At the beginning of this century the government leased a large tract of land to the Quinlan Brothers for grazing. In 1901, the A. T. & S. F. Railway Company decided a place was needed for shipping cattle, so they set a boxcar with the name Quinlan on it. Stockyards were also built.
In 1902 enough people had settled in Quinlan that a town council was formed. One of its first acts was to build a park just west of the railroad, and a pavilion was built and cedar trees brought from the surrounding hills. Many medicine shows, ice cream socials, patriotic meetings, and band practices were held in this little park in the early days.
A post office was established in April 1902, with Riley Mellor the first postmaster. Others who held this office were L. R. Helpman, Samuel D. Harper, Cyrus P. Swartz, Wallace Huff, Viola Huff, Paul Fournier, Harry Million, and Ruby Harper. Samuel D. Harper was a veteran of the Civil War, and Paul Fournier also saw service in World War I. Harry Million served eighteen years in the post office before transferring to a railroad. Ruby Harper had twenty-four years in the position before retiring. Rural carriers were Silas Modlin, James Mahan, Frank Roedell, Wallace Huff, Paul Fournier, Wilfred Johns, Harry Million, and L. R. Romaine.
Business men of Quinlan in those earlier days were Jack Calloway, Cortez E. Washburn, David P. Sanders, Frank Edwards, L. R. Helpman, John Bailey, Lark Terry, Robert Cockerill, R. J. King, J. T. Madison, Hutt Carr, A. T. Monroe, Alfred Benefiel, Lew Washburn, Bert Tipton, Eli Chastel, R. M. Doles, Gene Matteson, S. P. Chambers, Harry and John Gardner, and Ed Stewart.
The town had four doctors in 1910. They included Dr. Akins, Dr. Spencer, Dr. Queen, and Dr. McFarland.
The churches also numbered four. Members attended the Methodist Church, the First Christian Church, the Catholic Church, and later the Pentecostal Church. In this year of 1980, only the United Methodist Church, as it is now known, is still active.
Homes were built by people who took great pride in the appearance of the town. Several water wells were drilled and many of the houses had cisterns for water storage from rains. Two wells of good water were established in the park on the west side and furnished ample water, untinged by the gypsum that made some water unpalatable in this area. The farmers came to town in wagons and buggies which were put around the park while people did their trading and visited. This is shown in an early day photo.
Quinlan was quite a marketing center at one time. There were five general stores, two meat markets, a drug store, two barber shops, two hotels, two livery barns, one saloon (Carrie Nation closed it), a bank with a capital of $1 5,000, two lumber yards, a blacksmith shop, two restaurants, a weekly newspaper, two hard ware stores, a telephone office, two grain elevators, a cotton gin, a broomcorn warehouse, one feed store, a millinery store, a movie house, a skating and three lodges.
Drought and depression of the 1930's started the demise of the town. Then World War II depleted the supply of young people as they went off to work in the defense plants and few of them returned.
The railroad stopped passenger service and the high school was transferred to Mooreland in 1956. In 1968 the grade school also went to Mooreland. The one remaining store burned in 1962, and the post office was closed in January 1968.
In 1980s there were seventeen homes, with a population of about sixty, at that time. This is quite a change from the once thriving town which lives mostly in the memories of those who knew Quinlan when it was a busy town.
Taken from Woodward County Family Histories 1907-1957 Volume II, Pages 530-531.