William Harry Quinn (b. December 1839) was the first owner of the William H. Quinn House. He worked for Huntington, Hopkins and Company, a hardware and manufacturing company owned by two of The Big Four, Collis Huntington and Mark Hopkins.

Quinn was born in New York, and married Florence A. Quinn (June 1847–1908). They had three children, William H. Quinn, Jr. (November 21, 1870–January 19, 1954), Charles C. Quinn (1872–1920), and Edward Morgan Quinn (October 12, 1878–May 5, 1950). They moved from New York in 1872. William H.’s parents, William J. Quinn (1807–1881) and Frances Quinn (1814–1908), may have lived with them.

William H. Quinn, Jr.'s sister, Marie Frances Quinn (1849-?) married Albert W. Havens (March 4, 1847-?), brother of Frank C. Havens. There are notes on the society page like "Mrs. W. H. Quinn, assisted by Mrs. A. W. Havens and Mrs. F. C. Havens, will receive at 1217 Castro street" 3, so clearly the Quinn and Havens families spent time together. They also did business together: "New Incorporations: The Home Benefit Life Association. Directors — S. , Baker, W..H. Chickering, W. H. Quinn, J. P. Allen and F. C. Havens." 4

According to the LPAB presentation, Quinn worked his way up from clerk to manager of Huntington, Hopkins and Co.’s San Francisco branch. 1 However, a newspaper article lists him as a director in the 1888 incorporation, along with W. V. Huntington (Collis’ father). 2

Edward served in the army as a pay clerk in WWI, and is buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.

Death and Burial

William H. Quinn’s grave marker (in Mountain View Cemetery, plot 12, lot #85) has sunk, so his date of death is unclear. Florence died in 1908 (the marker says 1907, but the paper reported it in 1908). They are buried along with William, Jr., Charles, Frances, William J., and John C. Quinn (September 1, 1850–October 16, 1875). Note that Florence’s marker says she was born in 1849, but various records indicate 1847. The lot marker has the names “Quinn” and “Havens” on the marble curb, but it's not yet known who all is buried in the lot.

Havens and QuinnFlorence A. Quinn’s marker
photo from Our Oakland
William H. Quinn’s marker
photo from Our Oakland

Additional links


from JL: [It would appear that William H. Quinn is buried in Mountain View CemeteryDoes anyone have additional information about him? It would appear that in October 30, 1889 he was an attorney witnessing a will; in July 23, 1938 he was the Deputy District Attorney; and in October 22, 1963 the City Attorneyhowever, given such a vast span of years I’m guessing that the articles refer to a father and son of the same name. There is another reference to Capt. William H. Quinn on April 11, 1944.]

I’m not sure the attorneys were related. After some research, I can safely say that William Quinn was a relatively common name c.1900. Besides clerks, managers, attorneys, sailors, and doctors, I’ve found references to William Quinns in the Bay Area that were plumbers, policemen, and soldiers. Further afield, there were William Quinns that were horse trainers, firemen, and rail employees (gruesome death). - Gene

Could one of the attorneys, (district attorney, city attorney, etc.) mentioned in the Oakland Tribune have been his son, William H. Quinn, Jr., or later on perhaps a grandson? JL

Still searching. Could be related, but in 1938 William H. Jr would have been 68 years old. So more likely a grandson or other relative. But surprisingly little turning up so far. Can you post or email me the PDFs of the Tribune articles? Can’t access them except at library. - Gene