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Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 6/20/2021 at 09:00:36

ROYAL B. QUINTON, a highly respected citizen of Denmark Township, is one of the most extensive farmers of Lee County, and has met with remarkable success in the various departments of his calling. Our subject is a native of the Buckeye State, having been born in Ashtabula County, on the 27th of August, 1819. His father, Samuel Quinton, came from the Old Granite State in 1812, but three years later returned for the purpose of being united in marriage with Miss Lucretia Henry. After the wedding, he immediately returned to Ohio with his bride, and located upon a farm in Ashtabula County, where they remained until 1855, and then crossing the Father of Waters, came into Iowa and located in Lee County. Here they established a home, became among the highly respected residents of this vicinity, and here they folded their hands for their final rest. The parental household included seven children, three of whom are now deceased.

Royal B. Quinton was the eldest child of his parents' family. He remained with them until he attained his majority, and then, his capital consisting of an English sixpence (which he still retains), he departed from the parental roof to seek his fortune through the exercise of his own industry. In those days of thinly settled communities, it was by no means an easy task to secure a wage-paying situation. The country was full of young men who were willing to work for a consideration, and only a few inhabitants had use for or could afford to keep hired help. Young Quinton, however, was not easily discouraged, and finally succeeded in hiring out to a farmer at $12 per month, and at the end of the year had his monthly stipend increased to $13. He remained with his first employer for some time after this and then for two successive years was employed by another party at the same wages. The latter was a dealer in live stock, and became greatly attached to his "hired man," and took him with him when he made his purchases of cattle, and those experiences, no doubt, were an excellent schooling for our subject, who possessed great natural abilities and improved every opportunity for observation in the dealings of men with men. This added to his natural talent for financiering, was the secret of his future success.

As soon as young Quinton had saved $100, he loaned it out at 12 per cent interest in advance. He held a moderate sum in reserve, with which he purchased a good saddle horse, and by subsequent trade accumulated a little more money. He always dressed well, but by a judicious disbursement of funds, at the end of four years found himself the possessor of $535 in cash. In common with many of his young associates, he experienced a great desire to visit the country beyond the Mississippi, which was then holding out rare inducements to the young and enterprising emigrant. He had a friend in this vicinity who was engaged as an Indian trader along the Platte River country, that being 300 miles west of any white settlement, and he concluded to join him. He started via the river from Belleville, Ohio, but when he arrived at the mouth of the Missouri there were no boats running, and the best he could do was to go to Keokuk. After arriving there, the few citizens with whom he first became acquainted advised him to abandon the Platte River project on account of the Mormon outrages. While debating upon the best course to pursue, he received a letter informing him of the death of his friend, the trader. He therefore concluded to remain in Lee County, and soon made a purchase of 160 acres of land in Pleasant Ridge Township, for which he paid $600 in cash. Upon this he erected a house, and in August, 1846, was married to Miss Sarah B. Hornby, a native of Bremen, Me., and the daughter of John Hornby, one of the early pioneers of Lee County.

Soon after his marriage Mr. Quinton was thrown from a horse, and so severely injured that he was unable for a long time to pursue his farm labors. He accordingly sold out for $1,000, and after a few months of rest and recuperation, purchased a farm in Franklin Township, selling it the following year for double the purchase price, besides disposing of the growing crop, for which he received a promissory note due in five years and drawing 10 per cent interest. The parties who gave the note, however, were poor, and it was considered worthless. In the meantime Mr. Q. made a visit to Ohio and upon his return to the West, settled in Denmark Township. The year before the maturity of the aforesaid note it was taken up, Mr. Q. receiving live stock in payment, at the sale of which he received a handsome profit. He subsequently purchased a farm of 200 acres in Franklin Township, and in due time sold it for three times the purchase price.

In 1852 Mr. Q. purchased eighty acres of his present homestead, to which he has subsequently added until he is now the possessor of 813 acres, all in one body, although having presented to his son 185 acres. His land is finely improved and is equipped with handsome and substantial farm buildings. Besides the culture of the cereals, he is extensively engaged in stock farming, and exhibits some of the finest animals to be found along the Mississippi Valley.

The house hold of Mr. and Mrs. Quinton has been brightened by the birth of five children, of whom the record is as follows: Herbert T. is located on a farm at Kingston, Kan.; Holland B. is engaged in agriculture in Denmark Township; Alfred B. is a lawyer in Topeka, Kan., and Probate Judge of the Circuit Court; Frank C. is a civil engineer in the employ of the A., T. & St. F. R. R.; Eugene S. is a lawyer at Topeka; Nellie E. is the wife of Philander H. Adams, and also resides at Topeka.

Mr. Quinton, it is hardly necessary to say, is a leading citizen of Denmark Township, and has been prominent in all matters pertaining to the welfare of this vicinity. He is a striking example of what energy, industry and economy may accomplish, and the young man of to-day who feels discouraged under difficulties, may well profit by the example of the old pioneers who, amid dangers as well as difficulties, persevered against desperate odds and lived to tell the tale.


Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1887


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