From the Past

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Winter 2003,
Winter 2003
Original Images:




Centennial History of Michigan:

Round Grove, Illinois, and was engaged in the grain commission business until he became a resident of Chicago.

After his return to Michigan in the spring of 1860 he settled in Ypsilanti and assisted in organizing the First National Bank, of which he served both as vice president and president. The bank was organized November 25, 1863, and he became its chief executive officer January 13, 1865. In 1865 he was one of the organizers of the Ypsilanti Woolen Manufacturing Company, which later became the Hay & Todd Company and more recently the Ypsilanti Underwear Company. On the 3rd of April, 1867, Mr. Quirk aided in organizing the Peninsular Paper Company and on July 7, 1887, was made its president, which position he held until his death.

With James F. Joy and others he was active in the building of the Hillsdale Railroad from Ypsilanti to Hillsdale and in 1872 was one of the builders of the Eel River Railroad. In 1874 he again went to Chicago, where he was a member of the packing firm known as the B. F. Murphy Packing Company and was associated with the packing interests of the city until 1880, when his packing interests took him to East St. Louis, Illinois, and he was there president and general manager of the East St. Louis Packing & Provision Company. His connection with Michigan interests continued all through these years and he became associated with its agricultural development through his ownership and operation of several farms in the vicinity of Ypsilanti. From 1852 until 1854 he was auditor of Wayne County, Michigan.

In 1843 Daniel L. Quirk married Nancy Scott, of Lodi, Michigan, who died in 1850, leaving a daughter, Nancy, who became the wife of Charles P. Ferrier, of Ypsilanti, both now deceased. On November 16, 1852, Mr. Quirk wedded Priscilla Frain, daughter of Henry Frain, and they had three children: Elizabeth, born in Sterling, Illinois, August 31, 1855, who became the wife of Ira P. Younglove, of Chicago; Jennie (Quirk) Cornwell, born in Chicago, December 3, 1859, who made her home in Ypsilanti; and Daniel Lace Jr., the only son, who became his father's successor in business. Daniel Lace Quirk, who passed away in 1911, was spoken of by one historian as “a rugged, honest, grand old man of a type that built our nation,” while another said prior to his death: “Venerable and honored, his name is inseparably interwoven with the history of Michigan, with the development of its railroads, with the great packing industry of the country and with banking.”

Daniel Lace Quirk Jr. was a student at the University of the South in Sewance. Tennessee, from 1887 to 1889 and gained his Bachelor of philosophy degree at the University of Michigan. Where he was a student from 1890 to 1894. His college fraternity is the Alpha Delta. He became associated with his father in Important business enterprises and is today president of the Peninsular Paper Company, one of the major productive industries of this section of Michigan. He also was chosen vice president and a director of the United Stove Company. He was cashier of the First national Bank from 1809 until 1911, when he became president, which position he retained until March 6, 1933, when President Roosevelt unnecessarily declared a bank holiday and closed the bank.

Michigan Biography:

Daniel Quirk Jr., President of the Peninsular Paper Company and vice president and director of the United Stove Company, resides in Ypsilanti, where he was born February 26, 1871, a son of Daniel Lace and Priscilla (Frain) Quirk. His father, who died in 1911, was one of the prominent business men of the city and for many years was president of the First National Bank, also occupied the position of president of the Peninsular Paper Company and was associated with other leading commercial enterprises here. He was born at their country place in the parish of Kirk-Patrick near Glen Maye, two miles from Peel on the Isle of Man, June 15, 1818, his birthplace being the ancestral home of the family through many generations. It was the property of John McQuirk in 1515, of John Quirk in 1600, of a second John Quirk in 1702, of Baby Quirk in 1716. The last named was the heiress of John Quirk and married Thomas Cottier. Their home came into the possession of Eleanor Cottier in 1794 and she married Phil Quirk, having one son, Hugh Quirk.

Hugh Quirk, grandfather of Daniel L. Quirk Jr., became a farmer and vessel owner. He married Ann Lace, a niece of a deemster of the Isle of Man, while her father was an Episcopal clergyman.

Hugh Quirk died in 1861, at the age of seventy-five years, and his wife passed away in 1865, at the age of eighty years. In 1827 he had sold the old family homestead and came to the United States, settling in Rochester, New York, where he conducted a contracting business. Later he lived on a farm near Henrietta in Monroe County, New York, until 1861, when death called him. Both he and his wife were laid to rest in the old cemetery at Henrietta.

Their son, Daniel L. Quirk, who was one of a family of twelve children, was born on the Isle of Man, June 15, 1818, and was eight years of age when his parents came to the new world, so that his youth was largely spent on the home farm in New York until he reached the age of twenty, when he became a carpenter's apprentice and afterward followed the trade for many years. He settled in Ann Arbor and Lodi, where he lived for several years. In 1844 he became an American citizen while a resident of Ann Arbor. In 1847 he purchased the Belleville Mills in Belleville, Wayne County, and continued their operation for several years. After selling out he was at Lyons, Iowa, and Sterling, Illinois, until 1859, when he moved to Chicago and engaged in the commission business as a member of the firm of Dow, Quirk & Company. Later in Chicago he became associated with the Chicago Packing Company in the pork packing business.

In Chicago he became acquainted with James F. Joy, president of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which at that time had been built to Aurora, Illinois, and was projected to Burlington, Iowa. Mr. Quirk was employed to oversee the building of the extension, at a salary of $1,500 a year, but there was considerable delay and while waiting for the work to commence he occupied his time buying and selling livestock and grain. While in Lyons, Iowa, he purchased a hotel for $3,500 and after managing it for eleven months sold the property for $11,000. In 1855 he established his home in Sterling, Illinois, and there purchased a lumber yard and buill a warehouse. He also built warehouses at Morrison and

The military chapter in the life record of D. L. Quirk Jr. began in September, 1915, when he went into training at Camp Sheridan. From August, 1917, to January, 1918, he was a director of the military relief department of the American Red Cross in Michigan. In March, 1918, he sailed for France on the S.S. Chicago for the Red Cross and had his headquarters at St. Mazaire in the Western Zone. He was commissioned a major, A. R. C., December 23, 1918, and on the 27th of January, 1919, sailed from Bordeaux for New York, receiving his discharge in February of that year. He then resumed business activities in Michigan, proving a worthy successor of his father in the control of the Peninsular Paper Company. He built the Quirk Block, one of the best business buildings in Ypsilanti, and he is now vice president of the Ypsilanti Hotel Company. He also has other and varied business interests. It is a matter worthy of note that the old Quirk homestead was given by the children of Mr. Quirk to the city for use as a city hall and has since been the municipal center of Ypsilanti.

On the 21st of October, 1901, Mr. Quirk married Julia Trow-bridge, of Detroit, daughter of General Luther S. Trowbridge, who was born on a farm in Troy township, Oakland County, Michigan, July 28. 1836, his parents being Stephen Van Rensselaer and Elizabeth (Conklin) Trowbridge, the former of Albany, New York, and the latter of Horseheads, Chemung County, New York. They removed from the Empire State to Michigan, where their son Luther was born and reared. He made rapid progress in his studies and when in his sixteenth year entered an academy at Lodi Plains, Washtenaw County, while later he was a student at Yale University, where he had completed the work of the junior year when trouble with his eyes necessitated his giving up further study. However, the University conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree. Later he was a law student in the Detroit oflice of Sidney D. Miller from 1856 to 1858, when he was admitted to the Michigan bar and became a law partner of Hon. Alexander W. Buel, with whom he practiced until 1862. In that year, after having previously refused to accept a commission because of his lack of military experience, followed by instruction from G. W. Rosen, a West Point graduate, he accepted the commission of major in the Fifth Michigan Cavalry and with his troops went to the front in December, 1862. He made a brilliant military record and rose to the rank of brigadier general, being mustered out in 1865. He had participated in a number of the most hotly contested engagements and campaigns of the war.

In January, 1863, he had been appointed provost marshal of East Tennessee and during his residence in that state had made many friends among the southern people, who induced him to remain and engage in law practice there. In 1868 he returned to Michigan and in Detroit soon gained prominence as a member of the bar. In the fall of 1875, without solicitation on his part, he was appointed collector of internal revenue for the eastern district of Michigan and served until 1883. On the 1st of July of that year he entered upon an eighteen months' incumbency in the office of the city comptroller and then resigned to become vice president of the Wayne County Savings Bank. On July 1, 1889, he became confidential secretary to Luther Beecher, who died in September, 1892, after which General Trowbridge was one of the administrators of the estate. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him general appraiser of customs, in which rapacity he served for a number of years. Not only did he figure prominently in legal and public circles, but was also well known because of his musical talent and at one time was president of the Philharmonic Society. He was a stanch Republican from the time he nailed the party flag to the flagpole in front of his father's house in 1856. He was the last survivor of the Early Risers, one of Detroit's first baseball teams, and ever remained a lover of the game. One of his historians said of him: “Though General Trowbridge was a heroic figure throughout the Civil War, he was distinctly a man of peace, kindly, placid, unassuming and sympathetic.” He and his wife held membership in Christ Episcopal Church.

It was in April, 1862, that he married Julia M. Buel, daughter of his law partner, Alexander W. Buel, and her death occurred January 3, 1909, while General Trowbridge passed away January 2, 1912. They had a family of seven children: Clara, deceased, who was the wife of Charles M. Swift; Mary E.; Alexander Buel; Margaret Riggs, the wife of Charles A. Ricks; Luther S., an attorney of Detroit; Julia, the wife of Daniel L. Quirk Jr.; and Edmund Ross, who died at the age of fourteen years. Of this family Alexander Ruel Trowbridge became a nationally known landscape painter and architect. He received the degree Bachelor of Science in architecture at Cornell University in 1890 and attended Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1893 to 1895. He served as director and dean of the College of Architecture of Cornell University from 1897 to 1902 and spent the two succeeding years in special study in Paris. From 1906 to 1921 he was senior partner of the firm of Trowbridge & Aekerman of New York and was thereafter a consulting and practicing architect at the national capital until his retirement in 1937. In the family of Daniel Lace and Julia (Trowbridge) Quirk are four children. Daniel Trowbridgo, who attended the University of Michigan, is now associated with the Peninsular Paper Company. He married Jeanne Grover and they have two children, Daniel Grover and Harrison Preston. Alexander Buel, a graduate of the University of Michigan of the class of 1926, is now in Detroit. He married Mrs. Maxine Ritchie, and they have two children, Jennie Buel and Buel Trowbridge. Julia Buel, who was graduated from Smith College in 1931, is the wife of W. Brace Krag, of Detroit, and has a son, William. Nancy Lace, who was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1937, is the wife of G. Mennen Williams, secretary to Attorney General Murphy in Washington, D. C.

Since his college days Mr. Quirk has been particularly interested in plays and the theatre and has one of the most extensive libraries on this subject in the State. He has also been active in the Ypsilanti Players (a non-professional theatre organization), which he organized in 1915, it being the third in the country. He has ever found pleasure in the study of Ypsilanti's history and he served as chairman and director of the company which produced a pageant on July 3 and 4, 1923, celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city. He has membership in the Board of Commerce, is a past president of the Rotary Club and is connected with the Community Fund.

His political endorsement is given to the Democratic party. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masons and the Knights of Pythias and he belongs to the Episcopal church, while along social lines he has membership with the Detroit Club.