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O’BRIEN, Patrick and Janet McConnell O’Brien

PATRICK O’BRIEN and JANET MCCONNELL emigrated from Ireland coming first to Hull, Lower Canada, and then Allumette Island, the Pontiac. By the early 1840s they were established in Westmeath Township – making them one of the earliest immigrant ancestor families of Westmeath Township. They homesteaded on the Sixth Line – Lookout Road, of Westmeath.

Patrick & Janet O'Brien stone in Westmeath Union cemetery.

Patrick & Janet O’Brien stone in Westmeath Union Cemetery.

Sometime in the early 1800′s (they) arrived at Portage du Fort and carried their luggage overland to establish a homestead on the Sixth Line between Westmeath and Beachburg”.

Patrick had come by boat to Portage du Fort and from there walked to the land he would take up and farm. Patrick was raised a Roman Catholic in Ireland but in the New World life was not easy for Catholics in a Protestant society. For those practical considerations, Patrick became a Protestant. He was not the only early Irish settler to do this.  Janet was the daughter of William McConnell (1777-1840) and Janet Riddell (1774-1854). Both of her parents had been born in Scotland and would die in Westmeath Township.

Patrick O’Brien (1801-1871) and Janet McConnell 1807-183) had many grandchildren who stayed in the Westmeath Township area and in turn raised large families.  An O’Brien Family Tree document, prepared by Linda Gervais O’Brien Bromley, is available: O’Brien Family, The Descendants of Patrick O’Brien.

The children of Patrick O’Brien and Janet McConnell were:

1. Edwin O’Brien ( -1888)

2.  John O’Brien (1829-1904) m. Elizabeth Jackson (1832-1929). This is one of two marriages of O’Brien members into the JACKSON  family of Greenwood.  Their children are:

 i. Joseph William O’Brien (1854-1902) m. Mary Esther Curry (1854- ).  See CURRY entry.

1943 Mary Curry O'Brien Death

The Ottawa Journal, Saturday, May 1, 1943

 ii. Thomas Alfred O’Brien m. (1857-1914) m. Harriett Whitmore (1862- ). This is the first of two marriages between O’Brien’s and Whitmore’s. See WHITMORE entry.

iii. Harriett Alfreda O’Brien (1858-1930) m. Philemon Thrasher (1854-1929) and their son Edward would leave an important early document: Edward Thrasher’s Greenwood Sketch. See THRASHER entry.

iv. Emma Jane O’Brien (1861-1953)  m. Charles Whitmore (1855- ) in 1879. Charles was born in Quebec in 1855 and it is undetermined when he arrived in Westmeath Township.  See WHITMORE entry. His sister Harriett also married an O’Brien sibling.

v. Noah Jackson O’Brien (1864-1924) m. Hattie V. O’Brien (1875-  ). They moved to upper New York State but after her death  he later returned to Westmeath. See O’BRIEN entry.

vi.  John Patrick O’Brien (1867-1949) m. Sarah Florence Andrews (1877-1947)

vii.  Charles “Edgar” O’Brien (1870-1924) m. (1) Bertha May Anderson (1889- ) from Beachburg and upon her death he married  (2) Jennie M. Campbell (1872-1912) in September of 1897. 1924 Charles Edgar Death.   Jennie would die of tuberculosis. 1912 Jennie Death

1911 Census, Westmeath Township - O'Brien Household.

1911 Census, Westmeath Township – O’Brien Household.

The 1911 household had three children a) Ceadis O’Brien aged 9;
b) Edna May O’Brien  aged 7; c) Emma Marge O’Brien aged 1; plus Edgar’s mother Elizabeth Jackson O’Brien and a hired-man named Melvil Thrasher aged 15.

viii. Alexander Henry O’Brien (1871-  ). In 1968 the Reverend Alexander O’Brien came back to visit his home patch.  He was 91.  On his mother Elizabeth Jackson’s side – he was a grandson of Noah Jackson; the man who subdivided his land into town lots and helped the settlement of Westmeath Front.


Four Generations of O’Brien Family in 1962.

Age did not diminish Rev. O’Brien’s abilities to recall the youth he spent in Westmeath.   O’Brien Rev. Alex Alexander O’Brien was born in Westmeath. He married (1) Mary Hambleton.  One child Laura.  He then married  (2) Winnifred Zellon. Children of Alexander O’Brien and Winnifred Zellon are:  1. Paul O’Brien; 2. Mary O’Brien; 3. Rev. Joseph O’Brien.

ix. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sophia O’Brien (1873-1929) m. David Ross McDonald (1877-1936). They raised their family in Admaston Township.

 3. Emma Jane O’Brien (1832- ) .

4. Thomas  O’Brien (1834-1917) m. Lucy Byce, daughter of  Emmett Byce and Melissa  Coleman from Ross Township in 1862.  Thomas & Lucy Marriage registry details1881 Census Thomas O’Brien Household.   Their children were:

i. Edwin “Eddie” O’Brien (1864 – 1938)

The Ottawa Journal, Friday, April 8, 1938

The Ottawa Journal, Friday, April 8, 1938

ii. William Henry O’Brien (1866 – 1948) was also known as “Black Bill” O’Brien and his farm was on Rapid Rd., north of Westmeath Village. The nick-name alluded to his jet-black head of hair. He Married Annie-Minerva Taylor, in 1882, daughter of Edward Taylor and Minerva Landen. She was born 26 jul 1869 in Waltham, Que., and died 22 Nov 1951 in Westmeath Twp. Internment Westmeath Cemetery.

Children of William-Henry “Black Bill” O’Brien and Annie-Minerva Taylor Are:

1. Thomas-Lester O’Brien, O’Brien, Lester & Pearl Blackwell  B. 31 May 1893; D. 25 Aug 1978, Pembroke Civic Hospital, Pembroke Ont., Buried In Westmeath. He Married Clara-Pearl Blackwell, Daughter of George Blackwell And Sarah Lyons. See Blackwell entry.

Lester & Clara Pearl O'Brien on their 50th Anniversary.

Lester & Clara Pearl O’Brien on their 50th Anniversary.

Stella and Lester O'Brien

Pearl and Lester O’Brien

Basil Thomas O'Brien

Basil Thomas O’Brien

O’Brien, Wm. Earl. Their oldest son Basil Thomas fought in WWII.

Basil Thomas O'Brien 1918-1989

Basil Thomas O’Brien 1918-1989

2. Hazel Lucy O’Brien, B. 25 Jun 1894; D. 04 Oct 1955, Copper Cliff, Ont. Buried Park Lawn , Sudbury Ont.

3. Tessie O’Brien, B. 1895; D. 06 Sept. 1897, Waltham, Que. Buried In Waltham Que. Tessie drowned at age 2 years with her maternal Grandmother Minerva Landon Taylor, in the Black River, Quebec.

The Ottawa Journal Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1897

The Ottawa Journal Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1897

4. Gladys Minerva O’Brien, B. 14 Jul 1897, Westmeath Twp. married John Henry Blackwell. See BLACKWELL entry.

5. Eunice (Harriet Lucy) O’Brien, B. 27 Jul 1901.

6. William-Edward O’Brien, B. 04 May 1904; D. 1999, Copper Cliff, Ont.

7. Walton Manley O’Brien, B. 16 Jul 1907; D. 19 Feb 1996, Miramichi Lodge, Pembroke, Ontario, Buried In Westmeath, Ont. O’Brien O’Brien Manley & Stella25th

8. Mildred (Millie) O’Brien, B. 16 Jan 1909; m. (1) Manley Bennett; m. (2) Abe Mergman.

9. Olive Vera O’Brien, (1912-1999) M. Albert Cornelius Keyes, Birth 08 Jan 1906 In Westmeath Township, son of William John Keyes (1876 – 1958) and Rachel Edith Ross (1886 – 1962). See KEYES  entry.

iii. John Coleman O’Brien (1868 – 1935)

iv. Malena Janet O’Brien (1870 – 1876) – died as youngster.

v. May E. O’Brien (1873 – 1961)

vi. Lucy O’Brien (1875 – 1966)  married Thomas Arthur O’Brien, 04 Oct 1899, in Westmeath  Ont., son of Henry O’Brien.  He was born 1878 in Westmeath, Ont., and died 1941.

Lucy and Thomas A. O’Brien were cousins; both being grandchildren of Patrick and Janet. Children of Lucy O’Brien O’Brien, Lucy   and Thomas O’Brien are:

1. Winifred Gertrude Lillian O’Brien, B. 11 Jul 1900; D. 1985.
2. Foster O’Brien.
3. Clara O’Brien.
4. Esmond O’Brien.
5. John-Clifton (J.C.) O’Brien, D. 1975.

vii. Jessie Emeline O’Brien (1877 – 1929)

viii. Thomas Gladstone O’Brien Jr. (1880 – 1955)  married (1) Janet ___.    He then married (2) Annie K. O’Donnell 03 Apr 1908, daughter of Patrick O’Donnell and Elizabeth Brown.  She was born 1890 in Allumette Island, Que., and died 1940. (Page 3 of O’Brien Family Tree).

Children of Thomas-Gladstone O’Brien and Annie O’Donnell are: 1.  Inez O’Brien, b. 24 Feb 1910. 2.Bernice O’Brien. 3. Keitha O’Brien.

Thomas Gladstone married (3) Sarah Davidson. O’Brien, Sarah Davidson.  They had no children.

ix. Annie Laurie O’Brien (1882 – 1960) m. Thomas Wright (1879- 19__). See WRIGHT entry.

x. Margaret O’Brien (1885 – 1975)

xi.Gertrude “Gertie” I O’Brien (1887 – 1970) m. ___ Gillis of Ottawa.

5. William O’Brien (1836-  )

6. Mary  O’Brien (1841-1923) m. Joseph Cobb Jackson, the second sibling to marry that early prominent Westmeath family. See JACKSON entry.

Mary O'Brien Jackson 1841-1923

Mary O’Brien Jackson 1841-1923

Mary O'Brien and Joseph Cobb Jackson.

Mary O’Brien and Joseph Cobb Jackson.

7.  Henry Alexander O’Brien (1843-1916) m. Martha ____   1881 Census Henry O’Brien Household

i. William Patrick O’Brien was born 1869 in Westmeath Ont. and died 1942.    O’Brien,WilliamPatrick1942. 


He was known in the community as “White Bill” because his prematurely white hair was in sharp contrast to his cousin Black Bill’s hair and that set the two Bill O’Brien’s apart. He married Maude Friar on 20 Dec 1893 in Westmeath Ont., daughter of Issac Friar and Margret McMillan. She was born 1874 in Westmeath Ont., and died 1935. the Friars were part of the lumber trade.

All of their children were baptized on June 15, 1912. Children of William “White Bill” O’Brien and Maude Friar are:
1. Annie O’Brien, D. 1919.
2. Nettie O’Brien.
3. Alice O’Brien (1895-1979)  m. James Robert Collins (1898-1977), son of Tom Collins and Ann Campbell. See COLLINS entry.

a. Robert James Collins (1921-
b. Margaret Kathleen Collins (1922-
c. Harold Alexander Collins (1924-1996)
d. Beulah Ethel Collins (1925-
e. Murray Ellard Collins (1926-1997)
f. Gordon Arnold Collins (1933-
g. Patrick William Collins (1937-2008)

4. Harold O’Brien, B. 1896; D. 1954.
5. Lecta O’Brien, B. 18 Apr 1896, Westmeath Ont; M. Unknown Halpenny.
6. Wilfred Harold O’Brien, B. 21 Dec 1897.
7. Trevelyn O’Brien, B. 23 Nov 1900.
8. Katherine “Katie” O’Brien Brown,Katie O’Brien  B. 22 Jul 1901; D. 1982; M. Allen Brown; B. 1903; D. 1989. Brown, Allen and Katie O’Brien Brown
9. Arnold Saxon O’Brien, B. 21 Dec 1903; D. 1978. m. Ruth Jean Gordon (2nd marriage to Kulbeck) OBrien-Ruth-Gordon. They took over the O’Brien homestead on the Westmeath Road adjacent to the Village Of Westmeath.   O’Brien Farm and Politics.  Their children are:  Delbert O’Brien, Gordon O’Brien, Greta O’Brien, Brenda O’Brien.O'Brien, Dairy Farm
10. Richmond O’Brien, B. 12 Jun 1905.
11. Schuyler O’Brien, B. 05 Jul 1907. The eleventh child: – Schyler  married Loreen Mills.   O’Briens’Share
12. Grace O’Brien, B. 13 Aug 1908; M. Unknown Leach.
13. Margaret-Jane O’Brien, B. 20 Jun 1911, Westmeath Ont.
14. Vera Elizabeth O’Brien B. 1912 1912 Vera Elizabeth Birth Registration
15. Joseph Arthur O’Brien, b. 1913; d. 25 Jul 2001, Diamond Cemetery, Kinburn Ont.

ii. Thomas A. O’Brien m. Lucy O’Brien (1875 – 1966),
iii. M.J. O’Brien (1876-
iv. H.C O’Brien  (1879-
v. M.L O’Brien (1881-

8. Elizabeth O’Brien (1844- )

9. Charles Chester O’Brien (1847-1910)  m. Emeline Tryphema Curry (1851 – 1912). See CURRY entry.