The interesting life of George Metz

George Metz and his dog Bingo standing by the front door of Villa Kathrine with his sister and niece. 

William George Metz was born in 1848 to well to do parents in Quincy. He died in Quincy in 1937 and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in his family plot. Prior to his series of strokes in 1933 when he moved to St. Vincent Home, he live in the Newcomb Hotel. His means of support were his druggist father who invested in real estate and encouraged George to do the same. He got his first passport in 1873, studied in Germany, and traveled the world extensively. Citizens were interested in Metz and the local newspapers followed his exploits. They were mostly brief items such as, “’Lady Holland,’ Mr. George Metz’s fine sail boat has been refitted and will be launched today or tomorrow. Experts say that this is the fastest boat of its kind between St. Louis and St. Paul. It is a beauty, sure, and Mr. Metz has come to feel proud of it,” according to the May 20, 1887, Quincy Daily Journal. In a similar vein, “Mr. George Metz gave his very pretty poll parrot an airing yesterday, and the parrot seemed to enjoy it hugely. Polly is a smart and clever bird,” said the July 27, 1885, Quincy Daily Herald.

Unfortunately for Metz, a fire started in his building at 514 Maine Street in 1896. He lived in the apartment over the Moses Morris & Co. clothing store and the C. E. King insurance agency. Metz had to exit the building by a ladder and lost everything in his apartment which was reported to be “luxuriously furnished.” Metz lost his 14-year-old parrot and a new bicycle. His guest George Osgood was also rescued by ladder.

Arlis Dittmer is a retired health science librarian and former president of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County. During her years with Blessing Health System, she became interested in medical and nursing history—both topics frequently overlooked in history.

The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County is preserving the Governor John Wood Mansion, the History Museum on the Square, the 1835 Log Cabin, the Livery, the Lincoln Gallery displays, and a collection of artifacts and documents that tell the story of who we are. This award-winning column is written by members of the Society. For more information visit or email

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