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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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James O'Hara

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 488 - 489

James O'Hara, one of the old settlers and honored pioneers of Holland Township, is a native of Ireland, born in County Sligo, December 20, 1830, and is a son of John and Nancy (McGinty) O'Hara. The father was a small farmer in that country. In 1852, he, with his wife and five children, emigrated to the United States, sailing from Liverpool to New York, a journey of six weeks' duration. From the latter city they went to Le Roy, Genesee County, where the father engaged in farming, and where he spent his declining years, dying at the age of seventy years. His wife afterward removed to Sheboygan County, and made her home with her son, the gentleman whose name heads this record. Her death occurred in 1864, at the age of sixty eight years. Of their family of fifteen children, ten sons and five daughters, but four survive, as follows: John, who is County Surveyor of Manitowoc County; Francis, who is a farmer at Le Roy, Genesee County, N. Y.; Bridget, who became the wife of John Hand, a farmer of McKean County, Pa.; and James.

Our subject was reared to farm life, and acquired his education in the common schools in the village of his nativity. When seventeen years of age, he, in company with a brother, Patrick (now deceased), crossed the Atlantic to Quebec, being on the water some seventy-four days, and encountering many severe storms. However, the good ship "Ganges" brought all safely to port. Two years were spent 011 a farm a few miles west, of Toronto; then he went to Buffalo, N. Y., where he was employed on a branch of the New York & Lake Erie Railroad for a short time. Afterward he went to Le Roy, Genesee County, where he worked on a farm for five years. It was while here that he met the lady who became his wife, Isabelle Hannan. November 9, 1854, their marriage was celebrated in Batavia, Genesee County. Mrs. O'Hara is a daughter of John and Isabelle (Dobbin) Hannan, born April 20, 1830, in County Antrim, Ireland. Her parents were also natives of that county, but emigrated to this country when she was an infant of three weeks. They sailed from Belfast to Quebec, making the voyage, which consumed ten weeks, on the ship "Jane," of Belfast. Of their nine children, four are still living: James, Henry and Rose, who reside in the city of Sheboygan; and Mrs. O'Hara, who is the fourth. The family went first to Franklin County, N. Y., where they spent some two years, and from that place went to Rochester. Later they removed to Java, Wyoming County, in that State, where the father, who was a shoemaker by trade, resumed work at that occupation, and also engaged in farming. Mrs. O'Hara was a dressmaker in Le Roy for some time previous to her marriage.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. O'Hara nine children were born, of whom four survive. John, born August 14, 1858, is at home; Mary Isabelle, born March 29, 1861, is the wife of Michael Ellenbecker, a farmer of Ozaukee County; Thomas, born July 15, 1862, is a business man of Sheboygan; Henry, born July 16, 1868, is serving as Deputy Sheriff, and resides in the same city.

On the day of their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. O'Hara left Le Roy for Sheboygan County, where they purchased eighty acres of timber-land, located on section 19, Holland Township, which has since been their home. In 1866, Mr. O'Hara bought forty acres on section 20, which was also in timber. Of this he has made an excellent farm, which is in a good state of cultivation and well improved as to buildings, etc. Where formerly stood his log cabin, has been erected a two story brick house. All of these improvements represent the toil of many years. Coming to this country a poor boy, Mr. O'Hara has, by the force of natural ability and energy, become quite well off. In his political views, he is a Democrat.

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