History of the Upper Ohio Valley,
Col. Thomas O'Brien, of Wheeling, a gentleman actively and creditably associated with the real estate and financial interests of the city, was born in county Cavin, Ireland, in 1830. He came to the United States in 1851 and almost directly to Wheeling, where he found employment in various humble and laborious capacities for a considerable period. Finally he obtained a position in the service of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad company as laborer and clerk, and was so occupied when the war of the rebellion broke out. In that emergency he displayed true patriotism and assisted in raising the first company of Virginia volunteers for the Union army, whose services were tendered to the federal government for the defense of the national capital. Of this company he was made second lieutenant, and after a service of four months was, honorably discharged. He was then given a clerkship in the Wheeling postoffice, a position he held for three years, or until discharged for voting for General McClellan in 1864. He next embarked in the real estate business and stock brokerage, in which he has since been engaged. During Johnson's administration Col. O'Brien was appointed surveyor of the port of Wheeling, a position he held during that administration. He was appointed to Gov. Jacob's staff with the rank of colonel, and occupied that position for six years. In 1880 he was nominated by the democratic party for the office of treasurer of West Virginia and elected, and his responsible position was honorably filled by him until March 4, 1885. He has also held the office of councilman of the city from the Fourth an Third wards. Col. O'Brien embarked in the banking business fifteen or sixteen years ago as a director of the People's bank, and for some time was its vice-president, and upon the resignation of Mr. Peed, now deceased, Col. O'Brien was elected president of that well-known institution, a position he still holds. He is also connected with the Belmont Nail company as stockholder and director, and is in the same capacity with the Natural Gas company of West Virginia; is president of two building and loan associations, and was one of the founders and first directors of the West Virginia China company, and is now vice-president of the chamber of commerce. Col. O'Brien was married in 1853 to Kate Gillespie, a native of Scotland, and they have had born to them fourteen children, of whom eleven are living.
Vol. I, pages 391-392.
Brant & Fuller, 1890.
History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and
COL. THOMAS O'BRIEN, one of the most progressive business men of the city of Wheeling, West Virgina, whose portrait is herewith shown, is president of the People's Bank of Wheeling, and is closely identified with many important industries of this section of the state. He was born in County Cavan, Ireland, in 1830. Colonel O'Brien came to American in 1851, and located in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he engaged in various humble and laborious capacities. He finally obtained a position as laborer and clerk for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, which he held until the Civil War broke out. He displayed his patriotism by assisting to raise the first company of Virginia volunteers for the Union army, and its services were tendered to the federal government for the defense of the national capitol. He was made second lieutenant and after four months' service was honorably discharged. Colonel O'Brien was given a clerkship in the postoffice at Wheeling and held that position until he voted for General McClellen, in 1864. He next engaged in the real estate and stock brokerage business, in which he has since continued. He was appointed surveyor of the port of Wheeling during Johnson's administration, and was later appointed colonel on Gov. John J. Jacob's staff, which position he occupied acceptably and well for a period of six years. He was nominated and elected by the Democratic party as treasurer of West Virginia in 1880, which responsible office he filled with credit to himself and his constituents until March 4, 1885. Colonel O'Brien is a councilman for the third and fourth wards of Wheeling, and takes deep interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the city. He has been a director of the People's Bank of Wheeling since 1874, and served as vice-president until the resignation of Mr. Reed, deceased, as president, when he was elevated to that position. Colonel O'Brien was a stockholder and director of the Belmont Nail Company and of the Natural Gas Company of West Virginia, and was also president of two building and loan associations. He was one of the founders and original directors of the West Virginia China Company. He is a member of the board of trade. Colonel O'Brien was united in marriage, in 1853, with Kate Gillespie, of Scotland, and of the 14 children born to them, eight are now living.
Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902; pages 357-358.