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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

O'NEILL, Bernard J.

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O'NEILL, Bernard J. (Ireland, Aug. 15, 1846-Unknown). Bernard and his parents came to Iowa and settled in Dubuque County in 1852. As an adult, he entered the grain trade and carried on that business through 1880. He bought and stored grain during the winter and shipped it during the spring. Beginning in 1870 he was also involved in manufacturing brick. During the summer season, he manufactured 1,000,000 annually. (1)

In February 1876 the Dubuque Herald announced that in addition to his large brick yard, O'Neill had purchased 1.5 acres of land which contained a large clay bank once owned by Brown & Hedley who manufactured bricks. The paper stated that O'Neill now owned six acres of the best brick making clay in the city. (2)

O'Neill began real-estate dealing and platted and laid out five subdivisions comprising an area of one hundred and twenty-five acres, all inside the city limits. In 1887 he aided in the organization of the DUBUQUE HIGH BRIDGE COMPANY and secured from the city a bonus of $25,000. He was made president of the company for three years. He was also one of the organizers of the BOARD OF TRADE and served as its vice-president. (3)

The 1870-1871 and 1875-1876 Dubuque City Directory located this business on the northwest corner of Hill and 5th.

The 1884-1885 and 1886-87 Dubuque City Directory listed the west side of Brad south of W. 3rd as the address.



1. Oldt, Franklin. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, p. 855

2. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, February 9, 1876, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18760209&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. "Irish in Iowa," Online: http://www.celticcousins.net/irishiniowa/carlowbios.htm

Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1894, p. 488-491