Allison, Nathaniel Thompson. History of Cherokee County, Kansas, and Representative Citizens. Chicago, IL: Biographical Publishing Co., 1904. Online index created by Carolyn Ward, instructor at USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, and State Coordinator for The KSGenWeb Project.

James O'Malley

JAMES O'MALLEY, a prominent farmer of Cherokee County, whose farm lies in section 3, township 32, range 23, in Ross township, was born March 4, 1847, in County Limerick, Ireland.

His parents, John and Mary (Clancy) O'Malley, were also born in Ireland, where they were married; they lived in County Limerick until 1847. Emigrating to America, John O'Malley located in New Jersey, where, after the family joined him, they farmed for seven years. Then they moved to Bureau County, Illinois, where they remained until 1868. At this period they again turned their faces westward, and another year found them settled on 160 acres of wild land in Cherokee County, Kansas, where Scammon now stands. Besides being one of the pioneer farmers here, John O'Malley was also the owner of the first coal mine opened in this section. His death occurred in 1876, on the home place, to the improvement of which he had given so much time and labor. The death of his wife occurred some time earlier, in Bureau County, Illinois. Both were devout members of the Catholic Church. Mr. O'Malley was a Democrat, in politics, although never aspiring to office. The family consisted of 11 children, nine of whom were born in Ireland and two in America. Those living are: Patrick, of Montgomery County, Iowa; Catherine, of Henry County, Illinois; James; David, a resident of Scammon, and Fannie (Mrs. Michael Fleming), of Ross township.

James O'Malley came to America in 1849, with his mother and the children, the father having preceded them two years previously. In March, 1864, James enlisted in Company F, 53d Reg., Illinois Vol. Inf. He was with Sherman in his "March to the Sea" and was discharged at Chicago, Illinois, July 22,1865.

Upon his return home, Mr.O'Malley stayed one year, and was employed in different occupations. He then rented and cultivated a farm in Bureau County, Illinois. Here he married, in 1868, to Mary Swain. To them have been born 11 children, nine of whom are living, as followers: John, a miner, who resides in Stone City: Jane, now the wife of Henry A. Rockefeller, an engineer, of Ross township; Rosie, now Mrs. Reno, whose husband is a miner at Stone City, Kansas; Lena, wife of Michael Wagner, a pit boss at Stone City; Kate, wife of George Lanning, a miner, of Scammon; William A., who lives at home, and is employed in the mines; and Maude, Patrick and Mabel, who are at home. Two children, Margaret and Michael, died when very young.

After his marriage, the subject of this sketch farmed in Illinois until 1871, when he came alone to Cherokee County, Kansas, his wife following in June of that year. They located on the northwest quarter of section 3, township 32, range 23, in Ross township. The land was all wild, and only a small portion was broken the first year. During the winter, Mr. O'Malley moved to Scammon where he found employment in the coal mines. For three years the family spent their summers on the farm and the winters in Scammon. The crops put in on the farm were sod corn and fall wheat, which yielded well when the seasons were favorable. Their home consisted of small box house at first, to which additions were made later, until it was a comfortable home, and they occupied it until 1904, when a beautiful new, two-story house was completed which has nine large rooms.

The work of the farm comprises general farming, and the care of horses, hogs, cattle and mules. All kinds of fruit trees were planted some years ago, and now produce large quantities for home use and market. The improvements on this farm were all made by the owner, and he justly deserves the peace and plenty which come from hard labor, perseverance and pluck.

Mr. O'Malley has always been a man of influence in the county, and has taken an active interest in affairs. As a Democrat, he is a familiar figure at all the local public gatherings of that party, although he does not care for office. He has been treasurer of the township 12 years, and for 16 years has served on the School Board. He and his family are highly regarded in the county, where they have so long resided.

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