Quier, Mary R.

Mary R. Quier

Mary Quier was a board member of the People’s Library Association in 1897 and then was appointed a trustee for the Free Public Library in 1900. She served on the book committee working tirelessly for the library whether mending books, purchasing new materials or promoting its cause in public.[1] Board president H. W. Hughes paid tribute to her at the Carnegie Library dedication when he described her as “advanced in years, well read, of mature judgement and impulsive temperament. She substitutes zeal for tact and enthusiasm for diplomacy. She talks library by day and dreams it by night. Officially she is the chairman of the book committee. Unofficially, she is the “Mother of the Library.”[2] Mrs. Quire remained a board member until her death at age 80 in 1909.[3] H. W. Hughes, then of Burlington, wrote a tribute to her memory after she passed away. [4]

Mary R. Michener was born into a Quaker family in Columbiana Co., Ohio July 30, 1828, the daughter of James and Eliza Rakestraw Michener.[5] She began teaching school in the local area at age 16. She was also an active worker in the anti-slavery movement.[6] She married Arvine C. Quier May 10,1847.[7] From the age of ten, he had been involved with the underground railroad, helping escaped slaves get to Canada.[8] The family moved to southern Indiana in 1852 where Mr. Quier ran a sawmill and the couple continued their rescue work.[9] While caring for her family of two children, Mrs. Quire also acted as the doctor or nurse in their neighborhood.[10] They moved to Kent, Ohio in 1864, where Mr. Quire worked in a railroad car repair shop.[11] Twenty years later, the Quires moved to West Liberty, Iowa. They purchased farmland a few miles north of the city and a home on Calhoun Street in town.[12] Mrs. Quire immediately was active in the community as a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Presbyterian Ladies’ Aid, the Floriculture Society and later was a Library Trustee.[13] She always promoted the library and often persuaded organizations to hold dinners or entertainment to help support it. She never feared to express her opinions.[14] Following only six days of illness with pneumonia, she died Feb.19,1909. She was survived by her husband, son, Theon Quier of Arapahoe, NE, daughter, Eva Egbert of Chicago and several grandchildren.[15] Burial was at Oak Ridge Cemetery in West Liberty.[16]

– Pam Schnittjer


[1] West Liberty Library Board of Trustees Minutes, Vol 1, p. 1, 11, 28, 58, 143.

[2] West Liberty Index, West Liberty, IA, Jan. 19,1905, p. 12.

[3] Daily Times, Davenport, IA, Feb. 20,1909, p. 1.

[4] West Liberty Library Board Materials, Mrs. Quier Memorial, H. W. Hughes, Undated.

[5] Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 , Salem Monthly Meeting,[database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

[6] West Liberty Index, West Liberty, IA, Feb. 25, 1909, p. 4.

[7] Ancestry.com Stark Co. Ohio Marriage Records, Volume B, page 280. Marriage of Arvine C. Quier and Mary R. Michener May 10, 1847.

[8] The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA, March 12, 1912, p. 12.

[9] Ibid.

[10] West Liberty Index, West Liberty, IA, Feb. 25, 1909, p. 4.

[11] Ancestry.com, 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Brimfield, Portage Co., Ohio, sheet 237.

[12] The Wapsie Index, West Liberty, IA, March 28,1884, p. 5; August 1, 1884, p. 5.

[13] West Liberty Index, West Liberty, IA, Feb. 25, 1909, p. 4.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ancestry.com. Iowa, U.S., Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.