"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


O'Melia, Albert J. one of the leading members of the Oneida County Bar, and a public spirited citizen of Rhinelander whose patriotic work during the period that this country was engaged in the World War, and other useful activities, have made him especially noticeable, was born in Chase, Mich., son of James and Anna (CLARK) O'MELIA. His paternal grandparents, Patrick and Sarah (JOYCE) O'Melia, were natives of Ireland who emigrated to Canada in 1840, settling in the Province of Quebec, where they engaged in farming, and where they died in the early 90's. James O'MELIA, father of the subject of this sketch, after acquiring a common school education in Canada, became connected with the lumber industry, beginning as a teamster. In 1876 he left the Dominion, going to Reed City, Mich., and after working for others for several years as logger and riverman, rising to the position of forman, he began taking logging contracts. In 1881 he moved with his family to Chase, Mich., where for eight years he was in the employ of the F. B. Bouten Lumber Co.; and then in the spring of 1889 he moved to Oneida County, Wisconsin. His further history may be found in his own biography, which appears in this volume, it being only necessary to say here that after being actively connected with the lumber industry for a number of years in this county and the vicinity, and after being two years retired, he was appointed in January, 1915, as superintendent of the Oneida County Poor Farm, which position he is still holding, having made an excellent record as a public official. His wife Anna died in 1920. One of their two sons, James H., is now president of the J. H. O'Melia Lumber Co., of Rhinelander, and vice president of the Oneida National Bank, of the same place. The two daughters, Margaret and Anna, are both married; Margaret to A. J. KETH, of Rhinelander, and Anna to William J. SULLIVAN, of Minneapolis. The family is one that stands high in the county for useful activity and honorable achievement and the name of O'Melia deserves perpetuation in local annals. Albert J. O'MELIA was but three months old when he accompanied his parents in the spring of 1889 to what is now Hazelhurst, Oneida County. There, when old enough, he attended the common schools, afterwards becoming a pupil in the Rhinelander High School, from which he was graduated with the class of 1907. He was subsequently a student for one term in the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and then took the law course at Marquette University, Milwaukee, being graduated from that department in 1911. Then, in the summer of that year, he opened a law office in Rhinelander. It took him so short a time to impress the people of the country with a sense of ability that in the following year, 1912, he was elected district attorney, in which position he served efficiently for ten years, having been several times re-elected. At the end of that time he resumed general practice. During the participation of the United States in the World War he took a particularly active part in patriotic service, being county fuel director, director, secretary and treasurer for the Council of Defense, chairman of the Red Cross Society, and county manager of the War Saving Stamps department, these multifarious occupations keeping him pretty busy. He has also taken an active part in movements or organizations for the betterment of the county and state, being now secretary and treasurer of the Wisconsin Development Association, and having formerly for several years been an officer and director of the Rhinelander Advancement Association. He was the third president of the Rhinelander Rotary Club and his aid and influence have never been sought in vain on behalf of any practical movement designed to enhance the moral or material welfare of the community in which he lives. He is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Congregation; also of the local lodge of Elks, and that of the Knights of Columbus, in the last mentioned order being district deputy for the Fourth Wisconsin District. Mr. O'MELIA was married Nov. 7, 1914 in Rhinelander, Wis., to Eva HILDEBRAND, daughter of F. A. and Marion (MCCABE) HILDEBRAND, and he and his wife are the parents of four children, namely: John, born Dec. 10, 1915; Richard and Donald (twins), born May 25, 1917; and Ruth M., born Jan. 16, 1919. Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 276-277 (with picture), History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.

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