Sixteen years after the city of Quincy, Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River was incorporated into a town, the acts to incorporate the town into a city were drawn up and signed on this day in 1840.
Much has changed in the Gem City these past 175 years, but one suspects that, as Father Solano Hilchenbach, O.F.M. observed in 1887, "an honest slowpoke in dressing-gown and night-cap could very conveniently vegetate here. For change or excitement seldom occur." I've frequently said that Quincy is much like Hobbiton, in that Quincyans are generally content to ignore - and be ignored - by the world about them.
But lest Father Hilchenbach - who always preferred his native Germany to Illinois - give you an unfavorable impression of my beloved hometown, let us not forgot how the Servant of God Father Augustus Tolton described Quincyans to then Archbishop James Gibbons in 1888. The people of Quincy, he wrote, "are really good hearted charitable and nonprejudicial, no feelings of bitterness at all against a man on account of complexion."
I wish I were home to celebrate with my fellow Quincyans, but as it is, I must simply wish the Gem City a happy birthday from Rome.