Friday, January 27, 2012

John J. O'Brien, Illinois coal miner

My 2ndgreat-grandfather was John J. O'Brien (son of John O'Brien, who I have already posted about on this blog). He was born in LaSalle County, Illinois in July 1854. According to his obituary, the family moved to Shelby County, Illinois when he was seven years old, about 1861.

[Photo source, Mike O'Brien, from larger picture of Shelbyville area coal mine in 1903]

John married Matilda Jane Lambert in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois on 6 April 1876, and they had the following children:

1. John Henry O'Brien - born 8 Sept 1877, died 29 Oct 1944
2. Alva O'Brien - born March 1880, died in infancy after June 1880
3. Annie A. O'Brien - born July 1882, died before 1927
4. Harry Edward O'Brien (my great-grandfather) - born 16 Nov 1884, died 7 Aug 1957
5. Rosa Isabelle O'Brien - born 17 Feb 1887
6. Guy E. O'Brien - born 4 May 1890, died Mar 1909
7. Roy O'Brien - born 4 Dec 1893, died 13 Aug 1962

The O'Briens appear in the 1880 US Census in Rose Township, Shelby County, Illinois. John's occupation is listed as working in a coal mine. According to a page on Shelby County coal mining history, John O'Brien operated the O'Brien Coal Mine.

My Dad's cousin, Mike O'Brien, has provided me with a copy of this great photo from 1903 showing John O'Brien as foreman of a group of coal miners in Shelbyville, Illinois:
The Annual Coal Report of Illinois from 1911 shows John's mine produced 128 tons of lump coal (pretty small compared to some of the other mines in the county).

John died in Shelby County on 25 Aug 1927, after fighting illness for over a year.

1 comment:

  1. This post caught my eye: I have coal miners among my ancestors, too. They mined in western PA and eastern Ohio. What a great photo of your gggrandfather. I think it's always exciting to find photos of our ancestors in their work environments.

    About coal mining, I wrote a post on Jan. 10 called "Once a Miner, Twice a Breaker Boy." Some of the information is specific to the areas of my ancestors, but other parts are coal mining in general.

    Welcome to GeneaBloggers.

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