Patrick Henry O'Brien

PATRICK HENRY O'BRIEN. In the numerous interests which, combined, serve to make Burr Oak an important and representative business center, lumber and banking are probably the most important, and connected with both for many years has been the name of O'Brien, a highly respected name because it is worthily borne. The branch of the O'Brien family to which Patrick Henry O'Brien, vice president of the Jewell County National Bank at Burr Oak, belongs has belonged to Kansas since early in the '60s.

Patrick Henry O'Brien was born at Minersville, Kansas, September 7, 1883, and is the son of T. P. and Theresa (Sohns) O'Brien, and a grandson of Edward Dennis O'Brien. The grandfather was born in County Kerry, Ireland. Before coming to America he lived in the City of London, England, and after reaching the United States lived with his family in the City of New York until early in the. '60s, when he came to Kansas and secured a homestead claim near Concordia in Cloud County, and died there in 1897. He was industrious and frugal and became possessed of a valuable property.

T. P. O'Brien, father of P. H. O'Brien of Burr Oak, was born in London, England, in 1857, and was still in childhood when his parents brought him to the United States and finally to Kansas. He grew to manhood on the old family homestead north of Concordia and obtained his public school education in Cloud County. For a number of years he followed general farming there, but in 1887 removed to Concordia, where for a time he was interested in a grocery enterprise and then turned his attention to the lumber business. In 1891 he engaged in the lumber business at Burr Oak, in 1907 removing to Waterville in the same line, and from there to Bartlett, Kansas, in 1913, where he has large lumber interests, to which he gives his whole attention. In politics he is a republican and during his residence at Burr Oak, served in the office of city clerk. He is a faithful member of the Roman Catholic Church.

T. P. O'Brien married Miss Theresa Sohns, who was born in 1859, at St. Paul, Minnesota, and seven children were born to them, namely: Patrick Henry; Timothy Oscar, who is a resident of Burr Oak, conducts a garage; Dennie, who died when young; Theresa, who resides with her parents; Edward Robert, who is in the lumber business at Pawnee, Oklahoma; Albert John, who is a barber by trade, resides at Clarkson, Nebraska; and Roy Francis, who is cashier of the Dennis State Bank at Dennis, Kansas.

Patrick Henry O'Brien attended the public schools of Burr Oak, Kansas, leaving school at the age of sixteen to give his father assistance in his lumber yard and remained there one year, largely utilizing his time during the next year in preparing for a position as bookkeeper in the Jewell County Bank, at that time a private institution that had been established in 1891, its organizers being M. C. Berkeley and R. Beachy. Mr. O'Brien became a bookkeeper in this bank in 1901, and in 1905 became its vice president and continues in that relation. The bank was nationalized in 1904, and its present officers are: J. C. Swift, of Kansas City, Missouri, president; Patrick H. O'Brien, vice president; M. J. Cook, second vice president; and Oscar Johnson, cashier. The bank works with a capital of $50,000, surplus and profits being $22,000. The bank is well housed at the corner of Main and Jackson streets, and is equipped with all modern bank protective appliances and conveniences. Mr. O'Brien's steady advance in the institution is a tribute to his application and fidelity as well as to his natural qualities as a financier and man of sound judgment.

Mr. O'Brien married at Burr Oak, in 1908, Miss Ada Carhill, who is a daughter of George and Kate (Johnson) Carhill, residents of Burr Oak. Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien have a son, Max Carhill, who was born August 16, 1912.

Mr O'Brien is one of Burr Oak's active and public spirited citizens and at present is serving as a member of the school board. He is a republican in politics and was so elected to the city council, but in lending his influence to advance movements for the general welfare of the city he at all times conscientiously did his duty without regard to party. He is a member of the Christian Church and is a liberal contributor to other religious bodies as well as to all worthy enterprises. He is past master of Burr Oak Lodge No. 178, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Mr. O'Brien owns his comfortable residence, a beautiful home, situated on Main Street, Burr Oak.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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