As a traveling missionary and preacher, Quinn helped establish the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in free and slave states before the Civil War. He influenced the faith, community, and education of thousands of black Americans by organizing schools and churches, including Bethel here in 1836. In 1844, the AME General Conference elected him its Fourth Bishop.
Quinn denounced slavery in sermons and publications and aided the work of the Underground Railroad, often at great personal risk. A prosperous landowner, he and his wife, Mary Jane, lived near here. At his death in 1873, the city and nation mourned his loss and praised his courage and tenacity. Richmond Lodge 28 is named in his honor. He is buried in Earlham Cemetery.