Bert Eugene Quick
Bert was born in 1866 to Reuben and Phebe Jane Barber Quick. Reuben Quick was the foreman for the first bridge built over the Grand River, and was a part of the partnership of Pawlison & Quick that built the first saw mill in 1871. The saw mill was on the east side of Flat River, north of today’s Main Street. They did the carpentry work on the Methodist church, the State Bank building, and the Graham block. Reuben Quick then stayed with the saw mill in the partnership of King, Quick & King. Upon his death in 1906, Reuben Quick was said to have been the “oldest and best” resident of Lowell. When Phebe Jane died it was said she was ready at all times to aid the needy or troubled without thought of remuneration or reward. Later, Bert was to show the world through his writings, the bold hero that his mother really was.
As his world centered around logging and lumbering, it was said that the entire Flat River Valley was Bert’s playground. He grew up listening to the recalling of Civil War events from his father and his father’s friends, the old veterans of town. Reuben Quick had served as an Lieutenant with Company I of the 26th Michigan Infantry, which was made up mainly of Lowell area boys.
Bert did not follow in his father’s footsteps. By the time he reached adulthood, the logging boom was settling down and his father retired. Bert’s early occupation adventure was a hardware store. He then purchased an entire half page ad to sell a carload of refrigerators. The refrigerators sold in a single day. His self-learned practical knowledge of merchandising was beneficial in establishing his own advertising agency. It turned out he was quite an advertising genius. He went on to write the first four page full color magazine advertisement in American history. In 1907 he changed careers yet again, becoming an accountant, specializing in estate and inheritance taxation.
It was during his retirement time that Bert reconnected with his hometown and hometown friends. He wrote a three chapter recollection, publishing one chapter a week in the Lowell Ledger, for the 1931 Centennial celebration and left a treasure for future Lowell residents. The title is “The Story of a Friendship, Nerve, Intrigue and Interesting Early-Day Incidents”. The article recounts an incident from 1871 in which his mom, Phebe Jane, took him on an adventure to save the life of her best friend’s son. On this adventure they battled a storm, muddy ‘roads’, a scared, powerful but obedient quarter-horse, fording the Flat River and an out of control Sheriff from Boone County Kansas. Bert goes into extreme detail on everyone they saw on their adventure. From the perspective of looking back after sixty years, he also gives biographical sketches where he can. It is indeed a treasure as it gives a look at life in 1871 and how the politics of post-Civil War times affected Lowell. He even manages to include the great Chicago fire. The tale ends with his mother successfully saving a young man from a lynching. The investigation later exonerated the young man.
It was said in his obituary in 1939 that “through his entire life, the town of Lowell held a fascination for Bert. He knew virtually every home and farm property in the Lowell - Vergennes region, who cleared the farm, who built the home when and why it changed hands. The waters and hills of Lowell were his ideas of paradise; and perhaps the happiest days of his life were those spent in Lowell after his retirement and after he had remodeled his home and old family property.”
To Read Bert Quick's articles click on the links
https://mcusercontent.com/.../d6359553.../08_06_1931.pdf Page 1
https://mcusercontent.com/.../864a87f8.../08_13_1931.pdf Page 6
https://mcusercontent.com/.../2c687937.../08_20_1931.pdf Page 2