Pages 455-457, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




ISAAC N. O'BRIEN—Tireless energy, well directed by sound business judgment, has brought to Mr. O'Brien very gratifying success in the affairs of life. He resides in Humboldt township, where he owns and


occupies a fine farm. He was born in Pike county, Ohio, March 29, 1835, and was about twenty-three years of age when he came to this State. His father, Cornelius O'Brien, was born in the Buckeye State in 1808, and having arrived at years of maturity he married Leah Newman, of Adams county, Ohio. In the year, 1857 he came with his son William to Allen county, Kansas, and preempted the quarter section of land upon which his son Isaac now resides. The country was wild and the Indians far outnumbered the white population. It required considerable courage for an eastern man to settle among the red-skinned people, and also face the trials and hardships incident to life on the frontier, but for many years the father carried on farming and was regarded as one of the reliable citizens of the community. He died in 1872, at the age of sixty-four years. His wife was born in 1807, and passed away in 1866, at the age of fifty-nine. They had but two children: William C., of Mound Valley, Kansas, and Isaac N.

Isaac N. O'Brien spent the days of his childhood and youth in Ohio, and at the time of his father's removal to Kansas was serving as Clerk of Common Pleas court. He served from 1856 to 1858 and accordingly did not come to the Sunflower State until April 9, 1858, at which time he took up his residence in Humboldt and engaged in freighting from Leavenworth and Kansas City. When the war broke out he joined the army and was detailed as a teamster. He was discharged in September, 1862, and went back to Ohio, and when the war was nearly over reenlisted as a substitute, receiving sixteen hundred dollars for his services. As his command was proceeding down the Ohio river, they received word that Lee had surrendered arid were ordered back to be discharged, so that Mr. O'Brien was only out four weeks the second time.

Throughout the greater part of his business career he has carried on farming. He spent five years, however, in Chanute, where he operated the electric light plant and mills, and was also engaged for a time in the grocery business. In due time he returned to his farm where he is now extensively and successfully engaged in the raising of wheat, corn and hogs. His place comprises a tract of rich, never-failing bottom land on the Neosho river.

Mr. O'Brien has been twice married. First May 29, 1859, he wedded, in Ohio, Miss Mary E. Were, and to them were born a son and daughter: Cornelius, born April 14, 1864, is now engaged in the transfer business in Cincinnati, Ohio; Mary E., born May 13 and died July 16, 1867. The mother died June 5, 1867, and Mr. O'Brien was again married February 11, 1872, his second union being with Miss Maggie P. Moore, of Pike county, Ohio. By this union six children were born J. M., a prominent merchant in Humboldt; Grace and Hattie, both of whom have been college students and are now teachers in Allen county; Bertha, George and Perlie.

In his political affiliations Mr. O'Brien has always been a Republican. The honors and emoluments of public office have had no attraction for him, his attention being given to the farm, which has been the means of securing for him a comfortable competence. He has long been a witness of the


growth and development of southeastern Kansas, and Allen county numbers him among her valued early settlers.

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