Biography of J. Don O'Connor
Cambria County, PA Biographies

J. Don O'Connor, a well known attorney with offices at 9 Woolf Building, Johnstown, Pa., is recognized as one of the representative members of the bar of Cambria County. He was born Jam 24, 1893, at Johnstown, and is the son of James B. and Annie (Brady) O'Connor.

James B. O'Connor was born March 16, 1858, at the O'Connor farm at Forwardstown. He was a son of the late James and Elizabeth (Croyle) O'Connor. There were seven children in the O'Connor family, as follows: James B., John A., Margaret, Prof. P., Philip, Bertha, and Francis J., mention of whom is made below.

Francis J. O'Connor was born in Somerset County, Pa., Aug. 11, 1860. He spent his boyhood days on the farm and obtained his early education in the common and private schools. He began teaching school when quite young, teaching seven terms in the public schools and five in the normal school of his county. He then entered the law department of the University of Michigan, from which he was graduated in 1884, and that year admitted to the Circuit and Supreme Courts of Somerset County. He removed to Johnstown in 1886, where he practiced his profession for several years in partnership with his brother, James B. O'Connor. In 1889 he was elected district attorney for Cambria County, and in 1894 became city solicitor for Johnstown for two years. In 1901 he was elected president judge of his district for ten years. He died in 1920.

James B. O'Connor attended the public schools of Jenner Township, Somerset County, the normal schools, which was supplemented by instruction from private tutors. He taught school at the "Old Grubtown School." In 1881 he entered the law department of the University of Michigan, from which he was graduated in the class of 1883, and in that year was admitted to the bar of Somerset County. In the spring of 1885 Mr. O'Connor established offices with his brother, Judge F. J. O'Connor, at Somerset, where they continued the practice of law until the fall of 1886, when they removed their offices to Johnstown. In July, 1887, James O'Connor was admitted to the Cambria County bar. He continued in partnership with his brother until 1890, when he became associated with Attorney R. E. Cresswell, later locating with Herman Baumer in the Woolf Building.

On Sept. 23, 1890, James B. O'Connor was united in marriage with Miss Annie Brady, and to this union were born six children, as follows: J. Don, the subject of this sketch; Mary, Ruth, Clare, Margaret, and Francis. Mr. O'Connor died Sept. 8, 1911, and is buried in St. John's Cemetery, Geistown. His widow resides in Johnstown.

J. Don O'Connor received his early education in the public and high schools in Johnstown. In 1912 he entered the University of Michigan, where he received his A. B. degree in 1916. He pursued his legal studies at the university for one year, leaving same to enlist in the World war. He was sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, where he was appointed second lieutenant in the infantry. Later he was transferred to the Ninth Division at Camp Sheridan, Alabama. On Sept. 1, 1918, he was promoted to first lieutenant and made battalion adjutant. He was discharged from service Dec. 4, 1918. In February, 1918, Mr. O'Connor returned to the University of Michigan, where he remained until September. In the fall of 1919 he entered Georgetown University, where he received his degree of Bachelor of Law in 1920. He was admitted to the state and county bar in 1921.

In politics Mr. O'Connor is a Democrat. He is a member of St. John's Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, La Societe des 40 Hommes et 8 Chevaux, past president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and the Delta Theta Phi.

Mr. O'Connor is a member of the Cambria County Bar Association, a bar at which his father and uncle had made the name respected and honored.

History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania
By: John E. Gable
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis, 1926

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