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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Edwin Francis O’Leary

The name above given is one well and favorably known in Sebastopol, not only in business circles as proprietor of the principal undertaking parlors in the city, but also as an efficient public official, having been almost continuously in office since he took up his residence here in 1886.

A native son of the state, born in Haywards, Alameda county, June 15, 1861, Edwin F. O’Leary is a son of Thomas and Bridget (Quigley) O’Leary, the former of whom came to New York state to California in the early ‘50s via Panama. While the finding of gold in the state was the direct cause of his coming hither, it was not his purpose to engage in mining himself , but rather to interest himself in some allied business, from which he could expect a fair profit without the uncertainty and fluctuation that invariably attaches to mining. His expectations in this respect were realized in the maintenance of a butcher business at Marysville, Yuba county, for some time, after which he went to Alameda county, where in the vicinity of Haywards he carried on a ranch for many years. From there he came to Sonoma county in 1865, making his home at Petaluma for two years, from there going to Valley Ford, and finally coming to Sebastopol in 1869. Near town he purchased a ranch of two hundred acres, a part of which was cleared for cultivation, and the remainder in timber. Here he made his home and carried on his ranch until his death, which occurred about 1900.

Edwin F. O’Leary continued with his parents on the old homestead until the ranch was sold, when, in 1886, he located in Sebastopol. Here he learned the undertaking business, and in August, 1901, he opened parlors and has since followed his profession as an undertaker and embalmer, being located on Bodega avenue. His election as the first marshal of the town on its incorporation marked the beginning of his career as an office-holder, and was continued by his re-election to the same office at the close of his first term. Later he was appointed a member of the board of town trustees, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of A. H. Laton. In this position, too, the satisfaction given during his first term of service led to his re-election, his second term beginning in 1908. During three years of his service in this capacity he served as president of the board. In September, 1910, he resigned as trustee. In addition to his other duties he is rendering faithful service as a school trustee of Sebastopol, a position in which he has been continued through re-election, and for five years he has been clerk of the board.

On May 11, 1892, Mr. O’Leary was united in marriage with Miss Mary F. Hamilton, a native of Iowa, and two sons, Archie and Owen, have been born to them. Politically Mr. O’Leary is a Republican, and fraternally and socially he is identified with the Odd Fellows, Independent Order of Foresters, Native Sons of the Golden West, Rodmen and the U. P. E. C.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011