Page 187, 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.




JOEL MOORE O'BRIEN—The spirit of self-help is the source of all genuine worth in the indvidual and is the means of bringing to man success when he has no advantages of wealth or influenee[sic] to aid him. It illustrates what is possible to accomplish when perseverance and deterinination form the keynote to a man's life. Depending upon his own resources, looking for no outside aid or support. J. M. O'Brien has risen from a position of comparative obscurity to a place of prominence in the commercial world, and as proprietor of a leading mercantile establishment in Humboldt he is widely and favorably known.

He is numbered among the native sons of Allen County, his birth having occurred on a farm two miles north of Humboldt, on the 10th of November, 1872. There he spent his boyhood days, working in the fields, the meadows or the garden. His education was acquired in tne common schools and in the high school at Chanute, and from the latter institution he was graduated. He also attended Baker University, a two years course in commercial business, after which he gained a certificate with the signature of President Quayle attached. Going to Chanute he obtained a clerkship in a grocery store and there put to the practical test the knowledge which he had gained. He afterward accepted a position as a traveling salesman and when he had saved up five hundred dollars he began business on his own account, purchasing a small stock of groceries. From the beginning his trade steadily and constantly increased. His kind and obliging manner and his honorable dealing won him a liberal support and his increasing trade forced him to secure larger quarters and increase his facilities. He began business in Humboldt in 1897 and is now housed in a large store building, with a stock valued at three thousand dollars. In 1899 his sales amounted to five times his stock and in 1900 to seven times that amount. His success is due to the fact that he has ever been most diligent and enterprising; that he has always secured the benefit of the discount on bills, never allowing them to mature; and that a most straightforward business policy has been followed by him.

He has served as superintendent of the M. E. Sabbath school five years and is connected with the church as treasurer and trustee. He was president of the Fraternal Aid Association two years.

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