Born in 1744 at Scarborough, Maine, and died September 5, 1818, in Machias, Maine, in which town the family of O'Brien settled down and lived shortly after the birth of Jeremiah. He was a Captain in the American Navy in the War of the Revolution, capturing many prizes, and winning much renown due to his bravery and perseverance. He had five brothers, all of whom followed the sea. Record says that Jeremiah O'Brien made the first fight and captured the first British armed vessel at the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775. Later in life he became Collector of Customs at Machias. He also served in Congress, and in the War of 1812 he was made a Colonel. Captain O'Brien was a Freemason of the Lodge of Saint Andrew, in Boston, beginning December 11, 1777, and receiving his Master's Degree March 26, 1778. It is known that at least three of his brothers were active Masons, and Jeremiah, with his father, Morris, started the Warren Lodge in Machias under the Grand Lodge.
Jeremiah was its first Junior Deacon and its Senior Warden in 17824. Up to the time of his death he wore a queue, knee breeches, and low shoes with large shoe buckles, and it is said that he never used stimulants except snuff, which in his day was a common custom. Jeremiah and his father, Morris, were founders and pew holders of the Congregational Church in Machias. He was buried as he wished in the O'Brien burying ground on the southerly side of the Machias River at Machias. The stone sacred to his memory may be said liter ally to "lie like a tombstone," as it states he was seventy-nine years old, whereas the dates stated show he was born in 1744 and died in 1818, making him seventy-four vears of age at the time of his death. In the Maine Historical Society-' publications, and in the History of Machias, are extended biographies.
Brother Charles T. Gallagher said, in Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 1918 (page 49). When Revolutionars heroes were being honored I received word from Most Worshipful Brother George W Baird, of Washington, District of Columbia, that a proposition was before a Congressional Committee to appropriate money for a monument to Jeremiah O'Brien an Irish-American, ete. It had the support of the usuail politician who was looking for patronage and the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus joined in its support. Answering Brother Baird's inquiries, I told him of the O'Brien Masonic connections as above related and the Admiral appeared before the Committee with them. Some of the numerous societies thought this hero was at least entitled to be called an unhyphenated American, and the original supporters thereupon abandoned their first love to his fate.
Our own Ex-Governor Long as Secretary of the Navy, however, thought the name entitled to consideration and under his influence a destroyer of our Navy was named for him. The O'Brien was launched at 8:30 A.M. September 24, 1900, being christened by a lineal descendant of Joseph the youngest of the six O'Brien boys. And thus, with the O' Brien Rifles which formed part of Maine's quota in the Spanish American War, the name of this enterprising American family with its Masonic affiliations gives us cause to be proud of their achievements; although the official order for the naming of the torpedo boat states it is on account of "Jeremiah O'Brien," he who was our Brother in Freemasonry.
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