Fire Chief.

Over the next couple of years, the Public Safety concept began to fade. Officers were no longer required to perform both fire and police duties. The number of employees continued to grow and the building housing the police department was no longer adequate.

In 1994, the police division moved to its newly renovated building. The once Post Office is now the home of the Quincy Police Department.

Under the direction of Chief Griswold, the Quincy police Department went through many changes and improvements. The department was divided into several different divisions. These divisions are administration, patrol, investigations, personnel and training, crime scene, traffic enforcement, public relations, communications, animal control, community services, school crossing, bike patrol and records.

In 1999 Chief Griswold retired from the department and R.S. Moore was hired to replace him. Chief Moore served as police from 1999 to 2003 as police chief.

In 2003 Captain G.W. McSwain was appointed to the rank of chief, Chief McSwain started with the department in 1978 as a patrolman and moved thru the ranks of the department. Chief McSwain served as police from 2003 to 2008 as police chief.

Quick Reference

Chief of Police
Glenn Sapp
Email:[email protected]
Office: 850-875-7340
Fax: 850-875-7335

Assistant Chief
Office: 850-875-7340
Fax: 850-875-7335

Watch the video: The Legend Of The Quincy Quarries - By Sean Curran (July 2022).


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