John O'Connor was born in the year of 1847 near Cahermoyne in Co.Limerick. He was baptised on the 16 May 1847 in St. Molua's Church, in the village of Ardagh, by his parents Thomas O’Connor and Maria Colman. 

His father Thomas O’Connor was a successful farmer of the land, who's is recorded in the 1848 Griffith Valuation as having a large house and over 130 acres of land in the townland of Kilscannell.

On March 5th 1867, as part of the ill-fated Rising, John O’Connor at a young age of 20 years, participated as part of a medium sized group of Limerick Fenians involved in an attack on the Ardagh Police barracks.As many as 70 people were involved in one way or another in the attack on the RIC Barracks in Ardagh in March, 1867, which coincided with other Military Manoeuvres in Kilmallock, Kilteely, Cork, Dublin and Canada, but the best local estimate for the actual sortie itself is about 40 men, armed with muskets, guns and locally made pikes.

Reports on the night state that the group were assembled at a prearranged location and were directed to a place called Massy's Grove, where an officer named Captain John Murray, assembled them into line, shotguns in front, pikemen behind, and outlined his plans for the attack.  They then marched to the barracks, the time being close to midnight.

Earlier that day a "tipsy" man had told one of the local constables of the planned attack, and so the Sergeant just armed his men, bolted the only door, and shuttered the barred windows.

A sledge hammer and a ladder were used with a cartwheel as a battering ram to break in the door when the police refused to surrender. On rushing in the police opened fire and a local man Stephen Ambrose was wounded in the arm, this caused the attack to falter some, and though Ambrose urged them to press the attack, the majority felt they could not succeed and eventually dispersed, still firing at the barracks. The next morning, several pikes, a scythe and a pitch fork were found by the police outside the barracks.

Many of the men went home, however over the duration of days and weeks there were 24 individual’s from the locality arrested and charged, but amongst those who took part in the attack there was also group who succeeded in avoiding arrest, and John Connors of Kilscannell was luckily enough to be one among this group, he went into to hiding west of Ardagh and eventually made it to America, unfortunately never to return to the Island of Ireland.

When John emigrated to the USA he travelled soon after to Chicago, Illinois, where he was successful in gaining employment and within a few years got married to Mary Murphy, and as a couple they went on to have a family of four children between the years of 1872 and 1880.

In 1880 the US Census was taken in the City of Chicago, and John O’Connor can be seen employed as a City Policeman (age 33), alongside his wife Mary, and his children Daniel (1872), John (1876), Mary (1877) and Frank (1880)

John O’Connor died on December 10, 1892, in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 45.

His obituary was displayed in the Chicago Irish Families on the 12/10/1892, and it reads:

Officer O'Connor

O'Connor, Officer John, of the Chicago Police, died at his residence, 461 W. Taylor St, Chicago. He was born near Cahermoyle, Co. Limerick 42 yrs ago and came to the U.S after the Fenian uprising of 1867 in which he bravely participated, distinguishing himself in a bold attack on Ardagh Constabulary barracks


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Shared on Irelandxo by: Seamus Callaghan

St Kieran's Heritage Association.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 16th May 1847 (circa) VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 28th Nov 1892
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Thomas O’Connor
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Maria Colman
Townland born Townland of Cahermoyle in the Parish of Rathronan, Co. Limerick VIEW SOURCE
Townland born Townland of Kilscannell in the Parish of Kilscannell, Co. Limerick VIEW SOURCE
New Type 1849 Griffith Valuation - Thomas Connors Plots# 5A & 5Ba Land 6, 7, 8 in Kilscannell (Near Cahermoyne) VIEW SOURCE
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Mary Murphy (1855-1925) from Chicago IL VIEW SOURCE
New Type : Marys Murphy's Parents: Daniel P.Murphy (1825-1893) and Anne Dunne (1835-1901)
Names of Children John and Mary O’Connor, had 4 Children: Daniel (1872), John (1876), Mary (1877) and Frank (1880) in Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Police Officer
Place of Death 1892 - Chicago, Illinois, USA
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