Friday, February 1, 2013

Freeze Quick (1871-1946)


   The name would be Freeze Quick. Ponder that for a minute. Freeze Quick. While this intriguingly named Pennsylvanian may sound like he has a made up name, he was in fact a real person, being a prominent resident in his native Columbia County. I first discovered this obscure figure via the politicalgraveyard website many years ago and in all that time Mr. Quick remained one of the most mysterious people I've stumbled across, having no available birth or death dates, parent's names, education or burial location!
   With this distinct lack of information on him, I was beginning to think that Mr. Quick would forever remain that obscure Pennsylvania Democratic National Convention delegate with the seemingly made up name..... that was until I established some e-mail correspondence with the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society in early December of last year!  With these e-mail exchanges, Columbia County Historical Society director Bonnie Farver came to my rescue in regard to Mr. Quick, and through our correspondence a number of new details on Quick's life have come to light, including some background on his highly unusual name. Bonnie also sent the above picture of Mr. Quick as well as an obituary/internment record for him, which helped out significantly in terms of information!
   Freeze Quick's story begins with his birth on September 10, 1870 in Rupert, Pennsylvania, the son of William McBride Quick (born 1841) and his wife Mary Gosse Freeze. Through Bonnie Farver's extensive research on our subject, an ancestry.com related article detailing the Quick family was found that relates that William was employed as a blacksmith, and that in the 1880 census the Quick household had one child, listed as "G.F. Quick". 
   With this information in hand, my suspicions were confirmed that Freeze looks to have had first name other than the one listed here, and that the "G" for a first name possibly stood for either "Grier" (his grandfather William's middle name) or "Gosse" (his mother's name was Mary Gosse Freeze). All other mentions of Mr. Quick that appeared in newspapers and other documents of the time list him under the name "Freeze Quick", as does his internment record at the Old Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg. One can surmise that Freeze dropped his first name at some point in his early life, as the 1900 census lists him under the misspelled name "Freize Quick", without the first initial "G." In any case, "Freeze" was what Quick chose to go by during his life and it was the name he was buried under......and it seems as far as history is concerned he'll forever remain "Freeze Quick"!
  Quick's 1946 obituary in the Morning Press newspaper notes that he "was born and raised in Rupert" and most likely attended the public schools of this town. Quick remained a lifelong bachelor and was recorded as making his home with a Ms. Maud Derr in Bloomsburg. Little else could be found in regards to Quick's early life or education, so we jump forward now to 1899, when Quick was elected as Secretary of the Bloomsburg Town Council. Quick was one of three candidates for the office and was noted by the Bloomsburg Columbian as being elected on the second ballot.

                                             From the April 17, 1902 Bloomsburg Columbian.

   In the year following his service as secretary, Quick became employed as an assistant to then Columbia County prothonotary and clerk of courts C.M. Terwilinger. Quick was elected to the office of Columbia County prothonotary in his own right in 1908 and reelected in 1911 for another term of three years. Quick also held the post of clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions and of the Orphan's Court during this time period and is listed as such in the article below.


  While Freeze Quick's service as Columbia County's prothonotary can be considered an elected public office, it is his service as a delegate to the 1912 and 1916 Democratic National Conventions that earns him a place here. The Democratic National Convention of 1912 was held in Baltimore that year and Quick traveled to Maryland to take part in the convention proceedings. The New York Herald notes that Quick stayed at the Belvidere Hotel in that city, and many of his fellow delegates and hotel guests were perplexed by his unique name, as evidenced by the article below!

From the June 1912 New York Herald.

   Quick's odd name and service as an alternate delegate to the 1916 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis. Missouri gained him plenty of attention in newspapers of the time. In one of those strange historical twists, there was another interestingly named delegate to this convention. His name? Icy W. Day of  Mississippi! This odd side story was picked up by the New York Sun, who published an editiorial that stated "if any newspaper reader, or newspaper owner, managing editor, telegraph editor, telegrapher, linotyper, proofreader, stereotyper or copyboy passes up these opening words lightly because of refusal to believe that there is a Mississippi delegate named Icy Day or a Pennsylvania alternate named Freeze Quick, he's making a consummate ass of himself, that's all."  After reading the below write up on the convention, one can almost imagine these two oddly named characters palling around the St. Louis Convention Hall together!

From the June 1916 edition of the New York Sun.

   In the years that followed his service as a DNC delegate, Quick continued to be a prominent figure in Bloomsburg, maintaining memberships in a number of local fraternal organizations. His obituary in the Morning Press notes that he was a past governor of the Bloomsburg  Lodge #623 of the Royal Order of Moose on several occasions and was the lodge's representative to Great Britain at an international conference. Quick was also a past librarian for the Columbia County Fair Association, a member of the Washington Lodge #265 of Free and Accepted Masons, and a parishioner at the St. Paul's Episcopal Church. In addition to his various civic activities, Quick is mentioned as being an experienced hunter and fisherman.
  Freeze Quick died at age 75 on July 31, 1946 at the Bloomsburg Hospital. His obituary notes that he had been in a period of declining health for two years, and during his hospital stay had his name featured in a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" newspaper cartoon. The Morning Press obituary below appeared on August 1, 1946 and was graciously sent to me by Bonnie Farver.


   A few days following his death, Freeze Quick was interred at the Old Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg. A number of Freeze's relatives and descendants are also buried in this cemetery, including his grandparents William Grier Quick (1815-1879) and Sarah MacBride Quick, who died in December 1887. In addition to the above obituary, Bonnie Farver was also kind enough to send me a print of Freeze Quick's internment record at Rosemont, a portion of which is shown below. This record also notes Quick's death was caused by "chronic myocarditis". 


  As stated in the lengthy introduction to Quick's profile here, this article would not have been possible without the generous help and research of Bonnie Farver and the Columbia County Historical Society. Because of their extensive input and fact finding, Freeze Quick now has a face to place with his amazing name, and with all of the information that I was graciously supplied with by the above mentioned folks, he now has at least one substantial biography online that details his life and exploits! A thousand thanks for all of your help!!
  The picture of Freeze Quick shown above was featured in a 1940 Bloomsburg newspaper print that was sent to me by Bonnie Farver. A full version of the above picture is shown below.

                                Freeze Quick is shown on the extreme right in the above portrait.

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