John O'Brien's purchase: 1806


orris F. Sheppard only held onto the other half of his land west of Main Street for another year after he sold the northern half to Abner Pierce. In 1806 he sold all of the tract he owned south of Pierce's line to John O'Brien, who built a house on it and built a picket fence around the house that was remembered sixty years later by Oliver Prentiss, who as a boy had been thrown against it by his horse.

O'Brien sold the land his house stood on back to Sheppard in 1808, but continued apparently to live in it, as he is shown in approximately the right place on the census of 1810. This was the same year his son, also called John, was born; the younger John is much less elusive a character than his father, who died in 1832 and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, but has no entry under his own name on any other census after 1810. The younger John built and lived in a beautiful Italianate house on Elm Street, which was torn down in 199- to build a modern brick commercial building which has since been torn down itself to furnish additional parking space for a bank.

O'Brien sold the remainder of his land to Thomas Flynn, who evidently built a store there, and then resold it in 1811 to Justus P. Spencer, a son of James Spencer Sr. of Benton and husband of Ruth Pritchard, a woman very close to the Universal Friend --the Society's Death Book is written in her hand -- who became the village's first school teacher.


Above: Sheppard's entire first purchase is shown in pale yellow. The two acres or so purchased by John O'Brien in 1806 is shown in a slightly darker yellow. O'Brien built a house where 332 Main Street was later built, razed in 1961 for the Emanuel Baptist Church.

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Sheppard sold the north half of his plot west of Main Street to Abner Pierce, and the south half to John O'Brien.

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