Matthew T. O’Brien, president of the village of Phelps, New York, and prominently identified with all the important measures for the improvement of that section of the country, traces his ancestry to Ireland, and has been richly endowed with many of the admirable traits of the Irish.
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Terrence O’Brien, the father of Matthew T. O’Brien, was born in county Clare, Ireland, and was a very young lad when he came to this country with his parents. For a number of years he was employed on the railroad, and by his thrift and industry acquired a sufficient capital to enable him to purchase a farm in the town of Phelps, New York, where he resided until his death in 1903. He adopted progressive methods in the cultivation of his farm and left it in a very flourishing and prosperous condition. He married Johanna McMahon. Children Matthew T., see forward; Daniel, deceased; Nellie, married Abraham C. Cappon; Michael, deceased; Mary; Joseph, married Anna Hogan.
Matthew T., son of Terrence and Johanna (McMahon) O’Brien, was born at Clifton Springs, Ontario county, New York, February 1, 1859, and was but a few years of age when his parents removed to Phelps, New York, where he was educated in the public schools, studying there in the winter months, and working on the homestead farm during the summer. In 1881 he commenced to work for Dr. Thompson, remaining with him for a period of three years, when he accepted a position in the Phelps Hotel. He had always taken an active interest in athletic sports, especially the game of baseball, and for some time was engaged as one of the professional ball players of western New York. In the spring of 1888 he opened a small restaurant in Phelps, in association with John F. Dooley. the firm name being O’Brien & Dooley. He sold out his interest in this paying enterprise in 1898 in order to assume the management and ownership of the Phelps Hotel, of which he has made a decided success. He was one of the organizers of the Crothers Hose Company, which name was subsequently changed to that of the Redfield Hook and Ladder Company; was chief of the fire department and is now (1910) an exempt fireman. He is a life member of C. O. S. Y. S., filling the office of president in that organization. In political belief he is a staunch Democrat. His interest in the public affairs of the community has been active and beneficial, and he is at the present time (1911) president of the village of Phelps, an office which was forced upon him, and in which he has served for three years, consecutively.
Mr. O’Brien married, 1897, Mary, daughter of James Loney. Phelps. Children : Ruth, Paul, Katherine and Elizabeth.