O'CONNOR, Patrick. (County of Cork, Ireland, 1797--Dubuque, IA, June 20, 1834). First white man hung in Iowa. In a drunken quarrel, O'Connor shot and killed his partner, George O'Kief. Other settlers picked one of their peers as the prosecutor and allowed O'Connor to choose not only his defense attorney but also the members of the jury.
O'Connor never denied shooting the man, but boasted that there were no LAWS in the new land under which he could be tried. O'Connor's scorn of the proceedings must have been badly shaken when his hand-picked jury found him guilty of first degree murder and ordered his death by hanging.
O'Connor was escorted by a priest, Charles F. Fitzmaurice, to a homemade gallows erected on the corner of White and 7th STREETS where the sentence was carried out. Years later, in digging the foundation for the Jefferson House, O'Connor's skeleton was found and reburied.