July 28, 2010

Map of the Bounty Lands

Military Land Tracts of Illinois. Bounty lands for Veterans of The War of 1812.

July 26, 2010

John Anderson

Born in Clayton, John Anderson grew up in Quincy and Adams County. After attending college at Iowa and serving in WWII, Anderson went from performing on Mississippi River showboats to amassing hundreds of stage, film, and television credits. John Anderson's many screen roles included used-car huckster Charlie in PSYCHO (1960), the title character in THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY (1977) and a dead ringer for baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, whom Anderson portrayed twice, in EIGHT MEN OUT (1988) and the TV biopic BABE RUTH (1991). A veteran of 500 TV appearances (including Gunsmoke, the Virginian, Dallas, four guest stints on The Twilight Zone, and ironically, Quincy), John Anderson was seen as FDR in the 1978 miniseries Backstairs in the White House, the Civil War mini-series North and South, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and was a regular as Michael Spencer Hudson in the daytime drama Another World, Virgil Earp in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955-61), and Harry Jackson in MacGyver (1985-1991). He was also the uncredited voice of Mark Twain in the Epcot attraction The American Adventure.

Watch John Anderson in The Twilight Zone episode, The Odyssey of Flight 33...

July 20, 2010

Quincy, 1858

5th and Maine Street in Quincy, looking north.

July 13, 2010

Tour the Mansion and Museum

Tours of The Governor John Wood Mansion and The History Museum are Tuesday through Saturday - April through October - from 10am to 2pm with the last tour at 1:15 p.m.

Other tour times can be made by appointment. Calling the Historical Society office at (217) 222-1835. Office hours are 10am-2pm.

Admission $4.00 adult, $1.50 student per site, site pass $6.00 adult, $3.00 student.

The History Museum

Built in 1885 this historically significant structure served as the minister’s home for the English Lutheran Church, which later became Luther Memorial Church, from 1917 to 1951. The red entrance symbolizes the house’s historical connection with the church, which has red doors. As a museum of the Historical Society, the building now provides an exhibition facility showcasing items from Adams County’s past.

Exhibits in The History Museum are organized by themes and include the Black and White Gallery and rooms highlighting the Civil War, early founders, education and fine arts, industry, agriculture, pharmacies and medicine, steamboats, railroads, circuses, and a major doll collection. One Adams County township is featured annually in a rotating display with items depicting its history and its Centennial Farms. Tours of The History Museum begin in the Visitors Center, which is the next building south.

Your Input is Welcome!

If you have any old photographs that you would like to share on this blog, please send them in, and I'll post them. Any old or interesting photos from Quincy, Adams County, or anything that relates to the history in said area. Old maps, and similar items are welcome. Please email them to me, but please supply the related information. By that I mean the who/what/when/where. At least the when/where. The more old pics, the more interesting your next visit to the blog will be!

Send what you'd like to share, to this link

(Apologies for the Photoshopped version of our city's founding father!)

July 9, 2010


Welcome to the official blog of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County. It's been around for only a couple days, but this is what you'd call the initial public offering. Check out the earlier posts, and keep coming back for plenty more - including information about HSQAC events and anything else history related that's going on...

Contributions and help from the public are more than welcome here. If you have any old photographs related to the history of Quincy and Adams County, that you'd like to share... Please email them to, along with all the details, and I'll get them on.

Adams County Map, 1875

Riverview Park Observatory

Riverview Park Observatory in Quincy, circa 1900.

Looking up towards Riverview Park.

Roy Brocksmith

A veteran of the stage and screen, Roy Brocksmith was born in Quincy on September 15, 1945. A multi-talented entertainer, after graduating from Quincy College, Roy moved to New York to perform on Broadway - before moving to Hollywood starting his career as a character actor in the late 70's. Noted for his appearance in TOTAL RECALL, Brocksmith’s other films include ARACHNOPHOBIA, THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE and the Coen Brothers film THE HUDSUCKER PROXY. He also appeared in numerous television shows, such as "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "L.A. Law," and was a regular on the CBS series "Picket Fences" from 1992 to 1996. In the course of his acting career, Roy had small but memorable roles in 35 films, and over two dozen TV shows. He passed away in 2001.

Read Roy's IMDb profile and his bio at Stark Trek's Memory Alpha.

Commercial from the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi hit, TOTAL RECALL:

July 8, 2010

Steamer Quincy

This is a small collection of images of the Steamer Quincy, harvested from various sites around the internet. Most of the photos and vintage postcards depict the vessel in 1911.

Special thanks to Scott K. Williams of Florissant, MO and his site,, where I got this information, and most of the pictures. A cool site worth checking out.

The steamboat Quincy at the St. Louis riverfront, postmarked 1911. This is at least the fourth steamboat by the name Quincy. The vessel was built in 1896 at Dubuque, IA and ran the Diamond Jo Line from St. Louis to St. Paul, MN.

The Quincy sunk in the Mississippi River in July 1906 near Trempeleau Mountain, WI. But that was not the end. The ship was raised and continued to serve through 1917. She was raised reequipped with new boilers, extra guest rooms were added and in 1911 ran from St. Louis to New Orleans. Her last run was in 1917. The Quincy was the last side-wheeler in the St. Louis-New Orleans route.

Give to the Historical Society

The Society's mission is to provide for the education of its members and others about the history of Quincy, Adams County, and the surrounding area. The Society is committed to the collection and preservation of documents and other physical objects related to local history. Preserving and maintaining the Governor John Wood Mansion as a historic and architectural structure is a key priority of the Society. We also maintain The History Museum and an 1835 pioneer log cabin. The Visitors Center houses the Society's office and library as well as Quincy's History Shop. The Society offers Candlelight Christmas Tours, programs on various historical topics and educational programs for school children. The Society also provides a Speakers Bureau for local organizations as a community resource. Gifts and bequests to support our mission may be given to the “Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County,” the legal name of the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable entity. Gifts may be designated for a specific purpose; for the Operational Fund, Building Fund or Endowment Fund; or left unrestricted.

Please contact our office at 425 South 12th, Quincy , IL 62301 or telephone (217) 222-1835. Our e-mail is In addition, the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area offers the Historical Society Fund. They may be contacted by telephone (217) 222-1237 or by e-mail

Volunteer Positions

The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County offers rewarding opportunities for the volunteer. The time donated by you the volunteer helps keep the history of Quincy and Adams County alive.

Please contact the Society office at (217) 222-1835 to discuss one of these opportunities...

Garden Docent
Will provide assistance in the Victorian flower garden on the north side of the Governor John Wood Mansion and at the log cabin.

Office Assistant – General
Provides general assistance on an as needed basis or by schedule.

Quincy's History Shop Docent/Clerk
Greets and provides information to visitors, brochures, and directions to area points of interest. Conducts sales of Quincy and area merchandise.

Research/Library Assistant
Assists librarian in cataloging collection artifacts, which includes: all necessary and accurate research, complete and accurate item description, full item photographs.

Educational Program Docent – 4th grade
Works with a team to present and interpret the Governor John Wood Mansion to 4th grade students.

Educational Program Docent – 3rd grade
Works with a team to present and interpret the 1835 Log Cabin and pioneer life of Adams County.

Interpretive Tour Docent
Presents tour of Mansion and/or History Museum that are thematic, historically accurate, and tailored to suit audience interest.

Curatorial Docent
Organizes artifacts, cleans, and appropriately stores items in collection.

July 5, 2010

Historical Society of Quincy & Adams & Marquette County?

Adams County was created on January 13, 1825 - formed from Pike County and Unorganized land. The County was named for John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States. Marquette County was formed in 1843 from Adams County, and abolished in 1847.

If you have any more information or media of Illinois' former Marquette County, please send it to, and I'll post it on the blog.

Pays des Ilinois

Click this map to see a larger version. It's a 1784 French map of North America. This "General Chart" doesn't show much in our area of the Illinois Country (Pays des Ilinois). After all, it is 1784. It's hard to tell where Adams County will eventually be, as the map's dimensions are askew in our neck of the woods, but it's interesting to check out...

July 2, 2010

Old Quincy From Above

The Adams County Geographic Information System has an incredible amount of mapping data related to the entire county, but from an historical perspective, the 1938 aerial photos are really cool to see. Check it out: Adams County GIS.

Mary Astor

One of Hollywood's top leading ladies in the early days of the silver screen. Mary Astor was born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke in Quincy, on May 3, 1906, to German immigrant parents. Astor was one of the few successful silent film stars that made a successful transition to "talkies" because of her voice and strong screen presence. In 1941, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Sandra Kovac in THE GREAT LIE. That same year she appeared in the classic Humphrey Bogart film THE MALTESE FALCON. From 1920 to 1964, Mary Astor starred in 123 films.

Read about Mary Astor at Wikipedia.
Check out Mary Astor's IMDb Profile.

Ron's Tire Warehouse

Look at all that brick. Photograph of 9th and York, and the Ron's Tire, Inc. Warehouse. Courtesy of the Ron's Tire website.

Quincy, Capital of Forgottonia

The book Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It, features the "lost state" of Forgottonia. Check out the Lost States blog entry, or read a more detailed explanation on Wikipedia.

Forgottonia is not the only possible realm Quincy and Adams County could have fallen under. Stay tuned for more information on that.

John Wood Timeline

Timeline of Quincy Founder John Wood...

• Born December 20, 1798, in Moravia, Cayuga County, New York

• Father was Daniel Wood, Mother was Katherine Krause Wood

• John’s father was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and could speak several foreign languages fluently and was assigned to George Washington’s headquarters

• One sister named Clarissa

• Headed west November 2, 1818

• Located in Pike Co. IL to farm in 1820

• Purchased 160 acres in Military Tract for $60 from a Mr. Flinn • Came to this area with Willard Keyes and built log cabin in 1822 at foot of Delaware Street

• Married Anna M. Streeter in Quincy, on January 25, 1826

• Eight children: Ann (1827-1905), Daniel (1829-1922), John Jr. (1830-1889), Emily (1833-1835), Adah (1835-1844), Joshua (1837-1910), Henry (1839-1842), James (1842-1850)

• Wood and wife went to Galena, IL during rush to lead mines in 1827• Built Greek Revival home at 12th & State (1835-1838)

• Volunteered for Black Hawk War in 1832 • Mayor of Quincy 1844-1848, 1852-53 and 1856

• Gave land for Woodland Cemetery in 1846 • Wood and sons Daniel & John Jr. went to California in 1849 for gold

• Elected to Illinois State Senate in 1850

• Elected Illinois Lieutenant Governor in 1857

• Started constructing Octagonal House in 1857

• Became Illinois' 12th Governor when William Harrison Bissell died in 1860, Wood finished term

• Governor Richard Yates appointed Wood a delegate from Illinois to Peace Congress to avert secession of Southern states in Feb., 1861

• Served as Quartermaster for IL during Civil War

• Wife Ann died in 1863

• Married Mary Ann Brown Holmes, widow of Rev. Joseph Holmes in 1865

• Octagonal House cost $200,000 to build

• Gave Greek Revival house to son Daniel

• Had to sell Octagonal House because financial reverses due to recession and failed businesses in 1876, moved back to Greek Revival home with son

• Died in Greek Revival home on June 4, 1880 and buried in Woodland Cemetery

Villa Kathrine

Visitors to Quincy will notice a unique and interesting site on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Travelers coming across the Memorial Bridge from Missouri can look to the south and see a castle. This wonderful example of Mediterranean architecture was built by world traveler George Metz over a century ago. Recently restored, the Villa Kathrine is now houses Quincy's Tourist Information Center, and is home to many events including weddings, banquets, car shows, and family gatherings.

The Villa Kathrine was built by George Metz on the bluff overlooking the river on Second Street between State and Ohio in 1900. Metz was born on May 20, 1849. His father, William Metz, at first was associated with the F.W. Jansen furniture factory on Fifth between Maine and Hampshire, then with the Flach drug company on the southeast corner of Fifth and Maine; later he had his own drug store on Maine, and finally became a partner of Aldo Sommer.

George Metz traveled all over the world and there were few countries he had not visited in his trips. Despite his long absences he still considered Quincy his home. His parents had lived in the Hotel Newcomb and he had an apartment there until he built the Moorish castle in which he lived for a number of years.

After he sold his castle and grounds to the railroad for a proposed railroad switch yard he returned to the hotel and then to St. Vincent home. He died June 12, 1937.

The castle, the only one of it's kind on the Mississippi, was built after his return from Morocco in 1900 and the design followed old Moorish castles; it was named Catherine for his mother.

A beautiful carved hand clutching a dove was on the outside door, said to be a Moorish custom of welcome, and by others to be a likeness of the hand of a girl he had loved and lost. The castle was modeled in the style of the Villa ben Ahben on the Nile. Like it's counterpart in Morocco, the villa had a lavishly furnished harem room, but not a harem occupied by women, for Metz was not married and lived alone with his huge dog, Bingo. The dog, a constant companion, was purchased in Denmark, and when it died it was buried in the rose garden.

A replica of the famous Mosque of Thais surmounted the main tower with flaming red waving stripes decorating the mosque, covered with a green dome; it was in the original mosque that the priests of Mohammed stood to call the faithful to prayer.

The pillars were arched and arranged as in the Court of the Dolls of the Alcazar; the capitals mounting the twisted pillars were the same as those in the Alhambra. Many of the Oriental house furnishings were over a thousand years old.

The wooden door was studded with brass nails, supposed to indicate that the owner was a believer in the religion of the Orient; as the door opened a welcome harp played a beautiful slow melody. The floor within the pillars of the court was sunken several inches; the whole floor was dimly lighted with oddly colored olive oil lamps.

Metz collected art objects in his travels, including a number of beautiful paintings, and several of those were donated to the public library and other institutions in Quincy. During the stay of George Metz, the grounds were always kept up, with rose beds and other flowers blooming in quantity, and trees and shrubs always trimmed and a welcome sight to the visitor. Probably the main thing about the old castle that has been handed down through the years is the air of mystery that surrounded it from the beginning at the turn of the century. Many have been travelers that saw it from a Mississippi river steamboat and wondered at its origin and why it was there on the bluff.

Transcribed from Historical Sketches of Quincy Illinois, by Carl Landrum.

Read more about the Villa Kathrine at Weird and Haunted Illinois.

July 1, 2010

Visitors Center

The Visitors Center on the John Wood mansion campus at 425 South 12th Street houses the Society headquarters, historical library, and audio visual and group meeting room.

The Historical Society's extensive library features many important books and documents on early life in Quincy and Adams County. These include city directories, city and county histories, and other original resources for research.

The library was enhanced in 2003 with the expansion of the Visitors Center, creating and additional second story room for the library collection.

The library is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 2pm, and is available to Society members and researchers.

Quincy's History Shop, located in the Visitors Center, offers Quincy souvenirs and original hand-crafted selections from local artisians reminiscent of the 19th century. Here you can find postcards, books about local history and architechure, framed art, and decorative items.

Call (217) 222-1835 for more information.

Quincy Station

Read about the history of Quincy rail stations, including the Amtrak Station, at

Quincy Preserves

The mission of Quincy Preserves, Inc., is to foster awareness of and to promote appreciation of the historic architecture of Quincy, Illinois, and Adams County and to encourage active membership involvement in the recognizing, protecting, maintaining, and displaying of these structures. Starting as an outgrowth of the Quincy Society of Fine Arts in the mid 1970’s, Quincy Preserves has encouraged owners of historically and architecturally significant structures to restore and maintain them to their original condition. Since that time many homes and buildings have been preserved. This movement continues throughout the entire city.

Engine House No. 4, now home to Craig Industries.

Paul Tibbetts

Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. was born in Quincy, Illinois on February 23rd, 1915 to Paul & Enola Gay Tibbets. On August 5th, 1945, Tibbets piloted the B-29 Enola Gay to Hiroshima and dropped the world’s first atomic bomb. In 1943 after flying B-17 missions over Europe, Tibbets was assigned to test the combat capability of the B-29. In 1944, Tibbets was assigned to the secret Manhattan Project. His responsibility was to organize and train a unit to deliver these weapons in combat operations and modify the B-29, leading up to his mission as commander of the famous Enola Gay flight. He served in the Strategic Air Command, served a tour with NATO, and was responsible for establishing the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. Paul Tibbets is enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Visit the Official Website of General Paul W. Tibbets

1835 Pioneer Log Cabin

The 1835 Pioneer Log Cabin is preserved and refurbished authentically. It is the focal point of the Society's efforts to educate younger students about the history of early Quincy and Adams County. Programs for 3rd grade Adams County students began in Spring 2003. Students are guided by costumed interpreters through a 4-part learning program highlighting pre-settlement life in Adams County, Pioneer Life from 1835, Craft Demonsrations and Authentic Pioneer Garden.

Back when Illinois became a state...

The Illinois Territory was created on February 3, 1809, with its capital at Kaskaskia. In May 1812, an act of Congress was passed which set aside bounty lands as payment to volunteer soldiers for the War against the British (War of 1812). The land was set aside in western territories that became part of the present states of Arkansas, Michigan and Illinois. On December 3rd, 1818, Illinois became the 21st U.S. state. The new state debated slavery, finally rejecting it, as settlers poured into southern Illinois from Kentucky.

The Illinois tract, surveyed in 1815-1816, contained more than 5 million acres, of which 3,50 million were deemed fit for cultivation and set aside for military bounties. Comprising 207 entire townships, each 6 miles square, and 61 fractional townships, the tract included present Illinois counties of Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Pike, Schuyler, Stark, and Warren Counties.

The newspaper Illinois Bounty Land Register, first published in 1835, to advertise lands granted to veterans, is one of the ancestors of the current Quincy Herald-Whig newspaper.

John Wood Mansion Floor Plans

The Governor John Wood Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mansion is also recognized by historians and architects as one of the Midwest’s finest existing examples of Greek Revival architecture. Among the mansion's furnishings are many personal items which belonged to the Wood family, and objects recalling Adams County's early days.

History of the John Wood Mansion

John Wood was born in Moravia, New York on December 20, 1798. His father, Daniel was a surgeon during the Revolutionary War. At the age of 20, John decided he wanted to go west into the frontier. He settled at Atlas, IL about 40 miles south of Quincy, and started to farm.

The land between the Illinois and Mississippi River was Bounty Land. As part of the Illinois Military Tract, this was land given to veterans who fought in the War of 1812. There was 1,400,000 acres of land in the Military Tract and the government was anxious for people to settle there. In 1822, a Mr. Flinn who had been a soldier had received 160 acres of Bounty Land. As Mr. Flinn was traveling northward to locate his land, he met John Wood. Wood decided to go with Flinn to see his land. Flinn did not want to live so far from St. Louis and agreed to sell the land to Wood for $60.00. This was about 38 cents an acre. John Wood built his first house, a log cabin at the foot of Delaware Street near the river. His cabin was 18 feet by 20 feet and only one room.As more settlers came into the area, he met Ann Streeter. They were married in 1826 and John built his second log cabin at 12th & State (west side). It was two stories and much larger than the first. John was acquiring land that soldiers from the East did not want and was selling it to farmers coming from Kentucky and Tennessee and making a profit.By 1835, John started building a Mansion at 12th & State next to the log cabin. It took three years to build it, from 1835-1838. He had gone to St. Louis and New Orleans and gotten German immigrants that were craftsmen (carpenters, bricklayers, stone masons, plasterers, etc.) to construct this Greek Revival style house.John Wood was a very well liked man and was elected mayor of Quincy three different times. In 1856, he was elected Lt. Governor of the State of Illinois.

While he was Lt. Governor, John started building an even larger house in the middle of the block on State Street between 11th & 12th. This was an Octagonal building (eight sided) and would take six years to build.Unfortunately, during this time, Governor Bissell died and John became the Governor. The year was 1860. John petitioned the Illinois Legislature asking if he could stay in Quincy to oversee the construction of his new home. They agreed, and his Greek Revival style house became the Governor’s Mansion for the State of Illinois. That is its historical significance. John Wood was Governor for only ten months (until the term ran out). He did not seek re-election because of commitments in Quincy.In 1861, the Civil War broke out and Wood was named Quartermaster General of the State of Illinois. A quartermaster is a person who secures goods for the army such as blankets, food, ammunition, horses, and other items. Wood is 63 years old at this time.In 1863, Ann, his wife of 37 years died. They had had eight children, but only four of them lived to adulthood – a daughter and three sons.

When John’s Octagonal house was completed in 1864, he gave the Greek Revival style house to his oldest son, Daniel. John wanted it moved to the east side of 12th Street. What had been an apple orchard was now changed to a yard. The house was cut in half and the chimneys were taken down so the house could be moved across the street. John also had an Osage Orange hedge along the street that he did not want to cut down. He had the movers to make a 12 foot high ramp over the hedge. It took 20 teams of horses to move each half of the house across the street. Logs were used to roll the house along. Originally the house faced the south (as was the norm for Greek Revival style houses – they could take advantage of the summer breezes better). When the house was moved, the foundation was cut so the house now faces the west.

John lived in his Octagonal house on one side of 12th Street and his son Daniel lived on the other. His Octagonal house had cost over $200,000 to build. It was the most expensive house in Illinois at the time. In 1873, the country had an economic downturn and many people lost a lot of money. John had not paid off all the debts for the construction of his new house and his creditors wanted their money. It became necessary for Wood to sell his new home for $40,000. John and his second wife, Mary Ann Holmes (married in 1863) moved into the Greek Revival style house with his son Daniel in 1875. John spent the last five years of his life in this house. John died in the Mansion on June 4, 1880. After John’s death, Daniel sold the Mansion and moved to Galena, Kansas. The house became a boarding house with many different families living in its various rooms. In 1906, some businesses on the corner of 12th & State wanted to tear the building down so they could have an alley put in through the block. This would have been through the middle of the meeting room.

The Historical Society purchased the house to save it from destruction. At first they used it as a museum with many people going through it. Unfortunately, they did not have the money to maintain it very well and by the early 1970’s the house was in disrepair. At that time, the Historical Society decided to restore the house to its original look.To date over $500,000 has been spent on restoring the house.