Biography of Jerry Quill
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





JERRY QUILL. - The quiet fund of wit, the ability to see the humorous in every situation and the power to look out on life with unfailing optimism and good cheer, these characteristics of the Celtic race enabled Mr. Quill to endure the privations of early youth in his native Ireland and to surmount the vicissitudes of many discouraging experiences in America, where for a time he engaged as a day laborer on farms in Canada and New York, earning barely enough for the most pressing necessities of existence. With the resolve to seek California there came a great change into the humdrum routine of toil. After crossing the isthmus and sailing to San Francisco in 1859, he spent two years in the mines of Shasta county and then brought his family across the mountains to Humboldt county in 1861. Indians were then very troublesome and outbreaks were common. To protect the women and children of the party, a ring was made of pack saddles around them and the men stood guard through all the long hours of the night. The baby son, John F. Quill, rode all through that journey in an apple box, strapped to the back of a mule.

A short time before bringing his family to Humboldt county Jerry Quill had been here on a tour of inspection and had purchased a tract of three hundred twenty acres on Salt river in the Eel river district. It was his intention to establish a permanent home on the place, but the danger of Indian hostilities was so constant that he sold the land and took his family into Eureka for safety. To earn a livelihood he worked in the mill of John Vance. At the end of the Indian troubles he returned to the Eel river district and bought a ranch on Nigger Head, north of Eel river, the improvement and cultivation of which engaged his close attention until he died in 1883. Eleven years later occurred the death of his wife, Julia (Tierney) Quill, a native of Canada. Three sons survive them, namely: James A. and Jerry, both of San Francisco, and John F., the second in order of birth and the only one of the three to remain in Humboldt county.

At the time the family set sail from New York City John F. Quill, who was a native of Albany, that state, was an infant in arms, hence his entire life practically has been identified with the west and with Humboldt county. During boyhood he assisted in the work on the home ranch and later he engaged in the hay and grain business in Eureka for two years. From 1891 to 1906 he owned the Bay livery stable on Third street, while since 1908 he has owned and operated the Eureka Drayage Company (formerly the Tufts Davis Drayage Company). Much of the heavy hauling in the town is done under his supervision and in addition he delivers to all parts of the county consignments from the National Biscuit Company, for which he is distributor, and the Hibernian brewery of San Francisco, for which he is agent. Goods are consigned to him direct from various eastern cities. His identification with public and political affairs has been limited to service as deputy sheriff under Thomas M. Brown and as a deputy under County Assessor George Shaw. His leading fraternity has been Eureka Lodge No. 652, B. P. O. E. In establishing a home he chose for a wife Miss Nellie Deering, who was born at Machias, Me., and in 1867 was brought to California by her father, George Deering, who had operated a sawmill in the Maine woods, but after settling in Humboldt county cultivated a ranch of one hundred sixty acres on Table Bluff and a three hundred acre ranch at Bucksport. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Quill comprises six children, all well educated, earnest and capable, filling creditably their chosen positions in life. They are as follows: Florence, wife of P. J. Rutledge, of Eureka; Harry, secretary of the Humboldt Lumber Association; Edward, head bookkeeper and assistant manager for the H. H. Buhne Company; Grace, a teacher in the Washington school, Eureka; Carl, of Tacoma, Wash.; and Nellie, who is a teacher in the State Normal School at San Jose.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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