From the 1912 History of Knox County, Illinois, Volume II, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, page 1007. [Contributed by Bob Miller.]
James D. O'Connor, engaged in a general contracting business in Galesburg, his native city, was born January 31, 1872, a son of James and Margaret (Ryan) O'Connor. The father was a native of Lebanon, New York, while the mother was born in County Limerick, Ireland, whence she was brought to the United States by her parents when she was three years old. In his boyhood days, James O'Connor came to Galesburg and in early manhood was here engaged in the livery business, while later he figured prominently in real-estate circles, winning along those lones [sic] the success that now enables him to live retired, his home being at No. 173 West Main street. He is an independent voter, standing for progress and improvement rather than for partisanship, and his fellow townsmen, appreciative of his worth and ability, several times elected him to represent the second ward as alderman. He was also a member of the board of appraisers. He belongs to the Catholic church and is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Galesburg Club. His wife died in November, 1904. In the family were six children: Martin, who is a resident of Galesburg, Illinois; Mary, deceased; James D., of this review; Lillian, the wife of C. H. Nold, of St. Joseph, Missouri; Alice, the wife of W. C. Johnson, of Galesburg; and Fred, who has passed away.
In St. Joseph's Academy James D. O'Connor pursued his early education and afterward attended Notre Dame University of South Bend, Indiana. Throughout the entire period of his connection with business affairs he has engaged in general contracting, putting in a large portion of the sewers of this city and doing much other public work which has placed him in a substantial position among the industrious, enterprising and successful business men of the city. He has ever realized that energy is the basis of business advancement and has diligently and persistently prosecuted his work so that substantial results have been achieved.
On the 28th of October, 1897, Mr. O'Connor was married in this city to Miss Louisa Hurley [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a James D. O'Connor marrying a Louisa G. Hurley in Knox County on October 27, 1896], a daughter of John and Sarah Hurley, of Galesburg. They now have two children: Ruth, whose natal day was October 22, 1898; and Fred, whose birth occurred on the 19th of November, 1899. Both were born in Galesburg. The parents are communicants of the Catholic church and in politics Mr. O'Connor has followed in his father's footsteps, maintaining an independent position, supporting such measures as he deems effective forces in good government and such candidates as he believes will prove loyal to the public trust. He has himself served as alderman from the first ward during the past four years and exercises his official prerogatives in support of many progressive movements for the general good.
From the 1886 Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County, Biographical Publishing Company, Chicago, page 317. [Contributed by Pat Thomas.]
Joseph Oberholtzer, a pioneer of Truro Township, is the subject of this biographical sketch. He is a resident of Knox County, and may be considered one of the landmarks of this section of country. He is identified with the growth of this portion of our State, and experiences all the pleasure of those who watch the gradual growth and final success of any pet enterprise in which they are personally concerned.
Mr. Oberholtzer was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, May 13, 1819. His father, Jacob Oberholtzer, was a native of Bucks County, Pa., and his grandfather was a native of Switzerland; the latter also settled in Bucks County, and spent the last year of his life there.
The father of our subject grew to manhood in his native county, and was reared on a farm. Soon after marriage and previous to the War of 1812, he removed to Ohio and settled in Columbiana County, where he was one of the early settlers. There he entered timber land and cleared a farm, on which he lived until 1834, when he removed to Wayne County, in the same State. Purchasing a farm, he settled upon it and there labored until his death, which occurred in 1847, he having obtained the age of 80 years. The maiden name of Mrs. Jacob Oberholtzer was Elizabeth Mellinger, who was born in Lancaster County, Pa., and died died in Wayne County, Ohio, several years later, at the age of nearly 80 years. A family of 14 children grew up about them, of which our subject was the tenth in order of birth. He was reared on a farm and remained there until he reached the age of 18 years. At that period he started out for himself, and going to Richland County served two years at the blacksmith's trade. He then opened a shop in Wayne County and conducted the business until 1849; selling out in the fall of that year, he started with his wife and two children to Illinois. The entire journey was made overland with two horses and a wagon, and after a tiresome trip of 20 days they reached Knox County. He rented a house on section 34, of Truro Township, and erected a log building, in which he worked at his trade. During the winter he bought the farm which he still occupies. He has continually added to and improved his property, until he has one of the most attractive homes in the county. Commodious and convenient buildings stand on the farm, suited to every branch of his chosen industry, and having added so constantly to his original acreage he now owns about 386 acres of farm land, besides a tract of timber land in Truro Township. Since the first winter he has devoted his time to agricultural pursuits, and has been successful in the extreme.
Mr. Oberholtzer was united in marriage with Miss Annie Tedrow, April 15, 1841. She was a native of Somerset County, Pa., and was born Dec. 12, 1814, being the daughter of Reuben and Susan (King) Tedrow, both natives of Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Oberholtzer are the parents of five children, as follows: Louisa, wife of J. A. Shaffer, living in Truro Township; O. John lives in Elba Township; Elizabeth was married to O. P. Nelson, who has a home in Truro; Homer W. lives in Elba Township; Mary E. married Benjamin P. Baird and died June, 1880, leaving one child named Newton Baird. Mr. O. is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, strong and devoted in religious principle and a useful and worthy member of society. In politics he was Democrat until the war, and since that time has been a sound Republican.
From the 1886 Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County, Biographical Publishing Company, Chicago, page 804. [Contributed by Pat Thomas.]
Franklin Ogden, ex-merchant and retired farmer, son of Abraham and Keziah (Houghton) Ogden, natives respectively of Old and New England, was born in Oneida County, N. Y., July 25, 1808. Abraham Ogden came to America when he was 23 years of age; settled in York State where he farmed up to 1839, when he came to Illinois, and in Berwick Township, Warren County, spent the rest of his life, dying in 1845. The old man was a lover of American institutions, and in the War of 1812 served his adopted country faithfully as a soldier. He reared four sons and three daughters, Franklin being the second in order of birth.
The subject of our sketch received a fair common-school education in New York State; grew to manhood on a farm, came to Illinois in 1840, and lived in Warren County until 1865. At Berwick, in that county, he was for some years engaged in mercantile business, at which, augmented by the products of the farm, he accumulated a considerable fortune. In the spring of 1866 he removed to Galesburg, where he has since been engaged in the manufacture of composition stone. Before the war Mr. Ogden was a Whig; in fact, it may be said that he was an active politician, for we find that he was a political speaker of more than local reputation. When the Whig party expired, or was swallowed up by other parties, he identified himself with the Republican party, which he has since given his ablest support. For more than 50 years Mr. Ogden has been a member of the Baptist Church; 30 years of the time a Deacon, and the proudest thing to be said of him is, that through his whole life (and he has seen more than three-quarters of a century) his acts have been consistent with his professions.
At Rome, N. Y., Oct. 11, 1832, Mr. Ogden was married to Miss Jane Briggs, who died at Berwick, about the year 1848, leaving five children, after having buried two, Analucia and Joseph, who died in infancy. Of the others, Franklin D. is a farmer in Warren County; Eliza Jane died in 1853, at the age of 18 years; Allen B. died in 1853, at the age of 14 years; James also died in 1853, at the age of 11 years, and Albert is a citizen of Colorado.
Aug. 2, 1850, Mr. Ogden, united with his second wife, Mrs. Cynthia Whiting, nee Richardson, in Genesee, N. Y. She lived but a short time, and died at Berwick, in Warren County, Aug. 29, 1850. Mr. Ogden found his third wife in the person of Mrs. Sarah Jane Baker, nee Pollock, and to her he was married at Berwick, May 26, 1853 [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Franklin Ogden marrying a Sarah J. Baker in Warren County on May 26, 1853]. Mrs. Ogden was a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Robert and Margaret (Hurley) Pollock. Her first husband, Mr. S. W. Baker, was a professional educator in his lifetime. Her only child, George W. Baker, died near Berwick, Aug. 4, 1853, at the age of three and one-half years.
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From the December 17, 1900, The Monmouth Review. [Contributed by Pat Thomas.]
Franklin Ogden, one of this county's first settlers, died at 12:15 Friday afternoon in Galesburg. He was 92 years old, living almost through the century just ending. He was a farmer in Berwick township for years, but in 1865 retired and had made his home in Galesburg ever since.
One year ago the 1st of December he sustained a stroke of paralysis and was confined to his bed for several weeks. Six weeks ago he was taken with another stroke and was not able to leave his bed from that time until his death.
Franklin Ogden was born near Rome, New York, in Oneida County, July 25, 1803, and was the son of Abraham and Kaziah Ogden. For thirty years he resided there upon the home farm. On October 11, 1832, he was united in marriage to Jane Briggs. Some time later the couple removed to a farm near Wyoming, New York, where they resided for five years. To them were born seven children, of which two survive: Frank D. Ogden, who lives upon his father's old farm, three and one half miles south of Cameron and E. B. Ogden of Cripple Creek, Colorado. In 1847, the wife died in Berwick, Warren county, to which place they had removed in 1839. In that neighborhood, on four different farms, he lived until he removed to Galesburg in 1865.
To his second wife, Cynthia Richardson Whiting, he was married in August 1851, at Perry, New York. After a year's residence there, he with his family returned to Berwick. A child was born but died in infancy, and the mother survived the child but a few months. In May, 1853, he was married to his third wife, Mrs. Sarah Jane Baker, whose maiden name was Pollack. Thirty five years ago they went to Galesburg, and this present wife survives him.
When in Berwick he was engaged in the pork packing business before there was a railroad through this section of country, and the first train of freight hauled over the C. B. &Q. consisted of twelve cars of pork packed by him and sent to Chicago from what is now Cameron.
The deceased was a member of the Baptist church, having joined when twenty two years of age, and to the day of his death was one of its most faithful supporters.
Besides the two children, F. D. Ogden and E. B. Ogden, a sister, Mrs. Harriet Riddle lives at Mattoon, Illinois.
Funeral services were held from the house Monday morning after which the remains were taken to Berwick.
From the 1899 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Knox County, Munsell Publishing Company.
From the 1878 History of Knox County, Illinois published by Charles C. Chapman. [Submitted by Joan Achille.]
Henry B. Olmstead, farmer, came to Knox County in 1857. His parents were both natives of New York, in which State, at Schoharie, Dec. 18, 1809, Henry B. was born. He married Sarah Bemis in 1830, by whom he had three children, and again married, and by his second wife he had 10 children. He is a member of the M. E. Church; has been Steward and Supt. of S. School for 20 years. P. O., Victoria.
From the 1899 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Knox County, Munsell Publishing Company.
PETER T. OLSON was born February 10, 1860, at Hastveda, Christianstads Lan, Sweden. His first impetus to his successful life work, that of builder and contractor, was his father, Trued Olson, who was a carpenter and natural mechanic, and constructed his own tools and farm implements out of wood. His mother, Kerstin Truedson Olson, was a woman of strong character, and a devoted wife and mother. Her son, Peter Olson, was a capable and ambitious boy, who saw beyond the rim of his surroundings. His duties or pastimes on the farm were not allowed to interfere with his fortunate educational advantages, and in 1875, at the age of fifteen, he graduated at the High School at Hastveda, ranking third in a class of one hundred and fifty members. Thus equipped, he longed for broader fields, which seemed to him to be America, but, yielding to the solicitations of his parents, he postponed his journey to this country until May 1879.
In 1882, Mr. Olson settled in Galesburg, and, desiring to learn the bricklayer's trade entered the employ of contractor T. E. Smith, to whom he rendered faithful and efficient service until 1890. Appreciating the benefits of an independent line of work, he started in business for himself as a contracting mason and plasterer. Considering the breadth and excellence of Mr. Olson's work, the amount accomplished by him is remarkable for a man of his years, and the city of his adoption contains many evidences of his skills. Among the buildings erected by him may be mentioned the following. The Hitchcock School building, the Commercial and Triola blocks, the Young Men's Christian Association building, Lombard Gymnasium building, the Galesburg High School building, the Galesburg National Bank building, the Scott and Jordan block, the Bateman School building, and numerous handsome residences.
One of the fine traits of Mr. Olson's character is his open acknowledgment and appreciation of the good work of those upon whose efficiency and co-operation he is more or less dependent. He employs only skilled labor, and pays good prices, believing that to his employees he owes much of his success in life. The greatest good fellowship exists between employer and employees, many of whom have been with him since he started in business. Through the medium of periodicals and correspondence, Mr. Olson keeps in touch with the progress in his line in all parts of the world, and tries at all times to obtain the most convenient, substantial and artistic results.
Mr. Olson was married November 1, 1888, to Caroline C. Edoff, who was born in Sweden and came to America in early childhood. She is an exemplary wife and mother, and presides over a pleasant home on the corner of Bateman and Dudley Streets. To her, Mr. Olson attributes much of his good fortune in life. Mr. and Mrs. Olson have five children: Oscar Maurtiz; Agnes Mildred; Karl Natan; Helen Marie; and Earnest Joshua
From the 1878 History of Knox County, Illinois published by Charles C. Chapman. [Submitted by Joan Achille.]
SWAN H. OLSON. A grocer in Galesburg, he was born in Sweden on 4 Aug 1844, the son of Peter and Sisly Olson. In 1854 he came with his parents to America and to Knox Co. When old enough he entered the grocery business as the calling of his choice. On 20 Oct 1872, he was married to Clara M. Burke, by whom he has one son. He has been a member of the M. E. Church from 14 years of age, and has been a Trustee and Supt. of S. School. He served three years in the late war.
From the 1883 William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas - Marshall County, published by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL. [Contributed by Todd Walter.]
ROBERT OSBORN, farmer, P. O. Frankfort, was born in Franklin County, Ill., January 12, 1822. Moved to Knox County, Ill., and remained until 1866, when he moved to Marshall County, Kan., where he has remained ever since, and is engaged in farming and stock raising. Has a farm of 320 acres. Mr. Osborn assessed the east half of Marshall County in 1868, and served as County Commissioner in years 1870 and 1872. Is a member of the Masonic Order. Married in Knox County, Ill., in September, 1843, to Betsey Roundtree; they have eight children. [The Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Robert Osborn marrying Betsey Roundtree in Knox County on Sep. 8, 1844.]
From the 1886 Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County, Biographical Publishing Company, Chicago, page 852. [Contributed by Todd Walter.]
Stephen Osborn, whose parents were foremost in the ranks of those brave pioneers who many years ago came into the wilderness, and by dint of their strong will and persevering industry, coupled with uprightness of purpose, began the work of improvement and caused the silence to be broken by the sound of the hammer and the ax, is distinguished as being the first white male child born in Knox County. He has therefore been identified with its progress, and resident in its now busy midst, and can look back as he remembers the old, quiet days, and see the changes that civilization has made.
Mr. Osborn was born at Henderson Grove, Aug. 9, 1830. His father, Alexander Osborn, was reared in Indiana, where his parents were early settlers. The date of his birth was April 25, 1802, and at the age of 27 his second marriage occurred, he being united to Miss Ann Hendricks, in the year 1829, and he soon afterward came to Knox County. The journey was made overland, and reaching his destination they first located at Henderson Grove, where he lived a short time, then removed to Knox Township, and bought a farm near the city. He lived on this for a short time and then removed to the north part of the township and purchased a tract of unimproved land, and after cultivating it sold out and removed to Sparta Township. There he bought a farm, which after a few years he also sold, and went to the village of Wataga and bought property and lived until 1879. Again disposing of his property, he removed to Frankfort, Kan., where his friends celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and where his wife died in the fall of 1879, and four months later he followed her. His second matrimonial alliance was blest by the birth of seven children. There are two children living of the first marriage - Elizabeth, widow of William Collins, who lives in Kansas, and E. Jane, widow of George Pitman, who lives in Lyons, Kan. The children of the second marriage are as follows: Stephen, our subject; Dorinda, wife of Samuel Vangilder, who lives in Kansas; Robert K., who lives in Marshall County, Kan.; Lucinda, wife of Martin Key, now deceased; Andrew J., who lives in Knox County; Thomas, who lives in Union County, Iowa, and William, who is at present City Marshal of Girard, Kan.
Stephen Osborn, of whom we write, was reared in his native county, and educated in the public schools. He was married April 27, 1851, to Elizabeth Vangilder [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Stephen Osborn marrying a Elizabeth Vangilder in Knox County on April 27, 1851], who was born in Indiana and is the daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Stephenson) Vangilder. They have five children living - Alexander, who resides in Orion, Henry County; Ella, wife of W.W. Thompson, whose home is in Dallas County, Iowa; Samuel, Edward and George W. Anna died April 15, 1886, aged twelve years and eight months.
Mr. Osborn has lived in Knox County, with the exception of ten years spent in Mercer and Henry Counties, all his life. He bought the place he now owns in 1882, and it is situated on section 3, in Knox Township. He is at present engaged with his son, Edward, in man's original calling, that of gardening and fruit-raising, and they maintain the reputation of furnishing as fine fruit and plants as can be obtained anywhere. Both Mr. and Mrs. Osborn are hospitable and popular neighbors and friends, and good cheer is found around their pleasant hearthstone. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and show forth in their daily lives the gentle attributes of a noble religion, as exhibited in the life of Christ Jesus.
From the 1899 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Knox County, Munsell Publishing Company, page 950. [Contributed by Todd Walter.]
HARVEY OUDERKIRK; Farmer; Maquon Township; born at Maquon, December 15, 1838; educated in Knox County. His parents, Jacob and Nancy (Waffle) Ouderkirk, were born in New York, and came to Maquon in the Fall of 1835, accompanied by his father and their oldest daughter. After settling on a farm south of Maquon, they moved to Haw Creek Township, where he died in 1882, aged seventy years. His wife died in Missouri, in 1892, aged seventy five. Their children were: Polly Ann, deceased; Mary J., widow of George Thurman; Harvey; Charles S.; Salinda, deceased; Welman J.; Emily E., wife of Dwight Joiner; Mrs. Harriet Barbero, deceased; Martha, deceased. Jacob Ouderkirk's parents, Frederick, a farmer in New York, and Elizabeth (Bond) were natives of New York. Nancy Waffel's parents were Henry and Elizabeth Waffel. Harvey Ouderkirk was raised on a farm and had few advantages, but by improving his opportunities has acquired a fair education. He was married to Sarah E. Cook, December 13, 1862, in Haw Creek Township [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Harvey Ouderkirk marrying Sarah Cook in Knox County on November 13, 1862]. They have four children: Henry J.; Clara E., wife of Frank Briggs; Oscar B.; and Elnora E. The last two are at home. After his marriage he settled in a log cabin in Maquon Township, and though his farm was a rented one and corn selling at eight cents a bushel delivered, he succeeded in buying land in Chestnut Township. He now owns four farms, aggregating four hundred and seventeen acres. November 2, 1880, he moved to a fine farm one and a half miles west of Maquon. He has dealt successfully in stock. Mrs. Ouderkirk is a daughter of John and Hattie (Holloway) Cook, who came to Knox County in 1848. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but he afterwards joined the United Brethren. He died in Kansas. Mr. Ouderkirk, though poor, contributed corn to the Kansas sufferers in 1860. In politics, he is a republican and has held minor offices.