Sunday, April 28, 2013

Black Sheep Sunday / Daniel O'Hora

     Daniel O’Hora, son of James O’Hora and his wife Maria McGarr, was born at his parent’s farm in Owasco, New York the first day of August in 1865.  When Daniel was 2 years old the family purchased a farm in the hamlet of Littleville, just outside Shortsville village in the Town of Manchester, New York.  I have very little information on Daniel until he reaches the age of 23 when he and a few other young men from the area decide it would be a good idea to travel to Washington Territory at the urging of a Mr. White. 

     No doubt James and Maria were at the Shortsville train station to bid farewell to their prodigal, but within a few months Daniel was back in town.  He and the others didn’t care for Washington, in fact in April of 1888 this article ran in the Shortsville paper:        
     Richard Wheatly one of the number who left Shortsville some few weeks since for Washington Territory arrived home Monday evening.  He had seen Mr. White and intimates that O’Hora was anxious to “pulverize” White, and had he not been talked out of it, would have thoroughly demoralized our western friend.”

     Daniel apparently did not pulverize Mr. White, and returned to the farm in Littleville where 6 years later he was arrested for selling liquor without a license on Christmas day of 1894.  In fact, had he wanted to he would have been unable to obtain a license; Manchester was a temperance town, or no-license town; nobody was permitted to sell liquor within its boundaries. The newspaper also makes mention of Daniel being “the proprietor of the notorious Vinegar Inn” it would seem Daniel was operating a shebeen.  In February he pled guilty to the charges, paid a $50 fine and left for Pennsylvania.  Until around 1920 he came and went from the family farm regularly, living besides Pennsylvania in Rochester, New York City and Savannah, New York.

     Pennsylvania seems to be where he met the woman who would become his common law wife.  Hattie Taylor Sabin, a divorcee, was in and out of Daniel’s life until she passed away in 1937.  Though in many censuses they were living apart they always seemed to come back together, and they were together at the time of Hattie's death.  Daniel outlived her by 14 years; this is his obituary that appeared in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, note O'Hora has now become O'Hara:
     Shortsville- Daniel O'Hara, 85, lifelong resident of Littleville, died Wednesday (Jan. 31, 1951) at the Thompson Memorial Hospital, Canandaigua. He was born August 1, 1865, the son of James and Maria McGarr O'Hara.  He was a farmer in this area for many years, and for five years, 1914 to 1919, was a foreman at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  He also was employed on the New York Central Railroad.  He retired in 1937.  Since 1940 he had made his home with a nephew, James Fitzpatrick of Littleville.   He is survived by several nieces and nephews.   Funeral services will be held at the McLoughlin Funeral Home in Manchester tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and at 9 a.m. at St. Dominic's Church, Shortsville.  The Rev. Emmett Doherty of St. Felix Church, Clifton Springs, will officiate.  Burial will be in St. Rose Cemetery, Shortsville.

    Daniel died of bronchial pneumonia just 36 hours after being admitted to the hospital.   I called St. Rose’s cemetery once and they have no record of his burial there, and there is no stone for him, so I’m not sure where Daniel was laid to rest though I think they may have simply mislaid his records; his death certificate agrees he is at St. Rose’s.  No one in the family can help with this mystery because when my grandmother died, the last person who knew him was gone.  Not that I think she attended her uncle’s  burial, my father and his brother grew up in the same town where their Great Uncle Daniel spent his last 10 years and never even knew of his existence.  Daniel was apparently disowned and ignored by most of the family; I’m betting there is a lot more to this story.

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