Biography of William H. Quinby
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WILLIAM HOWLAND QUINBY. In Cleveland's mercantile life no name was better known than that of Mr. Quinby. His training was perfect for the career of a merchant, having been gained in the great metropolis where he began as an errand boy in a dry goods house, and rose step by step until he was filling an important position. A term of service as traveling salesman followed, then his career as a merchant, operating under his own name, began and continued with great success until his passing at the age of seventy five years. Cleveland, Ohio, was the scene of his business successes, and there he was highly rated and esteemed.

The Quinby family is supposed to have come into England with the Danish invasion, and the name originated at Quarmby or Quermby, near Hotherfield, Yorkshire, the first person bearing the name of whom there is record being Hugh de Quarmby, 1341. Branches of the family moved into Farnham, Surrey, near London, and in the south transept of the old church there is a tablet to Robert Quynby, one of the first bailiffs of Farnham, who died in 1670. Tradition says that a Quinby settled at Stratford on Avon, and was related through Judith Shakespeare to the great poet. This is probably an error as the real name of Judith Shakespeare's husband was Quinny, not Quinby.

The founder of the Quinby family in Westchester County, New York, to which William Howland Quinby belongs, was William Quinby, born in England, who settled in Stratford, Connecticut, of which he was one of the founders, and where his sons, John in 1654 and Thomas in 1660, are of record.

John Quinby, son of William Quinby, became one of the principal proprietors of New Castle, Westchester County, New York, and in 1662 was appointed magistrate by Governor Petrus Stuyvesant. He married Deborah Haight, and among their children was a son, Josiah, who married, in 1689, Mary Mulleneux. From Josiah and Mary (Mulleneux) Quinby descent. is traced through their son Josiah; his son William; his son Thomas, and his wife, Susan (Hunter) Quinby; their son, William Howland Quinby, of the eighth American generation, to whose memory this review is offered.

William Howland Quinby, son of Thomas and Susan (Hunter) Quinby, was born in Westchester County, New York, January 27, 1843, and died at his residence, 14724 Terrace Road, East Cleveland, Ohio, October 27, 1918. He spent his boyhood on his father's farm, and attended the district schools of his section and New York City. He was quite young when, on account of his father's failing health, the work of the farm fell upon him, but the sale of the homestead soon followed, and he entered business life, finding employment with the Calhoun Robbins Company, wholesale merchants, New York City, a firm still in business on Broadway in that city He began as an errand boy, but was promoted frequently, and before leaving the store had gained a thorough knowledge of the business and was holding an important position. He was then sent on the road by the house as traveling salesman, his territory the State of Ohio. In the spring of 1879, he became Northern Ohio's agent for the Butterick Pattern Company, making Cleveland his business headquarters. Two years later he opened a ladies' furnishing store on Superior Street, Cleveland, but retained the Butterick agency. From Superior Street he moved to Euclid Avenue, and later to 500 Euclid Avenue, where he continued his business until his death. He gave his store his personal attention, never had a partner, and while he was in business was its active head, sharing neither labor nor responsibility with any one. In 1913 Mr. Rainey, who for many years had been manager under Mr. Quinby, and S. C. Barbour took over the business and conducted it under the name of the W. H. Quinby Company, Mr. Quinby being merely a stockholder in the corporation, and five years prior to his death he retired from active business, but retained his holdings in the W. H. Quinby Company.

In 1913 Mr. Quinby built a winter home at Rockledge, Florida, and alternated between the winter and summer homes until his death. He was a republican in politics, but never sought nor held a public office, although always being interested as a citizen. He was a member of the board of the A. M. McGregor Home for elderly people, was on the board of the East Cleveland Public Library, a member of the Second Presbyterian Church, serving as elder, and in every way possible performing with the best of his ability the duties and obligations of life.

Mr. Quinby married, in New York City, May 7, 1878, Janet Freeland, daughter of John and Catherine Freeland. To Mr. and Mrs. Quinby a daughter was born, May Cameron Quinby, who with her mother resides at the Quinby homestead, East Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Quinby was very fond of the home which he delighted in beautifying and adorning. He was• a man of gracious, charming personality, and during his long business life won the respect and the confidence of a very wide circle of friends.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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