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both Democratic and Republican administrations. He was appointed Jury Commissioner in 1897.
Always interested in the Public Library he was on its Board for a number of years part of the time as President. He also took a leading part in the organization of the Columbus Club, a leading Catholic society and was one of its first presidents.
In conjunction with a number of Catholic prelates, notably Bishops Ireland, Spalding, and Riordan, and Catholic laymen he organized the Irish Catholic Colonization Association, an organization which had for its purpose the bringing of emigrants from the poverty-stricken districts of Ireland and establishing them on farms in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Arkansas. This society met with wonderful success.
A constant contributor to the Catholic magazines and journals, Mr. Onahan's writings cover a wide range of subjects and in extent would fill a dozen volumes. In recognition of his literary ability he received honorary degrees from the University of Notre Dame; St. Xavier's College, Cincinnati; St. John's College, Fordham, N. Y.; and St. Ignatius College, Chicago. In 1890 he was honored by the University of Notre Dame by the gift of the Laetare Medal.
Another project in which Mr. Onahan was keenly interested was the founding of the Catholic University. His activities in this and other projects brought him into intimate relations with Bishops Ireland and Spalding, friendships which lasted throughout his life and grew stronger with the years. His friendship with Archbishop Ireland especially was wonderfully tender and strong. They were constant correspondents and whenever the Archbishop passed through the city he sent for Mr. Onahan.
When the great World's Fair was organized, Mr. Onahan was its first treasurer. With Mr. C. C. Bonney he organized the World's Congresses which were held in Chicago during the progress of the Fair. It was for the wonderfully successful Catholic Congress held here at the Art Institute
lasting a week, which attracted notables from all over the world, as well as for his previous work with the Congress in Baltimore, that Pope Leo XIII conferred upon him the then rare distinction of Camereri of the Cape and sword.
Mr. Onahan was nominated for this distinction by Cardinal Satolli, and from Washington, D. C., the Cardinal wrote him the following letter:
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 28, 1913.
DEAR SIR-I feel very glad to inform you that I had the pleasure of recommending you to the Holy Father as one of the most distinguished Catholic laymen of this country for so many praiseworthy works accomplished by you to the greatest advantage of the Church and society. I felt it was my duty to state to His Holiness that the Feast of the Centennial of Columbus and the happy success of the Catholic Congress in Chicago were due to a very great extent to your wise and zealous co-operation. His Eminence, Cardinal J. Gibbons, and His Grace, Archbishop J. Ireland, added their recommendations to mine; and I can say that every bishop and all good citizens consent to my statement and applaud it.
After my recommendation the Holy Father, so able to appreciate the merits of men, and willing to reward them as far as he can, has named you a "Cameriere Sagreto di Cappae Spada Sopranumeraria" of His Holiness. I consider it a great honor for me to give you such news, and to send to you the authentic letter of said nomination, while I beg to express my best and sincerest congratulations for such an honor conferred upon you.
In order to better appreciate the value of your nomination, and to know what privileges are annexed to it, I refer you to Mr. H. Cassell, now living in Denver (909 10th Ave.) who has the honor of belonging to the same rank of the Pontifical Household since many years.
Yours respectfully in Christ,
+CARD. ARCHB. SATOLLI,
On March 10, 1902, Mrs. William J. Onahan died after a three months' illness. She had been a most devoted wife and mother and her loss was keenly felt. Of the six children born to them, all died in infancy save the youngest. Mrs. Onahan was of quiet, gentle, retiring disposition, mingled as little as possible in public affairs, devoting herself entirely to her home duties and to the large circle of poor in whom she was always interested.
Great reverses of fortune came, too, in his later years. Mr. Onahan was president of the Home Savings Bank at the time it was swept down in the crash of the Chicago National Bank. This blow fell from a clear sky and astounded the country almost as much as the collapse of the Bank of England would have done. Mr. Onahan was on his way to Mass early Monday morning, December 19, as was his custom, when a woman met him whom he knew only by sight. She stopped him and asked, "Mr. Onahan, is there any truth in the story that the Chicago National Bank has closed its doors? My daughter has an account with the Home Savings Bank and so we are anxious.”
"Not the slightest truth in the story," Mr. Onahan replied. "Your daughter's savings are perfectly safe."
Nevertheless the question was a disquieting one and he wondered where she could have got the story. After breakfast he went down town as usual and as he approached the bank he saw a long line of people, extending for a block on either side, waiting to get in. And affixed to the great bronze doors was the ominous sign, "Closed by order of the United States Government".
When a short time later a member of his family reached the bank, thinking he would be overwhelmed by the disaster, she found him standing on a platform instructing the assembled throng in clear, ringing tones how to get their money out in the shortest possible time. The great office room of the bank was one solid mass of people, many of them his personal friends, and all were drawing out their accounts. After
an hour or so, seeing that the panic showed no signs of diminishing and realizing that almost their entire fortune was in the bank he was asked, "Aren't you going to draw out?" "I'll be the last man out," he replied. "Shall I draw out?" he was asked. "Dont ask me" he answered. "Ask your husband". After a hurried consultation in a corner of the bank the verdict was "If your father is the last one out I think he would like to feel that you are the second to the last. Let the account alone." And so one depositor, not without misgiving but feeling that after all money was not the really important thing in the world, turned homeward empty handed.
It was always a matter of great relief to Mr. Onahan that although the greater part of his own fortune was swept away, no depositor in the Home Savings Bank lost a cent. The loss fell only on the stockholders, of whom he was one of the heaviest.
His list of correspondents was world-wide and ranged from the highest to the humblest. Sometimes in the same mail were letters from Alaska and from New South Wales. But when all were winnowed down the friendship that was dearest of them all to him was that of the great Archbishop of St. Paul. A few months before his death he read the following letter to a friend and said: "I am a poor man but I would not take a thousand dollars for this letter." It is dated St. Paul, December 24, 1915.
"MY DEAR OLD FRIEND-Alone in my room I recall the Christmas days that are gone and the friends whose affections were twined around them. But an insuperable sadness overpowers me as I call one name after another, and hear no response, save that the grave has taken them to its cold embrace. So many gone: Am I the last rose of summer-the lone pine-tree of a once dense forest? Almost so indeed. Yet a few-a very few-are still standing, ready to return salute to salute. I cherish them all the more for their very rarity.
You are one of the few—the one so long nearest to me— the one readiest to understand my loneliness and to assuage
its sorrows. Well, here then is "A Happy Christmas to you and a blessed New Year. May the Infant of Bethlehem be most gracious to you, shedding upon you His smiles of love and filling your soul with joyousness.
"Well, I must say no more. I must cease remembering the fallen pine-trees, the friends whom I am not to see again on earth, lest I be sad and make you sad, when we all should be happy and hopeful-hopeful of a life to which there is no end, of a bliss to which comes no surcease.
My regards to Mr. and Mrs. Gallery: my prayers are for their happiness.
The loneliness that Archbishop Ireland spoke of was beginning to be keenly felt by my father too. His greatest joy and solace in life were in his grandchildren. Still he missed his old friends. His two dear friends in the Northwest, Bishop Cotter and more recently that gentlest of souls Bishop McGolrick, were gone. Everywhere he looked there were gaps till in moments of depression he sometimes said he had more friends out in Calvary than anywhere else. When the telegram came from Archbishop Ireland's sister, Mother Seraphine, telling the sad news of his death, it was early in the morning and so it was kept from him for several hours. After he had his breakfast, had read the morning paper and had smoked his cigar, only then was it brought to him. He was sitting in his Morris chair before the grate fire in his parlor when the one who received the message entered the room holding the yellow slip in her hand. He took one look at her face and said, "Well, well, it has come."
"Yes, dear, it has come.'
He put his hand over his eyes to hide the tears and said brokenly, "The light of my life has gone out."
He went up to St. Paul to the funeral and he seemed fairly well after it, but he was never quite the same. The loneliness that had been gradually growing of late owing to