Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


BRANDT McQUISTON. Works of biography and history, for the most part, record the lives of only those who have attained military, political, literary or professional distinction, with now and then a captain of industry, or those who in any other career have passed through extraordinary vicissitudes of fortune. But the names of men who have distinguished themselves in their day and generation, in the ordinary walks of life, for the possession of those qualities of character which mainly contribute to the success of private life and to the public stability--of men who, without special talents or genius, have been exemplary in all their personal and social relations, and at the same time enjoyed the confidence and esteem, the respect and good will of those with whom they associate or come in contact--ought not to be permitted to perish; for all are, or should be, much benefited by the delineation of those traits of character which find scope and exercise in the common walks of life. Among the individuals of this class of a past generation in Greene county was the late Brandt McQuiston, for a long lapse of years one of the best known locomotive engineers on the Frisco system. Those who knew him well say that his life history was marked by the most substantial qualities of character and exhibited a long and somewhat strenuous career, And his memory will continue to be cherished by his many friends for many years to come.

Mr. McQuiston was born on October 22, 1859, in Indiana where he grew to manhood and received a common school education. He came to Springfield, Missouri, when a young man, and went to work as fireman for the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis Railroad Company, which was leased by the Frisco system in 1900, later he went with the Frisco as passenger engineer, his run being between Springfield and Thayer. He was then passenger engineer for the former road, commonly known as the "Gulf" from 1886 until this road was absorbed by the Frisco and he continued in his regular run after that for the latter road until his tragic death on October 1, 1903. He met death in a head-end collision between extra freight train No. 251, going east on the Southern division, and passenger train No. 202, bound from Memphis to Kansas City, at half-past five o'clock in the morning of the above mentioned date, at Horseshoe Curve, five miles north of Thayer, Missouri. It is the supposition that the freight had mistaken its order and was running on the passenger's time. A sort of mist or fog prevailed at the time, which added to the darkness of night and prevented the crews from seeing very far ahead of their trains, which were running at full rate of speed. The two trains were almost totally wrecked and a section of the track about the length of four cars was torn up. Mr. McQuiston, engineer of the passenger train and his fireman, Ernest White, were instantly killed, while John Finch, engineer of the freight, and John Tune, the fireman, both died soon thereafter. Some of the other members of the train crews and passengers were badly hurt. Our subject was spoken of at the time by the press as one of the oldest and best engineers running out of Springfield. One of the sad features of his death was the fact that he was soon to retire from the road, having purchased a good farm in Greene county and was preparing to remove thereto and spend his old days quietly. He had made his home on the South Side until the consolidation of the freight business on the North Side. He was buried with Masonic honors.

Mr. McQuiston was married on October 16, 1882, to Agnes L. Wright, a daughter of Charles James and Wells (Lee) Wright, who were born in England, from which country they emigrated to the United States in early life; the father became a successful physician and also a minister in the Episcopal church. Mrs. McQuiston is still residing at the old home place on College street.

To our subject and wife three children were born, namely: Kenneth, born, on July, 10, 1884, married Jessie Petty, and he is a machinist in the new shops of the Frisco in Springfield; Arthur C., born on March 31, 1889, has marked natural talent as an artist, and he is living in San Francisco, California, where he is a paint salesman; Janet W., born on August 12, 1891, was graduated from the local high school, later attended Drury College and the University of Missouri at Columbia, specializing in languages, paying particular attention to German; she is one of the successful teachers in Gallatin, Missouri, schools, being exceptionally well qualified for her chosen work.

Politically, Mr. McQuiston was a Republican. He belonged to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Fraternally, he held membership with the Royal Arch Masons and the Knights of Pythias.

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