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Timothy O'Connor, Page 511
TIMOTHY O'CONNOR was one of the brave men who donned the blue in the hour of our country's need, and has long been numbered among the patriotic citizens of Lima Township. His home and farm are situated on section 30, only half a mile distant from Hingham. He was born in New York City, February 11, 1838, being the third in a family of six sons and four daughters, born to James and Bridget (Connor) O'Connor. The father was a native of County Kerry, Ireland, born about 1803. He died May 3, 1855, in Lima Township, and was interred in the Catholic Cemetery near Sheboygan. His wife was born February 1, 1809, and is still living in Lima Township with her son Michael. The father was a farmer by occupation, and on his arrival in New York proceeded at once to Wisconsin. The most of his life was spent as a farmer.
The subject of this sketch received a limited education, and, in fact, it is owing almost entirely to his own exertions that he is the practical and well-informed man that he is. He lived on the farm until the breaking-out of the late war, when he enlisted among the first soldier boys of Wisconsin, April 21, 1861, being assigned to Company C, Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry. The regiment was ordered to the front, and went into quarters at the Relay House, nine miles from Baltimore, being stationed there from July until late in the fall. They were then sent to Virginia, for the purpose of driving out the rebel forces. Being disabled, Mr. O'Connor was sent back to camp with a number of others, but after a short time rejoined his company. He was stationed near Fortress Monroe, then was ordered to Ship Island, preparatory to going to New Orleans under Gen. B. F. Butler. They left Fortress Monroe the day before the famous battle between the "Merrimac" and "Monitor." On arriving in New Orleans, May 1, 1862, the Fourth Wisconsin was one of the first regiments to enter the city. They were next sent to Baton Rouge, afterwards to Natchez, and finally to Vicksburg, to discover if a canal across to Young's Point could be cut, but the water was too high, and they were obliged to return South. They afterwards engaged in the work just mentioned near Vicksburg, and scoured the country to get negroes to assist in the same, taking some from the plantation owned by Jefferson Davis. The work on the canal was finally abandoned, and the regiment was ordered from Baton Rouge to near Berwick City, La., where a battle was fought, known as Bisland. One man was killed and one wounded, and our subject received a close call, as his comrade, who was hit by a piece of shell and killed, was only a short distance away. When the order came to concentrate and co-operate with the forces of Alexandria, they proceeded some thirty-five miles north of that point, in order to drive the rebels from their position. The Red River was so low that the fleet was grounded, and at the suggestion of Capt. Bailey, of Company D, a dam was built, and the fleet floated down the current safely. For this sagacity Congress ordered the Captain a vote of thanks.
In the siege on Port Hudson, Mr. O'Connor's Company was among the advance guard. The young man who was holding our subject's horse was shot through the hand, though our subject seemed to lead a charmed life, and usually escaped without injury. He was for nearly eight weeks engaged in the siege of Port Hudson, which finally surrendered to Gen. Banks, July 8, 1863. They were next encamped at Baton Rouge, and in August, 1863, Gen. Breckenridge tried to drive the Federals from their position, but was defeated. After a three-months furlough at home, our subject returned to his regiment, and went with lieut. Earl to Natchez, Miss., to organize a scouting party. While on this trip his time expired, and when Capt. Brooks informed him there was a commission awaiting him at the headquarters at Morganza Bend, he declined the honor, and received his discharge on the 9th of July, 1864. Returning home, he remained until January 13, 1865, when he re-enlisted in Company K, Fourteenth Wisconsin Infantry, under Capt. John J. Postel and Lt. Col. Ferris. Joining his regiment at Eastport, Miss., he went to New Orleans, thence to Mobile, to attack the works around the city, and was present at the siege of Spanish Fort. At one time he went to call his messmate to a meal, when just to the right of him a minie-ball struck a tree. Again a piece of shell struck one of his comrades, who was standing very near. Being ordered to Montgomery, Ala., we was on his way when the news came of President Lincoln's assassination. On arriving in Montgomery, he was on guard duty for some time. then, returning to Mobile, he was honorably discharged, October 9, 1865. For almost four years he was a faithful soldier, and always to be relied upon.
Soon after leaving the field of battle, Mr. O'Connor married Miss Mary Sullivan, who was born November 26, 1842, in Pennsylvania. The ceremony was performed November 10, 1866, and to them have been born three sons and a daughter. James D. died at the age of two and a-half years; Eugene B. is a clerk in the freight office of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, has been well educated in the common schools and a business college of Sheboygan, and is a young man of character and ability; Charles H. is at home assisting his father in the farm duties; and Nellie E. is the youngest of the family circle. The parents of Mrs. O'Connor, John and Ellen (McCarty) Sullivan, are both deceased.
In politics, our subject has upheld the Republican party since casting his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. Officially, he has been Chairman of the Board of Supervisors three different times, and for about seven years he has been one of the Township Board. He has been School Director several times, and advocates good schools and teachers. he has been sent as a delegate to the district and county conventions, and in 1884 was a candidate on the Republican ticket for Sheriff, and made a good fight. He owns a thrifty and well-cultivated farm of forty-eight acres, the prosperous appearance of which, and the neat and comfortable home of the family, indicate a careful and progressive owner. The family are devout members of the Catholic Church at Lima Centre, of which Father Blume is Pastor.
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