Volume III-A Thomas O'Connor and Mary O'Donnell Family Story as a PDF File
- Born: 2 Oct 1864, State Center, Iowa
- Marriage: O'Donnell, Mary on 4 May 1891 in St. Rose of Lima Church, Denison, Iowa
- Died: 21 Jul 1907, Denison, Crawford, IA, USA
- Buried: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery, Denison, Iowa
Grief is wide. Spread Death of Thomas O'Connor is sad blow to many.
Thomas O'Connor was born Oct 2, 1864 at State Center, Iowa, the 3rd son and 4th child of John and Mary O'Connor. He was brought to Crawford County from Fort Dodge, Iowa when his parents moved from that city, with their family in March 1971. This county was then emerging from a condition of a few scattered pioneer settlers in the grove along the creek, to the development and breaking up of its rolling prairie into farms everywhere. At the early age of 8, young Thomas begin assisting his parents in subduing the stubborn prairie, and converting it into a home, by planting trees, herding of cattle, and such work and labor as could be performed by a mere boy, on the site and in the vicinity, of the family homestead 3 miles east of Denison. At the age of 11 years he was, as it was then expressed "following a team," a phrase which will be readily understood by the hundreds of gray haired men and women who came to Crawford County at about that time. He continued to perform that hard work of a farm boy from this time until he grew in manhood, doing the work of a man, while he was even yet a boy. When but little past his majority with the financial assistance of his father, acquire his first farm 80 acres of land, which he purchased from Mr. D. W. McWilliams, now of Charter Oak.
At the age of 27 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary O'Donnell on May 4th 1891, at Denison, Iowa. To this union 7 children were born, 2 of whom died in infancy. He attended the public schools of his district from the time he came to the county, during the winter terms, and but occasionally during the spring and fall terms, until he reached his majority. While his school opportunities were limited to such schooling as could be obtained in a county district school of the period, he had the advantage of very able instructors in some of the county school teachers of that time and in that locality, and succeeded in laying the foundation of a thoroughly sound and practical education, which he built upon and broadened by a course of liberal reading and study, during the long winter evenings spent at home on a farm.
He died at his home in East Boyer Township, Sunday evening July 21 1907, as the result of a sickness caused by a malignant tumor of the liver. He had been ailing for about 3 months and was confined to his bed only about 3 weeks. He had consulted the most eminent physicians that he could find, and about 2 weeks before his death an exploratory operation was performed upon him, by Drs. Carr & Brannon, Rouse of Sioux City and Houlihan of Ida Grove, in the hope that conditions might be found that could be relieved by a further operation, but the result of the investigation only served to confirm the previous diagnoses, of his various physicians; his disease was found to be hopelessly incurable.
He endured his suffering and intense pain with which he was at times afflicted with the fortitude of a martyr and the courage of a hero, and he approached his pending doom unflinchingly, finally passing away peacefully, apparently painlessly, and conscious almost to the last moment.
He leaves surviving him his widow and 5 children, Marie - 14, John - 12, Gracie -10, James - 7 and Frances -1: also his mother, 4 brothers, Maurice of Vail, and Jeremiah, James and Michael of East Boyer, 2 sisters, Mrs. Michael Magner of East Boyer and Mrs. John Meehan of Iowa Township. These with several other friends and neighbors and relatives were with him on the last day of his life.
Mr. O'Connor was a man who had attained success in his walk of life. He leaves to his family a comfortable competence. His success was attained by hard labor, persistent industry, and unflagging energy.
H was always working, and it might be said of him that he performed the labor of a man while he was yet a boy, and the labor of 2 men since he became a man. In so far as labor and toil can be said to measure the age of a man, it might be truly said of him that during his 43 years of life he lived the full scriptural time of man's existence.
H was a man whose example is worthy of emulation by the young men of today. He was temperate in his habits, appetites, and desires; he was a obedient son, a model husband, a kind father, a good brother and an upright citizen.
He will be missed by the Community in which he lived and most of all by those who know him best and loved him dearest for his innumerable manly qualities. His family has suffered an irreparable loss, and to its members we tender our most sincere sympathy, in this their hour of grief. Peace to the ashes of sterling, truthful, honest man.
There is little we can add to the above well written obituary except to express our sympathy with the loved ones and our grief over the loss of this good man.
The funeral services on Wednesday were attended by friends from all over the County, and it was one of the largest funerals the county has ever known.
The final summons came to Thomas O'Connor at his home in East Boyer Township, Sunday evening July 21st, mid the whole family circle he peacefully and consciously passed into the sleep that knows no awakening. A malignant tumor of the liver developed in Tom's system and 3 months gradually worked its subtle way to the life currant, hopefully, at first, then determinedly and finally desperately but patiently Thomas battled against the fate that awaited him, showing the heroism of a great man, and comforting his dear loved ones, even as he battled. But his own will, and the prayer of his home folks and his thousands of friends availed naught. The end was foreordained and no human power could contest.
The funeral was held Tuesday, July 23, at the Catholic Church in Denison, Iowa of which he had been always a member. The church was filed to the limit with sorrowing friends, and the procession that wended its way to the cemetery northeast of town was so long that it reached all the way.
Such a mark of respect to the deceased must be gratifying event to his spirit, that is gone as well as his loved ones he has left.
From Mary Cobb - 1900 Census
Thomas bd 10/1862
James 4/1990 my father was only 2 months old at the time. Thomas is listed as a farmer, born in Iowa and age 37
Mary is also listed as age 37 but I think she was 2 years older than her husband.
Thomas married Mary O'Donnell, daughter of Francis (Frank) O'Donnell and Bridget (Benjo) Houlihan, on 4 May 1891 in St. Rose of Lima Church, Denison, Iowa. (Mary O'Donnell was born on 1 May 1862 in Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland, died on 15 Dec 1933 in Denison, Crawford, IA, USA and was buried in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery, Denison, Iowa.)
Witnesses were Thomas O'Connor's brother, Maurice O'Connor and his sister, Ellen (Nellie) O'Connor)