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Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


The kindly nature and affable manner of John J. Quinby have endeared him to a large circle of friends in Clinton county; and he is especially well known and esteemed in the vicinity of Ross, where he was postmaster for fourteen years.

John J. Quinby was born on February 10, 1849, in Chappaqua, Westchester county, New York. His quiet habits may be traced to his ancestry, for on both sides of the family his parents came from Quaker stock. He was the son of Underhill and Ann Loretta (Van Vorin) Quinby, both of New York state, where they grew up and married. When John was a baby of eight days, his mother passed away, and in 1860, when the boy had reached the age of ten, his father too was taken, and he went to the home of a widow, a Mrs. Sorrels. The father, who had been a farmer, was married three times, his second wife was Sarah Barmor, also of New York state. By the first marriage, there were four children: Etta, who afterwards became Mrs. Abram Buddell, of New York; Jennie Adams, also of New York state; John J., the subject of this sketch; and another child, the eldest, who died while young.

Early left an orphan, whatever of achievement and success has come to Mr. Quinby, came largely through his own efforts. Limited in his opportunities to obtain an education, he nevertheless made use of the material, he had, and developed a character which has made him the respected citizen of a large community.

John J. Quinby obtained what education he could in the local country schools, meantime working on a farm. When he was eighteen years old he went to Illinois, where he engaged in farming for the next two years. Returning to his native state he bacame a brakeman on the New York & Harlem railroad, a position he held for two and one-half years. Later, going to New York City, he drove a milk wagon for the same period of time. Becoming tired of the city, his fondness for the country returned, and for the next five years, he worked on a farm in Putnam county, Illinois, and later at Stuart, Iowa.

John J. Quinby was united in marriage to Etta Smith, of Illinois. After their marriage they returned to Mr. Quinby's home in New York state, where they lived for a year and one-half. Returning to Stewart [sic: Stuart], Iowa, he again engaged in farm work, remaining there for two and one-half years. Later Mr. and Mrs. Quinby removed to Audubon county, Iowa, first locating on Gray's ranch, and later one mile west of Ross, where they resided for four years. For over twenty years, Mr. Quinby was a grain dealer, and for ten years was proprietor and manager of a store, and for fourteen years he was postmaster of Ross.

Mr. Quinby has always been a stanch Republican. For the past twenty-two years he has been a Mason, and is now a member of the blue lodge at Audubon. He is a prominent member of the Methodist church.

Mr. and Mrs. Quinby are the parents of three children, Nellie, Albert and Jeston J.    Nellie, born on September 16, 1874, married John Rutherford of Dolliver, Iowa, and to them were born six children: Merrill, born in 1898; Edna, 1900; Luvile, 1901; Mary, 1902; Jack, 1908, and Emmett, 1909. Albert, born on September 16, 1876, married Laura Larsen, and their home is seven miles east of Audubon. They also have six children: Mildred, born in 1902; Edith, 1905; Irene, 1907; Doratha, 1909; John, 1907; and George, 1911. Jeston J. married Gusta Claughby and lives in Des Moines, Iowa.

A man who can hold public office for fourteen years must obviously be a man worthy of a public trust, and of the confidence of the people. This may truthfully be said of John Quinby. Mr. Quinby had much to do with building up the commercial interests of the town in which he lived, and his genial nature and fondness for people has, with the co-operation of his wife, made their home a pleasant part of the social life of their home town. In April, 1915, Mr. Quinby moved to Audubon, where he is now living retired.

Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 776-778.
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