Senator Robert Pollok Quigley View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 9/10/1926
Birth Place: Millville, IA
Birth County: Clayton
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 33 (1909) - 36 (1915)
Home County: Clayton
Robert Pollok Quigley
Clayton County


MR. PRESIDENT: Your committee appointed to prepare resolutions commemorating the life, character and public service of Robert Pollok Quigley of McGregor, Clayton county, Iowa, begs leave to submit the following report:

Robert Pollok Quigley was born at the home of his grandparents, John and Mary Griffith, in Millville, Clayton county, Iowa, December 31, 1844. His parents, Joseph Beatty Quigley and Nancy Griffith, were married there in 1838 by James Nilson; first chief justice of Iowa Territory. His early childhood was spent on Buck creek in Jefferson township. His first schooling was in the home under tutelage of Miss Esther Quigley, who came from Ohio to instruct her brother’s children. Later they attended school at Ceres, on the highlands, three miles distant. The children frequently glimpsed wolves, deer or wildcats on the way.

When Robert was eleven years old his parents moved to a prairie farm in Highland township, where opportunities for schooling were better. In 1861 he enrolled in Upper Iowa University at Fayette where his brother and sister had already attended two years. In 1864 he left college with a group of fellow students to join the “hundred-day men” for Civil War service in the 46th Iowa. Mr. Quigley re-enlisted in the 15th Iowa and served to the end of the war.

In 1866 he entered the law office of Elizah Odell at McGregor. His legal training was received with him and with Judge John T. Stoneman. In 1869, before he was admitted to the bar, he was nominated for city attorney. He served the city in this capacity nearly forty years and was four years county attorney. He was a member of the State Senate from 1909 to 1917. In 1919 he closed his office after fifty years of active practice.

He was married November 24, 1875, to Blanche Jacobs. Four children were born to them—Iola, Georgia, Joseph Hale and Adaline (Mrs. I. D. Fox). Mrs. Blanche Quigley died May 17, 1911. One brother, George Washington Quigley, still lives in California.

Because of failing health Mr. Quigley went to the home of his daughters in Des Moines, October, 1925. He was in a local hospital for seven months before his death, September 10, 1926. Services were held at the Methodist church in McGregor, Rev. Richard Prescott officiating. The Odd Fellows, of which order Mr. Quigley was a member for fifty-four years, had charge of the ceremony at the grave.

Robert Quigley lived his life in the county in which he was born. His memories span the period of statehood. He had the sterling qualities of the pioneer; loyalty to his friends, kindness to his neighbors, were to him a gospel. He is sincerely mourned by the community which he served in many ways during his long career. Another of the old oaks has fallen. Strange it is that out of that peculiar and unique northeastern corner of Iowa have come so many men and characters that have guided the destiny of this state. From there came Henderson, Allison and Shiras, and in their lesser way in service to the state came those other stalwarts who have helped in their own way to mold the history of our commonwealth. Not least among these all was Robert Pollok Quigley. His friends and those who knew him loved him, and liked to call him “Bob.” This was the accolade of his knighthood in the chivalry of friendship and affection. Men and women came to him with all their tribulations, and little children with their broken dolls and all their tearful tragedies of childhood, and all found surcease.

He was a forceful character for years in his own community, a lawyer of the old school, forceful, able and scholarly. More than that, what every real lawyer should be, an advocate without charge or fee as a bulwark to protect the poor, the humble and the oppressed. His record cannot be written here. It is written upon the hearts of three generations who knew him and loved him. And so he died rich. Not rich perhaps as the modern world counts worldly wealth, but rich in good deeds, unselfish sacrifice; rich in little children’s love and old men’s prayers.

“And so, sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust,

Approached his grave like one who wraps the mantle of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be spread upon the journal of the Senate, and that the secretary be directed to send an engrossed copy thereof to the family of the deceased.