Family Stories

The Life and Times of Quintus Quincy Quigley – McCracken County

Coming upon a gentleman with the initials QQQ, I knew there was a story to be told.  Quintus Quincy Quigley was a lawyer in Paducah, Kentucky.  I give you the particulars of his life through newspaper articles.

News Democrat, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Sunday, June 22, 1924

Whenever his familiar name bobs up in the accounts, there is something of interest about Q. Q. Quigley, a member of the law firm of Quigley and Quigley.  In this instance Cobb retained the true name, for in real life Q. Q. Quigley was none other than Quintus Quincy Quigley.

Born at Paris, Tennessee, on Thursday, July 17, 1828, Q. Q. Quigley moved to Milburn with his parents nine years later, coming to Paducah in 1848 to study law in the office of Sam W. Crockett.  He succeeded in the legal profession and gained distinction through the state for knowledge of law and ready application.  He was married in 1863 to Mary E. Husbands, a native of Wilmington, the first seat of McCracken County.  He died Monday, December 19, 1910, and sleeps his last long sleep in Oak Grove Cemetery beside his wife who died the following February.

Quintus Quincy Quigley, July 17, 1828 – December 19, 1910.  Oak Grove Cemetery, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky.

Located near the northwestern edge of the cemetery, the Quigley lot is one of beauty and quiet rest – it is among the most attractive in the City of the Silent.  Q. Q. Quigley’s grave is marked with a slab on which is carved this information: “A lawyer of ability and integrity, he had the interest and progress of the city at heart, and framed and procured her first charter, incorporated March 10, 1856.”  This charter, of course, made Paducah a third-class city and changed the whole order of municipal control.

Hopkinsville Kentuckian, Christian County, Kentucky

Thursday, December 22, 1910

Aged Lawyer Dies

Col. Q. Q. Quigley Passes Away at Paducah

Paducah, Kentucky, Dec. 19 – Following a congestive chill, Quintus Q. Quigley, of this city, one of the most prominent lawyers in Western Kentucky, died today from the effects.  He was 82 years old and Paducah’s first City Attorney.  For several years Col. Quigley was local attorney for the Illinois Central, but when his son, Ike Quigley, died three years ago, he resigned to private life and had not practiced his profession since.  Col. Quigley was one of the incorporators of Paducah and left a large estate.

News Democrat, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Tuesday, December 20, 1910

Colonel Q. Q. Quigley

The death of Mr. Quintus Q. Quigley, which occurred Monday afternoon, as is announced elsewhere in this issue, removes from Paducah and the state one of its leading legal lights.  Col. Quigley, as he was familiarly known wherever he was known at all, was a gentleman of the old school, as the term is used, being talented in a high degree, polished in all the word implies and possessed of signal abilities as a speaker and excellence as a lawyer, of which profession he ranks through many years as with few peers if any at all.  Some sixty years of his long and useful life were spent in Paducah and no man ever had more valued friends nor one who more justly deserved them.  He was a resident of Paducah when the town was made a city and was the first city attorney the place ever had, and the filling of this office was his only public service, as he preferred the practice of his profession to an official career, though he had often to resist preferment in this regard at the hands of those who recognized his worth and ability to fill the highest places of trust within their gift.  Following his profession Mr. Quigley occupied high places and for many years was the local attorney for the roads which are now a part of the Illinois Central system out of this city.  Several years since he retired from active life and sought the comforts and pleasures of an elegant home in the beautiful suburb of Arcadia, from which he removed but a few weeks ago to spend the winter in the city with his only daughter and son-in-law, at their elegant home on Broadway.  Though his years numbered many his general robustness warded off the usual ravages of age and Colonel Quigley was often upon the streets of Paducah and he had been missed there.

The Owensboro Messenger, Daviess County, Kentucky

Wednesday, December 21, 1910

Dean of Paducah Bar Passes Away

Paducah, Ky., Dec. 20 – Colonel Quintus Q. Quigley, one of Paducah’s oldest residents and heads of prominent families, died at 1:30 o’clock this afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George Langstaff, 800 Broadway, from the effects of a congestive chill, which he suffered at 9:30 a.m.  He was 82 years old and was a very distinguished man.  He was one of the incorporators of Paducah in 1858, composing the board of trustees.

The News Democrat, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Wednesday, March 1, 1911

Mrs. Mary E. Quigley Dies

Unable to withstand the shock of her distinguished husband’s death.

Long and Useful Life comes to a Close

Funeral Services Will Be Held This Afternoon, With Burial at Oak Grove Cemetery

Her failing health unable to withstand the shock of her husband’s death, over two months ago, Mrs. Mary E. Quigley, 76 years old, died at 2:10 o’clock Tuesday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. George Langstaff, 800 Broadway.

Mrs. Quigley was the wife of the late Q. Q. Quigley, a prominent lawyer of this city, who died about two months ago.  At that time Mrs. Quigley’s health was becoming bad.  Since then her conditions have become steadily worse and her life had been despaired of for some days.

Mary Eliza Husbands, wife of Q. Q. Quigley, February 12, 1833 – February 28, 1911.

Mrs. Quigley was formerly Miss Elizabeth Husbands, daughter of Col. and Mrs. James Husbands.  She was born and reared in Paducah and had spent practically all of her life in this city.  A faithful member of the Episcopal church and a woman of lovable personality.  Mrs. Quigley had made numerous friends during her long life in Paducah.

Surviving her is her daughter, Mrs. Langstaff, and one son, Bruce Quigley, of Enid, Okla., and one sister, Miss Lizzie Husbands, of New Orleans.

Funeral services will take place this afternoon at 3 o’clock at Grace Episcopal church.  The Rev. E. C. McAllister will officiate.  Burial will be in Oak Grove cemetery.  The pall bearers will be:  Messrs. Stephen Menard, Robert Noble, W. F. Bradshaw, Alex Kirkland, Calhoun Rieke and Cook Husbands.

The Paducah Sun, Sunday, McCracken County, Kentucky

Sunday, June 26, 1988

Together Again

Langstaff descendants reunite at Angles after 50 years

In June 1938, members of the Langstaff family gathered at The Angles for a farewell picnic.  They were turning the property over to U.S. Senator Alben Barkley.  Saturday, the 18 living descendants of George and Ina Langstaff reunited at the former homeplace for the first time in 50 years.

It was over a hundred years ago, in the mid-1800s, Quintus Q. Quigley, a Paducah attorney, had saved $1,000 to buy a ring for his wife, Mary Husbands Quigley.  The ring had to be so special that he took her all the way to Chicago to select it.  But in all of Chicago, or so it seemed, none was special enough.

One day, the couple hitched up their buggy and took a drive into the country.  There they discovered the prettiest farm they’d ever seen.  It contained about 50 acres in three separate parcels of land which angled at one juncture.

The price of the land was $1,000.

The Quigley’s used the ring money to purchase the land.  The house they built was call “They Angles.”

The story of the origin of The Angles was one of many told by the couple’s daughter, Quintina (Ina) Quigley Langstaff to entertain her grandchildren when they came to visit on weekends and during their summer holidays.  She had inherited the farm from her parents and she and her husband, George, kept it as a summer residence.

Their grandson, George Q. Langstaff, of Nashville, Tennessee, recalled his youth at Angles.

“It was an exciting place, because of all the different people that would be in and out.”

“It was country back in those days.  It was a working farm and they had an orchard, grapes, all sorts of farm-type activities.”

It was also a favorite hunting place for the Langstaff grandsons.

“I can remember many wonderful occasions on Sunday mornings,” he said.  “There was always a big breakfast on the table with five different entrees.”

“I can remember my grandmother marshalling the young children up and down the hall in military fashion.  Then she’d sit us down in the hall and tell us stories of the old days at Angles.”

Some of the stories were documented in a journal kept by her father.  Another “ring” story, Langstaff said, “dealt with the fact that great-grandmother Mary Husbands Quigley, Q. Q.’s wife, always wanted to buy a ring for her husband but had never been able to afford it.

“One day, she got the idea that she could sell her hair.  She cut off all her long hair, and her little daughter Ina told on her to my great-grandfather.

“He came to his wife and said, ‘What are you planning to do with your hair?’

“She said, ‘I want to sell it”

“He said, “I’ll do it for you,’ took it, and gave her $25 he said he had received for her hair.  She bought a wedding ring with it.  But he secretly kept the hair and passed it down to his daughter as a keepsake of her mother, with the idea that she would pass it on to her oldest daughter.”

Although the story is true, Langstaff said, no one in the family has been able to locate Mary Quigley’s hair.

Langstaff has traced the family history through his great-grandfather’s journal.  He told about the house.

“It strapped him financially to build it,” George Langstaff said.  “He intended to spend $6,000 and spent $8,000.  He was in dire financial trouble for a while.”

The Angles remained in the Langstaff family until 1938, when it was sold to U.S. Sen. Alben Barkley.  In June of that year, all generations of the family gathered on the lawn for a final picnic before turning the property over to the Barkleys.  It was not a happy occasion.

Langstaff, who was 13, recalled the day.  “I thought how sad it was,” he said.  “I thought I would never go back again.  This was our farewell.  I just love the place.”

Saturday, the 18 living descendants of George and Ina Langstaff were reunited for the first time in 50 years.

The idea for a reunion came about last year, when Langstaff’s cousin, Morton Langstaff of Alexandria, Va., returned here for a brief visit and contacted the current owners of The Angles, Dr. James and Anne Gwinn.

The Virginian was graciously received at the former homeplace.  When he mentioned a possibility of a Langstaff reunion in Paducah, he was invited to hold it at the original site.

Family members present for the 50th anniversary celebration at Angles were Katharine Langstaff Pierson, daughter of George and Ina Langstaff, and the only surviving member of her generation; the grandchildren, Ina Clair Langstaff McKenzie, Morton and Cathy Langstaff, Jon and Faith Langstaff, Bill and Susan Langstaff Bowman, Robert and Calista Langstaff, Sam and Margie Langstaff, Quint Langstaff, Witt and Helen Langstaff, George and Mickey Langstaff, and Margo Langstaff, widow of James D. (Pete) Langstaff.

The Paducah Sun, McCracken County, Kentucky

Monday, January 24, 2000

This is the real-life journal of Quintus Quincy Quigley

In the mid-1800’s, Quintus Quincy Quigley began writing his innermost thoughts in a journal he called his friend.  As the years passed, Quigley chronicled achievements and heartaches as well as events in Paducah and the nation.

His writings were intended to paint a rich heritage for his children and grandchildren.  Now, nearly 90 years after his death, his great-grandson, George Quigley Langstaff, Jr., has taken the time to transcribe 50 years of Quigley’s innermost thoughts into “The Life and Times of Quintus Quincy Quigley:  1828-1910.”

Langstaff, a former Paducahan who lives in Nashville, Tenn., didn’t intend the book for public distribution.  Only 150 copies were printed by a Brentwood, Tennessee, publisher, and the copies were distributed to family members and historical societies.  But now he may change his mind.

“I am giving some thought on how to produce more copies and offer them to the public,” Langstaff said from his home.

Langstaff and his wife, Mickey, read through 793 pages of Quigley’s flowing handwriting and prose and began transcribing it 14 years ago.  Langstaff said the challenge was trying to decipher his great-grandfather’s handwriting, and trying to put first names with some of the people he mentioned.  He inherited the journals upon the death of his aunt, Faith Langstaff, in whose care the journals had been placed years earlier.

“I had heard of Quintus Quincy Quigley,” Langstaff said, “but I really didn’t know him as a human being.  I feel very close to him.  I now know him intimately.  I can see the way in which his life unfolded, and the way he faced frustrations in terms of family, finances and what the children are going to do when they grow up.”

In his journal, Quigley, a state senator and lawyer, uses flowing language to describe his life, his work and his challenges.  He sometimes criticizes himself for not spending enough time writing to his “friend.”  And he seems hard on himself for his commitment to his family.

“I am sad and gloomy tonight,” he wrote Sunday night, January 24, 1869.  “Conscience has been greatly applying the merited lash all day, developing repentance genuine and I hope profitable.  Without just excuses, without any such pretext, I stayed in town last night until two o’clock playing cards for money when I knew that she (his wife, Mary) was not very well and would pout and fuss until she would grow hoarse.  And this, too, after one or two promises to her and others to myself that I would not again permit a desire for gain or pleasure induce me to render her uneasy by my absence.”

Other entries give a glimpse into the city’s history.  For instance, on Wednesday, April 25, 1866, he wrote about the last troop of Negro soldiers leaving the city “for the first time in over four years to revel in the visions of peace.  The town begins to assume somewhat of its old looks and habits.”

In the spring of 1873, he chronicled a cholera outbreak.  His wife feared she had the dreaded disease, but he suspected it was female trouble.

“He gives some interesting insights such as when the first lights were on the streets of Paducah,” Langstaff said.  “He gives an interesting insight into social functions in a small town with the blossoming of Arcadia, a section of Paducah around Brazelton Junior High School that was developed, and the first fair the city ever had or how they would entertain themselves in the evening with social outings.”

The book also details the founding of Angles, the home on Blandville Road that Alben Barkley bought.  It is now owned by Jim and Anne Gwinn.  The story was that Quigley searched the cities for a special diamond ring, costing $500, for his wife.  After the trip, he and his wife looked at property on Blandville Road and decided that instead of buying the diamond, they would buy the property instead, said Barron White, a Paducah historian.

Langstaff said he was fascinated by the writings of how Angles was constructed.  Even back then the construction cost outweighed its estimate by several thousand dollars.

In poring through the writings Langstaff was frustrated at times by the gaps.  Certain major historical events were omitted, and there were weeks, months or even years that passed without an entry.  “I guess that’s the way historical research is,” Langstaff said.  “You just have to piece a lot of things together.”

John E. Robertson, a Paducah historian, read the manuscript and helped fill in the missing history.  “I was delighted to see his impressions about the events of the Civil War,” Robertson said.  “He played a major role in many areas of life of the community.  He was always known as a fellow of great stories.”

White said despite the gaps, he enjoyed the book.  “I don’t think it was writing the story of Paducah,” he said.  “He was wanting to relate the way that he lived.  I think George did a terrific job of deciphering his handwritten notes.  In the evenings sometimes, if he had a few toddies, it was really hard to read.”

Langstaff chose not to translate the language of a century ago into today’s terms.  He cited “standing on the tiptoe of excitement” as one of the more colorful phrases.

The book is available at the Paducah Public Library.  Copies were given to Grace Episcopal Church, Paducah Community college, the University of Kentucky, the Filson Club in Louisville, family members and several community leaders.  It is not available to purchase – yet.

How I would love to have this book!  I found one on Amazon and bought it!


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