Charles “Dad” Quick, ca. 1930
Dad Quick was born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1821. He became a local celebrity when it was discovered there was centenarian living in town. He died in Vancouver on 10 May 1932 at 111, making him the oldest person in Vancouver at the time, and likely all of Canada.
Details of his life are a little sketchy, but apparently he fought in the Crimean War and for the north in the American Civil War after emigrating to the states. He had a successful saddle making shop in Chicago, but lost everything, including a son, in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Perhaps Quick’s biggest claim to fame comes from his time working for Elias Howe, the inventor of the modern sewing machine, in the 1840s. Quick helped make the first six sewing machines ever made, and it was his idea to put the eye in the pointy end of the needle.
After roaming around the US, Quick finally settled in Vancouver in 1911 and set up his saddle making shop. He specialized in saddles for race horses, and filled orders for them from around the world. He continued working in his shop right up until end.
In lieu of corroborating evidence, it’s possible that Quick wasn’t as old as he claimed. His death record in the BC Archives vital event database says he was only 96 when he died, but this isn’t necessarily any more credible than other sources, and would have made him only eight when Howe invented the sewing machine.
Source: City of Vancouver Archives #Port P303