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Colonel John H. O'Connors

RKW stated this file years ago...
                                          COLONEL JOHN H. O’CONNOR.
Biographical data gathered by RKW on John H. O’Connor:
John H. O’Connor came to Winfield in 1879 when he was 12 years old. He went to school in the old Central building but left school after one year of high school. He worked with his father and learned the stone mason’s trade. He then attended Southwestern College for two years.

The next data collected by RKW cannot be confirmed:
“When John H. O’Connor’s father was elected sheriff on the Union Labor ticket, John was made deputy sheriff and jailer. He held those positions through 1887-88-89. Later he worked as a newspaper reporter and as collector for a publishing company.”
County records concerning who was Sheriff vary: Some show James Conner. Some show James O’Connor.

John H. O’Connor was married in 1894 to Miss Sallie A. Rowland. Mrs. O’Connor died in 1903 soon after the birth of their only daughter.
John H. O’Connor served in the Spanish-American war as a sergeant, battalion sergeant major, and regimental sergeant major. After being mustered out of service he organized Company 2, of the Second Kansas national guard of which he was made captain. In 1911 he was promoted to the rank of major of the second battalion of the Second Kansas Regiment. In 1916 he served with the troops on the Mexican border.
After being released and returning to civil life Major O’Connor was drafted under the dual oath president and governor act in 1917. He was sent to the school of musketry at Fort Sill for two months and then, after a brief rest at home was ordered to Camp Donaldson where the Fifth division was mobilized and he was given charge of 1007 men.
In France Major O’Connor was sent ahead of his troops to the front where he was under fire with the French troops. After serving as a major during the entire war he was promoted to the rank of Colonel for gallantry in action just two days before the signing of the armistice.
Col. O’Connor received two citations. He was decorated with the distinguished service cross for gallantry in the attack of Montrebeau woods and received the silver star citation for brilliant leadership at Baulny under heavy fire while conducting a support wave and rallying troops under fire.
Col. O’Connor returned home after the World War and took up the work of a newspaper reporter again but was appointed postmaster of Winfield on July 20, 1922. He held that position till his death.
He helped organize the American Legion and was a founder of Kansas Post Number 1. Topeka being the state capital wanted to be post 1, so Winfield finally agreed and took the number 10. He was the first commander of the post.
                                               FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.

Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, August 23, 1922.
The new postmaster at Winfield, Col. John H. O’Connor, took charge of the office there today, according to reports from the county seat received here. He will in the future devote his entire time to the job, but in case of an emergency will be on the staff of the Daily Courier, as he has been the city editor of that paper for a number of years past.
Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, September 9, 1922.
Winfield, Kans., Sept. 9.—It’s Colonel O’Connor, now, Winfield’s postmaster, who has heretofore held a commission as lieutenant colonel, received word Friday of his promotion to the grade of colonel in the infantry reserve corps.
Colonel O’Connor is in command of the 353rd infantry, a tactical organization with a nucleus of officers ready for expansion to a full-strength regiment of infantry should the United States ever engage in another war.
With a Winfield man in command of the regiment, regimental headquarters will be located in Winfield.
Through twenty-five years of service with the national guard and army, Colonel O’Connor has climbed successfully the steps from “buck private” to colonel. He entered the world war as a major, received promotion to the grade of lieutenant-colonel after the Argonne battle; and as soon as he was mustered out, accepted a commission as lieutenant-colonel in the infantry reserve corps. His ability is now again recognized by his promotion to the grade of colonel.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum