Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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OCONTO COUNTY
Wisconsin
FAMILIES and BIOGRAPHIES

 .Daniel O'Keef Family.

Researched and contributed by descendant: Glenda Breslin
 

Generation 1

Daniel O'Keef Sr. born 1816, Toulart, County Meath, Ireland - died Sep 13, 1881, Oconto Wisconsin

 married first Margaret (surname unknown) born 1820, Ireland, died about 1851 in New York State.

            Children of Daniel Sr. And Margaret:

                                    1. Margaret born 1846, New York State (nothing more is known of her)

                                     2. Daniel born November 1847, New York State 

Daniel Sr. married second Ann or Anna Donlevy or Don Levy, born 1826 Swenford, County Mayo, Ireland - died June 22, 1876, Oconto Wisconsin. Her parents were Peter and Bridget Donlevy. She was the widow of William H. Pope who was born in 1827 in Virginia State and died in 1851 in New York State. They had one son, William I. Pope, born in 1848 in New York state,  who moved with her when she married Daniel O'Keef.

William I. Pope served in the Civil War with his step-brother, Daniel O'Keef, Jr. William married Katie McQuinn born 1856 in New York State, on 15 April 1872 in Oconto, Wisconsin. Her parents were William McQuin and Anna McCarthy both born in Ireland. James Donlevy was a witness at the wedding,  perhaps an uncle or cousin on his mother's side. William and Katie had a son, George H. Pope born 1874 in Wisconsin. William worked as a lumber sawyer in Peshtigo, Wisconsin in 1880.

            Children of Daniel Sr. and Anna:

                                    1. James born 1853, New York State (nothing more is known of him)

                                    2.  Mary Anna born July 1854, New York State

                                    3. Morgan (or Michael?)  born 1856, New York State (nothing more is known of him)

                                     4. Eliza born March 1859, New York State

 

Generation 2

Daniel O'Keef Jr. born Nov. 1847, New York State – died 22 May 1905, Oconto, Wisconsin -- married 13 January 1874 at Oconto, Wisconsin to

*Mary Ann Delaney born July 1853 in New Hampshire – died 25 April 1921 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both her parents were born in Ireland. She stated that she gave birth to 5 children and 5 children were alive in 1900.

            Children of Daniel Jr. and Mary A.:

                        1. Loretta E. born 27 December 1875, in Oconto, Wisconsin - Married July 10, 1906, Oconto *William Joseph Sullivan born 1874 at Menominee, Michigan. His parents were David Sullivan born 1828 in Canada and Catherine Fizgerald born 1 May 1840 in Canada.

                        2. Howard George, born 17 March 1877 in Oconto, Wisconsin  – Married 22 June 1904, Oconto to Thersa May Davis, born about 1875 at Oconto.

                        3. Edwin D. born 4 January 1880 in Oconto, Wisconsin.

                        4. John Edward. P., born 3 August 1888 in Oconto County, Wisconsin – died 14 October 1930 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – married on 18 April 1922 at West Allis, Wisconsin

                        5. *Marie Catherine O'Hara, born 14 February 1903 at West Allis, Wisconsin -- died 25 December 1968 at Lajolla, California

                        6. Margaret Mary V. born 12 December 1891 in Oconto, Wisconsin

Mary Anna O'Keef  born July 1854, New York State - Married 23 April 1878 at Oconto, Wisconsin to    
*Joseph LeClair, born 1850 in Canada.  His parents were Joseph LeClair and Sophia Duff both born in Canada. Mary stated that she gave birth to 2 children and 2 children were alive in 1900.

            Children born to Joseph LeClair and Mary Anna:

                       1. Frederick F. LeClair born March 1879 in Wisconsin

                        2. Sylvester LeClair born May 1881 in Wisconsin

Eliza O'Keef born March 1859, New York State. Married in Oconto County, April 5, 1880 to
* John J.  Riley born August 1885 in Canada. His parents were Michael and Mary Reily, both born in Ireland. She stated that she gave birth to 9 children and 7 children were alive in 1900. 

Known children of John J. Riley and Eliza O'Keef:

            1. James W. born January 1882 in Wisconsin

            2. Anne E.  born Jun 1886 in Wisconsin

            3. Mary E.  born December 1887 in Wisconsin

            4. John A. born December 1889 in Wisconsin

            5. Elsie M, born 1891 in Wisconsin

            6. Francis H. born December 1892 in Wisconsin

            7. Rose H. born July 1894 in Wisconsin

            8. Frances E. born March 1898

            9. Unknown  additional child died before 1990.

 

Summary of Daniel O'Keef family 1814 - 1904

Daniel O'Keef arrived in the US just before or early in the Great Potato Famine of Ireland that eventually saw the death of one-third of the population from starvation and disease, and another one-third of the population emigrate to all corners of the globe. Daniel O'Keef was born in Toulart, County Meath, Ireland in 1816.  He left Ireland for New York by way of Liverpool, England arriving on 20 April 1841 on the ship Sheridan. Daniel married Margaret _________ about 1845, and they had two children: Margaret, born 1846 and  Daniel born 1849, all born in Ireland according to the US Federal 1850 Census for New York.  (Other censuses and records list the children's places of birth as New York and Daniel being born in 1847.)

They lived on Long Island in the 6th ward, which is where most of the Irish immigrants lived when they first came to the United States. Most likely Margaret and Daniel were married in New York.  They attended St. Andrews Catholic Church in Manhattan, New York. Margaret died about 1851.

Daniel next married Ann or Anna (Donlevy) Pope, a widow, in about 1852. She became widowed about the same time as Daniel lost his wife. She had emigrated in 1841. She attended the same church. She had a son, William Pope, the same age as Daniel Jr.

Daniel and Anna moved to Glen Cove, in the town of Oyster Bay about 20 miles away, where Daniel worked as a farm laborer. In 1860 they had added the following children:

                        1. James                        born 1853

                        2. Mary Anna                  born July 1854

                        3. Morgan  Michael         born 1856

                        4. Eliza J.                        born Mar 1859

                        5. & 6. Margaret, age 15 and Daniel, age 13, who was attending school were listed along with William Pope [Anna's son], age 12, attending school. In addition there were two other children in their household:

                        7. Thomas Gallagher    age 11

                        8. Sarah Gallagher        age 14. 

Unfortunately, the 1860 census does not give relationships. Attempts so far have not divulged who these children were in relation to the O'Keef family.  That must have been quite a household for Daniel and Anna to care for.

By 1860 there was much talk about things being better "out west." There were both Donlevy and O'Keef families in Oconto by 1860. Undoubtedly some were related and encouraged Daniel and Anna to move there.  

In preparation for his trip out west, Daniel opened a savings account in 1861 at the New York Emigration Savings Bank and listed his place of birth and ship he arrive on and the date. He stated he had six children. His wife, Anna was added in 1863, listing her place of birth and date of immigration. She stated she had four children. (Perhaps her son, William Pope, was away at that time.) They saved for several years to get the money together to make the move.

It was relatively easy to travel the inland waterway.  Daniel and his family left for Oconto after 4 May in 1863, when Daniel added his wife's name to his savings account. (Daniel Jr. and William I. Pope, his step-brother, enlisted in 1864, so they were in Oconto by then.)  The O'Keef household undoubtedly travelled by steamboat up the Hudson River to Troy.  Then through the Erie Canal past Rome, Syracuse and Rochester and entered Lake Erie at Buffalo.  From Buffalo they continued traveling by water through Lake Erie to Detroit and by the Detroit River to Lake Huron. Then through Lake Huron and into Lake Michigan.  Oconto City, as it was then called, was located on Green Bay a few miles inland.

Oconto City was a bustling lumber town of about 3,000 people.  There were several active lumber mills and a flour mill on the Oconto River, which runs through the town.  Daniel was able to find work immediately as a laborer in the logging community and worked until he died in 1881.  The family settled in the west part of town where a lot of French-Canadians lived in what was referred to as "Frenchtown." There was a Catholic church for the French speaking people in that part of town, St. Peter’s. However, the O'Keef family helped build a new Catholic Church across town, St. Joseph’s, which was attended mainly by German and Irish parishioners. The O'Keefs would hitch their wagon and drive clear across town to go to church. Sometimes there were German priests and occasionally there were Irish priests.  Most of Daniel's children were married by a German priest, Father M. Schwebach. Daniel (probably Jr) was active in the church men's Debate Team and financial secretary.

Soon after their arrival in Michigan, Daniel (Jr) and William Pope volunteered for "The Army of the North" at Oconto in May of 1864 in Michigan Company H, the 39th Regiment. They served 100 days and were released, getting no pay for their last pay period as the state was out of money. They both received honorable discharges. Daniel had suffered "gun stroke" on his head (being hit by an enemy's rifle) which gave him frequent painful headaches the rest of his life and resulted in loss of hearing in that ear. In 1895 Daniel Jr. was among the many participants honored in the 30 year anniversary of the US Civil War. There were grand celebrations in many parts of the nation, as veterans were held as heroes for their service during the long and costly war.

Daniel Sr was active in his church and community as long as he was physically able. Ann, his beloved wife, died 22 June 1876 in Oconto caused by paralysis of bowels from heavy lifting. Daniel died 13 September 1881 of paralysis.  His death notice, found in the Oconto County Recorder September 17, 1881, reads:

 "DIED.—Daniel O'Keef, father of our respected townsman, Daniel O'Keef Jr., departed this life Tuesday morning after having been a great but patient sufferer for upwards of twelve years, most of the time, being confined to his bed... Before disease had laid its heavy hand upon him, he was a man of quick and reliable judgment and generous impulses.  He was sixty seven years of age at the time of his death, but looked more aged, on account of the terrible disease that had held him in its vice like grip for so long a period of time.  His funeral took place Thursday, the services being held at St. Joseph church of which the departed was a communicant and his remains were followed to their last resting place by many of his old friends and neighbors.

Daniel (Jr), learned the shoemaking trade, from James Donlevy (Sr), probably his mother's relative. The shoemaking trade was considered a skilled occupation and required several years of instruction and work. (There are several court cases involving the Mr. Donlevy and Daniel O'Keef (Jr) together as plaintiffs or defendants in business affairs of their shoe store).  Daniel made his living from the trade and was a well-respected member of the business community.

 Daniel (Jr) married Mary Ann Delaney 13 January 1874 at St. Josephs in Oconto. By 1880 Daniel Jr. and Mary (sometimes listed in records as Marie) had three children. Loretta was age 4, Howard, known as George, was age 3 and Edwin was less than a year old. In that year, a massive flooding of the Oconto River forced the family to evacuate their home on June 19. All made it to safety.

At this time we don’t know if Daniel Sr.'s oldest daughter, Margaret, stayed in New York or went to Wisconsin with the rest of the family. James and Morgan Michael both came to Oconto but nothing more has been found about them.


Daniel O'Keef Jr and Mary Ann had the following children, all born in Oconto:

            1. Lauretta E.                 born 27 December 1875

            2. Howard George        born 17 March 1877

            3. Edwin D.                    born 4 January 1889 (No further information known)

            4. John Edward P.         born 3 August 1888

            5. Margaret Mary V.      born 12 December 1891

 

Mary Ann O'Keef married Joseph LeClair on the 23 April 1878. Joseph LeClair was a woodsman and had died by 1900 leaving Mary Ann a widow. In 1900 she lived next door to her sister, listed in the census as Eliza Reilly. Both sons were still at home.

Mary Ann and Joseph LeClair had the following children, believed to all be born in Oconto:

            1. Frederick F.               born March 1879

            2. Sylvester                    born May 1881

 

Eliza J. married John J. Riely on 5 April 1880  at St. Josephs in Oconto. John J. Reily was employed as a day laborer when they were married 5 April 1880 in Oconto. Eliza J. and John J. Riely had the following children believed to all be born in Oconto:

            1. James W.                   born January 1882

            2. Anne E.                      born June 1886

            3. Mary E.                       born December 1887

            4. John A.                       born December 1889

            5. Elsie M.                      Born 1892

            6. Francis H.                  born December 1892          

            7. Rose H.                      born July 1894          

            8. Frances E.                 born March 1898

 

In 1900, John was a saloon keeper in Oconto. By 1930, Eliza was a widow in Madison, Wisconsin residing with children Elsie M., age 38, Frances H., age 36, Rose H., age 34 and Edwin W. Bard or Bon, a grandson, age 15.

Lauretta E. O'Keef  and William Joseph Sullivan, born 1874 in Menominee, Michigan, son of David Sullivan and Catherine Fitzgerald, were married 10 July 1906 in Oconto. William was a printer at the newspaper in Oconto in 1910.  No further information has been found about them.

Howard George O'Keef married Theresa may Davis, daughter of Edward Davis and Jane Payne, born 1875 in Oconto, were married 22 Jun 1904.  No further information has been found about them. 

John Edward P. O'Keef and Marie Catherine O'Hara, born 14 February 1903 at West Allis, Wisconsin, the daughter of Richard J. O'Hara and Sarah O'Neil, was married 18 April 1922 at West Allis, Wisconsin. They had two children.

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