Colonel Timothy O'Brien of the 152nd NY Volunteer Infantry
This memorial pamphlet for Colonel Timothy O'Brien of Little Falls, Herkimer County, was contributed by his proud great-nephew, Daniel J. O'Brien. We've attempted to duplicate the beautiful word-processing job Daniel did in replicating the original pamphlet.
On the following pages is a typed copy of the pamphlet published by James O'Brien, my great-great-uncle, paying tribute to his brother Colonel Timothy O'Brien. It is simply a collection of two newspaper clippings from different papers from New York and Virginia that were printed at the time of the Colonel's death. It, however, makes for interesting reading and I'm proud to be related to him. He was quite a man. Everything is printed EXACTLY (verbatim) as it is printed in the pamphlet.
This pamphlet has been sought after by the O'Brien family ever since I became interested in genealogy in early 1996. I had never seen it before but have heard much about it by family members. It wasn't until my dad was cleaning out his basement after Thanksgiving of 1997 did he find it. It has been a gold nugget find for me.
Daniel J. O'Brien
December 3, 1997
The following extracts were taken from the newspapers at the time of the death of my brother, Col. O'Brien. In order to conveniently preserve them, as well as to provide copies for members of the family and other friends, they are printed in this form.
Joliet, Ill., Dec. 15, 1898.
The many old, warm friends of Col. T. O'Brien, formerly so well known and so greatly esteemed in our village, were shocked by the announcement on Wednesday that Judge Hardin had received a telegram conveying the sad news of his sudden death. For many months he has suffered from consumption, but his friends here had received no recent intelligence that he was failing rapidly. Indeed, with characteristic self - control, he had kept about his active duties in Richmond, and even upon the day before his death he transacted important business at Midlothian, a few miles from Richmond. After this trip he return to his hotel, ate a hearty supper, and retired. In the morning he arose, partially dressed himself, said he felt tired, laid down upon the bed and passed away as gently as though he was going to sleep. He was a dutiful son and brother, a generous, warm - hearted, true friend, a brave soldier, a worthy gentleman, a self-made man, who took a high and honorable position in every community where his lot was cast.
Colonel O'Brien was born in County Cork, Ireland, removing to Little Falls when an infant, and at his death was 46 years of age. In early youth he became a member of the family of Dr. S. A. Ingham, with whom he resided many years, always calling their residence his home and always referring with gratitude to their many kindnesses. After an academical course he commenced the study of the law in the office in Hardin and Burrows, in 1859 or 1860, and was admitted to practice after the usual examination at General Term. At the commencement of the war, when the "old 34th" was organized, he enlisted in that regiment as a private soldier and went, with his comrades into barracks in Albany. Here he was violently attacked with inflammatory rheumatism and upon the advice of Dr. Swinburne was sent home, where he lay for many weeks in most painful sickness. It is believed that the seeds of the disease which at last proved fatal, were sown thus early in life.
After his recovery he again enlisted, this time in the 152d Regiment, N. Y. V., and in which regiment he was made a lieutenant. Throughout the varied and terrible experiences of that regiment he was manfully at the post of duty. In the battle of the Wilderness he was severely wounded and bravely suffered many privations. He was from time to time promoted, and when the regiment came home he was its Major. Soon afterwards he was brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel and made President of the Court Martial at Alexandria. At the close of the war he was temporarily in the New York custom house, leaving his position there to enter upon the practice of his profession as a member of the law firm of Crary, Weller & O'Brien. After four years of close attention and of successful practice, he entered into partnership with Col. John H. Bryant, of Richmond, Va., with whom he was associated in interest until his death, and for whom he ever expressed the sincerest regard. His business prospered, the firm acquiring large interests in the manufacture of sumac, until the failure of their largest customer, Mr. Nugent, who was overwhelmed in the Newark bank disaster, a year and a half ago. Their losses were severe, the failure of Nugent also seriously injured the market for sumac, and after a hard struggle of about six months, the firm made an assignment for the benefit of creditors. Since this time Col. O'Brien has been industriously engaged in efforts to settle up old matters and to open up new business.
During his residence in New York and in Richmond, he made some of the most intimate friendships of his life. In the latter city he was known and esteemed in a very large circle, who, in the sad hours following his death, have attested their love by the tenderest offices and the warmest expressions. The papers of the city and throughout the State of Virginia publish eulogistic obituaries.
The State thus refers to his life in that city:
"Col. O'Brien's health failing, he joined Col. John H. Bryant in the mining and manufacturing business in this state, and for many years lived at Chesterfield in charge of their mines in that county, where the employed at times two hundred men. When the explosion of the Midlothian mine took place, Col. O'Brien was placed in charge of the fund raised by the city of Richmond and other cities, for the benefit of the sufferers by that disaster. In every relation in life he has shown himself strictly honorable and upright. Col. O'Brien represented this state in the St. Louis convention which nominated Gov. Tilden. Those who knew him best will miss the sterling friend and genial companion, and none will pass his quiet grave without a tear of regret."
The funeral in Richmond was attended on Thursday from St. Peter's cathedral. The remains arrived in Little Falls, Friday evening, and were conveyed to the residence of his cousin, Dennis Collins, where they were received by the sisters and friends of the deceased who had been summoned to Little Falls by telegraph.
On Saturday the funeral here was attended from St. Mary's church, and the remains were interred upon the lot in the cemetery upon which, during his last visit here, he had reared a beautiful family monument and in which his father and mother are already at rest."
In the Norfolk Virginian are given the following facts of Col. O'Brien's short but brilliant career, evidently furnished by Col. John H. Bryant, his companion-in-arms and recent partner in business. Col. O'Brien was a brother of Mrs. Thomas Murnane of Pittsfield, Mass.
"Information was received yesterday by Col. John H. Bryant, of this city, of the death of Col. Timothy O'Brien, of Chesterfield, at the American Hotel, Richmond, at 10 a.m. Col. O'Brien was well and favorably known in Richmond and throughout the state, and had a number of warm friends in our city. He was by education a lawyer, having studied law previous to the war, in the office of Judge George A. Harden, of the Supreme Court of the United States.
"Col. O'Brien was about 42 years of age and at the outbreak of the war entered the service of the United States as captain of Company F, One Hundred and Fifty-second New York volunteers, serving with distinction in the Army of the Potomac. For special and gallant conduct on the field, Gov. Morgan, of New York, promoted him to the majority of the regiment, and the citizens of Little Falls, N. Y., his home, presented him with a horse fully equipped, a sword and a well-filled purse. During the battles of the Wilderness he was severely wounded and was carried from the field, supposed to be in a dying condition. But he recovered, and for his conduct in these battles he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and Secretary of War Stanton placed him in charge of the court martial in Alexandria as president. When called to the field again he served with distinction on the staff of Gen. Hancock and commanded a brigade in the Second corps commanded by General Hancock.
"In civil life Col. O'Brien was a member of the New York bar of the firm of Crary, Weller & O'Brien. Mr. Crary, the senior member, was the author of the civil code of that state. Col. O'Brien's health failing, he joined Col. John H. Bryant in the mining and manufacturing business in this state, and for many years lived at Chesterfield in charge of their mines in that county, where they employed at times two hundred men. When the explosion of the Midlothian mine took place Col. O'Brien was placed in charge of the fund raised by the city of Richmond and other cities for the benefit of the sufferers by that disaster. In every relation in life he has shown himself strictly honorable and upright. Col. O'Brien represented this state in the St. Louis convention which nominated Gov. Tilden. Those who knew him best will miss the sterling friend and genial companion, and none will pass his quiet grave without a tear of regret.
The funeral will take place from St. Peter's cathedral, Richmond, this afternoon at 3 o'clock, and the remains will then be taken to Little Falls, N. Y. Judge George A. Harden and Col. R. A. Stebbins, of little Falls, N. Y., have telegraphed that they will be in attendance."
Col. Bryant has arrived in Richmond and taken charge of the further arrangements. The funeral services, as stated by the Virginian, will be celebrated this afternoon, at the cathedral, when the remains of the honored dead, who while living was well loved in Richmond, and in death is honored by all, will be taken to the Fredericksburg cars, and in charge of his constant friend, Col. Bryant, borne to New York, in response to a telegram to that effect from his brother. In New York city they will be delivered to the mourning family, when the last sad funeral rites will be paid to one of the Empire State's most gallant soldiers and devoted sons.
The following gentlemen of Richmond, warm friends of Col. O'Brien, are the pallbearers appointed for the funeral today: John H. Montague, R. E. Blankenship, Charles H. Simpson, William F. Jenkins, John H. Bryant, George Campbell, R. S. Archer and Fred R. Scott.
Midlothian, Va., Feb. 1, 1883.
At a called meeting of the Midlothian Relief Committee, held at the new church in Midlothian, on the fist inst., Mr. Geo. H. Jewell was called to the chair. The death of Col. T. O'Brien being announced, the Rev. Dr. D. B. Winfield offered the following resolutions which were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That we deeply regret to hear that the Hon. T. O'Brien, Chairman of the Relief Committee, departed this life at the American Hotel in the city of Richmond, on the 31st day of January, 1883l.
Resolved, That whilst this sad event was not entirely unexpected , yet it came so suddenly that it shocked the entire community. Hon. T. O'Brien was one of the most zealous members of this Committee, and labored hard to relieve the many sufferers of that sad disaster which caused the committee to be organized, and we feel in him we have lost an able chairman and a worthy associate, and while we deeply regret this sad dispensation of Providence, we bow in submission to Him who doeth all things well.
Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the Richmond newspapers.
Geo. H. Jewell, Chairman.
Rev. D. B. Winfield, D. D.
Note: Colonel O'Brien's age at enlistment was a printing error. He was 24. As this is a facsimile of the original pamphlet, all typographical errors have been maintained.
The obit states he was mustered into the 152nd as lieutenant. Not so. He was mustered in September 7, 1862 as Captain of Company A of the 152 NYV. There is no doubt about it. His military records show this as well as government rosters and books, including the newly released "Distant Drums" by David P. Krutz.
Daniel J. O'Brien
April 4, 1998