Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
The City of Maples Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary!

John Edmund McQuary ~ November 30, 1848 - July 9, 1923

Submitted by Arlene Gabriel Washington [great-granddaughter of John Edmund McQuary]

John Edmund McQuary was the fifth of eleven children of Humphrey and Catharine Buster McQuary who had moved from Pulaski County, KY to Macon County, MO about 1841. He was born on the McQuary farm between Atlanta and Economy on November 30, 1848. His grandparents, Michael and Charlotte Black Buster, lived about a mile and a half north of the McQuarys, and there was undoubtedly visiting back and forth between the two families. His mother was the oldest of the Buster children, and her youngest brother, Mitchell, was only four years older than John.

John's oldest brother, Allen, enlisted in the Union army in the fall of 1861. This meant more responsibility fell on his shoulders at 13 and his brother William at 17. Allen received a gunshot wound on May 16th in the Battle of Champion Hill near Vicksburg. Before he died at Lawson General Hospital in St. Louis in August of 1863, his parents honored his request to name their new son born on June 29th, Ulysses Grant McQuary in honor of his general, Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1871 John married a newcomer to Macon County, Lucy Jane Chessman. They exchanged their marriage vows at the home of his sister and brother-in-law - Mollie and James J. Bristow in Shelby County on January 1st, 1871. The following year the first of their ten children, Edwin Irving "Irv" was born.

John Edmund McQuaryLucy Jane Chessman McQuary
John Edmund McQuary [11/30/48-7/9/23] and wife Lucy Jane Chessman McQuary
- taken in Macon MO prior to them leaving for Centerville [now Athena] OR in 1883

John Humphrey McQuaryIvah Mae McQuary (Mae)
John Humphrey McQuary and Ivah Mae McQuary (Mae) - both of these pictures were taken on July 4th, 1880 in Macon, MO

Lucy's father was a typesetter and he moved quite often, being in Macon County only a few years before moving to Blair, Nebraska. John, Lucy, and young Irv also moved to Blair about 1873. There, two more children were born - John Humphrey in 1874 (my grandfather) and Ivah Mae in 1877. (Though born in Nebraska, Grandpa always proudly claimed Missouri as his home state, and would boast that he could be as stubborn as a Missouri mule.)

After Mae was born, the McQuarys returned to Macon County where John resumed farming. During this stay in Macon, two more daughters were born - Lauretta in 1879 and Daisy Maud in 1881.

Tragically, John and Lucy lost both of these little girls in the early part of 1882.

In 1883 John, Lucy, and their three children boarded the train which would take them to Centerville (now Athena), in the wheat-growing area of northeast Oregon. Lucy's parents and two of her brothers had moved there about 1880.

Soon after John and Lucy's arrival in Centerville, Lucy gave birth to a third son, Carl Forrest. Carl's birth was followed by Annah Jayn in 1886, Cara Lelia "Carrie" in 1888, and Iona Zoe in 1890.

John evidently had his fill of farming, because after he left Macon County, he never farmed again. Centerville was a town of about 1200, was on the railroad line, and was a service center for local farmers. John owned a lumber mercantile business there, the family living about three blocks away from where he worked.

By association with his grandfather Chessman, young Irv developed an interest in the newspaper business. He became part owner and the editor of the Aethena Press when he was only fifteen years old, thus becoming the youngest newspaper editor in Oregon's history.

Death once more struck a young daughter when little Zoe died in 1891. She was buried next to her grandparents in the tree-covered hillside cemetery outside of town.

Not long after Zoe's death, John moved his family about twenty miles north to the larger town of Milton. He purchased the Milton Hotel, which accommodated about twenty five boarders. Here their tenth child, Otho Leo, was born. While at Milton, John was only about twenty five miles away from his younger brother, Dr. Harvey L. McQuary, who had moved to Dayton, WA in 1904.

John Humphrey McQuary and Edwin Irving McQuary (Irv)
Edwin Irving McQuary (Irv) [on the left]
and John Humphrey McQuary [on right]
- taken approximately 1900 in Milton, OR

John Humphrey McQuary and Carl Forrest McQuary
Carl Forrest McQuary [on left] and John Humphrey McQuary - taken approximately 1900 in Milton, OR

In addition to being the proprietor of the hotel, John was also appointed Justice of the Peace for the Milton district. In this position, he officiated at the marriage of his son, John H. to Mary May "Mamie" Hardesty on June 19, 1900.

Like his father, John H. didn't "take to farming" either, so in 1908 they sold the farm and moved to Tacoma where John bought a grocery store.

They later moved to Lewis County where John bought and successfully ran another grocery/general merchandise store.

John H. and Mamie had both applied for homesteads in Adams County, Washington. Mamie received the land patent, and John and Mamie moved to the Washtuchna area where John became a successful wheat farmer. Their son, Roy Edmund, had been born in Milton before they left, and their daughter Lucy Areta (my mother) was born on the farm in 1907.

In March of 1901 The Milton Eagle reported that seventeen year old Carl McQuary was once again ill with "la grippe", this being his second relapse in a month. A week later, the paper reported that young Carl had died, the immediate cause of death being blood poisoning.

John and Lucy McQuary were once again to mourn the death of two of their children in the same year. Their oldest son, Irv had been working on a newspaper in Dillon, MT when ill health and overwork forced him to resign his position in 1900, and return to Milton for a much needed rest. Soon after going to work at the Milton Eagle, Irv's mind became unbalanced and he was committed to the asylum in Salem for treatment. He died there on June 15th, leaving a wife and four daughters - aged four months to five years. The youngest girl, Madge, was raised by her McQuary grandparents and her Aunt Anna and Uncle Asa.

The second of John and Lucy's children to be married at the City Hotel was their daughter Anna who married Asa Troyer in 1906. Asa would become city treasurer of Tacoma, WA a position he held for thirty five years.

John and Lucy with their two youngest children, Carrie and Leo. and their granddaughter Madge, moved to Tacoma, WA in 1907. John owned a grocery and general mercantile store there. Anna and Asa Troyer and John and Mae McQuary McRae also moved to Tacoma.

John and Lucy's youngest daughter, Carrie, married Rosco Randall Renfo in 1910. Rosco managed furniture stores in Tacoma and Seattle before moving his family to Los Angeles, where he owned an upscale furniture store.

The McQuary's youngest son, Leo, was tall and athletic, and played three sports at Tacoma High School, where he was a pitching phenom. After his freshman year, Leo was signed by Vancouver of the old Northwestern League. To gain more experience, he was sent to Moosejaw of the Western Canada League. As a seventeen year old, Leo's 16-4 pitching record was largely responsible for the club's winning the Western Canada championship. Leo's arm went bad after the 1913 season, and he joined the Pendleton (Oregon) club as an outfielder. Leo returned to Tacoma where he married Margaret Joyce in 1919. Leo and Margaret's son, Jack, inherited his father's athletic ability and played fullback on the varsity football team for three years at the University of California (Berkeley). Jack had been in the Naval Reserve and after Pearl Harbor he joined the Navy, receiving his wings in 1942. He remained in the Navy, attaining the rank of full commander by 1961.

In 1919 Lucy Jane Chessman McQuary passed away. John lived with his daughter Anna for about a year. He remarried, but little is known about his second wife. John Edmund McQuary died in Tacoma on July 9, 1923 at the home of his daughter Anna.

Maple Bar

Site Design by Perfect Sites Web Design - © 1999-
All content © - Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Committee

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Macon, Missouri at the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!