Shared by Michael W.
My family began in Louisiana when Dennis and new wife Ellen Kanaley O'Brien landed at Louisiana riverfront in 1852 on way to St. Louis. John Allen saw great-great grandfather O'Brien wearing white overalls and assumed he was a stone mason and offered him work. He, wife and friends the Kanaley's disembarked and made Louisiana home forever more. At one time, Dennis' son, Dennis Jr., bought large home just outside Louisiana on Frankford Road, shown in 1875 Pike County Atlas as "home of ....Sharpe" for a time before moving back to 620 N. 7th Street.
My great grandfather O'Brien had blacksmith shop at one time and other relatives also ran such shops. [Below you will find] a document which is a transcript of an article written by a Louisiana Press Journal reporter in 1911 upon interviewing my great-great grandfather O'Brien, the oldest man in town at that time. I believe his story, now almost 100 years old itself, is quite interesting.
Louisiana Press-Journal, Louisiana, Missouri
DENNIS O’BRIEN IS HALE AND
He Furnishes the Press-Journal With
Passing up Seventh street on day last week a Press-Journal representative observed this gentleman walking briskly as is his custom without a cane, and as erect as most men at 50 going like he was sent on an errand. Presently he opened a gate and entered the home of a friend, Wm. Kling. We followed him into the house bent on getting “a bit of a sketch” as he afterwards called it -- a brief autobiography. And here it is:
I am the son of Thomas O’Brien and Mary Powers, the oldest of 10 children, 8 sons and 2 daughters. My parents lived in County Waterford in the southeastern part of Ireland where I was born, August 15, 1817. I grew up to manhood in my native country. When I was 29 years of age -- that is in 1846 -- I left Ireland for America. A great many people were coming over then with a view of bettering their condition in (life) and I thought from all I heard that America was a good country to come to and I haven’t changed my opinion on that subject yet.
|Notes from Michael
W., great-great grandson of Dennis O’Brien, Sr.:
1) This article is a critical source document for information regarding the history of the O’Brien family, both in Louisiana, Missouri and their previous residences in New York and Ireland.
2) The Wm. A. McQuie, mentioned by Dennis O’Brien, above, is a grand-uncle of M.F.S.*, currently (4/6/01) still living in Louisiana, Missouri. M.F.S.* is a first cousin of Rosella Mills O’Brien, wife of Dennis O’Brien, Jr., son of Dennis O’Brien, Sr., subject of the autobiography above.
3) As of 4/6/01, I cannot find reference to the ship, Mary McKendre, on which Dennis O’Brien, Sr., stated he immigrated to America. My research is continuing.
4) Dennis O’Brien, Sr,. lived in Dungarvan Parish, County Waterford, Ireland, before immigrating to America. It is not currently known if he was born in that parish. Dennis’ wife, Ellen Kanaley, came from Aglish Parish, County Waterford, Ireland, before emigrating to America. It is not currently known if she was born in that parish.
5) Dennis O’Brien states he came to America with one sister. That sister is unnamed and remains unknown, Honora O’Brien as well as her life after arriving in New York. Apparently, she did not migrate west with her brother. There could be another line of relatives originating from this sister. who married fellow immigrant and friend James Kanaley, becoming Honora Kanaley and migrating to Louisiana, Missouri, with Dennis and Ellen and who is buried in Catholic Cemetery, LA MO.
6) Dennis O’Brien stated he came to America with his father, Thomas O’Brien. No further mention of Thomas is made and details of his life, after arriving in New York, are unknown. Apparently, he did not migrate west with his son and daughter-in-law. Research on the fate of Thomas would be interesting.
7) Dennis O’Brien states he was one of 8 sons and 2 daughters of Thomas O’Brien and Mary Powers. No information is currently known on any of these siblings. Further research in Ireland is planned.
8) It should be noted that the O’Briens immigrated to America at what was probably the height of the historic Irish Potato Famine of 1846 and 1847. Dennis makes no mention of the famine or any specific reasons for emigration from Ireland other than to “better their condition”. Additional research in Ireland may provide interesting insight into the family and how they were affected by the famine as well as the fate of the eight siblings who did not emigrate, at least at the same time which Dennis O’Brien did.
9) Photographs of Dennis O’Brien, Sr., exist in the files of Michael K. W. Photographs also exist of the “original” O’Brien home on Fourteenth and Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, as stated by Dennis O’Brien, above. It is not known at what point this became the home of Dennis O’Brien, Sr., or any previous residences, if any.
10) The correct spelling of the name “Cramer”, as referenced above, is “Creamer”.
*Note: The complete name was replaced with initials to preserve the privacy of a living person.
THE ABOVE FROM MICHAEL W.:
Per New York City Fed Census of 1850, Honora O'Brien did indeed marry James Kanaley in New York and actually gave birth to baby girl Mary shortly before Kanaley's and O'Brien's moved west to La Mo. James Kanaley married my gggrandfather Dennis O'Brien Sr.'s sister, Honora, and Dennis O'Brien married James' sister, Ellen Kanaley. The New York Fed Census document shows James and Honora Kanaley (Cannaly) having just married and living in a boarding house with as yet unmarried Dennis, Sr. I can't find similar reference to Ellen Kanaley (O'Brien to be) at this time - she may have lived in another house. All are buried in Catholic Cemetery out on Georgia. Again, sorry for the old notes.
As Dennis O'Brien, Sr. states in the article, he and his sister, Honora, immigrated to New York, 1847, being the two eldest children, and their father, Thomas O'Brien, Sr., came with them. I have found no records of Thomas Sr., ever leaving New York so we assume he died there before the two families migrated to La Mo.
some point before 1860, Thomas Sr.'s wife (mother to
Dennis and Honora) Mary Power O'Brien, immigrated to
US and came to Louisiana to join her children. Mary proudly states
her full name on her monument in the Catholic Cemetery. Again,
Thomas the husband seems not to have been around any more. We assume
additional children joined Mary in Louisiana, Mo. We
have information that these additional children included:
So, adding back Dennis, Sr. and Honora to the above, that gives us eight of the ten children of Thomas and Mary Power O'Brien. We have no information on the other two.
You may want to note that one of Dennis Sr.'s children, Mary Ellen, married a Michael Bernard Creamer, another Irish immigrant, in Louisiana. The Creamer family was also quite large.
|...two young men standing in front of their home originally built by C W Sharpe, Frankford Road, Louisiana, Missouri - this photo circa 1915 shows Harry and George Randall O'Brien (sons of Dennis O'Brien, Jr., owner of home in photo). Lady in doorway of home is their grandmother Catherine Spalding Mills (in-law of owner Dennis O'Brien, Jr.) See Pike County Atlas 1875 for lithograph of this home. This home is literally within shouting distance of North 7th Street.|
|I have enclosed a MapQuest screenprint of the approximate location of the Sharpe (1875)/ OBrien (1900-1920) home, ARROW below. The RED STAR is 620 N 7th Street to where Dennis OBrien, Jr., moved his family and the home which I purchased in 1983 upon the death of his daughter, Catherine OBrien, sister of two men in photo, but gave up in 1993.|
|...from almost the same location (known as "Fernwood Farm") as #3222 but looking away and northeast at the drive that leads to the OBrien home. It is an a tranquil, near utopian place, then and even to this very day.|
|...of same Dennis OBrien, Jr., standing in doorway of his blacksmith shop (he called it "horse shoeing) somewhere in downtown Louisiana, circa 1919. We do not know the exact location of this shop but Dennis is listed in 1900 and 1910 Federal Census (Louisiana, Mo) as "blacksmith" and I possess a few relics of his shop.|
|Dennis O'Brien, Sr., the immigrant and man who started the O'Briens in Louisiana.|
|Scans of actual LPJournal article from 1911
giving biographical account of and from interview with Dennis
|Recent photo of tombstone of Dennis O'Brien, Sr.. as it looks today in Catholic Cemetery, Louisiana, Missouri. Son Dennis, Jr., is buried a few feet away.|