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St. Croix County Biographies and Historical Sketches


St. Croix County Townships Map | St. Croix County (1909) | Early History of St. Croix County | Villages, Townships & Municipalities | St. Joseph, Troy & Warren Townships | Stanton & Star Prairie Townships | Rush River, Somerset & Springfield Townships | Richmond Township, City of New Richmond | Kinnickinnic & Pleasant Valley Townships | Hudson Township & City of Hudson | Forest, Glenwood & Hammond Townships | Eau Galle, Emerald and Erin Townships | Baldwin, Cady & Cylon Townships

Oakes, O'Brien, O'Keefe, O'Leary, O'Malley, Olson, Orr


George Oakes, attorney at law, was born in Richmond City, St. Croix County, Wis., April 21, 1861, son of Timothy B. and Angeline (Pichon) Oakes. The father was a native of Maine and came to this state in the early days. In 1852 he located in this county, bought land near New Richmond, where he lived until 1866, after which he in turn occupied several farms. He passed away December 2, 1855, leaving a family of eight children, all of whom still survive. In politics he was a staunch Republican and always took and active interest in public affairs. George was first educated in the public schools, after which he entered the University of Minnesota and graduated with honors in 1892, at once beginning the practice of law in New Richmond, where he has since remained. He conducts a general law business and is regarded as an able and eloquent attorney. Mr. Oakes was married in 1894 to Carrie E., the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Dale) Baker, originally residents of Iowa County, this state, but later of Madison, where they removed in order to educate their family. Mr. and Mrs. Oakes have one son, Dale B., a bright little fellow who attends the public schools. Since starting practice Mr. Oakes has had one long period of success, except in 1899, when, like so many others, he had everything swept away by the cyclone. He is a member of the law firm of Smith & Oakes, which also carries on a large insurance business. He is a Republican in politics and has been both city clerk, city attorney and supervisor of the second ward. He is rapidly rising to higher positions and has the esteem both of the bench and the bar and of the public.

Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


Henry O'Brien is a native of St. Croix County, having been born at Cylon on June 9, 1863, his parents being Andrew and Margaret Tarpy O'Brien. He was one of thirteen children, all of whom are at present living in St. Croix county, with the exception of Michael J. O'Brien, who resides in Kalispell, Mont. Andrew O'Brien, the father, came to America when a young man and settled, in 1875, on the farm in Kinnickinnic township, which the subject of this sketch now owns and where he at present resides. Andrew OBrien died in Hammond in 1891 and his wife died in 1894. Henry O'Brien was educated in the public schools of St. Croix County. He has followed the life of a farmer ever since leaving school. Mr. O'Brien was married in May, 1887, to Miss Lucy Caffrey, the daughter of John Caffrey, of Hammond, and they are the parents of three children: Charles R., Lucy A. and Mary E. O'Brien, all of whom are at home. The O'Brien family attends the devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. O'Brien is a firm believer in the principles of the Democratic Party, but has rigidly avoided office holding all his life with the exception of local school offices, which he has held at different times. He is greatly interested in educational affairs and believes in doing his share in promoting the best interests of the public schools. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


Cornelius O'Keefe was born in Hudson, Wis., March 21, 1858, a son of Dennis and Catherine (Walsh) O'Keefe, both of County Kerry, Ireland. They came to Philadelphia in 1849, remaining for one year, afterward locating at Belvedere, Broom County, Ill., where the father spent about nine years working on the railroad. Subsequently they came to Hudson, Wis., in the late 50s and bought a lot, upon which the father erected a house. Later they moved to Erin Prairie, Erin Township, Wis., and bought 160 acres, breaking the land and making all improvements. They conducted general farming operations. The mother died in 1879 and the father is still living, being now over eighty-seven years of age, and still hale and hearty. He makes his home with Cornelius on the old homestead. In the family there were five children besides Cornelius. Katie, the oldest of the family died in Erin at the age of nine years. John died in Fargo, N. Dak., at twenty-two years of age. William is now in the far West. Daniel J. is a lawyer in the New York Life building at St. Paul, Minn. His education consisted of course in the common schools, the State Normal school at River Falls, Wis., three years; Commercial College of St. Paul, one year, and the University of Minnesota four and one-half years. Another sister, Mary Ellen, was born in Erin and died at the age of twenty years. Cornelius received a good education in the public schools of Erin, then commenced farming with his father, an occupation which he has since continued to follow. In 1903 he purchased eighty acres of land from his father. At the present time he runs his own farm and also cares for his fathers land. Upon these farms he does a general mixed farming. Cornelius OKeef is not married. Both father and son have held several important offices. The father has served as director of School District No. 3, while Cornelius was deputy game warden during Clevelands administration. The subject of this sketch is a great reader of history, and few men are better informed than he on the course of the worlds great events. He is a progressive farmer and a hard worker. He votes the Democratic ticket and worships at the Catholic church. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


John O'Leary comes of good old Irish stock. He was born in County Cork, May 27, 1856, son of Daniel and Catherine (Hurley) O'Leary, both of whom were respected residents of Ireland. The father was a railroad man in his early days, but later took up the hotel business in his native county, continuing in this business until his death in 1866. His wife died in 1876. Daniel and Catherine O'Leary were the parents of three daughters and two sonsJohn, Nora, Minnie, Catherine and Daniel. Nora lives in England; Minnie in Waupun, wis., and Catherine in Milwaukee, Wis. John received a good common school education and attended the National Model School at Dunmmanway, Ireland. He came to America in April, 1874, and located at Waupun, Wis., farming there for two years. He then went to Colorado, where he was department foreman in a large smelting concern. After six years there he went to Denver, Col., where he had charge of a branch of the Grand and Omaha Smelting & Refining Company. He returned to Waupun in 1885 and worked on his father-in-laws farm until 1903, when he purchased 165 acres for himself. He later sold this place and purchased 197 acres in Hammond township, where he now resides. He has greatly improved the farm, raising some large general crops and live stock. Mr. O'Leary was married in 1882 to Viola Hartshorn, of Fond du Lac, Wis., daughter of John P. and Martha Jane (Somers) Hartshorn, the former of whom was born in Vermont and the latter in New York State. In 1848 they settled in Waupun, Wis. Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary have six childrenHerbert, Don, Cecil, Florence, Clarence and Martha. Herbert is a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y. The rest of the children are at home. Mr. O'Leary is a Republican in politics and has served as supervisor of the town of Hammond several years. He has also served on the school board. Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary stand very high in the community. They are believers in education, and their children have had the advantage of an excellent bringing-up. Mr. O'Leary is widely honored and respected, honest to the core and a gentleman of unquestioned integrity. He is a man of much ability and has made a pronounced success of all his undertakings. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Ed O'Malley, genial proprietor of the Hotel Commercial at New Richmond, was born in Mendota, Minn., in 1867. His parents, Ed and Anna O'Malley, came from Ireland in the early days and devoted themselves to farming until the time of their deaths. Young O'Malley received his boyhood education at Mendota, and for a number of years in various places he practiced his trade as stationary engineer. In 1898 he saw the possibilities of a new hotel in New Richmond and accordingly built the Hotel Commercial. He was married in 1893 to Jennie Stanton and has four childrenWalter, Margaret, Anna and Johnall of whom live at home. Mr. O'Malley votes the Democratic ticket, and at the last election was give the office of alderman, a position he had already occupied with credit two years. He is a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters and is well known as a public-spirited citizen. The faith that he shoed in the growth of New Richmond when he invested his money in a hotel has been well justified, and he is now reaping the results of that confidence.

Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


O. A. Olson is a native of St. Croix county, born in the village of Star Prairie April 10, 1879, a son of Martin and Anna (Riesendal) Olson, natives of Norway, who came to this country in the early days of the county and settled at Hudson, Wis. The father was a tailor by trade, successfully pursuing this trade until the time of his death, in 1903. O. A. Olson was educated in the common schools of this county and then went west, clerking in various stores. In 1899 he came to Star Prairie and engaged in the mercantile business, which he has since followed, his experience in handling goods as a clerk standing him in good stead in the management of his business. In 1906 he opened his present well-equipped store and was appointed postmaster of Star Prairie village, a position which he still retains, and in which he has given great satisfaction. He owns a fine piece of property adjoining his store and fifteen acres of land inside the corporation limits of the village as well as a beautiful residence. Mr. Olson is a self-made man, and owes everything that he has to hard labor and industry. As a postmaster he is affable and accurate and as a merchant he is highly regarded for his honesty and integrity. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Oluf O. Olson is a native of Norway, born September 22, 1849, a son of Ole and Betsy (Larson) Olson, who came to this country in 1858. The parents are still alive on the old homestead, the father being upwards of eighty-three years of age. There are only two children in the familyOluf and Anna. Oluf received a good education in the common schools of the county and then started farming. He has lived on his present place thirty-one years. He owns 120 acres of good land in Cylon Township, upon which he has made most of the improvements. He does a general mixed farming. In his farming ventures he has been successful and his industry and business sagacity have been well rewarded. He has been a grain purchaser for Wells & Maroney, Ed Sakrison and the Wisconsin Elevator Company. In 1877 he was married to Anna Finke, daughter of Henry and Anna Finke, natives of Germany, who settled in this county in 1858 and followed farming for the remainder of their lives. Mr. and Mrs. Olson have been blessed with six childrenClara, William, Arthur, Ralph, Edwin and Agnes. Clara married Charles Christopherson and is living in Hudson, Wis.; Agnes married Leroy Beehe and they have rented the Maple Grove farm. Mr. Olson is one of those men to whom the term "good citizen" may well be applied, and he is one of the solid and substantial men of the township. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

HUDSON STAR & TRIBUNE, March 8, 1888
DEATH TOLLS, dead, at his home in North Hudson, Thursday March 8, 1888, John Orr, aged 60 years.  Mr. Orr was born in Pennsylvania.  He came to Wisconsin in the fifties and settled in Janesville.  At the organization of the 22nd Reg't Wis. Inf. he enlisted in Co. B and served with the Reg't until the Muster out in 1865.  At some of the battles below Nashville he was taken prisoner for nearly a year.  From the effects of the harsh treatment he received while a prisoner he never fully recovered.
At the organization of the Post here, he was a charter member and was a constant attendant at its meetings, always manifesting an interest in the success of the order and ever ready to aid and comfort a needy comrade.
For many years he had been in the employ of the Omaha Railway Co., first at Sioux City and for the past five or six years in their shops here.  Mr. Orr was a hard working industrious citizen; so quiet and retired in disposition that he had but few acquaintances outside his shop-mates and members of the Grand Army.
The funeral services were held on Sunday last at the Methodist Church. Rev. J. Tressider officiating.  The members of the G. A. R. Post attended in body.
Notes from genealogical research: John Orr was born ca. 1828-29 in Northumberland county PA according to his Civil War record.  His parents were Samuel Orr and Ann Mizner/Misner.  John Orr was married to Juliette Hoyt on Jan 27, 1858 in Janesville, WI., daughter of Harvey and Emily (Morse) Hoyt.  They were the parents of the following children:  Joseph William, born 1859, Wilmina (Anna) born Dec 8, 1860, (married John Cates),  Mary Ellen, born Dec 16 1862, (married Joseph Cooper), Agnes, born 1866, (married 1. Chas. Durand, 2. Art Briney, 3. _____Miller, Samuel, born Oct 6, 1868, (married Mrs. Emma Schoenfeld), Etta, born Feb 9, 1871, (married George E. Moore), Charles, born March 30, 1874 (married Annie Lanning), James F. born Aug 19,1882, (married Josie Lanning). 
John and Juliette Orr are buried in the Willow River Cemetery in Hudson, St. Croix County WI.
Submitted by Claudia Schuman