J. O'Brien, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of J. O'Brien

Mr. J. O'BRIEN, general dealer, was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, Mary 20, 1833, and is the third child of a family of seven children born to James and Mary (Fitz-Gerald) O'Brien, natives of the same county. James O'Brien was a cooper, and came to America in 1844, and for two years worked at Albany, N. Y. In 1846, he sent for his family and they resided in Albany for some time, afterward moving to Onondaga County, same State, where our subject was reared in the village of Jordan. His parents moved to Erie County, Penn., in about 1874, and are yet living there. Mr. J. O'Brien received only a limited education from the common schools, learned the cooper's trade of his father, and at the age of twenty embarked on life's voyage on his own resources. Up to 1854, he worked in the State of New York, and also during the interval, May 5, 1855, he was married to Miss Ann Maria Sullivan, a native of Albany. In 1857, during the panic, Mr. O'Brien and family emigrated west, and for about eight months worked in Peoria, Ill., and in 1858, moved to Valparaiso, Ind., where his family has ever since resided, except two years, while a resident of Cass County, this State. He began here by working at his trade in partnership with William Quinn, at which they were engaged some five years. They then embarked in the grocery trade, which was continued a number of years. Mr. O'Brien afterward purchased Mr. Quinn's interest and continued the business for a time alone. In 1879, he received a Government appointment as an issue clerk to the Sioux Indians, at Standing Rock, D. T., under the supervision of Father Stephens, a Catholic Missionary from Indiana. In 1880, he came back to his family in Valparaiso, and the same year formed a partnership with Charles Miller, of Chicago, in a general store at Valparaiso, and Mr. O'Brien has since been here at the head of the establishment. They carry everything found in a first-class general stone, including dry goods, clothing, crockery, tin and glass ware. Mr. O'Brien by his first wife had ten children, seven of whom are yet living. Their names are Katie C., James E., William Smith, Mary M., Michael P., John J. and Ann, living, and James, Mary and Sophia, deceased. The mother died May 3, 1873. Mr. O'Brien married his present wife, Miss Sophia Sullivan, in the fall of 1874, in Chicago, and by her has three children - Frank, Bertha and Joseph. Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. O'Brien is a Republican. He was elected Councilman of the Third Ward of Valparaiso, and served for two years. In 1872, he was elected Trustee of Centre Township, and served six consecutive years. He is one of the well-known and substantial merchants of Valparaiso.

Source: Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana: Historical and Biographical, Illustrated. Chicago, Illinois: F. A. Battey & Company. 771 p.
Page(s) in Source: 264

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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