Quinn, Thomas Joseph (c.1860–1934), republican, was born at Claremorris, Co. Mayo, the son of a gardener. In the late 1870s Quinn and his elder brother, Joseph Quinn (qv), were active in the Claremorris branch of the IRB under P. J. Gordon. Joseph later became assistant secretary of the Land League and of the Irish National League, and was associated with Charles Stewart Parnell (qv) and W. B. Yeats (qv). Quinn stood on the platform at the Irishtown meeting of 20 April 1879 at which the land war was launched, where he ceremonially unveiled the ‘Land for the People’ banner embroidered by Mrs Gordon. He was active locally in the Land League, and made the acquaintance of William O'Brien (qv), who had been sent by the Freeman's Journal to cover events.
The police saw Quinn as ‘a most dangerous character . . . dreaded by respectable people’ and believed that he was one of the gunmen who shot David Feerick, a land agent, at Ballinrobe on 29 June 1880. He was arrested on 10 March 1881 and interned at Kilmainham jail; released under the Kilmainham treaty, he had returned to Claremorris by 1 April 1882. As Mayo became marginalised within the nationalist movement and the IRB came under increasing police surveillance, Quinn decided to emigrate c.1886. Before leaving he buried some IRB documents and papers relating to Michael Davitt (qv) in a metal container; these were never recovered despite later searches.
Quinn settled in the mining town of Ouray in south-western Colorado in the Rocky Mountains 600 miles from Denver, where he worked as a prospector before becoming shift boss, timekeeper, and paymaster at the Irish-owned Camp Bird gold mine. He was active in trade union activities after the mine was sold to an English syndicate; he may have been the anonymous Colorado-based veteran of the Land League and Kilmainham who in the January 1901 issue of the Miners’ Magazine cited the Land League's use of boycott as a model for dealing with scabs and hostile merchants. In 1912 he was president of the Ouray Miners’ Union. He married in Colorado; his wife's identity is unknown and they do not appear to have had any children.
Quinn remained a hard-core supporter of physical force separatism. He retained contact with other IRB exiles, including P. J. Sheridan (qv), who told Quinn that he had administered the IRB oath to Charles Stewart Parnell (qv) just before the Phoenix Park murders (6 May 1882). Quinn supported the Triangle faction within the American Clan na Gael; he approved of the murder in 1889 of Dr Philip Cronin (qv), and later called John Devoy (qv) a British agent. He occasionally wrote to the papers owned by Arthur Griffith (qv) expressing sympathy for the Sinn Féin movement.
In September 1928 Quinn returned from Colorado to settle in Mayo; he wrote articles for the Mayo News and An Phoblacht on the land war era, and voiced support for both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil. He presided at a Fianna Fáil rally in January 1931 as a symbol of continuity with the Land League, and he left his estate in trust to Tom Maguire (qv) and Michael Kilroy jointly to build a monument to the South Mayo brigade of the IRA. He died at Claremorris on 12 September 1934.