Letter to the Editor: Quincy’s location was ideal for major transportation hub in 1860


This illustration gives a birds-eye view of Quincy in 1859. | Photo courtesy of Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County

Quincy in mid-1800s was quite a contrast to your Planes, Trains and Automobiles story.

Below is from a manuscript I am working on about William Henry Seward’s stop in Quincy on way to Kansas while campaigning for Lincoln in 1860.

Quincy, Illinois Likely Stop: Quincy’s location at the western most extension of the state on the Mississippi River was ideal for a major transportation hub. By 1860, Quincy had become a vital transportation connection both from the east and west, being a significant stopping point before continuing travels. It was a hub for going north to Chicago, south to St. Louis and to many other points. Steamboat landings from river traffic and three railroads assured Quincy importance to regional and even national transportation networks. Quincy size as the third largest city in Illinois reflected its importance. As a large, major hub, Quincy’s bid and plea for a campaign stop was more likely to be realized among competing communities.

The sources for my manuscript are David Costigan’s “A City in Wartime: Quincy, Illinois and the Civil War” written in 2021 and Carl Landrum’s 1986 book, “Quincy in the Civil War: A view of the great conflict as seen through the eyes of a Quincy historian.”


Rudy Ray Seward
Professor Emeritus of Sociology
University of North Texas
Denton, Texas

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