The O’Connor Mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery is near the entrance. There are other mausoleums in this cemetery; several that are old and in very bad condition. The O’Connor mausoleum has someone to monitor it and when needed they are authorized to order any needed repairs.
J.C. O’Connor was born in 1847 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His Irish parents had several sons. J.C. learned telegraphy which was his first job. He became good friends with Thomas A. Edison. J.C. and four other young telegraphers went to Idaho and Montana, and he was one of the two who survived an Indian attack. After various experiences he came to Texas in the later 1860s with $10,000 in savings. The H&TC was starting to build the railroad to Sherman. J.C, a brother, and his father pooled their resources in a construction company that got the contract to build the roadbed for the line. O’Connor’s share of the profits for building the roadbed was $75,000.00.
With this he went to Europe and lived in Paris for three years. He returned to Dallas in 1876 with most of his money intact. One of the businesses he became interested in was with J.B. Wilson in the cattle or cattle land holdings. He was a principal with Jules E Schneider in the Dallas Gas Works. In 1880 he, with other associates, bought the City Bank of Dallas. Operating under a new charter this became the City National Bank of Dallas. J.C. O’Connor was also involved in the fire insurance business with J.T. Trezevant. Louis Pires was a fire adjuster and later the senior director and chairman of the executive committee at the bank.
When O’Connor was 52 he married for the first time a widow, Mrs. Wandless of Houston, a sister of J. Waddy Tate later Mayor of Dallas. They had two daughters, Ivor and Cornelia. In 1904 they moved to Paris, France and that is where he died in 1913. J.C. O’Connor’s widow returned his body to Dallas and he is buried at Oakland Cemetery in a stone mausoleum which has been described as one of the largest monuments in Dallas.
Speaking of the O’Connor’s one must mention his daughter Ivor O’Connor who spent her thirty-six years in luxury. She lived in France and hobnobbed with the “royals.” She had been married and divorced twice and was the ex
-wife of Henry Hayes Morgan of a New York banking firm. When she died of an unknown cause seventy years ago, her will stated that she wanted $5000.00 to go her sister Cornelia Grey and the rest to be divided between a hospital for children with tuberculosis and the other half a home for stray dogs.
The bank, which was one that her father had an interest in, had problems with the will and the trust. After several lawsuits during WWII, which made it difficult to find people in France who could attest to Ivor’s mental condition when she made her will, the bank gave the sister Cornelia (who had contended that Ivor was not “all there”) one third of the money. Then another problem arose when her first husband, Rembert Trezevant, produced a will from 1922 that left everything to him. The judge denied that will.
In 1957, the bank managed to cage a few dogs in an abandoned building near Fair Park. Most spent the rest of their lives in isolation, a Humane Society investigator exposed this facility and after ten more years the bank and the City of Dallas agreed to build the Ivor O’Conner Home for Lost and Stray Dogs at the pound on Forney Road. The trust paid $155,000 for the facility that has twenty-two cages and serves as an adoption center. The estate in the bank is now worth millions and unspent.
By Frances James’ book, From The Ground Up, Volume III. This book is a must for those interested in early Dallas County History.