“The Church Would Look Foolish Without Them”: Thomas F. O’Rorke, Bronx, New York

THOS. F. O’RORKE, of 692 Union Avenue, the Bronx, is one of the solid men of the borough—the owner of valuable property. He was one of the first to discern what lay in the future for that part of the country, and as he deserves, has profited by his discernment. We can say of him, also, without offense that he is a fighting character. He has fought his way up from poverty to affluence. He has fought as a soldier in wartime; he fought his way also as a policeman, fought to a final victory and peace in “Battle Row,” where he was stationed, thereby earning the sobriquet of “the Mayor” of that delectable district. He fought even the strenuous personage Theodore Roosevelt, when the President was just an ordinary police commissioner, and is, like enough, the only man that ever had the better of him. Mr. O’Rorke is, as the name implies, of Irish extraction, and proud of it. He was raised as a boy in New Haven and went to school there. The Civil War came on and he enlisted. He was accepted as a drummer boy, but in his very first battle, at Baton Rouge, La., true to his fighting proclivities, discarded the drum for a musket. He served throughout the war, and was an orderly on [General Winfield S.] Hancock’s staff, and made his escape from the Confederates while they were taking him to Libby Prison. After the war, in 1870, he was appointed to the Freedmen’s Bureau, and in that capacity served as far south as Corpus Christi and Brownsville, Texas. In 1874 he was appointed on the New York police force, and after a service of twenty-one years, during which he was distinguished for courage and attention to duty, was retired. H was known even then as one of the wealthiest men on the force, the possessor of a fortune gained, not as now by grafting methods, but by economy and native shrewdness. He first came into the Bronx to live in 1900. His investments now, including several apartment houses, are said to total fully $250,000. Mr. O’Rorke is a Democrat in politics and a Catholic in religion. He married in 1872 Miss Margaret A. Ryan. She died in 1895, leaving six children living—one son and the rest girls. He married again, in 1895, a Miss Catherine Netley. By her he has one child, a boy, Thomas V.

Randall Comfort, Charles D. Steurer, and Charles A.D. Meyerhoff, eds.,

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