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Art. IV. — Commercial and Industrial Cities of the United States.



THE city of Quincy, the county seat of Adams County, (which, by returns of 1855, is the third county in the State in aggregate population and wealth,) Illinois, is situated upon the eastern shore of the Mississippi River, 160 miles above St. Louis, and 110 miles west of Springfield, the capital of the State. Its distance from Chicago, by railroad, is 268 miles, (by Quincy and Chicago Railroad, 100 miles, from Quincy to Galesburg; and thence 168 miles to Chicago, by Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad.)

We recently received a small volume, (69 pages, 16mo. ,) entitled — "Quincy, Illinois, in 1857; or, Facts and Figures exhibiting its Advantages, Resources, Manufactures, and Commerce. By JOSEPH T. HOLMES." This was prepared, according to the author's preface, "under the supervision of the Mayor and Council of the city of Quincy, and others who are thoroughly acquainted with her history and business; and the facts and figures has been obtained from sources of unquestionable authority, and may be relied upon as correct." As no publication of this kind, relative to Quincy, had been heretofore attempted, and as no business returns had been collected or preserved in former years, the author was unable to illustrate the progress of the city as he desired. His object is to direct public attention to Quincy, Illinois, as one of the most eligible points in the West; and thus we readily make allowance for the laudatory style with which he enumerates its many advantages. In the preparation of the present article, we have, to a considerable extent, availed ourselves of the "facts and figures" collected by Mr. Holmes; and these we have condensed and rearranged in a summary form. We have prepared the tables on the increase of population in the city, county, and State from the several censuses, and have compiled the tables on manufactures and trade from the facts in his work.

Its site is at an elevation of about one hundred and twenty feet above the level of the Mississippi River. For many miles above and below, the bluffs on the Illinois side are separated from the river by a wide extent of bottom land, covered with water at every inundation, and intersected by sloughs and marshes, rendering the main channel inaccessible for purposes of commerce. At this point they rise almost from the water's edge, and form a landing, practicable for steamboats of the largest class at all seasons of the year. Their summit commands a view of the river for several miles in either direction. Lagrange, twelve miles to the north, and Palmyra, fourteen miles to the southwest, may be seen on a clear day. No landscape on the Mississippi is more lovely than that which is here presented in the season of foliage. The bold outline of the bluffs skirting the western horizon, the wide expanse of forest on either side extending to the water's edge, and the thickly-wooded islands dotting the surface of the stream, combine to form a picture such as rarely meets the eye amid the comparatively monotonous scenery of the West. The Mississippi at this point is about a mile in width. Its western shore is lined by


a dense forest, extending several miles into the interior, and affording an ample supply of fuel and lumber. The northwestern portion of the city extends along the shore of a beautiful sheet of water, now known as "Quincy Bay," but which, in "early times," was called "Boston Bay," as were the bluffs upon which the city now stands called "Boston Hills" — being named by the Indians after a trader, who, in the employ of the "Boston Fur Company," established a trading post about three miles above this point. Many of the largest manufacturing establishments of Quincy are built upon the shore of this inlet. The country in the immediate vicinity of the city is gently rolling. Groves alternate with fertile fields. Neat and comfortable farm-houses and highly cultivated farm attest the industry and success with which agriculture is carried on.

The area embraced within its corporate limits is about five square miles The streets are laid off with perfect regularity, of ample width, occupying easy grades, and in the business portion are thoroughly macadamized The side-walks are wide and substantially paved with brick, and extend over almost the entire area occupied by buildings. Their aggregate length is no less than thirty-three miles — a greater extent of brick pavement than is to be found in all the other cities and towns in Illinois together, Chicago not excepted. Gas works were erected in the fall of 1854, and the streets are now well lighted in all the most frequented parts.

Great attention has been given, from the first settlement, to shading and adorning public and private grounds. The forest trees have been preserved, so far as it could be done consistently with the necessities of building and grading; and where they were wanting, thrifty elms and maples have been transplanted. Large tracts of valuable real estate, some of it in the heart of the city, have been purchased by the city government, and reserved for parks and ornamental grounds. Washington Square, in the central portion of the city, is neatly enclosed, and surrounded by business houses which may challenge comparison with the finest portions of St. Louis and Chicago. Jefferson Park is in the northeastern part of the city, and adds much to its appearance. Franklin Square, situated on the bluff, commands a fine view of the river and its western shore. Woodland Park, an enclosure of twenty-five acres, in the southern suburbs of the city, was selected as a place of public recreation, for its rare natural beauty and convenient location. Woodland Cemetery, situated in the southwestern portion of the city, extending on the western side nearly to the river, includes an area of forty-five acres. The grounds are tastefully laid out, and thickly wooded with oaks and maples.

The historical sketch before us is too lengthy and minute for us to quota at length. In the fall of 1821, Quincy was selected as a town site by John Wood, (in 1857, Lieutenant-Governor of the State, and still a resident of Quincy,) who then visited its neighborhood with two others to examine some land belonging to the latter. In the fall of 1822, Mr. Wood returned and built a cabin. In the spring succeeding (1823) Major Jeremiah Rose, a native of New York, came with his family, and shared Mr. Wood's cabin, Mrs. Rose being the first white woman, and her daughter, now Mrs. George W. Brown, the first white child residing in Quincy. The second house was built in the spring of 1824, by Mr. Willard Keyes, a native of Vermont, and a former acquaintance of Mr. Wood, and the third in the following fall, by John Droulard, a Frenchman. At that time there was no white settlement in the Military Tract north of Gilead, a


point sixty miles south of Quincy, and but two other white men in the bounds of what is now Adams County.

Previous to the establishment of the white settlement at Quincy, an Indian village of the Sauk tribe occupied its site, and for several years afterward these aborigines remained in the vicinity, but as a general thing were not troublesome to their white neighbors. In 1825, Quincy was selected as the county seat, and was then so named in honor of John Quincy Adams. In November of that year the town was laid out, and in December some of its lots were sold at auction. From 1825 to 1835, the growth of the place was slow. Its residents were many miles distant from any point where provisions or supplies of any kind could be obtained. Their coffee was a decoction of okro seed, (from an herb cultivated for that purpose,) which they sweetened with wild honey, found in great abundance in the neighboring woods. Their nearest blacksmith's shop was at Atlas, forty miles distant, where they carried their plows to be sharpened, swung upon a horse's back. These and other privations incident to pioneer life, together with several visitations of epidemic disease during the interval mentioned prevented any great improvement. In the spring of 1826, the first store was opened. In the fall of the same year a court-house was built of hewed logs, in which the first school was organized and kept. In 1829, the first frame building was erected, and in 1857 this was still standing on "the old post-office corner." In 1829 or 1830, the first steam flour mill was erected. In 1833, the first church was organized. In June, 1834, the town was incorporated; in 1835, it contained about 700 inhabitants; in 1837, 1,653; and in 1841, 2,686.

The population of Quincy and of Adams County in 1840 and in 1850, according to the national censuses of those years, we have compiled as follows: —

  WHITES. FREE COLORED. Grand total.
Years. Males. Females. Total. Males. Females. Total. Grand Total
1840 1,284 1,012 2,296 12 11 23 2,319
1850 3,476 3,336 6,812 39 51 90 6,902

1840 6,596 5,551 12,147 6 4 10 12,157
1850 10,203 9,354 19,557 16 33 49 19,606

Total of County of Adams.
1840 7,880 6,563 14,443 18 15 33 14,476
1850 13,679 12,690 26,369 55 84 139 26,508

In the following tables we give the progress of the population of the city of Quincy, as ascertained by censuses and estimates, together with the progress of population in the county of Adams and the State of Illinois, according to official enumerations: —

Years. Pop. Years. Pop. Years. Pop.
1835 700 1810   1810 12,282
1837 1,653 1820   1820 55,211
1840 2,319 1830 2,186 1830 157,445
1841 2,686 1835 7,042 1835 272,427
1849 5,500 1840 14,476 1840 476,183
1850 6,902 1845 13,518 1845 650,000
1854 10,951 1850 26,508 1850 851,470
1857 17,000 1855 34,311 1855 1,292,917


The next table, which shows the assessed value and estimated value of taxable property in the city each year from 1885 to 1857, both inclusive, is derived from the publication mentioned: —

Years. Assessed value. Estimated value. Years. Assessed value. Estimated value.
1835 $64,878 $168,878 1847 $985,099 $1,987,098
1836 487,900 887,900 1848 1,269,498 2,169,498
1837 545,050 945,150 1849 1,322,328 2,874,338
1838 605,320 1,063,820 1850 1,566,342 2,983,342
1839 658,443 1,135,443 1851 1,789,399 3,208,399
1840 1,009,126 1,284,136 1852 1,574,134 3,746,133
1841 887,868 1,573,863 1853 1,811,965 4,104,965
1842 998,279 1,634,279 1854 1,886,778 4,627,778
1843 864,209 1,763,209 1855 3,149,797 6,895,797
1844 983,890 1,843,390 1856 4,033,976 9,185,976
1845 900,120 1,862,120 1857 5,042,951 12,346,957
1846 1,059,288 1,943,288      

Quincy possesses important natural advantages for extensively prosecuting both manufactures and commerce. In respect to manufactures, it is especially fortunate in its ability to obtain coal. "On the north and east, within a distance easily accessible by railroad, lie vast beds of superior coal, which are, as yet, almost undisturbed. In the neighboring counties of Hancock and McDonough, some few veins have been opened, and a company has been organized which imports it to some extent into the city." During the first six months of 1857, the company imported 800,000 bushels, of which the foundries and factories used 275,000 bushels; and although its price was very high during the greater part of the time, it was much cheaper than wood. In July, 1857, the price was seventeen cents per bushel. Upon the opening to market of the large deposits in Brown and Schuyler counties, by the completion of the Quincy and Toledo Railroad, it is reasonably expected that the price will not exceed twelve cents per bushel. The bluff's in the neighborhood contain large deposits of limestone, suited to building purposes. "Rafts of pine lumber are constantly arriving from the Upper Mississippi, but the supply heretofore has scarcely been commensurate with the demand. Within the past year, however, great attention has been paid to the production or hard wood lumber in the immediate vicinity of the city. Upon the bluffs adjoining on the north and south, on the islands in the river within a short distance above and below, and immediately opposite on the Missouri shore, lie vast tracts of timber lands, which will eventually be made to furnish a large proportion of timber required for building purposes, and employed in manufacturing wagons, furniture, etc. , to which it is we adapted." The steam saw-mills in the city have for years done a profitable business, and recently, "several additional ones have been erected in the forests on the Missouri side, opposite the city, and upon the neighboring islands."        

Statistics of the manufactures of Quincy are presented by Mr. Holmes in a very detailed manner. In the account of each branch, he gives the name of each firm, the year when it was established, and the name of its founders, with occasionally other particulars. His statements of the number of establishments and hands employed, and of the amount of wages paid and of the product annually, are made up for the year ending June 1st, 1857, and these, he says, "are in some degree incomplete, so that taken as a whole, they form an under-estimate of the actual business of


the city." For obvious reasons he has not published "the amount of capital invested and business done by individual firms, but the aggregates on those points are made up from reliable statements." We have, with considerable labor, compiled from the several accounts the following table: —

Manufactories. No. Hands employed. Amount of wages yearly. Value of product yearly.
Flour mills, steam 6 51   $924,000
Saw mills, steam 2 55 $22,000 265,500
Planing mills 6 63 30,700 126,000
Furniture manufactories 4 175 65,800 207,000
Cooper shops 13 145 51,000  
Machine shops 4 72 47,000 195,000
Iron foundries 4 53 30,000 127,000
Stove foundry 1 60 30,232 99,128
Stove and tinware manufactories 8 67 23,000 185,000
Copper and sheet iron manufactories 2 7   25,000
Broiler manufactories 2 16 7,250 47,000
Wagon manufactories 9 83 41,750 107,625
Carriage manufactories 2 69 29,000 83,000
Saddlery manufactories 5 41 14,700 84,000
Agricultural implement manufactory 1 20 8,000 25,250
Rope-walk 1 10 4,600 26,000
Lime kilns 3 15   42,000
Brick yards 8 119 26,304 127,500
Marble works 2 14   27,000
Grain distilleries 4 92 34,240 637,000
Alcohol distilleries 2 6   105,000
Beer breweries 5     35,000

The following paragraphs refer to some of the classes of manufactures in the preceding table, and present additional statistics: —

FLOUR MILLS. The capital invested is $280,000. They consume annually 660,000 bushels of wheat, and make 132,000 barrels of flour, selling at an average of $7. There are also two corn-meal and feed mills, consuming 135,000 bushels of corn.

SAW MILLS. Capital invested, $110,000; product, 9,500,000 feet of lumber, at $25 per M. feet, $237,500; 4,000,000 lath, at $4 per M. , $16,000; and 3,000,000 shingles, at $4 per M. , $12,000; total, $265,500. Two other saw mills near the city manufacture hard wood lumber, about 8,000,000 feet, worth $60,000.

PLANING MILLS. Product about 5,000,000 feet of dressed lumber, Most of these make sash, blinds, doors, and frames.

FURNITURE. There are seven smaller factories, whose sales are $65,000.

COOPERAGE. Product, 98,000 flour, 28,000 pork, and 35,000 whisky and alcohol barrels, besides a great number of hogsheads, etc. There are several other shops on a smaller scale.

MACHINE SHOPS. Capital invested $87,000.

IRON FOUNDRIES. Capital invested, $91,000. These consume 300 tons of iron and 35,000 bushels of coal and coke.

STOVE FOUNDRY. Consumed in the past year 987 tons of iron and 20,000 bushels of coal and coke, and made 9,466 stoves.

WAGON MAKING. Product, 1,435 wagons. These also do a large repairing business, but the amount is not obtained. Connected with one of them is a plow factory, making 1,100 plows, worth $8,800. (See also for plows the next note.) Besides these, there are eight shops, whose chief


business is repairing; they employ 21 hands, whose wages are $9,560, and the value of their work is $19,500.

AGRIGULTURAL IMPLEMENTS. Product, 1,000 plows, worth $8,000; 150 seed-drills, $12,000; and 150 corn-planters, $5,250; total, $25,250.

LIME-KILNS. Product, 140,000 bushels of lime, worth, at the rate 1857, $42,000. One lime-kiln has a capacity of 300 bushels a day.

BRICK YARDS. These statistics are for 1856. The quantity made in 1857 is estimated to exceed that of 1856 by about 25 per cent. The brick are generally afforded at $5 per M. Amount made in 1856, 25,500,000, worth $127,500; estimated for 1857, 31,875,000, worth $159,375. One yard has steam machinery.

GRAIN DISTILLERIES. Capital invested, $355,000. They consume
124,200 bushels of small grain, and 481,800 bushels of corn. They make 45,000 barrels of high-wines, worth $637,000. They feed 9,300 hogs and 3,000 head of cattle.

ALCOHOL DISTILLERIES. Capital invested, $43,000; product, 5,000 barrels.

BREWERIES. These consume 16,000 bushels of barley and 15,000 barrels hops; and make 17,500 kegs of beer. Near the city are several other breweries.

Other branches of manufacturing industry are reported as follows: —

Three soda-water manufactories employ 18 hands, and make 100,000 dozen bottles, worth $35,000. One vinegar manufactory produces 650 barrels, worth $3,575. One manufactory of endless-chain pumps, and one of suction pumps. Seven confectionery establishments employ 30 hands, and make to the value of $98,000; and there are several smaller establishments, whose sales are about $30,000. One manufactory of wooden measures and utensils employs 10 hands, and produces to the value of $15,000. Three book-binderies employ 8 hands, whose work is to the value of $8,500.

From the returns of the branches of trade, which are as minute as those of manufactures, we have compiled the following table: —

Mercantile establishments. No. Clerks and hands. Amount of ann'l sales.
Dry goods, wholesale and retail 11 39 $610,000
Dry goods, entirely retail 10   125,000
Groceries, entirely wholesale 3 13 321,000
Groceries, wholesale and retail 9 23 184,500
Groceries, entirely retail 20   180,000
Hardware, wholesale and retail 4 13 280,000
Iron and heavy hardware 3 11 145,000
Variety stores, principal establishments 8 24 279,000
Liquors, etc. 5 21 205,120
Clothing 5 53 186,000
Merchant tailoring 5 63 131,000
Boot and shoe, wholesale and retail 4 11 182,000
Millinery and bonnet 7   91,000
Hat and cap 2 15 69,000
Drug and medicine 6 21 158,000
Book and stationery 5 11 116,000
Watch and jewelry 5 15 100,000
Tobacco and cigar, chief establishments 4 17 66,000
Tobacco and cigar, small establishments . . . 35,000
Leather, hides, etc. 2 7 55,000

Other branches of trade are reported as follows: —


PORK PACKING. During the winter of 1856-7, six firms packed 38,306 weighing 8,986,492 pounds, making the average weight 235 pounds. Besides these, there were sold to provision stores, etc. , some 2,500 hogs, (which, at the above average, amounted to 687,500 pounds,) making the total of 40,806 hogs, weighing 9,773,932 pounds, which, at $5 30 per hundred, the average price paid during the season, amounted in value to $512,721 57.

BEEF PACKING. In 1856, two firms (also engaged in pork packing) filled and packed 2,300 beef cattle, netting 4,930 barrels. About 3,000 head are slaughtered for home consumption annually. Most of the cattle fattened at and near Quincy are driven to eastern and southern markets.

FORWARDING. Seven firms employ 33 hands. During the six months ending July 1st, 1857, they received — of wheat, 259,574; corn, 268,321; oats, 88,456; rye and barley, 6,312 bushels; of shipstuff, 31,642 pounds; and 16,443 packages. Shipments — of wheat, 118,872; corn, 145,942; Bats, 60,292 bushels; flour, 37,850 barrels; and 14,187 packages.

LUMBER. Seven principal firms imported during the year, 16,750,000 feet of pine lumber, 7,870,000 shingles, and 2,320,000 lath.

AUCTION HOUSES. Two houses, estimated to sell $75,000.

REAL ESTATE. Ten firms deal in real estate, whose business is not reported.

ICE. Three firms, during 1856-7, put up 3,350 tons, worth $33,500. If Quincy has steamboat communication for three-fourths of the year with all points accessible by the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The arrivals and departures of steamboats in 1856 amounted to 2,921. Two daily lines of packets run to St. Louis, and one to Keokuk. There are also frequent opportunities, by means of transient boats, for shipping merchandise both up and down the river. In 1853, Quincy was made a port of entry, and attached to the collection district of New Orleans. To some extent, goods have been imported into Quincy from the manufacturers in Europe, via New Orleans, with but a single reshipment.

The Quincy and Chicago Railroad (formerly called Northern Cross Railroad] has, since its completion, greatly increased the trade of Quincy. The Quincy and Toledo Railroad will soon be in operation. It extends from Camp Point (which is 22 miles from Quincy, and the point of junction with the Quincy and Chicago Railroad,) to the Illinois River, a distance of 32 miles. At Meredosia it will connect with the Great Western Railroad. The proposed Quincy and Palmyra Railroad will extend to Palmyra, Missouri, 14 miles, there connecting with the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. In September, 1857, its grading was commenced. Several lines have been proposed, of which those most favorably considered are — 1st, one from Camp Point to Warsaw; 2d, one from Quincy to Warsaw along the Mississippi River; and 3d, one from Quincy west through Missouri to La Grange, Trenton, etc.

In the city there is one bank of issue, viz. , the Bank of Quincy, which was established April, 1856, under the general banking law, and its capital stock is $65,000. There are three private bankers. The Quincy savings and Insurance Company was organized May 1st, 1857, under act of February 15th, 1855. Capital, $320,000; authorized capital, $500,000. It is authorized to make all kinds of fire and marine insurance, and to operate as a bank of deposit.

Three newspapers, the Herald, Whig, and Republican, are published


daily and weekly; two German papers, the Tribune and Courier, are published weekly. The public schools are efficiently organized, and have over 1,000 pupils. There are some private academies. Several benevolent associations are permanently established. There are twenty churches six of which are composed of people of German origin and descent.

The city is divided into six wards, and each elects two aldermen. The city debt on July 1st, 1857, was $684,042 21, consisting of improvement bonds, $184,042, and railroad bonds, $500,000. The latter item is nominally counterbalanced by the railroad stocks owned by the city – Northern Cross (Quincy and Chicago) Railroad, $200,000; Toledo, Wabash and Western (Quincy and Toledo) Railroad, $200, 000; and Quincy and Palmyra Railroad, $100,000. Estimated value of real estate owned by the city, $880,000, of which the levee at the foot of Main-street (1,550 feet front) is rated at $350,000; city revenue for 1857, $90,000.