The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Richard Quinn of El Monte California

A pioneer of El Monte, Richard Quinn engaged in the management of a small ranch of eighteen acres, just south of town. He was born in Ireland, June 12, 1829, a son of Daniel and Jane (Lomasney) Quinn, both natives of Ireland, where they both died, the father at the age of sixty and the mother at the age of seventy-five; they were the parents of seven children, all of whom are now deceased.

Richard Quinn was reared on his father’s farm and educated in the common schools, after which, at the age of sixteen years, he came to America. In New York City and on Long Island he did general work for a brief time. He finally enlisted in the regular army at Rochester, New York, becoming a soldier in Company K, Eight United States Infantry. His regiment was immediately sent to Texas against the Indian uprising, where he served during the ensuing five years in El Paso and Fort Bliss. After five years he was honorably discharged at Fort Stanton because of disability, having been wounded severely in battle. From that point he went to San Antonio, Texas, and engaged in teaming for the ensuing three years, and in 1860 he set out for California, where he arrived in June after a series of encounters with the Indians. In Los Angeles where he first settled he teamed for a time and finally went to Wilmington and did a similar work for the Banning Company. After a time in El Monte he went to Santa Clara and engaged in well drilling, having learned this work in Texas. Returning to El Monte in about 1874 he purchased a ranch of thirty-four acres. Of this tract he later sold sixteen acres, and upon the remaining eighteen acres he engaged in raising walnuts and in general farming.

In February 1862, Mr. Quinn was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Slack, a native of England, and daughter of William Slack, early pioneer of this district. Born of this were twelve children, two of whom are deceased. Those living are as follows: Eliza J. of Los Angeles, unmarried; Clotildis, wife of Albert Kerns, of Rosemead; Mary, wife of John Lightfoot, of Las Vegas, Nevada; Richard, of San Diego, who married Maud Hazard; Herbert, of Los Angeles, Edith, wife of Edmund Nicholson of Los Angeles; Mabel, Mrs. H. Lauderback, of Pocatello, Idaho; Nita, Mrs. Joe Smith, of Santa Suzanna, California; and Gladys, Mrs. J. Potter of Los Angeles.

Mr. Quinn was a Republican in politics, and in religion a member of the Catholic Church in San Gabriel. He was a man of fine personality, interesting in his reminiscences of the pioneer days, and proud of the development in El Monte to which he had contributed no small part. He was especially interested in all educational affairs, having given to his children the best advantages possible, and by constantly advocating the establishment and maintenance of good public schools throughout the county.

Mr. Quinn’s death occurred May 1, 1908. His wife survived him for more than ten years, death calling her on November 12, 1918, the day following the end of World War (I).

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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