Encyclopedia of Civil War Military Biography – O
OAKES, James, soldier, born near Limestoneville, Pennsylvania, 4 April. 1826. He was graduated at the U. S. Military Academy in 1846, assigned to the 2d U.S. Dragoons, served in the Mexican War. and was brevetted 1st lieutenant for gallantry at Medelin, near Vera Cruz, and captain for Molina del Rey. He was then on frontier and garrison duty, being wounded, 12 August, 1850, in a skirmish with Indians, and on 3 March, 1855, was promoted captain in the 2d U.S. Cavalry. After frequent service on scouting parties against Indians, he was made major on 6 April, 1861, and declined the commission of brigadier-general of volunteers on 17 May. He led a regiment in the Tennessee and Mississippi Campaign of 1862, and was afterward on mustering and recruiting service, also commanding the District of Illinois in 1863-'6. He was brevetted brigadier-general, U. S. Army, on 30 March, 1865, and commissioned colonel, 31 July, 1866. On 29 April, 1879, he was retired from active service. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 548.
OAKLEY, Henry Augustus, financier, born in New York City, 20 September, 1827. He received a classical education, and in 1851 became secretary of the Howard Fire Insurance Company, of which he was subsequently chosen vice-president, and finally president. In 1850-'l he was president of the Mercantile Library Association of New York. In 1862 he served in the Civil War as an officer of New York militia. He was president of the New York Bible Society in 1869-'70, of the New York Board of Underwriters in 1869-'71, of the National Board of Underwriters in 1871-'6, and has been an officer in many of the principal societies and charities of New York. He has been a frequent contributor to the literary press, and is the author of "A Christmas Reverie, and other Sketches " (printed privately, New York, 1849); "Outline of a Course of English Reading" (1853); "Historical Sketch of the Howard Insurance Company " (1875); and "Addresses as President of the National Board of Fire Underwriters" (1876). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 548.
O'BRIEN, Fitz James, author, born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1828; died in Cumberland, Maryland, 6 April, 1862. He was educated at the University of Dublin, and is believed to have been at one time a soldier in the British service. On leaving college he went to London, and in the course of two years spent his inheritance of £8,000, meanwhile editing a periodical in aid of the World's Fair of 1851. About 1852 he came to the United States, and thenceforth he devoted his attention to literature. While he was in college he had shown an aptitude for writing verse, and two of his poems—"Loch Ine" and "Irish Castles"—were published in " The Ballads of Ireland " (1856). His earliest writings in the United States were contributed to the "Lantern," which was then edited by John Brougham. Subsequently he wrote for the "Home Journal." the " New York Times," and the "American Whig Review." His first important literary connection was with "Harper's Magazine." and beginning in February, 1833, with "The Two Skulls," he contributed more than sixty articles in prose and verse to that periodical. He likewise wrote for the "New York Saturday Press," "Putnam's Magazine,” “Vanity Fair,” and the “Atlantic Monthly." To the latter, he sent "The Diamond Lens" and "The Wonder Smith," which are unsurpassed as creations of the imagination, and are unique among short magazine stories. His pen was also employed in writing plays. For James W. Wallack he made "A Gentleman from Ireland," which still keeps the stage, and he also wrote and adapted other pieces for the theatres, but they had a shorter existence. In 1861 he joined the 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard, hoping to be sent to the front, and he was in Camp Cameron before Washington for six weeks. When his regiment returned to New York he received an appointment on the staff of General Frederick W. Lander. He was severely wounded in a skirmish on 20 February, 1863, and lingered until April, when he died. In New York he at once associated with the brilliant set of Bohemians of that day, among whom he was ranked as the most able. At the weekly dinners that were given by John Brougham, or at the nightly suppers at Pfaff's on Broadway, he was the soul of the entertainment. His friend, William Winter, collected ".The Poems and Stories of Kitz James O'Brien," to which are added personal recollections of this gifted writer by those of his old associates that survived him (Boston, 1881). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 549-550.
ODELL, Moses Fowler, 1818-1866, Brooklyn, New York, statesman. Fusion Democratic, later War Democratic, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. Congressman 1861-1865. Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 556; Congressional Globe)
ODELL, Moses Fowler, born in Tarrytown, New York, 24 February, 1818; died in Brooklyn, N. Y 13 June, 1866, was a member of Congress in 1861-'5, having been elected as a Fusion Democrat and then as a War Democrat from the District of Brooklyn, and in 1865 was appointed naval officer of the port of New York. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 556.
OGDEN, Frederick Nash, soldier, born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 25 January, 1837; died in New Orleans. Louisiana, 25 May, 1886. He entered mercantile life as a boy, and continued so engaged until the beginning of the Civil War, when he volunteered as a private in the Confederate Army, and was elected color-bearer. In this capacity he served through the Peninsular Campaign and then returned to New Orleans, when he was made major of heavy artillery. After the surrender of the forts at New Orleans he was in command of the 8th Louisiana Battalion, and served in charge of a battery at Vicksburg, where he was taken prisoner. On being exchanged, he was placed on General Leonidas Polk's staff, but later entered the cavalry as lieutenant-colonel, and was surrendered at the close of the war with General Nathan B. Forrest's command in northern Alabama. He then returned to New Orleans and re-entered commercial life. In 1868 he organized and became president of the Crescent City Democratic Club, the largest and most powerful political organization in New Orleans, and subsequently he organized the Crescent City White League, which took an active part in the contests for the state government in 1873-'4. He also commanded the local forces as major-general of militia. General Ogden was president of the Red Cross Association of Louisiana and vice-president of the Howard Association during the yellow-fever epidemic of 1878, when he closed his place of business and devoted his time to the sick and suffering. In 1884 he was chief superintendent of the World's Fair that was held in New Orleans. He refused a nomination for the governorship. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 560-561.
OGLESBY, Richard James, senator, born in Oldham County, Kentucky, 25 July. 1824. He was left an orphan at the age of eight, moved to Decatur, Illinois, in 1830, and learned the carpenter's trade, which, with farming and rope-making, occupied him until 1844. While making rope, he invented a machine that was a decided improvement on the methods before in use. In the meantime he had studied law in his leisure hours, and in 1845 was admitted to the bar, beginning to practice in Sullivan, Moultrie County, Illinois. The following year he returned to Decatur, and was commissioned 1st lieutenant in the 4th Illinois Regiment, which he accompanied to Mexico, and was present at the siege of Vera Cruz and the battle of Cerro Gordo. He resumed practice at Decatur in 1847, pursued a course of study at Louisville Law School, and was graduated there in 1848. In 1849 he went to California, and engaged in mining until 1851, when he again returned to Decatur. In 1850 he was elected to the state senate, but resigned to accept the colonelcy of the 8th Illinois Volunteers. He commanded a brigade at the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and was promoted for gallantry brigadier-general of volunteers, 21 March, 1862. He added to his reputation at Corinth, where he was severely wounded, and disabled from duty until April, 1863. In the meantime he had been made major-general of volunteers, and assigned to the command of the 16th Army Corps. This commission he resigned in May, 1864, and in the following November he was elected governor of the state as a Republican by a large majority. He was in office continuously until 1869, and was again elected in 1872. He was chosen U. S. Senator in 1873, and served until 3 March, 1879, but declined a re-election. In November, 1884, he was again elected governor for a period of four years. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 564.
O'HARA. Theodore, poet, born in Danville, Kentucky, 11 February, 1820; died near Guerryton, Bullock County, Alabama, 6 June, 1867. He was the son of Kane O'Hara, an Irish political exile, and was graduated at St. Joseph Academy, Bardstown, Kentucky, where he entered the senior class and acted as professor of Greek while he was completing his studies. He then read law, was admitted to the bar, and in 1845 was appointed to a place in the Treasury Department at Washington. At the beginning of the Mexican War he entered the army, and was appointed captain and assistant quartermaster of volunteers, 26 June, 1846. He was brevetted major, 20 August, 1847, for gallant conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, and was mustered out on 15 October, 1848. He was appointed captain in the 2d U.S. Cavalry, 3 March, 1855, but resigned on 1 December, 1856. When the remains of the Kentucky soldiers that fell at Buena Vista in February, 1847, were moved to their native state, Major O'Hara wrote for the occasion the poem by which he is best known. " The Bivouac of the Dead," which begins with the stanza:
"The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo.
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread;
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead."
Lines from this poem are inscribed over the entrances of several of the national cemeteries. At the close of the war Colonel O'Hara returned to Washington, D. C, where he practised his profession. He afterward went with a filibustering expedition to Cuba, and commanded a regiment in the battle of Cardenas, where he was wounded. During the absence of John Forsythe from the United States as minister to Mexico, O'Hara edited the " Mobile Register." He was afterward editorially connected with the Louisville 'Times" and the Frankfort, Kentucky. " Yeoman." He was several times intrusted by the government with diplomatic missions, and was especially active in the negotiations regarding the Tehuantepee Grant. During the Civil War he joined the Confederate Army, and was made colonel of the 12th Alabama Regiment. Subsequently he served on the staffs of General Albert Sidney Johnston and General John C. Breckinridge. After the war he engaged in the cotton business in Columbus, Georgia, but lost everything by fire, and retired to a plantation, where he died. After his “Bivouac of the Dead" his best-known poem is "The Old Pioneer." In accordance with a resolution of the Kentucky legislature, his remains were conveyed to that state and buried by the side of those whom he hail commemorated. See "O'Hara and His Elegies," by George W. Ranck (Baltimore, 1875). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 565-566.
OLDEN, Charles Smith, governor of New Jersey, born in Princeton, New Jersey, 19 February, 1799; died there, 7 April, 1876. He was educated at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, left school early to work in his father's store, entered a mercantile house in Philadelphia in 1823, and in 1826 went to New Orleans, where he became a successful merchant, retiring from business in 1834 and returning to Princeton. As treasurer of Princeton College, he aided in extricating it from financial embarrassment after the destruction of Nassau Hall by fire. He represented his county in the state senate from 1844 till 1850. In 1859 he was elected by the Republicans governor of New Jersey, and was efficient in organizing and equipping the state's quota of troops. He attended the Peace Congress in 1861. His service as governor ended in 1863, and he subsequently filled the offices of judge of the court of errors and appeals, member of the court of pardons, riparian commissioner, and presidential elector. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 569.
OLIVER, John Morrison, soldier, born in Penn Yan, New York, in September, 1827: died in Washington, D. C, 30 March, 1872. He joined the National Army as 1st lieutenant of the 4th Michigan Infantry in May, 1861, became colonel of the 15th Michigan Infantry in January, 1862, and served under General Sherman in his western campaigns. At Fort McAllister, Georgia, he led the attack, and in January, 1865, was commissioned brigadier-general. He received the brevet of major-general in March, 1865, and in 1869 was appointed associate judge of the District of Columbia, but declined. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 575.
OLIVER, Paul Ambrose, manufacturer, born on shipboard in the English Channel, 18 July, 1830. He was educated in Germany, settled in New York, and engaged first in the shipping business, and later in the cotton trade in that city and New Orleans. In February, 1862, he entered the army as 2d lieutenant in the 12th New York Volunteers, and in May was promoted to 1st lieutenant and assigned to duty on General Daniel Butterfield's staff, after which he served as aide-de-camp to General George G. Meade and General Joseph Hooker. Meanwhile he was promoted captain, to date from 1 January, 1864, after leading his company at Gaines's Mills, the second battle of Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Later he again served on General Butterfield's staff, and was present at the battle of Lookout Mountain and in the campaigns to Atlanta. He then became acting provost-marshal of the 5th Corps, and was then ordered by General Grant to the headquarters of the U. S. Army. He was detailed on 11 April, 1865, to assist General George H. Sharpe to parole the Army of Northern Virginia, and was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers on 13 March, 1865. In 1870 he established a powder-factory near Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, where he has since been engaged in the manufacture of explosives, using for that purpose machinery of his own invention, consisting principally of devices by which powder can be made in small quantities at any time and at any place, thus doing away with the danger of violent explosion and reducing the risk to a minimum. General Oliver's improvements include principally an incorporating-mill, consisting of a succession of rollers set in pairs through which the powder is made to pass in very small quantities at a time, and a new mode of pressing and graining. He has also invented a bayonet fastening and a screw-headed key which are of practical value. General Oliver is a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, of the Loyal Legion, and of other organizations. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 575-576.
OLMSTED, Frederick Law, landscape-architect, born in Hartford, Connecticut. 26 April, 1822. He followed courses of special study in engineering and agriculture at Yale during 1845-'6, and then became a laborer on a farm in central New York, in order to acquire a practical knowledge of the details of agriculture. Subsequently he conducted a farm of his own on Staten Island, and contributed articles to periodicals on rural subjects. His attention being directed to the art of landscape-gardening and architecture, he made a pedestrian tour through Great Britain and parts of continental Europe in 1850 for the purpose of observing closely the agriculture and ornamental grounds of the various countries. Some account of this journey is given in " Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England" (New York, 1852). In 1852-'3 he travelled, mostly on horseback, through the southern and southwestern states, for the purpose of examining their agricultural resources, and also in order to study the effects of slavery upon agriculture. His observation and conclusions were given to the public in a series of letters, and these were issued as " A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, with Remarks on their Economy " (1856). Later he published " A Journey through Texas, or a Saddle Trip on the Southwestern Frontier, with a Statistical Appendix" (1857) and "A Journey in the Back Country" (1800). When the Civil War broke out in 1861 a condensed edition of these works was issued in London under the title of " The Cotton Kingdom " (2 vols., 1861). which was much quoted in the controversies that followed. A commission was formed in 1856 under an act of the New York legislature for the construction of a large central park in New York City, and Mr. Olmsted was appointed superintendent. In 1857 premiums were offered by the commission for the best plans for the ground, and. of thirty-four that were sent in, the highest prize was awarded to the one that was prepared by Mr. Olmsted in conjunction with Calvert Vaux. He was then engaged until 1861 in managing the construction of the park upon this plan, with the title of landscape architect. In 1861 he was appointed a member of the commission of inquiry and advice in regard to the sanitary condition of the U. S. forces. He was elected its general secretary, with the duty of organizing and controlling its executive service and taking charge of confidential communications between the commission and the government. During 1861-'4 he resided in Washington, and in behalf of the commission was active in securing needed legislation in regard to the army and navy. He made many visits to armies in the field, had large correspondence, and prepared confidential reports as to their condition and wants, many of which were published. See Charles J. Stille's "History of the U. S. Sanitary Commission" (Philadelphia, 1866). After the war he took part in the organization and direction of the Southern Famine Relief Commission, and later was engaged in the organization of the New York State Charities Aid Association, of which he was vice-president for several years. In 1871 he urged upon the territorial government of the District of Columbia the so-called "parking system" for the broad streets of Washington, which has since been carried out. He was active in the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City. In 1872 he was appointed president of the Department of Public Parks in New York. In 1876-'7 he prepared plans, in accordance with which the street system of most of the part of the city of New York that lies north of Harlem River has since been laid out. Mr. Olmsted has been identified with the designing of numerous other public and private works, in certain of which he has been associated with Calvert Vaux, and in others with his son, John C. Olmsted, These have included the Riverside and Morningside Parks in New York City: Prospect and Washington Parks in Brooklyn, New York, with the several parkways of that city; Washington and Jackson Parks, and several of the parkways, of Chicago; the parks and parkways of Buffalo, New York, of Montreal, Canada, and of Bridgeport, Connecticut; also the great terrace and staircases, and the outworks and grounds, of the capital at Washington. He was the first commissioner of the National Park of the Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove, directing the survey and taking charge of the property for the State of California. Mr. Olmsted has also held directing appointments under the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, and San Francisco, the Joint Committee on Buildings and Grounds of Congress, the Niagara Falls Reservation Commission, the trustees of Harvard, Yale, Amherst, and other colleges and public institutions. Since 1886 he has been largely occupied in laying out an extensive system of parks and parkways for the city of Boston, and the town of Brookline, Massachusetts, and upon a scheme for the landscape improvement of Boston Harbor. He received the degree of A. M. from Harvard in 1864. and from Amherst in 1867. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 577-578.
O'MAHONY, John Francis, Fenian leader, born in Kilbeheny, County Cork, Ireland, in 1816; died in New York City, 7 February, 1877. He belonged to a family every generation of which, for the last 200 years, had been implicated in movements hostile to English supremacy, and his father and uncle took part in the insurrection of 1798. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, but left this institution without taking a degree, spending most of his time in the study of Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Gaelic. He was already a fine classical scholar, and contributed articles to French journals. He began to take part in the repeal movement in 1843, but soon became dissatisfied with the methods of O'Connell, and was active in the party of which Smith O'Brien was the leader. The part that he took in the abortive rebellion of 1848 obliged him to leave the country, and he lived in France till 1854, when he came to the United States. Here he published the " History of Ireland, by Geoffrey Keating, D. D.. translated from the Original Gaelic, and Copiously Annotated" (New York, 1857). The mental strain to which O'Mahony was subjected in the preparation of this work, which brought him no pecuniary gain, affected his reason, and he was moved by his friends for a short time to a lunatic asylum. The Fenian brotherhood, or Irish Republican Brotherhood, was organized by him in 1860. The object of the association was to secure the freedom of Ireland. The name was probably derived from O'Mahony's Gaelic studies, the Fenians having been a military body in pagan Ireland, celebrated in the songs of Ossian. The organization of the new society was completed at conventions that were held in Chicago in 1864, and in Cincinnati in January, 1865. Its rapid growth in membership rendered it impossible for O'Mahony to retain the colonelcy of the 69th Regiment, which he had held for some time, and resigning he gave all his attention to the spread of Fenianism. Many differences occurred between him and James Stephens, but he remained president of the organization for several years. The close of the Civil War in the spring of 1865 gave a great impetus to the movement, owing to the number of Irish-American soldiers that were disbanded and anxious to see service elsewhere. Money poured into the Fenian exchequer: probably $500,000 was subscribed between 1860 and 1867. O'Mahony did not take any part personally in the attempted insurrection in Ireland or in the raids on Canada, although his advice counted for much in these enterprises, he devoted the last years of his life to literary pursuits, but suffered from ill health and poverty. However visionary may have been his objects, he was honest, and although thousands had passed through his hands, he was often at a loss for a dollar. When his poverty was discovered he declined to receive assistance in any shape. Soon after his death his remains were taken to Ireland and interred with the honors of a public funeral in Glasnevin Cemetery near Dublin. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 579-580.
O'NEALL, John Belton, jurist, born in Bush River, South Carolina, 10 April, 1793; died near Newberry, South Carolina, 27 September, 1863. His grandparents on both sides were natives of Ireland, and his parents were Quakers. He was graduated at South Carolina College in 1812, prepared himself for the profession of the law, and was admitted to the bar in 1814. He was elected in 1816 to the lower house of the South Carolina Legislature, and was subsequently three times re-elected to the same body. During his last two terms, in 1824 and 1826, he was the speaker of the house. In December, 1828, he was chosen an associate judge, and in 1830 a judge of the court of appeals. He henceforth remained upon the bench through various changes of the judiciary system until finally he was made chief justice of South Carolina. Not content with the reputation of an able and incorruptible judge, he was active in promoting the agricultural interests and railway enterprises of the state. He was especially devoted to the cause of temperance, of which he was an eloquent and untiring advocate. In this relation his reputation was wide. In the Baptist denomination, of which he was a member, he was recognized and honored as a leader. He was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1858 till 1863. Judge O'Neall was also active in the militia, in which he rose to the rank of major-general. He contributed largely to the press on education, temperance, religion, and agriculture, and delivered numerous addresses, several of which were published. He was also the author of a "Digest of the Negro Law"(1848); "Annals of Newberry" (1858); and "Bench and Bar of South Carolina" (2 vols., Charleston, 1859). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 581.
O'NEILL, John, soldier, born in County Cavan, Ireland, in 1&34; died in Omaha, Nebraska, 7 January, 1878. He emigrated to the United States in his youth, served three years in the National Army during the Civil War, and, resigning in 1864, established a pension agency in Nashville, Tennessee, with branch offices in other cities. In 1866 he was appointed by his Irish compatriots to command the Fenian forces that invaded Canada. On 1 January he set out with 1,500 men, crossed the Niagara River at Buffalo in canal-boats, and took possession of Fort Erie. A skirmish ensued the next day, but General Grant, with a considerable force of U. S. troops, having arrived in Buffalo and issued orders that no additional Fenians be permitted to cross the river, O'Neill's party was left without ammunition or supplies, and by his order left the encampment and retreated to the American shore. Seven hundred Fenians were intercepted and arrested by the U. S. gun-boat " Michigan," and the remainder were disbanded and ordered to their respective homes. In September of the same year O'Neill was a delegate to the Fenian Congress, and was elected inspector-general of the Fenian forces. After his second invasion of Canada in 1870 he was imprisoned for several months. He subsequently engaged in lecturing and in organizing a movement for the colonization of his countrymen in Nebraska. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 581-582.
OPDYCKE, Emerson, soldier, born in Hubbard, Trumbull County, Ohio, 7 January, 1830; died in New York City, 25 April, 1884. His father served in the war of 1812, and his grandfather was a captain in the Revolution. He engaged in business in California and Ohio, and, enlisting in July, 1861, in the 41st Ohio Regiment, was mustered in as 1st lieutenant, and soon commissioned captain. At Shiloh, he carried the colors, and led an important charge of his command, he was commissioned colonel of the 125th Ohio in January, 1863. At Chickamauga, a charge of his regiment, and later in the day its maintenance of an exposed position, at a loss of one third of its number in killed and wounded, were of vital importance. At Missionary Ridge his demi-brigade was among the first commands to reach the crest. He rendered special service at Rocky-Face Ridge and Resaca, and commanded a brigade from August, 1864, to the end of the war, and on 26 July, 1865, was made brigadier-general of volunteers. At Franklin, when the National line had been disastrously broken by Hood's assault, he independently and without receiving orders changed his brigade from reserve into the gap, and was credited by General Thomas, the commander of the army, with the success of the day. He rendered valuable service also at Nashville, commanded a division in Texas, resigned in January, 1866, and received commission as major-general of volunteers by brevet, to date from the battle of Franklin. He then engaged in business in New York City, and published many papers on the history of the war. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 583-583.
OPDYKE, George, mayor of New York, born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, in 1805; died in New York City, 12 June, 1880. His ancestor, Gysbert, was an early settler of New York State. George went to the west at eighteen years of age and settled in Cleveland, Ohio, but afterward moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, and, returning to the north in 1832, engaged in business in New York City, where he subsequently established the banking-house of George Opdyke and Company. He was a member of the Buffalo Free-Soil Convention in 1848, served on its committee on resolutions, and was a candidate for Congress on the Free-Soil ticket in New Jersey, and while in the legislature in 1858 he was zealous in protecting the franchises of New York City from spoliation. He was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1860, and was instrumental in the nomination of Abraham Lincoln. He was mayor of New York in 1862-'3, and was energetic in sustaining the National government, in raising and equipping troops, and did much to prevent commercial panics. He served in the New York Constitutional Convention in 1867-'8, in the New York Constitutional Commission in 1872-5, was a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce in 1858-80, and its vice-president in 1867-75. He published a "Treatise on Political Economy," in which he took advanced views against the economic evils of slavery, and in favor of inconvertible paper money and free trade (New York, 1851); "Report on the Currency " (1858; and " Official Documents. Addresses, etc." (1866). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 583.
ORD, Edward Otho Cresap, soldier, born in Cumberland, Maryland. 18 October, 1818; died in Havana, Cuba, 22 July, 1883. He showed in his boyhood great mathematical ability, which attracted attention and gained for him an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy, where he was graduated in 1839. On his graduation he was assigned to the 3d U.S. Artillery, and served in the Florida War against the Seminole Indians in 1839-42, winning his promotion as 1st lieutenant in 1841. He was one of two lieutenants that were selected by Colonel William S. Harney to assist in attacking the Indians in the Everglades. During the four following years he served on garrison duty on the eastern seaboard. In 1847, with his classmate, Lieutenant Henry W. Halleck, and Lieutenant William T. Sherman, he was sent to California by way of Cape Horn, and by his individual efforts did much toward preserving law and order in Monterey during the latter part of the Mexican War. In 1850 he returned to the east and was made captain, but after two years' service in Fort Independence, Massachusetts, he went back to California and was engaged on coast survey duty until 1855. He then took part in Indian warfare, again participating in the campaigns against the Rogue River Indians in Oregon in 1850, and in that against the Spokane Indians in Washington Territory in 1858. He was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco at the beginning of the Civil War, but in September, 1861, was made brigadier-general of volunteers and given a command in the Army of the Potomac. In November he was promoted major and assigned the 3d Brigade of Pennsylvania reserves. His first engagement was at Dranesville, where he defeated the Confederates after a sharp contest of several hours. Following the defeats of Bull Run and Ball's Bluff, this victory did much toward raising the spirits of the soldiers. General John F. Reynolds said at the time: " I knew if there was a fight to be scared up, Ord would find it." Later he was sent down the valley of Virginia with General Franz Sigel, with the understanding that he should by his advice control most of the movements of the command, but, failing to accomplish this, he abruptly returned to Washington. On 2 May, 1862, he was made major-general of volunteers and transferred to a command under General Halleck in the Department of the Mississippi. He led the left wing of the Army of the Tennessee under General Grant when it advanced upon Iuka from the north, and is reported as having "showed untiring zeal," although he did not participate in the battle. In the subsequent fights before Corinth. General Grant says in his orders that General Ord's "forces advanced with unsurpassed gallantry, driving the enemy back across the Hatchie, over ground where it is almost incredible that a superior force should he driven by an inferior, capturing two of the batteries, many hundred small arms, and several hundred prisoners." Among these were several field officers and an aide-decamp to General Earl Van Dorn. He was severely wounded late in the afternoon and had to be carried from the field, serving during his recovery on the military commission that was appointed to investigate General Don Carlos Buell’s campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee. In June, 1863, he was put in command of the 13th Army Corps in the Army of the Tennessee, before Vicksburg, and after its surrender, on 4 July, 1863, he was given command of the right wing of General William T. Sherman's army in the movement that resulted in the capture of Jackson, Mississippi, and in clearing that part of the state of the organized forces of the enemy. He was then sent to New Orleans, but was relieved in October, owing to illness, returning later to his command of the 13th Corps, then in the Department of the Gulf. In July, 1864, he was given command of the 8th Army Corps and the troops in the Middle Department, and at once began to quiet the confusion in Baltimore and the surrounding country. After confidence had been restored he was given the 18th Army Corps in the vicinity of Petersburg, Virginia. He took part in the movements before that city, and, crossing to the north side of the James, on 29 September, 1864, led the forces that carried the strong fortifications and long line of intrenchments below Chapin's farm, known as Fort Harrison. On this occasion he captured about fifteen pieces of artillery and nearly 300 prisoners, but during the assault he received a wound that temporarily disabled him. When the 10th and 18th Corps were consolidated he was placed in command, but, owing to feeble health, was ordered to Washington for a few months. After the return of the troops from Fort Fisher he resumed command of his corps, but in January, 1865, was given the Army of the James and the Department of Virginia. In this capacity he participated in the operations that resulted in the evacuation of Richmond and the surrender of General Lee. General Sherman says that he "had always understood that his (Ord's) skilful, hard march the night before was one of the chief causes of Lee's surrender." He then was given the Department of the Ohio, which he retained until he was mustered out of the volunteer service in September, 1866, after receiving, on 13 March, 1865, the brevets of brigadier-general and major-general in the U. S. Army, and the commissions of lieutenant-colonel, on 11 December, 1865, and of brigadier-general in the regular army, 20 July, 1866. Subsequently he had command of the Department of Arkansas, the 4th Military District, the Department of California, the Department of the Platte, and that of Texas. On 6 December, 1880, he was retired with his brevet rank of major-general, and on this occasion General Sherman wrote of him: " He has hail all of the hard knocks of service, and never on soft or fancy duty. He has always been called on when hard duty was expected, and never flinched." General Ord then accepted the appointment as engineer on the construction of a Mexican Railroad, but died of yellow fever while on his way from Vera Cruz to New York by way of Cuba. The order that announced his death closed with these words: "As his intimate associate since boyhood, the General [Sherman] here bears testimony of him, that a more unselfish, manly, and patriotic person never lived." Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 584
ORME, William Ward, soldier, born in Washington, D. C, 17 February, 1832: died in Bloomington, Illinois, 18 September, 1866. He was educated at Mount St. Mary's College, Emmettsburg, Maryland, moved to Illinois, and settled in the practice of law in Bloomington. He was a member of the State Constitutional Convention in 1860, raised the 94th Illinois Regiment at the beginning of the Civil War, was appointed its colonel, and became brigadier-general of volunteers, 29 November, 1862. Failure of health soon compelled his retirement, and he was subsequently supervising agent in the U. S. Treasury. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 590.
O'RORKE, Patrick Henry, soldier, born in County Cavan, Ireland, 25 March. 1837; killed in the battle of Gettysburg, 2 July, 1863. He came to this country with his parents when but a year old, and in 1842 the family settled in Rochester, New York. There young O'Rorke was distinguished as among the brightest pupils in the public schools, and in his sixteenth year he was offered one of the three free scholarships given by the University of Rochester to the city, but declined in deference to the wishes of his mother. He then went to work as a marble-cutter, and remained at his trade until he was appointed to a cadetship in the U. S. Military Academy, where he stood third in his class at the end of the first year, and was graduated at the head of it in June, 1861. He was assigned to duty on the staff of General Daniel Tyler, in command of the 1st Division of McDowell's army, and served at Blackburn's Ford, 18 July, and Bull Run, 21 July, 1861, his horse being killed under him in the latter action. In August, 1861, he was sent to Fort Monroe, and was afterward assigned to the staff of General Thomas W. Sherman, in command of the Port Royal Expedition which sailed, 29 October, 1861. He was employed in constructing the batteries on Tybee Island for the reduction of Fort Pulaski, and showed rare skill and talent as an engineer officer, as well as courage and enterprise, in a preliminary reconnaissance. On the reduction of the fort, 10 April, 1862, he was selected as one of the officers to receive the surrender. In September, 1862, he accepted the colonelcy of the 140th Regiment of New York Volunteers. The regiment, which was placed in Warren's brigade, Sykes's division, 5th Corps, was composed of good material, and, largely through the effects of its colonel's thorough discipline, became one of the best in the Army of the Potomac. O'Rorke was under fire with his regiment at Fredericksburg, but not actively engaged, Sykes's division being held in reserve near the town. In the Chancellorsville Campaign he was temporarily in charge of a brigade. On 2 July, 1863, as "he was leading his regiment on to the field of Gettysburg, bringing up the rear of Weed's brigade, his former commander and intimate friend, General Gouverneur K. Warren, then of the Engineer Corps, met him, and, though without authority to order it, asked him to turn aside and defend Little Round Top, which was seriously threatened, and the loss of which would jeopardize the whole battle. On a less important occasion O'Rorke had been known to meet the suggestion of a staff-officer, that he should change the position of his regiment, with the skeptical question: "Is that an order from the general, or is it merely an idea of your own" But he recognized the nature of the crisis, changed the direction of his advance, and led his men rapidly up Little Round Top, helping to haul the guns of Hazlett's battery to the summit. As he went over the crest, the regiment hesitated for an instant when the storm of fire struck it, and he caught the colors, sprang upon a rock, and fell dead from a bullet-wound through the neck as his men responded to his appeal and his example. The Count of Paris, in his "History of the Civil War," describes the incident in detail. O'Rorke was made brevet 2d lieutenant of engineers, 24 June. 1861; 2d lieutenant, 24 June, 1861: 1st lieutenant, 3 March, 1863; brevet captain, 15 March, 1862, for meritorious service with the Port Royal Expeditionary Corps: brevet major, 13 December, 1862, for gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Fredericksburg; brevet lieutenant-colonel, 1 May, 1863, for gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Chancellorsville: and brevet colonel, 2 July, 1863, for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Gettysburg. His widow entered the sisterhood of the Sacred Heart. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 591-592.
ORR, James Lawrence, statesman, born in Craytonville, Anderson County, South Carolina., 12 May. 1822; died in St. Petersburg, Russia, 5 May, 1873. He was graduated at the University of Virginia in 1842, studied law, was admitted to the bar. and practised at Anderson, South Carolina, where he also established and edited the "Gazette." He sat in the state legislature in 1844'57, where he denounced nullification, and was elected and re-elected to Congress as a Democrat, serving from 3 December 1849, till 3 March, 1859. With the exception of his original contest, there was no opposition to his election. In Congress, while he deprecated the agitation of the slavery question, he was a devoted friend of the Union. He opposed the compromise measures that were introduced by Henry Clay. While he was a member of the 33d Congress he was appointed chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, and made an elaborate report on the best method of civilizing the various tribes, which, in the case of several of them, was adopted with considerable success. On the assembling of the 35th Congress in December, 1857, he was chosen speaker. As a member of the Southern Rights Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, in May, 1851, he opposed the policy, while maintaining the right, of secession in the several states, and to his efforts is attributed the failure of the secession ordinance that was framed on that occasion. On 4 July, 1854, Mr. Orr, with Stephen A. Douglas and others, addressed a Democratic meeting in Philadelphia, taking a strong stand against the Know-Nothing Party, and is said by his arguments to have prevented many public men from joining its ranks. At the Secession Convention he earnestly opposed the withdrawal of South Carolina, but when he found that the state was determined to secede he acquiesced and declared that he would yield his judgment and cast his lot with his state. He was subsequently appointed one of the three Confederate commissioners that visited Washington in December, 1860, to treat with the government for the surrender of the U. S. forts in Charleston Harbor and to transact other business. On his return to South Carolina, he organized a rifle regiment which he led in the field until 1862, when he was elected a member of the Confederate Senate, and served until the dispersion of that body at the end of the war. He was chosen governor of the state of South Carolina under President Johnson's plan of reconstruction, and served until 1868. In 1866 he represented his state in the Philadelphia Constitutional Union Convention, and in 1872 he was sent to the National Republican Convention. In 1870 he was elected circuit judge for South Carolina, which office he held until his appointment as U. S. minister to Russia in 1872. His death took place in St. Petersburg within two months after the presentation of his credentials to the Russian government. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 593.
ORTH, Godlove Stoner, 1817-1882, lawyer, diplomat. Member of the anti-slavery faction of the Whig Party. Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana. U.S. Congressman December 1863-March 1871, December 1873-March 1875. Voted for Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, establishing citizenship, due process and equal protections, and establishing voting rights for African Americans. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 594-595; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 7, Pt. 2, p. 60; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 16, p. 772; Congressional Globe)
ORTH, Godlove Stoner, statesman, born near Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, 22 April, 1817; died in Lafayette, Indiana, 16 December, 1882. He was a descendant of Balthazer Orth, a German, who in 1742 purchased of John Thomas and Richard Penn, the proprietors of Pennsylvania, 282 acres of land in Lebanon County, where on the birthplace of Godlove Orth was soon afterward built and still stands. His Christian name is a translation of the German Gottlieb, which was borne by many of his ancestors. He was educated at Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1839, and began to practice in Indiana. He was a member of the Senate of that state from 1842 till 1848, and served one year as its presiding officer. In the latter year he was presidential elector on the Taylor and Fillmore ticket. He represented Indiana in the Peace Conference of 1861. The part that he took in its debates gave him a wide reputation, and his definitions of “state rights” and “state sovereignty” have been quoted by Hermann von Holst with approval. In 1862, when a call was made for men to defend Indiana from threatened invasion, he organized a company in two hours, and was made captain and placed in command of the U. S. Ram “Horner,” in which he cruised in the Ohio River, and did much to restore order on the borders of Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. He was elected and re-elected to Congress as a Republican, serving from 7 December, 1863, till 3 March, 1871. Two years later he was chosen a member of the 43d Congress, and served from 1 December, 1873, till 3 March, 1875. During his long Congressional career he was the chairman and member of many important committees. He urged the vigorous prosecution of the war, and voted for the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. After his return to Congress in 1866 he began to labor to secure from European governments the recognition of the right of expatriation, and lived to see it recognized in the treaties of the United States with most of the other powers. In 1868, at the request of the administration, he undertook the management of the legislation that looked to the annexation of Santo Domingo. At the same session he framed the “Orth Bill,” which reorganized the diplomatic and consular system, and much of which is still in force. Early in 1871 a recommendation, urging his appointment as minister to Berlin, was signed by every member of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives, and President Grant at one time intended to comply with the request, but circumstances arose that rendered the retention of George Bancroft desirable. Mr. Orth soon afterward declined the office of commissioner of internal revenue. In 1876 he was the Republican candidate for governor, but withdrew from the canvass. He had frequently been a member of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in March, 1875, was appointed minister to Austria, after declining the mission to Brazil. He returned to the United States in 1877, and was again elected to Congress, serving from 18 March, 1879, until his death. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 594-595.
OSBORN, Thomas W., senator, born in Scotch Plains, Union County, New Jersey, 9 March, 1836. He moved with his parents to Wilna, New York. in 1842, and was graduated at Madison University in 1860. He studied law in Watertown, New York, but as soon as he was admitted to the bar in 1861 he entered the National Army, being commissioned captain in the 1st New York Artillery, and serving successively as chief of artillery of various army corps and of the Army of the Tennessee. He served as assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees and Freedmen for Florida, with the rank of colonel in 1865-"6. He was three times wounded in battle, and had an arm and shoulder broken in a railway accident. After the war he went to Florida for his health, practised law in Tallahassee, was made a register in bankruptcy in 1867, was a member of the convention that adopted the state constitution which he drafted, and was elected to the upper branch of the legislature. He afterward moved to Pensacola, and was chosen to represent Florida in the U. S. Senate as a Republican, serving from 30 June, 1868. till 3 March, 1873. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 598.
OSBORNE, Thomas O., soldier, born in Jersey, Licking County, Ohio, 11 August, 1832. He was graduated at the University of Ohio in 1854, studied law with General Lewis Wallace at Crawfordsville, Indiana, was admitted to the bur. and began to practice, in Chicago. At the beginning of the Civil War he offered his services to the government and devoted his time and means to the organization of the 39th Illinois Regiment, of which he became lieutenant-colonel and afterward colonel. He was sent to the east with his command and ordered to guard the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Alpine and Great Capacon, West Virginia When "Stonewall" Jackson made his first raid into Morgan County in the state in the winter of 1861-2, he kept that officer at bay for several hours, although the latter was at the head of a largely superior force, and succeeded in making good his retreat across the Potomac with but slight loss. He took part in the battle of Winchester in April, 1862, served during the operations in Charleston Harbor in 1863, accompanied General Benjamin F. Butler up James River in May, 1864, and was severely wounded at Drury's Bluff, losing the use of his right arm. At the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, he commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 24th Army Corps, and on 2 April, 1865. He captured Fort Gregg, the key to the works about Petersburg and Richmond, by one of the most gallant and successful charges of the war. For this service he was made brigadier-general of volunteers. Subsequently by a rapid movement he cut off the Confederate troops from the Lynchburg road and contributed to the capture of Lee's army. This and his other services throughout the war were recognized by promotion to the rank of brevet major-general of volunteers. At the close of hostilities he returned to the practice of his profession in Chicago. In February, 1874, he was accredited as consul-general and minister-resident to the Argentine Republic, which office he held until June. 1885, when he resigned. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 598.
OSGOOD, Helen Louise Gibson, philanthropist, born in Boston, Massachusetts, about 1835; died in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 20 April, 1868. During her childhood she moved with her parents to Chelsea, Massachusetts, and after their death she became the ward of Francis H. Fay, of that place, in whose family she lived for several years. She was well educated, and was endowed with great musical and conversational powers. When the Civil War began she was among the first to organize soldiers' aid societies, and provided employment for those wives and daughters of soldiers that were in straitened circumstances. In the early spring of 1862 she went to the army as a nurse. She organized and conducted for "many months a hospital for 1,000 colored soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, and displayed great executive ability. In 1866 she married Mr. Osgood, who was connected with the U.S. Sanitary Commission in the Army of the Potomac. Her patriotic labors superinduced the illness which caused her death. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 600.
OSTERHAUS, Peter Joseph, soldier, born in Coblentz, Germany, about 1820, he became an officer in the Prussian Army, and subsequently emigrated to the United States, settling in St. Louis, Missouri. At the beginning of the Civil War he entered the National service as major of the 2d Missouri Volunteers. He took part in the actions at Dug Springs and Wilson's Creek, was made colonel of the 12th Missouri Regiment, commanded a brigade under General John C. Fremont, and took part in the expedition of General Samuel Curtis into Arkansas in pursuit of General Sterling Price, leading a division at Pea Ridge. He was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers on 6 June, 1862, and commanded a division at Helena, Arkansas, with which he participated in the capture of Arkansas Post, and subsequently in the siege of Vicksburg. He was engaged in the operations at Chattanooga and the battle of Mission Ridge as commander of the 1st Division of the l5th Corps, and in the Atlanta Campaign, the march through Georgia, and the campaign of the Carolines he commanded that corps, being promoted major-general on 28 July, 1864. At the surrender of General E. Kirby Smith he acted as chief of staff to General Edward R. S. Canby. He was mustered out on 15 January, 1866, and in the same year went to Lyons, France, as U. S. consul. He now (1888) resides at Mannheim, Germany, where he is director of a manufacturing association. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 603.
OTIS, Elwell Stephen, soldier, born in Frederick City, Maryland, 25 March, 1838. He was graduated at the University of Rochester, New York, in 1858, studied law, was admitted to the bar of New York in 1859, and was subsequently graduated at Cambridge law-school in 1861. He entered the volunteer service of the United States as a captain in the 140th New York Infantry on 18 September, 1862, was promoted lieutenant-colonel of that regiment on 23 December, 1863, and made colonel in 1864, participating in all the principal engagements of the Army of the Potomac after Antietam, in the capacity of captain, field-officer, and brigade commander. In 1864 he commanded the regular brigade in the Army of the Potomac, and was severely wounded in the vicinity of Petersburg, Virginia, in consequence of which he was discharged on 24 January, 1865, and brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 22d Infantry in the regular army in February, 1867, and colonel of the 20th Infantry in February, 1880. From 1867 till 1881 he served on the frontier against the Indians, and then organized the U. S. Infantry and cavalry school in Leavenworth, Kansas, which he conducted until 1885. Since then he has served with his regiment in northwestern Montana, and has also been on duty in Washington, D. C. He is the author of " The Indian Question" (New York, 1878). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 605.
OITS, George Alexander, surgeon, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 12 November, 1830; died in Washington, D.C., 23 February, 1881. He was graduated at Princeton in 1849, and at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1851, continued his surgical studies in London and Paris, and in 1854 began practice in Springfield, Massachusetts. During the Civil War he served as a field surgeon with the 27th Massachusetts Volunteers. In February, 1866, he was appointed assistant surgeon in the U. S. Army, and assigned to duty in the office of the surgeon-general at Washington. He received the brevets of captain, major, and lieutenant-colonel, and was a member of the principal American medical societies and a corresponding member of various European societies. He was advanced to the rank of major on 17 March, 1880. He wrote for medical journals, and published in the form of reports monographs on " Amputation at the Hip-Joint" (Washington, 1867); "Excisions of the Head of the Femur" (1869); "A Plan for transporting Wounded Soldiers by Railway "; and "Transport of Sick and Wounded by Pack Animals "; also a "Report of Surgical Cases treated in the Army of the United States from 1867 to 1871." Dr. Otis was for several years, curator of the Army Medical Museum in Washington, and compiled the surgical part of the " Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion " (Washington, 1870-'9). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 605.
OWEN, Joshua Thomas, soldier, born in Caermarthen, Wales, 29 March, 1821; died in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, 7 November, 1887. He emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1830, settled in Baltimore, Maryland, and was graduated at Jefferson College in 1845. He was admitted to the bar in 1832, and established, with his brother Robert, the Chestnut Hill Academy for boys. He also practised his profession, was in the legislature in 1837-9, and in 1861 enlisted as a private in the 1st City Troop. He was shortly afterward elected colonel of the 24th Pennsylvania Regiment, and, after three months' service, organized and was placed in command of the 69th Pennsylvania. With this regiment he participated in every battle that was fought by the Army of the Potomac from Fair Oaks to Cold Harbor, and he was promoted brigadier-general of volunteers for " gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Glendale" on 29 November, 1862. His appointment expired on 4 March, 1863, but he was appointed again on 30 March. He was mustered out of service in 1864, returned to the practice of law, and in 1866 was elected recorder of deeds of Philadelphia. He founded in 1871 the " New York Daily Register," a law journal, which became the official organ of the New York courts in 1873, and he continued on its editorial staff until his death. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 615.
OWEN, Robert Dale, 1801-1877, author, abolitionist, diplomat, reformer. Member of the American Freedman’s Inquiry Commission and the U.S. War Department, 1863. Democratic Congressman from Indiana. Anti-slavery and women’s rights activist. Strong advocate of wartime emancipation of slaves. Wrote “The Wrong of Slavery, the Right of Emancipation, and the Future of the African Race” (Philadelphia, 1864), of which Secretary Salmon P. Chace wrote that it “had more effect in deciding the president to make the [Emancipation] Proclamation than all other communications combined.”
(Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 165, 397; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 615-616; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 7, Pt. 2, p. 118; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 16, p. 861)
OWEN, Robert Dale, author, born in Glasgow, Scotland, 9 November, 1800; died at his summer residence on Lake George, N.Y., 17 June, 1877, was educated under private tutors at home, and in 1820 was sent to Emanuel von Fellenberg's school at Hofwyl, near Berne, Switzerland, where he remained three years. In 1825 he came to the United States and aided his father in his efforts to found the colony at New Harmony, Indiana On the failure of that experiment he returned to Europe, and there spent some time in study, but returned to this country in 1827 and became a citizen. In November, 1828, he began in New York, with Frances Wright, the publication of “The Free Inquirer,” a weekly paper, devoted to the promulgation of pronounced socialistic ideas and the denial of the supernatural origin of Christianity. This journal was continued until 1832, when he returned to New Harmony. He was elected to the legislature of Indiana in 1835, and sat for three terms, during which, largely owing to his influence, one half of that part of the surplus revenue of the United States that had been appropriated to the state of Indiana was devoted to the support of public schools. He was sent to Congress as a Democrat in 1843, and served twice, but was defeated for a third term. Mr. Owen, in January, 1844, introduced in Congress a joint resolution relative to the occupation of Oregon, which, though it failed at that session, passed during the next, and became the basis of the settlement of the northwestern boundary that was effected in 1846. He also introduced in December, 1845, the bill under which the Smithsonian Institution was organized, and was made chairman of the select committee on that subject, having as a colleague John Quincy Adams, who had made two unsuccessful attempts in former sessions to procure action in the matter. He was afterward appointed one of the regents of the Smithsonian, as well as chairman of its building committee. His speeches in Congress on the Oregon question, the tariff, and the annexation of Texas had a wide circulation. In 1850 he was chosen a member of the convention that assembled to remodel the constitution of Indiana, and was made chairman of its Committee on Rights and Privileges, and then chairman of its Revision Committee. He was a member of the legislature in 1851, was again made chairman of the Committee on Revision, and was the author of a bill that secured to widows and married women independent rights of property. On the enactment of this measure, the women of Indiana presented him with a testimonial “in acknowledgment of his true and noble advocacy of their independent rights.” In 1853 he was appointed chargé d'affaires at Naples, and he was raised to the grade of minister in 1855, remaining as such until 1858, in the meanwhile negotiating two valuable treaties with the Neapolitan government. After his return to the United States he devoted himself to various public interests, and in 1860 he discussed with Horace Greeley, in the columns of the New York “Tribune,” the subject of divorce. This discussion, reprinted in pamphlet-form, had a circulation of 60,000 copies. In 1862 he served on a commission relative to, ordnance and ordnance stores, and audited claims that amounted to $49,500,000, and in 1863 he was chairman of a commission that was appointed by the Secretary of War to examine the condition of the recently emancipated freedmen of the United States. The results of his observations were published as “The Wrong of Slavery, the Right of Emancipation, and the Future of the African Race in the United States” (Philadelphia, 1864). In 1863 he published an address to the citizens of Indiana, showing the disastrous consequence that would follow from the success of the effort of certain politicians to reconstruct the Union with New England left out. The Union League of New York published 50,000 copies of this letter, and the Union League of Philadelphia an additional 25,000. During the Civil War he further wrote and published a letter to the president, one to the Secretary of War, one to the Secretary of the Treasury, and another to the Secretary of State, advocating the policy of emancipation as a measure that was sanctioned alike by the laws of war and by the dictates of humanity. Secretary Chase wrote that his letter to Lincoln “had more effect in deciding the president to make his proclamation than all the other communications combined.” Mr. Owen was a believer in spiritualism, and was one of its foremost advocates in the United States. In 1872 he received the degree of LL.D. from the University of Indiana. He published “Outlines of the System of Education at New Lanark” (Glasgow, 1824); “Moral Physiology” (New York, 1831); “Popular Tracts” (1831); “Discussion with Origen Bachelor on the Personality of God and the Authority of the Bible” (1832); “Pocahontas: A Drama” (1837); “Hints on Public Architecture” (1849); “A Treatise on the Construction of Plank-Roads” (1856); “Footprints on the Boundary of Another World” (Philadelphia, 1859); “Beyond the Breakers” (1870); “Debatable Land Between this World and the Next” (New York, 1872); and “Threading My Way,” an autobiography (1874). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 615-616.
OWEN, Richard, geologist, born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, 6 January, 1810, received his early education in the Lanark Grammar-School, after which he studied at Hofwyl, and then in the Andersonian Institute of Glasgow. In 1828 he came to New Harmony, Indiana, and began to teach, but soon moved to Cincinnati, engaging in business. Subsequently he returned to New Harmony, where he owned a steam flour-mill, and also managed a stock-farm. In 1847 he went to the Mexican War as captain in the 16th U. S. Infantry, and served principally under General Zachary Taylor in charge of provision-trains. At the close of the war he aided his brother, David Dale Owen, in making preparations for the geological survey of Minnesota, and in 1849, under whose direction he explored the north shore of Lake Superior, in 1849 he also became professor of natural sciences in the Western Military Institute of Kentucky, and he continued to hold that chair, after the institute became the University of Nashville, until 1858, in which year he was given the degree of M. D. by Nashville Medical College. He then became assistant state geologist of Indiana, and made a survey of the state. At the beginning of the Civil War he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the l0th Indiana volunteers, and he became, in the autumn of 1861, colonel of the 60th Indiana. Dr. Owen was taken prisoner at Mumfordsville, but was soon exchanged, after which he served under General William T. Sherman, was at the capture of Arkansas Post and Vicksburg, also at the taking of Jackson, Mississippi, and in 1864 was with General Nathaniel P. Banks in the Red River Expedition. In 1864 he accepted the chair of natural sciences in the University of Indiana, where he remained until the close of the session of 1879. Professor Owen's scientific work has been chiefly in the domain of geology. He has contributed largely to the knowledge of that science, especially as relating to Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Arizona, and North Carolina. Since his retirement from collegiate work he has devoted much attention to the subject of meteorology and its connection with terrestrial magnetism, publishing numerous papers on that subject and on seismology. In 1871 he received the degree of LL. D. from Wabash College, and he is an honorary member of the New Orleans and of the St. Louis Academies of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of other scientific organizations. Besides his official geological reports and scientific memoirs, he is the author of a "Key to the Geology of the Globe" (Nashville, 1857). [Son of Richard Dale Owen, 1800-1877]. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 616-617.