John O'Kane was successfully engaged in farming in this county and also conducted a livery business in Ashland
for a time but he was living at Wahoo when he passed away. A naive of Illinois, he was born in Lee county, near
Sterling, and was a son of John and Nancy O'Kane, farming people of that state. When about six years of age he
went to live with an uncle and attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education. As soon as he was
old enough he began his independent career and about 1870, in company with P. J. Hall, drove to Nebraska, having
heard much concerning the opportunities offered to a young man of energy and ambition in this state. When he arrived
in Saunders county he had only seventy five cents but he succeeded in taking up a homestead claim and in due time
received a deed to the land from the United States government. He thus acquired title to eighty acres and later
bought an adjoining eighty acres, on which his widow still lives. He purchased another eighty acre tract and a
tract of forty acres, both of which are still in possession of the family. About 1873 or 1874 he purchased a livery
barn in Ashland, which he conducted for a time. Following his marriage, which occurred in 1878, he returned to
the farm and devoted a number of years to agricultural pursuits. In the spring of 1885 he removed to Wahoo and
there his death occurred in 1889.
Mr. O'Kane was married November 18, 1878, to Miss TheIona Danley, a daughter of James and Anna Danley. Mr. and
Mrs. O'Kane became the parents of the following children: Burdette, John Oakley and Jessie Lee, all of whom died
of diphtheria in 1885; Leta Maude, who was born in Wahoo and is also deceased; and Lena Alberta, who is residing
with her mother. She attended the common schools of Ithaca and the high school at Valentint, Nebraska, and subsequently
Bellevue College at Bellevue, Nebraska, from which she was graduated in 1909. She began teaching but was compelled
to give up that work on account of ill health.
Mr. O'Kane was a democrat and stanchly supported the measures and candidates of that party at the polls. His religious
faith was that of the Methodist Episcopal church, which his wife and daughter now attend. Mrs. O'Kane was confirmed,
however, in the Episcopal church, to which the daughter also belongs, but as there is no church of that denomination
in their locality they now attend the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. O'Kane gained not only a gratifying measure
of prosperity but also contributed to the agricultural development of the county, and he was held in high esteem
by all who were brought in contact with him. Following his demise in 1889, Mrs. O'Kane removed to Ashland and made
her home with her father and mother until 1895, when she removed to a farm near Ithaca, where she has since remained.
Her parents accompanied her to the farm and there her father passed away in 1901, but her mother is still living.
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Saunders County, NE
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