- 1844 – 1846 Veterans of War of 1812 settle area and sell land
Quincy and the surrounding area was part of the Military Tract, land the federal government gave to veterans of the War of 1812 as payment for their service. Many sold their lands to John Wood and Willard Keyes, Quincy’s first settlers (1822) and real estate agents. John Wood is credited with founding Quincy, Illinois and served as Mayor 1844–1848, 1852–53 and 1856.
- 1846 Woodland Cemetery Established on land donated by John Wood
Many veterans from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and others, are buried in Woodland Cemetery to include Quincy’s founder Col. John Wood who served as Quartermaster General of the State of Illinois and Commander of the 137th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War.
- 1850 -1860
Henry A. Castle born in Columbus, IL moved to Quincy, IL in 1859. After graduating from McKendree College in 1862, Castle fought in the Civil War with the 73rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment as a private and a sergeant major. In 1864 he raised the 137th Illinois Volunteer Regiment and served as its captain. Castle wrote editorials for the Quincy Daily Whig newspaper. In 1868 Castle moved to St. Paul, where he established a branch of Comstock, Castle & Company, of Quincy, Illinois, a stove manufacturing business that was co-owned by his family.
- 1860 – 1870 Civil War Union Army established a military hospital just south of Quincy
Adjacent to Woodland Cemetery, the site’s close access to the Mississippi River allowed for the easy transport of wounded soldiers from battlefields in the south. Union troops, who died in the local hospital, were buried in a soldiers’ lot at Woodland Cemetery, which was established in 1861.
- May 31, 1861 Needle Pickets Organized
More than 100 patriotic women of Quincy formally organized as the “Needle Pickets,” a group dedicated to providing for the soldiers of the Union Army assisting families in Quincy struggling throughout the war. In the first year the group distributed to the destitute of Quincy numerous items including 51 women’s and children’s dresses, 39 pairs of shoes and 30 shirts. Their supplies for the Army reached St. Louis, Ironton, Pilot Knob, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Paducah, Savannah and Corinth and included numerous items such as 738 sheets, 457 pillow ticks, 344 pounds of butter and 432 chickens. Women’s work in organizations such as the Needle Pickets proved vital to the Union War effort with over $32,000 dollars donated in supplies throughout the course of the war.
- Many Served in the Civil War from Quincy
On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation asking for 75,000 loyal citizens to enlist in the service of the Union and help to maintain “the honor, the integrity, and existence of our National Union.” By April 24 men from Adams County were headed to Cairo to volunteer to serve in the Union Army.
- 1863 Brigadier General Benjamin M. Prentiss commanded a division under Ulysses S. Grant
His division was the first one attacked at Shiloh and suffered greatly during the opening hours of that battle. BG Prentiss reformed his command and put up a spirited fight in the “Hornet’s Nest”.
- November 1863 the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry was formed in Quincy
Its most noteworthy action was at the Battle of the Crater near Petersburg, Virginia on July 30, 1864. This unit was mustered out of service on Nov. 6, 1865, at Brownsville, Texas.
- 1886 Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home was formally dedicated on October 19th
The name was changed in June, 1973, to the “Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy” as it is known today (http://www.quincyivh.org/).
- May 21, 1897, Quincy Naval Reserves Organized
Men eventually served in the Spanish American War. The first meeting was held at the Chamber of Commerce, when nearly 100 of the best young men of the city signified their willingness to form a new company and were sworn into the state service for three years by Commander D. C. Daggett, of Moline. Col. C. S. Hickman, who had served in the U. S. Navy during the Civil War, and also as Lieutenant Colonel in the State Guards, was elected Lieutenant, commanding the division, with Roy A. Morehead as Junior Lieutenant, and Earl H. Toole and George Horton as Ensigns. Ensign Hugh E. King, as a representative of the navy, was accorded the honor of raising the first American flag on the Intendentia Palace, while another former Quincy boy, Lieut. Castle, U. S. Army, a nephew of Col. C. H. Castle, officiated at the Governor’s Palace. Other army officers were doing like duty at the City Hall and Moro and San Christobal Colon Castles. At the close of the war the officers and men were honorably discharged and sent home with the thanks of the Government and two months extra pay to their credit.Early in the summer of 1899, the Quincy Naval Reserves were re-organized with Lieut. H. E. King at the helm, Lieutenant Junior grade M. A. Krieder, Ensigns Samson C. Strauss and Wm. Burton as assistants, who took the division up to Waukegan, for the week’s camp and training on board the U. S. Michigan.
- 1899 Federal Government establishes Quincy National Cemetery on the east side of Quincy, about three miles from Woodland Cemetery
The government reinters approximately 300 remains from the old soldiers’ lot in Woodland Cemetery to new location. In 1936, the site was designated Quincy National Cemetery.
- 1908 Thomas Baldwin designs Dirigible #1, the Army’s first airship for Army Aviation Signal Corps
In 1915 he built the famous D-1 dirigible for the Navy and two years later became the chief of the newly formed Army Aviation Signal Corps. In 1964 he was named posthumously to the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
- 1909 George Rogers Clark statue was erected in Riverview Park to pay homage to Gen. George Rogers Clark who lead forces against the British during the Revolutionary War to win the land known as the Northwest Territory
Five states were carved from it: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. So as the statue of Clark on the bluff in Quincy’s Riverview Park looks to the southwest, he can be assured the land to the north and east behind him remained true to his intentions.
- 1910 – 1920 WWI Quincyians serve in German Army during early days of WW I
On Aug. 3, 1914 the Quincy Whig reported that the German counsel at St. Louis asked “all German reservists to proceed (sic) home.” The newspaper stated that “quite a few Germans are employed at the Knittle Show Case company, Huck Manufacturing company Gardner Governor works and other local factories.”That same day Quincy’s Daily Journal grabbed its readers’ attention with an article headlined, “QUINCY MAN TO FIGHT IN GERMAN ARMY, PETER SCHLITZ LEAVES TONIGHT TO PROTECT PROPERTY IN GERMANY AND FIGHT FOR KAISER.” The newspaper noted that Schlitz who was “about 30, and an employee of the Roeder and Greenmann contractors, will board a train tonight bound for New York, from where he will sail for Germany, in order that he may take up arms with his country and protect property which he owns.” The reporter added: “Schlitz has resided here for some years, but has never relinquished his ownership to some land in Germany.”
- Lt. Joseph W. Emery
World War I 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, American Expeditionary Forces, Emery was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action near Vierzy, France, July 18, 1918.
- Henry Root Hill a Brigadier General in the IL National Guard 33rd Division, served as a Major in France
He led the 128th Regiment, 33nd Division on October 16, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. While taking over an enemy machine gun nest he was killed in action. Hill was awarded the DSC and buried in his hometown of Quincy and was accorded all the honors due a brigadier general earned by a valorous death in the combat.
- Pvt. William C. Siepker, served with the 75th Reg. Co. B 6th Div. American Expeditionary Force
The 2nd Division was an Army Division, but it was under the command of Major Gen. John A. Lejeune, later Commandant of the Marine Corps. The 6th Regiment served as the reserve unit in the Sept. 12 attack to reduce the St. Mihiel salient near Verdun. On Oct. 3, the regiment attacked and seized the Blanc Mont ridge in the south of France about 100 miles north of Marseille. Siepker was killed on Oct. 8, the same day his unit took the village of St. Etienne. The badly depleted 2nd Division was relieved by elements of the 36th Division by Oct. 10. Marine casualties in the Blanc Mont battle totaled 2,369.
- 1940 – 1950 Many Soldiers and Sailors from Quincy served in military during WWII
One in particular was Colonel Paul Tibbets, who in August, 1945 piloted a Boeing B-29 bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The plane was named Enola Gay after his mother Enola Gay Tibbets who lived in Quincy. He later rose to ranks to Brigadier General in US Air Force.
Quincy Barge Builders made landing craft which were guided down the Mississippi River to New Orleans and from there to the various war theaters. Military maps were prepared by mostly female workers in Quincy.
- 1950 – 1960
Many Quincyians served during Korean War and there were 20 casualties. Of those, six were for sure from Quincy and one in particular was Medal of Honor awardee Cpl Lester Hammond, who on April 14, 1952 received it for bravery on the battlefield. Quincy’s American Legion Post # 37 is named after Lester Hammond in his honor. Also of special note, is Bob Ericson, currently residing in the Illinois Veterans Home, who blew the cease fire bugle signaling a truce in the Korean War in 1953.
- 1960 – 1970
Many Quinciyans volunteered and were drafted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. They were dispersed to many individual units throughout the various branches of the military. In September 1968 the 126th Illinois Army National Guard unit based in Quincy, was sent to Chu Lai, South Vietnam. The 126th has evolved into the 1844th Transportation Company, Quincy, IL.The Vietnam War Dead from Quincy, IL totaled fourteen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who are listed on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.
- 1980 – 1990
Many Quincyians serve during Gulf War in Operation Desert Shield, the code name used for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) and in Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) the war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait.
- 1990 -2014
Many Quincians have served since in the military in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world. Many joined after the attack on September 11, 2001 and since to maintain a vigilance against enemies who have sworn to destroy the American way of life and our basic freedoms.
- The Great River Honor Flights Program
It was organized on Veterans Day 2009 with the first flight on April 13, 2010 to take WWII veterans to DC on a one-day flight to visit the memorials in DC at no cost to them, thanks to the generosity of individuals, groups, and businesses who donated funds. Since then we have expanded to include veterans who served in Korea and Vietnam. The group takes a bus to St. Louis Lambert, where they fly to Baltimore, take a bus to DC, visit the memorials and then fly back from Washington Reagan to St. Louis and then the return bus trip to the departure point. The trip includes visits to the WWII Memorial as well as Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Iwo Jima, Air Force Memorial and viewing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Since the beginning in 2010, there has been 28 missions, with a total of 869 local veterans taking the trip.
- Veterans Parade Revived:
In 2009, the Quincy Veterans Parade was revived after a 35 year hiatus and has been successfully conducted ever since. Thanks go to the committee originally Chaired by Jim Ponsot and currently by Dick McKinney who was co-chair for many years.