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Quincy Adams Vinal

By Charles D. Elliot
Quincy Adams Vinal, who was a member of the Somerville Historical Society, and one of the most prominent citizens of Somerville, was born here on September 23, 1826, in the house which formerly stood on or near the site of Hotel Warren. He was son of Deacon Robert Vinal, formerly of Scituate, and Lydia (Stone) Vinal. His father came to Somerville, then Charlestown, in 1824; he was one of a family of five sons and six daughters; he was educated in the old ‘Milk Row’ primary school, then standing within the limits of the present cemetery, in the old Medford-street school, and in the Hopkins Classical school of Cambridge, then one of the foremost preparatory schools for Harvard College.

After leaving school, he was employed in his father's grain store in Boston until 1848, when he became associated with his brother, Robert A. Vinal, in the same business on Lewis' wharf, which partnership lasted for fifteen years, or until the retirement of his brother, he continuing in the grain trade until 1876, when he also retired. Since then, however, he has been actively engaged in important business enterprises, holding many offices of trust.

He was the first president of the Somerville National Bank, holding the office until 1894; director in the Cambridge Gas Light Company for several years, and its president from April, 1897, until his death. He was also for some time director in the Charlestown Gas Company. He was a charter member of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, and, until its settlement, trustee of the estate of the late Charles Tufts, the founder of Tufts College; he was also a trustee of other estates.

His sterling integrity was recognized by his fellow-citizens, and for many years he held important public offices in the town and city, being at various times member of the board of assessors, committee on public library, trustee of the Somerville hospital, and member of the fire department.

He was a member of the Legislature in 1873, 1881, and 1882, of the common council in 1875 and 1876, and alderman in 1883, [71] holding membership in the park, highway, and other important committees of the city government.

On October 26, 1853, Mr. Vinal was maried to Miss Augusta Smith Peirce, daughter of John and Sarah Peirce, of Chelsea, now Revere, and great-granddaughter of Captain John Parker, one of the heroes of the battle of Lexington, and grandfather of Rev. Theodore Parker. Two memorials of Captain Parker have been preserved in the Massachusetts state house, one, the first firearm captured in the Revolution, the other, the gun carried by Captain Parker at the battle of Lexington.

On the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage, October 26, 1903, the golden wedding of Mr.Vinal and Mrs. Vinal was celebrated at their home on Aldersey street, upon which occasion they received the congratulations and good wishes of many hundred friends and guests.

Mr. Vinal died on July 14, 1904, at the age of seventy-seven years. A widow and seven daughters survive him, viz.: Miss Anna Parker Vinal, a member of this society, Miss Mary Lowell Vinal, Miss Martha Adams Vinal, Miss Josephine Vinal, Mrs. Sarah A. (Vinal) Keene, Miss Leonora Vinal, and Miss Leslie T. Vinal.

Mr. Vinal in religion was a Unitarian, and a member of the First Unitarian Society. In politics he was a Republican. He was a man of strong convictions and unimpeachable character; successful in his business career and as a public official. He loved his native town and city, and his memory was stored with reminiscences of its history. An interesting paper by him recalling events of former times, and entitled ‘Neighborhood Sketches,’ was read on January 8, 1903, before this society. Mr. Vinal was amiable in his relations with others, and a man with innumerable friends, and in whom friends could place the most implicit confidence. He was one of the few men who were born and lived their entire lives in our city. As a prominent citizen of Somerville, whom here we shall meet no more, his memory will be recalled with feelings of the greatest respect.

October 3, 1904.

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