Keweenaw County Michigan

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Patrick H. O'Brien


PATRICK H. O'BRIEN, a prominent member of the Houghton County bar, and a well known and popular resident of Laurium, was born March 15, 1868, near the Phoenix mine, under the bluff, at the west vein, in Keweenaw County, Michigan. He is a son of Patrick J. and Mary Harrington (Green) O'Brien, both natives of Ireland.

Patrick J. O'Brien was born in Glengariff, County Cork, Ireland, and was killed while engaged in mining, in the Calumet & Hecla mine in Houghton County, Michigan, in August, 1890. He was a prominent leader in Democratic politics, a man of strong convictions and was a man respected wherever known. He served as justice of the peace in two townships and impressed all who met him as a man of superior ability. He came to the United States in 1856 and located at Boston, Massachusetts, removing in 1863 to the Lake Superior region, going into the Cliff mine, in, Keweenaw County, Michigan. From 1887 until the time of his death, he worked in the Calumet & Hecla mine. He married Mary Harrington Green, who was born on Bear Island, Botany Bay, County Cork, Ireland, and who still resides at Laurium, aged 66 years. She is a devoted member of the Catholic Church. A family of nine children is now represented by five survivors, viz: Michael E., a prominent life insurance agent at Laurium; Timothy; James; Patrick H.; and Annie, the latter being an accomplished kindergarten teacher at Calumet.

Patrick H. O'Brien was educated in the schools at Allouez, Keweenaw County, and the Osceola schools in Houghton County and was graduated at the Calumet High School in 1887, with scholastic honors. For the two succeeding years he taught school at Copper Harbor and Copper Falls. In 1889, ne entered the law department of the Northern Indiana College at Valparaiso, Indiana, and finished the prescribed course in two years and was admitted to the bar April 1, 1891. In the same year he located at West Superior, Wisconsin, and despite the fact that he was one of 150 young lawyers who had settled in a city of 20,000 population, in eight years he had built up a very lucrative practice, mainly personal injury cases. In the summer of 1899 he removed to Houghton County and settled at Laurium, where he has become well and most favorably known, both as an attorney and as a citizen. For two years he served as village attorney and has taken part in a great deal of the important litigation of the locality. Mr. O'Brien has a reputation among criminal lawyers, having won some desperate cases.

Mr. O'Brien is a stanch Democrat and a supporter of the silver branch of the party. Like other men whose achievements have brought criticism upon them, Mr. O'Brien on many occasions finds opponents who are tempted to try their skill in argument with him. So ready is his wit, so thorough his knowledge, so keen his sarcasm and so eloquent is his tongue, that his opponents find him an opponent worthy of their steel. Mr. O'Brien has the genial manner and attractive personality of his ancestry and wins personal friends by the score. In the profession, his ability, industry, carefulness, and integrity have brought him into prominence through the county and have served as an introduction to one whose eloquence is often sought upon festal occasions. That he is public spirited is a fact to which his fellow citizens can testify, for he is always ready to assist in the promotion of enterprises promising to be of benefit to the locality. Few men have more friends in the county than this popular young attorney.

Mr. O'Brien was married in 1897 to Bessie Kelly, who was born in Ottawa, Canada, and is a daughter of Daniel and Mary Kelly. Two sons have been born to them: Gerald, aged five years, and William D'Arcy, aged two years. Mr. O'Brien is a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Fraternally he belongs to the Elks, Knights of Columbus and other fraternal organizations.

Mr. O'Brien is a loyal party man in his political convictions and a firm supporter of principles he believes to be right. It would be difficult to find a citizen of Laurium more highly esteemed by all classes of citizens.