King of the Castle Part 2: Getting to know George

By Travis on June 24, 2009

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In King of the Castle part I, I presented to you some background information on the history of George Metz as well as the Villa Kathrine not to mention some pictures of the Villa. While I find the information about the Villa Kathrine itself to be very intriguing, I always find myself longing to hear more about the man himself, George Metz. I decided to take a shot at the local newspaper archives that the Quincy Public Library has available in digitized from on their website. I was pleased to find several stories involving George. Though George never really was one for opening up to people, he wasn’t a complete hermit either. The following accounts all come from the local newspapers of George’s time. I think you will begin to see a profile start to come together on George. George Metz was the local world traveler, the eligible bachelor,  and the eccentric man of mystery whose slightest actions were likely to cause controversy and hushed whispers and speculation. Below are all actual news articles from historical archives that reference George Metz.

Local and General News
Quincy Daily Journal, September 2, 1897
George’s New Car; Featured in the Local and General News column on September 2, 1897.
“George Metz returned Thursday from Quincy with a brand new single buggy, so girls, look out now, George will be asking someone to take a ride.”

City Summary

Quincy Daily Whig, November 3, 1900
George Metz has purchase another full blooded Great Dane dog. The brute is a monster, weighing 175 pounds and standing nearly three feet high, measuring 40 inches around the chest. It is on eo fht finest specimens of the kind ever seen in Quincy, and cost a neat sum. The dog was purchased in Omaha.

Got some Bargains

The Quincy Daily Herald, April 9, 1894
George Metz purchased a baby carriage for $7 and a lady’s cloak for $1.55. George won’t tell who he bought them for.

Just F’rinstance
The Quincy Daily Herald, Dec. 6 1893
“George Metz has been in training long enough now to know the Maine street beat with his eyes shut and both hands tied behind his back. He ought to be appointed night policeman.”

Struck an Officer
The Quincy Daily Journal, May 7, 1892
“Last Night about 9:00 Patrolman Thomas Harvey was informed by George Metz either that Constable Walter P. Smith had been or was annoying a woman on Maine Street, between fifth and sixth streets.. Officer Harvey found Smith who was intoxicated and instead of going home, abused the officer. The latter arrested Smith and took him to the station. Later he was released on bail”

Local Brevities
The Quincy Daily Journal, November 11, 1914
“W. George Metz, who has been war bound in Copenhagen for the past some time, arrived in the city yesterday after an exciting voyage across the “briny deep” to America. He had been in Europe since May, and was unable to get back until four weeks ago, when he booked passage on a ship, and came b the northern route, almost going as far north as Iceland to keep out of the war zone. He arrived in New York some days ago, and came immediately to quincy where he is now comfortably settled in his apartments at the Newcomb.”

Returns From Abroad

The Quincy, Daily Journal, Sept. 1 1899
“George Metz returned home last evening from a year’s travel abroad. During this absence he visited Spain, France, Italy, and Africa. He saw Vesuvius in eruption, and a big Spanish bull fight in which a toreador was killed. He describes the people of Madrid as living in great luxury. He was in Paris two weeks ago and pass by he house of Guerin the anarchist. He thinks that Paris is the center of depravity and says that we Americans will be gulled to a frazzle at the coming Paris exposition, as it will not near equal the Chicago show in grandeur.”

A $15,000 Sunday Fire
The Quincy Daily Journal, July 16, 1900
“The Lemley Building on the N. side of Maine Street between 2nd & 3rd, a livery barn burned… George Metz was overcome by the burning of  his pet dog which he prized very highly. He offerend some bystanders $500 to get his dog out, but the plunging into the hot furnaces meant sure deaths, so it was well that no one tried to rescue the animal. The dog had been kept in a box stall and agonizing yells of this dog and the burning horse was horrible to listen to.”

Trouble with Ducks
The Quincy Daily Journal Oct. 20th 1905

Mr. Delia Sheridan pleaded guilty to being the owner of the five ducks which were caught trespassing on the premises of George Metz’s Moorish castle yesterday and which were taken to police headquarters and locked up in the jail. Judge Scheld fined her $5 and costs and then suspended the fine, permitting the defendant to go on probation.

More Trouble with Ducks
The Quincy Daily Journal Oct. 19th 1905

Five tame ducks were locked up in the city jail this morning on complaint of George Metz, who resided in the Moorish castle on the bluff between State and Ohio streets. The ducks belong to Mrs. Sheridan, a neighbor. She had been notified by the police and Mr. Metz that her poultry were not wanted about the Metz premises, but the ducks and chickens kept on coming until now Mr. Metz has hired a man to guard his premises and take up all stray fowl caught there. This morning the special guard caught the five ducks, took them to jail and the case will be tried in the morning. The penalty in such cases is from $1 to $10 for each offense.

Accounts of a trip to Cuba
The Quincy Daily Journal, Jun 4, 1918
George recounts a recent trip to Cuba. George headed there to escape the cold winters and stayed with a wealthy Spanish family. George was astonished to see how some of the lower classes in Cuba managed to get by on such small rations. Due to World War 1,there was a shortage of Meat in Cuba at this time, and wheat and bread was almost non-existent. George told of how Quincians didn’t know the first thing about sacrifice after seeing what those in Cuba went through. George ended by saying “Why, the people do not know what sacrifice means. I am no prophet, but I am willing to risk the statement that you will be willing to cut your allowances to a considerable extent on many of the good things you are now enjoying. To me it will come easy. I am used to it now. It would be a good thing for the people to heed the warnings of the food administration and accustom themselves to the conditions which I am sure are coming. If this war continues for some time to come, which seems probable, there will have to be an elimination of many of the things we like so well. We must take care of the men who are fighting the battles for us, and sacrifice on our part is the only way in which we can do it. The food administration has made a study of the conditions and necessities, and their word should be solemn law to all of use here at home.”

The Quincy Daily Journal, Aug 7, 1918
Several months after George’s interview about his time in Cuba, he was approached on a very balmy summer day. George sat outside his then residence the Newcomb Hotel placidly occasionally wiping away a bead of sweat. Someone asked George,” Did you have weather like this in Cuba or anywhere else?” George blithely answered “No….From all the information I can gather the only place they have weather like this is the place where the Kaiser is booked for”. (George was referring to German Leader during WW1  Kaiser Wilhelm II)

Ladies make a leap year call
The Quincy Daily Journal Jan 30, 1908
“The Ladies of the Round Table, 17 strong left their room in the public library building yesterday afternoon at 2:30 and led by Mrs. Kate Alexander and Miss Kate Langdon, wen to the Villa Catherine, the home of George Metz, who met them at the front door with the remark that he supposed the ladies had come to make him a leap year call. Then he invited them in, and with the assistance of his niece, Mrs. Frank Bishop, who was there to help do the honors, he showed the ladies through his residence, and told them all about the treasures in it that he had gotten in Algiers. Mrs. Bishop received the ladies in the lower court, where graceful palms stood as sentinels around her, and the sweet fragrance of burning incense filled the air. A handsome Moorish lam in the center of the court attracted the ladies’ eyes immediately, and a unique old clock, which boasts the great age of 100 years, and inside which there is an organ attachment, which the host set to playing for them, delighted the visitors’ artistic eyes. Then there was a queer-looking beautiful hanging lamp, 300 years old, from which 7 candlesticks branched off, that the ladies coveted, especially these and other treasures Mr. Metz who had his home built and furnished after the plans of the old Moorish castles, showed to the ladies, giving them an interesting little talk about this trip to Algiers and the customs and habits of the people there. The ladies spent about two hours in enjoying the art pieces, the brasses and the rugs, and as a farewell, Mr. Metz treated them to some fine music from the upper court while they occupied seats in t he lower one. Inasmuch as no rumors have so far been set afloat, it is presumed that the leap year call of the ladies was simply for art’s sake, and not for the purpose of asking anything definite of the host, matrimonially.

Since I began piecing together this article there have been developments. I was contacted by a very respectable and professional group of local paranormal investigators who recently conducted a investigation of the Villa Katherine. They have captured some remarkable evidence including EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon, which is disembodied sounds that are in audible in real time but are audible on a playback of a recording device). Perhaps the mysteries behind George and Villa aren’t quite done yet. You can check out audio files as well as some information about the investigation at the homepage of Rivertown Paranormal by clicking here.

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8 Responses to “King of the Castle Part 2: Getting to know George”

  1. karen crim says:

    Dear Sir
    My name is Karen Crim I have always love the Villa Kathrine. It has always been one of my favorite places to visit when I was a child. You see Sir, I am adopted and for a celebration my adopted parents took me and my twin sister to the Villa. While on tour of the Villa I found a very old piano. I am no means anything close to the next Mozart but I was that day. We found out later the piano was VERY old. Luckily I didnt break anything.
    Just thought i share a memory I can now sit back and luagh about.
    Karen crim
    Kirksville Mo

  2. Wendy Warren says:

    Ah you have finally posted the information about the amazing Mr. Metz! George Metz is such an interesting part of Quincy’s history and we wish more local residents would get to know him a little better. Thanks for posting our groups investigation information, however, we have gone through some member changes and the website you have posted will be closed in the new future. We suggest for anyone who wants to be kept abreast of our ongoing investigations with the Villa Kathrine to view our myspace page. New blogs and EVP’s will be posted there soon and sometime in the future (we have not been given an exact date as of yet) WGEM will air a clip on the Villa Kathrine and River Town Paranmormal Society. Again, thank you for opening up Mr Metz to Quincy but……..your info has yet to uncover one very important piece of information to this man. Are you interested? Stay tuned.

  3. Travis says:

    Thanks Karen for the nice comment, and Wendy…you Know i’m interested in the “missing piece” what’s a guy gotta do to get the info??? :) Thanks guys for the comments.

  4. Wendy Warren says:

    Well Travis, I will be at the Blues in the Park Friday night, look me up!

  5. William Krems says:

    So it was spelled with a ‘C’ in 1908?
    “The Quincy Daily Journal Jan 30, 1908
    “The Ladies of the Round Table, 17 strong left their room in the public library building yesterday afternoon at 2:30 and led by Mrs. Kate Alexander and Miss Kate Langdon, wen to the Villa Catherine,

  6. Travis says:

    William, it appears that there was alot of spelling variations used in reference to the Villa. All part of the mysterious fun I guess.

  7. Dave H says:

    Did George have a sister? My grandfather was George’s nephew Melville R. Bishop. Melville’s father was Frank Bishop, so I am assuming that Frank’s wife was a Metz?

  8. Nancy Sanders says:

    Dave, yes George Metz had a sister Louisa. She married A.D. Reichel. They had a daughter Luella who married Frank Bishop. Melville was George’s great nephew. He and his sister inherited all of George’s estate. I am doing George Metz’s genealogy. If you have any info or pictures that would help me, especially pics of George and your great grandmother and her parent’s. That would be great. you can reach me at sandersnl43@att.net. nl stands for Nancy Lee l

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