Bio: O'Hearn, Oliver (History - 18?? )

Contact: Janet Schwarze




----Source: 1891 History of Clark & Jackson County, WI Page 329:

OLIVER O'HEARN, deceased, was born at Newport, Nova Scotia, November 24, 18--. When three years of age, he embarked at Halifax on a packet vessel for New York. During the voyage the vessel was cast away on an island near Barnegat shoals in New Jersey, and he was exposed to the storm three days. With other passengers he succeeded in reaching the main land, was picked up and landed in New York. He then took passage on the packet boat on the Erie Canal to Rochester, and then by vessel to Little York, now the city of Toronto, Canada. He was five years of age when his father died. His first schooling was at Richmond Hill, Canada, in a select school held in a log school-house, and he finished his education at Lewiston (New York) Academy. On account of limited means he left school at an early age, returned to Richmond Hill and learned the carpenter's trade with Mr. Newton, a Scotchman and master-workman. After serving his apprenticeship he came to Wisconsin, then a Territory, arriving at Fox Lake, Dodge County, September 4, 1844, where he worked at his trade for a short time next for two years he was employed in Buffalo, in the ship-yards. In 1849 he returned to Fox Lake, and in that year married to Miss Phoebe S. Griffin their four children are all living, and in Jackson County. William R. O'Hearn is the only son. The daughters now bear the names of Mesdames S. D. Blake, G. J. Simpson, and Ida Roddy.

In 1852 Mr. O'Hearn went overland to California and spent two years in the mines returning home by steamer in 1854. In 1856 he made a second trip to California by steamer, was wrecked on a coral reef and was hung up among the rocks for seven days. On his return home he began the cultivation of his farm, which he continued until 1865, when in November of that year he was elected Treasurer of Jackson County, to which office he was re-elected for ten consecutive years, and which he was filling at the time of his death, October 3, 1875.

Oliver O'Hearn's love for his wife was something beautiful. Through his rugged nature ran a poetic vein, and in that strain he frequently gave expression of his love for her, as the following poems, written when absent from her, will show:


Dear Phebe, were we but together once more, there is naught in this wide world could tempt us to part
We d renew the fond pledges we ve made o re and o re and cherish that passion that springs from the heart.
The raven that Noah let fly from the ark returned without finding a home on the sea and to me, like the raven, all's gloomy and dark: O, there's no place like home with my children and thee.

But the gloom, like the waters, I hope will depart. Then back, like the dove, with glad tidings I ll soar
And when I can press thee again to my heart, I ll say, God, thou hast blessed me I ask for no more.


(Composed at night while rolled up in his blanket, under an oak tree near the Sacramento River.)

When night her sable wings doth spread,
Their Shadows rest o re land and sea,
And all is silent as the dead
Tis then my thoughts return to thee.
Youthful scenes go fleeting by
Memory tells of pleasures past
O, that time could backward fly
To those bright days, too clear to last

Twas then true love, that magic power,
First told my throbbing heart twas thine
And as you stood, a spotless flower,
I took that trembling hand in mine.

I think of Fanny's smiling face
My own sweet girl, to me so dear
I clasp her in my fond embrace,
And joy brings forth the silent tear.

Then sleep steals o er me unawares
Its calm doth soothe the weary mind
I leave the world and all its cares,
To dream of those I left behind.

During his long term of office, and in fact during his entire life, he was conciliatory toward all men and all sects and yet, when he had made up his mind to what he thought was a right course, no ties of friendship, no views of party policy, no hope of patronage and no idea of expediency could swerve him from that course. His honesty and integrity were never questioned, and he has left to the community and to its rising generation the legacy of a character that is as strong as steel and as true and bright as gold.




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