G. S. HOLT. A Kansas territorial pioneer whose name and services will always be specially remembered in the City of Ottawa was G. S. Holt, a native of Connecticut who came to Kansas Territory in the early '50s.
For a time he lived at Lawrence, but from there went to Ottawa and became proprietor of the first dry goods store, opened in a building at the corner of Second and Main streets. This building had been constructed from the timbers of the old capitol building at Mineola. Besides his work as a business man Mr. Holt was identified and was one of the founders of Ottawa University.
He was the father of three sons and one daughter. The sons became prominent in the history of the Baptist Church in several parts of the United States, and altogether the name is one of the most prominent in the Baptist Church of the United States.
The only daughter, Jennie, married John P. Starkweather. Mr. Starkweather was born in Clay County, Kansas, and for a number of years was a merchant at Clay Center and afterward had a store in Graham County, Kansas. At present he is living in Kansas City, Missouri, retired, and has his home with his oldest daughter, Annie, the wife of J. C. O'Connor. Mrs. O'Connor traces her genealogical record back to the time of the Crusaders and is entitled to seven bars to designate her seven distinct lines of descent from Revolutionary soldiers. Her Revolutionary ancestry includes Gen. Nathaniel Greene and several colonial governors. Mrs. O'Connor is a prominent member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and her aunt, Mrs. Lillian G. Starkweather (Higinbotham) has long been a leader in that organization,
Annie Palmer Starkweather was born at Clay Center, Kansas. At Hill City in this state on June 3, 1914, she became the wife of Mr. James Charles O'Connor. Mr. O'Connor was born in Brown's Creek Township of Jewell County, Kansas, October 6, 1872. He first saw the light of day in one of the first dugouts constructed in that county. His father, John O'Connor, was a native of County Clare, Ireland, coming to America when a boy. At the age of seventeen he enlisted at the first call for volunteers in 1861, and became a member of the Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry. He enlisted at Boscobell in that state. His military service as a loyal defender of the flag continued throughout the war. When he was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, it was with the rank of first sergeant. At the close of his military duties he participated in the Grand Review at Washington in 1865. For one year he was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and afterward was with Sherman in the great campaign from Chickamauga to Atlanta and from Atlanta to the sea.
In 1867, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, John O'Connor married Margaret Hyland, daughter of James Hyland, of that city. Her brother, Michael P. Hyland, was treasurer of Milwaukee for a number of years, and her sister, Mrs. James V. Foley, of Waukesha, was president of the State Federation of Women's Clubs of Wisconsin. Mrs. John O'Connor died in 1910, and her husband in 1916.
John O'Connor in 1872 came to Kansas and took a soldier's claim in Jewell County. That was then far out on the western frontier. He developed a homestead, but subsequently removed to Maryville, Missouri, where he was in the implement business and continued actively as a merchant until 1882. After that he led a retired life, though his active temperament would not permit a career of idleness, and he usually found something useful to engage his time. His last years were spent at the home of his son, James C., in Kansas City, Missouri.
John O'Connor and wife had six children. Two daughters, Annie and Margaret, are now deceased. Mrs. Patricia L. Stevens, is the wife of Ed Baucher Stevens, of Chicago. Mrs. Catherine Gebbiken is a widow living at Burlington Junction, Missouri. John is a farmer near Creston, Iowa.
Mr. James C. O'Connor graduated from the high school at Maryville, Missouri, and then entered the printing business. In 1892 he became publisher of the Evening News at Maryville, but finally sold his interest in that paper and removing to Kansas City, Missouri, took up the printing business on a large scale and followed it both in Kansas City and Chicago until 1909. Since then Mr. O'Connor has been a special traveling representative for the P. F. Collier Publishing House of New York. In this business he is still engaged and his talents have brought him remarkable success in this field. Through his business and in other ways he is widely known throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, and is constantly traveling over those states. Mr. O'Connor is a reader and public speaker of rare ability and while he exercises these talents as a diversion his services are in constant demand in many cities where he visits on his business trips. For the good of some cause and without any financial remuneration he has taken part in numerous entertainments for the benefit of local movements.
Mr. and Mrs. O'Connor reside at 4705 Summit Street in Kansas City. They have one child, Margaret Patricia, born March 20, 1915. Mr. O'Connor is a member of the Knights of Columbus. In politics he is independent, but has never taken any active part in political matters.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Christin Andrews, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, January 27, 2000.
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