Obit: O'Neill, James (1847 - 1929)

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----Source: NEILLSVILLE PRESS (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 06/13/1929

O'Neill, James (3 SEP 1847 - 10 JUN 1929)

On Monday morning, June 10, 1929 at 6:20 o'clock, the long, useful and interesting life of Judge James O'Neill closed on earth. About two years ago his friends began to notice a slight decline in his physical strength, as it seemed difficult for him to take the active exercise of former days. He complained of shortness of breath when walking up hill to his home. As time went on the difficulty gradually increased, and during the past fall and winter he rarely came down to his office. His general health, however, seemed unimpaired, all organs of his body except his heart, seeming to function perfectly, the weakness of the heart action apparently causing the shortness of breath. With the coming of spring he got out of doors again, and only a little over two weeks before his death, he was down on the street visiting with friends. It was evident, however, to those who watched him closely, that he was slowly failing. On Sunday, two weeks before his death, he was taken out for a ride and on his return seemed quite exhausted; from then on to the close, he remained most of the time in bed. He continued conscious and clear of mind until Sunday, and even to the last seemed to recognize members of his family at the bedside.

James O'Neill was born in Lisbon, St. Lawrence Co., N.Y., Sept. 3, 1847, making him 81 years, 9 months and 7 days old at his death. He was the son of Andrew and Mary (Holiston) O'Neill. His grandparents on his father's side were the first settlers in the Lisbon township and the old farm where he first settled is still owned by his descendants. On this farm Judge O'Neill lived as a boy and attended the district school. At the age of 15 he began to teach school, later entering Lawrence University at Canton, N. Y., where he attended for three years; then he taught school again. In 1868, before he was 21, he won a scholarship in a competitive examination, to enter the newly organized Cornell University, and entered that institution as a sophomore. Here he distinguished himself as a scholar and debater. He left college in the fall of 1870 to become principal of Ogdensburg High School, meanwhile continuing his studies by himself, so that he graduated with his original class at Cornell in the summer of 1871. He was a charter member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity at Cornell, and all his future life maintained a great interest in this fraternity. At the university he enjoyed the privilege of instruction under men of the faculty, who were then famous, among them the president, Andrew D. White, James Russell Lowell, Louis Agassiz, Bayard Taylor, George William Curtiss and others. In his graduating class were a number of men who later became prominent in public life, four of them becoming members of the Supreme Court in New York. The atmosphere of his home community seemed favorable to the development of scholars and statesmen, out of St. Lawrence County coming at that time such men as Secretary of State Kellogg; Ex-Mayor Eustis, the famous philanthropist of Minneapolis; Irving Bacheller, the noted author, and many others. Contact with the men he met at college and in the home community developed the talents and ambitions of James O'Neill. After graduating from Cornell he entered the office of James McNaughton, a famous lawyer at Ogdensburg, and studied for some time. He then entered Albany Law School, receiving his degree in Law in 1873. His uncle, James O'Neill Sr., who was founder of Neillsville, Clark County, Wis., was then a prominent man of affairs here and he invited his nephew and namesake to come west and visit him.

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In ?, 6, 1876 he was married to Miss Marian Robinson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Robinson, pioneers of Weston Rapids, an early village north of Neillsville. To them were born two children, Ernest Andrew, who died Oct. 5, 1905, a young man of 28; and Marian, Mrs. F. D. Calway of Neillsville. Besides his wife and daughter, Judge O'Neill leaves one sister, Mrs. George W. Sparrowhawk on the old home farm in St. Lawrence Co., N.Y. and one brother, William H. O'Neill, in the village of Lisbon, N.Y.

Funeral services will be held at the F. D. Calway home Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock, Rev. G. W. Longenecker, pastor of the Congregational Church, officiating.



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