Biography of Harry L. O’Bryan

Harry L. O’Bryan is a Chetopa business man who has made himself very active in local affairs there for a number of years. He is a banker, an extensive farm owner, and operator, his name is associated with several of the leading business and commercial enterprises, and at the present writing he is serving as postmaster of the city.

He is of Irish descent. His great-grandfather came out of Ireland as early as 1760, settled in Maryland, and about 1800 moved across the mountains into the new State of Kentucky. Mr. O’Bryan’s grandfather Sydney Francis O’Bryan was born in Kentucky in 1804, spent his life in that state as a farmer, and died in 1889.

The head of the next generation is Henry Miles O’Bryan. His career has been identified with the old locality in Southeastern Kansas now known as St. Paul, formerly the seat of the Osage Nation School when the Osage Indians lived there. He was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1835. He grew up and married there, became a farmer, but during the Civil war was proprietor of a hotel at Loretto, Kentucky. In 1871 he came out to Southeastern Kansas and located at Osage Mission or St. Paul as it is now known. For a time he was clerk in a store there, and later bought a farm and engaged in the livestock business, raising and shipping livestock, until he retired about 1906. For the past ten years he has enjoyed the comforts of many years of labor and industry. Politically he is a democrat, has filled various town offices of St. Paul, and was a delegate to a Kansas State convention a number of years ago which declared for Grover Cleveland as president. He is an active member of the Catholic Church and is an honorary member of the Knights of Columbus. H. M. O’Bryan married Susan E. Hagan, who was born in Marion County, Kentucky, in 1837 and died at Osage Mission, Kansas, in 1896. Their children were: Sydney F., who was born in 1860 and died at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1903, having been educated in St. Louis University and having been a zealous and devoted Catholic priest; William W., who was born in 1867, is now the father of eleven children, and is a successful livestock man at St. Paul, Kansas; Annie M., born in 1873 and now the wife of Lon Smith and the mother of eight children, her husband being a farmer and stockman at Stark, Kansas; Harry L., who was the fourth in age among the children; and George I., who was born in 1879 and is a farmer and stockraiser at St. Paul.

Harry L. O’Bryan was born at old Osage Mission now St. Paul in Neosho County, Kansas, April 1, 1876. As a boy he received part of his education, especially along commercial lines in the Jesuit College at Osage Nation. He then took up an active business career with his father and older brother and was successfully identified with livestock raising and dealing until 1901. Since that year his home has been at Chetopa and here also he has become widely known as a live stock man, feeding and shipping livestock on a large scale. In February, 1914, Mr. O’Bryan was selected by President Wilson as postmaster at Chetopa, and since then he has made the postoffice more important than any private considerations or business interests, and is giving a very efficient administration, one generally satisfactory to all patrons.

Besides his city home at the corner of Sixth and Plum streets, Mr. O’Bryan owns a 200 acre farm west of town in Labette County, eighty acres adjoining Chetopa. He furnishes the land and its equipment while a partner operates the farm for dairy purposes. It is one of the best conducted dairy farms in Labette County. The dairy herd comprises eighteen cows, principally Holsteins. Mr. O’Bryan is also vice president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Chetopa, and is treasurer of the Cooperative Creamery of Chetopa.

He is a democrat and is widely known in politics over his part of the state. For three terms he served on the city council at Chetopa, was for four years chairman of the County Central Committee of the democratic party, was secretary and treasurer of the Congressional Committee in the Third District in 1912. He is a member of the Catholic Church and belongs to St. Paul Council No. 764 of the Knights of Columbus and to the Anti-Horse Thief Association.

In 1901 at St. Paul he married Miss Lizzie Brogan, daughter of Dr. Robert A. and Mary (Farran) Brogan. Her father, who was a well known physician and surgeon, is now deceased. Her mother, who was born in Ireland, is now living with Mr. and Mrs. O’Bryan at Chetopa. Mr. and Mrs. O’Bryan have four children: Robert B., born January 8, 1904; Henry Miles, born August 28, 1906; Elizabeth, born August 23, 1909; and Harry Leo, born December 20, 1915.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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