Biography of John Quigley

John Quigley was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1847. His parents immigrated to America in 1850, settling in Illinois. Growing up in a new and sparsely settled country, John’s education was limited, but he gained practical skills through hard work on the family farm. After assisting his father, he ventured to Iowa and later settled in South Dakota, where he acquired land and made improvements. He transitioned from farming to working for a railroad company before returning to his farm. In 1890, he moved to Worthing, engaging in the livery business and later becoming a successful dealer in agricultural implements. Known for his community involvement, John Quigley served as a supervisor and remained loyal to his Catholic faith.

JOHN QUIGLEY.— The subject of this review was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, on September 15, 1847, the son of Malachi and Mary (Hays) Quigley, both natives of the Emerald Isle. The father was a farmer by occupation. In 1850, these parents disposed of their interests in the country of their birth and came to America, settling in McHenry County, Illinois, where Mr. Quigley bought land and engaged in agriculture. He pursued this occupation with good success until his death in 1899, with his wife passing away two years prior. Malachi Quigley was a thrifty man, an excellent citizen, and a devout member of the Catholic Church, in which faith his wife and children were also raised. Of the large family of ten children that once gathered around his hearthstone, only three are living at the present time: John, the subject of this sketch; Michael, who farms the old place in Illinois, and Ed D., a baggageman on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad.

John Quigley was only three years old when his parents brought him to the United States, so he retains only a very dim recollection of the romantic land in which he was born. Growing up in a new and sparsely settled country, his educational opportunities were quite limited. However, he became familiar with hard work and the varied duties of the farm at an early age, providing him with practical training that is necessary for a boy thrown upon his own resources. After assisting his father until around his eighteenth year, he left home and went to Jones County, Iowa in 1865, where he farmed for the next three years. He then returned to Illinois. Two years later, in August 1872, he moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where he remained until he came to Lincoln County, South Dakota. He settled in Lynn Township and acquired a quarter section of land, upon which he immediately began making general improvements. After working on his land for some time and cultivating the greater part of it, he entered the employ of a railroad company that operated a line between Sioux City and Yankton. This was the first railroad in South Dakota, and he worked there for approximately two years while making Sioux City his headquarters.

After leaving the railroad construction, Mr. Quigley returned to his farm and devoted his attention closely to its cultivation and improvement until the year 1890. He also engaged in stock raising for several years during this period and achieved encouraging success in both endeavors. In 1890, he handed over the management of his farm to others and relocated to the village of Worthing, where he started a livery business. He conducted this business profitably for ten years. In 1900, he constructed the large building in Worthing where he currently resides. Since that time, he has been involved in an extensive and flourishing business as a dealer in agricultural implements, handling various types of machinery and tools. His trade is among the largest of its kind in Lincoln County.

Mr. Quigley served four terms as supervisor, establishing himself as one of the influential public figures in his township and county. He was also a leader in several important enterprises. He was affiliated with the Republican Party until the national convention of 1896, held in St. Louis, where he became an ardent supporter of the free-silver movement and joined the reform party. He played a significant role in ensuring a large majority for the reform party in his township. As previously mentioned, he was born into the Catholic Church and has always remained loyal to its teachings. He lives his religion, and his positive influence is evident to the people with whom he has interacted for so long. In 1877, Mr. Quigley married Miss Mary Horty, originally from Cork, Ireland. Although they did not have any children, their union was a happy one. Unfortunately, Mrs. Quigley passed away two years after their marriage. The subject of this sketch is highly respected in the social circles in which he moves and is actively involved in initiatives aimed at benefiting the poor, the unfortunate, and the general welfare of the community.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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