Among those who have given Greene county its enviable reputation for possessing men of high character, large brain, and sterling worth and ability, is Mr. John O’Day, one of the leading members of the Greene county bar. Mr. O’Day was born in the city of Limerick, Ireland, November 18, 1843. He was brought in infancy with his father’s family to America, his parents settling at first in the State of New York. When he was about 12 years of age the family removed to Juneau county, Wisconsin, where John was educated in the common schools and at an academy. Arriving at the years of maturity, and developing remarkable talent for that profession, he engaged in the study of law, under Judge Windsor, of Maustin, Wisconsin. In 1862 he attended the law school at Albany, N. Y., and in May, 1864, he was admitted to the bar at Now Lisbon, Wisconsin, before Hon. Geo. W. Cate, afterward a prominent member of Congress. Leaving Wisconsin in September, 1865 Mr. O’Day settled in Springfield, February 14 following, and has here since remained, engaged in the active practice of his profession, in which he has been extraordinarily successful. For years he was one of the leading criminal lawyers in the Southwest, and now is regarded as standing in the front rank of the corporation attorneys of the country. Since the year 1870 he has been in the employ of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company, and for five years past has been the general attorney of that great corporation, as well as of two other important western railroads, the St. Louis, Wichita and Western, and the Joplin and Girard railroad. A considerable portion of Mr. O’Day’s, time and attention has been given to politics. An active, earnest, zealous Democrat, he has performed valuable service for his party in Missouri. In 1874 he became a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, and four years later he was chosen its chairman, serving from 1878 to 1880. In 1882 he was again selected as chairman and served as commander-in-chief of the Democratic hosts that won such a sweeping victory that year. Under Mr. O’Day’s management, and mainly owing to his personal efforts, every congressional district in the State was carried by the Democracy, four Republicans and Greenbackers retiring to have their seats filled by Democrats. Though an active worker in politics Mr. O’Day has always refused to become a candidate for any office, receiving his sole reward in the gratification of seeing his party’s triumphs and its principles vindicated. May 16, 1865 Mr. O’Day was married to Miss Jennie Campbell, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a native of Painesville, Ohio. They are the parents of two promising sons, Alexander and John, Jr. Mr. O’Day in religion is a Catholic; Mrs. O’Day is a communicant of the Episcopalian church. It is quite too early to write a proper sketch of Mr. O’Day, whose future is yet so largely before him and so fall of promise, and this apology is given for the imperfection of what is here set down.
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