Brief Biographies from the Jackson/Van Buren Era (O):

O'Connell, Daniel 1775 - 1847:

Irish nationalist leader called "The Liberator". Known in America partly for his harsh criticism of slavery, and unsuccessful calls for Irish-Americans to support the cause of the slaves. The Irish-Americans, anxious to be assimilated and to carve out for themselves a separate place from that of the blacks with whom they were at first often thrown together, actually became one of the most racist elements in the U.S. in the antebellum period.

He led the movement to repeal the Act of Union of 1800, which merged British and Irish parliaments.

Source: Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White.

Offut, Denton ? - ?:

Hired Abraham Lincoln in Spring 1831 to build a flatboat, (with others, including John D. Johnston) and pilot it, with a load of goods, down to New Orleans; later, bragging to all who would listen about Lincoln, he set him up to work his store, and the mill he later acquired. A boastful dreamer and entrepreneur, he disappeared around the end of 1831. (Source: Beveridge, Lincoln, vol. 1, p105-114)


A chief of western Cherokees, whose people were on Hiwasee Island in eastern Tennessee. He welcomed Sam Houston when he ran away at age 16 and adopted him, in effect, if not actually. By 1829 his people had moved to the west, beyond the confluence of the Illinois River (of modern day Oklahoma) and the Arkansas River. In that year, Houston again went to live with Ooleteka and his people, and became a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and ambassador from the Cherokees to Washington. He was very prosperous and, according to Return J. Meigs (not certain which Return J. Meigs), in Tennessee, kept one of the "best houses in the South" (Source: Da Bruhl, Sword of San Jacinto, p109).

Otis, Harrison Gray 1765 - 1848:

Served in both houses of Congress; H. of R. from 1797-1801, and Senate from 1817-22; Delegate to the "infamous" Hartford Convention, Mayor of Boston 1829-32.

Nephew of James Otis.

Otis, James 1725 - 1783:

Revolutionary leader; lawyer from about 1750, in Boston. In MA legislature from 1761; published The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, in 1765. Helped lead the MA legislature from 1766-1769. Went to seed after the revolution. Died being struck by lightning while standing in a doorway.

Uncle of Harrison Gray Otis.

Otis, John 1801-1856:

Representative from Maine; born in Leeds, Maine, August 3, 1801; attended the common schools, and was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, in 1823; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Hallowell, Maine, in 1826; member of the State house of representatives in 1841; appointed a member of the Northeastern Boundary Commission in 1842; served in the State senate in 1842; again a member of the State house of representatives in 1846 and 1847; elected as a Whig to the Thirty-first Congress (March 4, 1849-March 3, 1851); died in Hallowell, Kennebec County, Maine, October 17, 1856; interment in Hallowell Cemetery.
Biog. Dir. of Congress.
C&P adds: studied under Peleg Sprague; became a respectable lawyer, though not as an advocate.  Went early into politics, was a leader among the Whigs when Whigs were in fashion.  Sent to Congress in 1848 and represented his district with credit... in last years he went into speculation and was unfortunate.  "eminently kind and charitable"  died in Hallowell in 1856.  First wife was daughter of Wm. O. Vaughan. 2nd wife was d. of Samuel C. Grant, both of Hallowell.

Owen, Robert 1771 - 1858 :

Industrialist, anti-religion crusader, and promoter of communistic communities in Britain and the U.S. Born in Newtown, Wales. He quickly amassed a fortune, and bought the New Lanark mills at Manchester, converting it (with later partnership of the Quaker William Allen and the philosopher-activist Jeremy Bentham) into a showplace of liberal caring for workers. Took extreme environmentalist position in A New View of Society (1813). Founded several cooperative communities in Britain and one called New Harmony in the U.S. After 1834, he confined his efforts to writing and lecturing.

(source:  Eckhardt, Fanny Wright, incl. picture on p125)

Owen, Robert Dale 1801 - 1877 :

Accompanied his father, Robert Owen, to the U.S. in 1825. In New Harmony, edited the New Harmony Gazette.

(source:  Eckhardt, Fanny Wright, incl. picture on p125)