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Gem City Business College
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Gem City Business College
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The School

Gem City Business College is located in Quincy, Illinois. The school was founded in 1870 by D. Lafayette Musselman. It is still in existence today.

A Short History

The building of a great educational institution is a noble achievement. It means wide opportunity to the individual and untold advantages to a community. Quincy, Illinois, is the fortunate home of such an institution. Here the Gem City Business College was founded in 1870 by D. L. Musselman, Sr., and each passing year has added to its fame as it has grown in usefulness.

D. L. Musselman was a delightful character, respected by his fellow citizens and loved by his students. On June 16, 1910, he passed out of life in his home at Quincy. Besides his wife, Mary M. McDAVITT MUSSELMAN, he left one daughter, Hattie V., who resides with her mother, and three sons, D. Lafayette, who is president, Virgil George, who is vice president and Thomas Edgar who is secretary of the great school which the father founded.

D. Lafayette Musselman, Sr., was born April 21, 1842, in Fulton County, Illinois. His people were in humble circumstances and unable to afford him the educational advantages he craved, and the efforts he made on his own behalf in boyhood might well serve in its overcoming of hardships, as the basis of an encouraging story for others similarly situated. In 1862, when twenty years old, he enlisted for serving in the Civil war then in progress, entering the Eighty-Fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and upon the organization of Company C was elected first sergeant and shortly afterward was advanced to second lieutenant, which rank he held throughout the war. He was present at every battle in which his regiment and these included the might struggles at Perryville, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Peach Tree Creek, Chickamauga, Rome, Kenesaw Mountain and Jonesboro. The annals of his regiment tell of no more valorous deeds than he performed on many occasions.

Having been careful and provident, Lieutenant Musselman returned to private life possessing some capital, a part of which he used in taking a complete course in a Chicago Business college. Following this he taught in the Bryant, Startton and Bell Business College, and in the old English and German College of Quincy, which was situated where Jefferson School is now located.

It was in 1870 that he started the Gem City Business College with three students, which was increased to thirty-three by the end of the year. The success of the venture gave encouragement and largely through hard work and judicious management the attendance steadily increased. As the outlook grew wider Mr. Musselman met the new demands, and when he had a registry of 800 students he found he required more commodious accommodations. In September, 1892, the present magnificent building was opened to students. The present enrollment numbers some 1,400, coming from nearly every state in the Union. The $100,000 building, which is thoroughly modern in all its appointments, is the home of a school that has a national reputation. Its successful graduates are numbered by the thousands and are located in every section of the globe. Bookkeeping, actual business practice, banking, shorthand, typewriting, mathematics and penmanship are thoroughly taught by a large faculty of experienced teachers.

The eldest son, D. Lafayette Musselman, was born at Macomb, Illinois, March 31, 1879. He attended the public schools of Quincy and after completing the high school course became a student in Shattuck Military Academy at Faribault, Minnesota. He then read law under Judge McCrory of Quincy. He took a commercial and stenographic course in the Gem City Business College, in which institution he was instructor from 1898 to 1900. From 1900 until the death of his father in 1910 he served as secretary and treasurer of the school, at which time he was elected president of the school, which position he has held since. In 1898 he was the representative of the L. E. Waterman Fountain Pen Company of New York City at the Omaha Exposition.

Mr. Musselman has other important interests and in many ways is one of Quincy's most valued and trusted citizens. In 1907 he was president of the National Commercial Teachers Association. He is a member of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, the Quincy Rotary Club, chairman of the business college section of the International Rotary, is a member of the Quincy Board of Education, is vice president of the Chaddock Boys School at Quincy, is a director of the Quincy Park and Boulevard Association, is a trustee of the Woodland Home for Orphans, and is continually called upon to serve on committees and commissions in relation to benevolent movements here and in other places. He is chairman of the Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross and a director of the Quincy National Bank, He is a trustee of the Vermont Street Methodist Church, a Knight Templar, a thirty-second degree Mason and a Shriner.

The second son, Virgil George, attended the Quincy High School, the University of Illinois, and the Gem City Business College, following which he taught in the school, later becoming secretary. Since the death of his father he has been vice president of the school.

He is also secretary of the Board of Trustees of Blessing Hospital, secretary of the Board of Directors of the Young Men's Christian Association, and is secretary of the Sunday school of the Vermont Street Methodist Church as well as steward of the same church. He is, also, a Knight's Templar. He is very active in all public matters and has acted as captain in several of the Liberty Loan drives.

The youngest son, Thomas Edgar, attended the Quincy High School, is a graduate of Shattuck Military Academy, and received his B.A. degree at the University of Illinois in 1910 and his master's degree from the same university in 1912.

He is an authority on bird life, butterflies, etc. He is also an athlete of unusual ability, having been tennis champion of the University of Illinois two years and for five years was tennis champion of the Iowa-Missouri-Illinois Tournament. Besides being secretary of the Gem City Business College he is principal of the bookkeeping department and lecturer on business English and letter writing. He is secretary of the Quincy Country Club and a member of the Lambert Lodge of Masons.

QUINCY AND ADAMS COUNTY HISTORY AND REPRESENTATIVE MEN, Vol. II. by David Wilcox. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919. pp. 972-973.

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