by Jamison Murphy, Archives Outreach
Rossell Galbraith O'Brien was an accomplished veteran and public official. Born in Dublin, in 1846, his family uprooted and found themselves in Illinois when Rossell was still a boy. Before the age of 17, he was serving in Chicago's "Governor's Guard" as a private.
At 18, the Irishman enlisted with Company D, 134th Illinois Volunteer regiment, as Second Lieutenant, fighting in the Civil War, helping to conquer General Sterling Price's Missouri Campaign in 1864. After mustering out and serving as First Lieutenant until 1870, he was hand-picked by Washington Territory's newly-appointed governor, Edward S. Salomon, as the territory's Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue.
O'Brien's new life in Washington would lead him through a winding path of public service...