Biography of James Obey
Armstrong County, PA Biographies

JAMES OBEY, a resident of North Buffalo township and an old and experienced engineer, is a son of John D. and Sarah (Benney) Obey, and was born in Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1827. The Obey family is of German descent and one pf its members, the grandfather of James Obey, was born in Baden, Germany, from whence he emigrated to France, which he left on account of his religion and came to the United States in 1820. He settled in Pittsburgh, Pa., where be lived a retired life. He was a whig in politics, a member of the Protestant Episcopal church and married Mary Shaffer, by whom he had two children, one son and one daughter. His son, John D. Obey (father), was born in Baden, and came to Pittsburgh with his father. He served in the "Pittsburgh Blues" and participated in the battle of the Cowpens. He was a butcher by trade, but kept a hotel in Pittsburgh for a number of years and for seven years was landlord of a hotel at one end of the bridge over the Monongahela river. He was a whig in politics, a member of the Protestant Epixcopal church and married Sarah Benney. To their union were born ten children: Mary (now deceased); Nancy, John (deceased); Jane (deceased); James, William (deceased); Sarah, Catherine, Lucy and Edward (deceased). Mrs. Obey was a daughter of John Benney (maternal grandfather), who was born in 1770 in Scotland. He came to Pennsylvania in 1794 and settled on Sandy creek. He was a cabinetmaker by trade, a whig in politics, a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and married Nancy Wyburn, who bore him five children, two sons and three daughters.

James Obey was reared in Pittsburgh, and after attending the public schools of that city, learned the trade of engine builder. He worked at different branches of this business and then became a steamboat engineer on boats running from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. Leaving the river, he was a rolling mill engineer for twenty two years. In 1860 he removed to Armstrong county and purchased in North Buffalo township the farqi of one hundred and fifteen acres upon which he now resides.

July 15, 1847, he married Mary A. Berry, daughter of Joseph Berry, of Pittsknrgh, and a native of south Wales, who came with her parents to Pennsylvania in 1838. She was born April 28, 1831, and died October 26, 1877, leaving five children, all daughters: Anna M., born June 23, 1850, married to Robert Hodson; Sarah B., born November 6, 1852, and wife of George Davis; Laura E., born September 15, 1854, and wife of W. A, Nicholson; Mary E., born January 25, 1862, and married to George Evans; and Lucy M., born March 24, 1866, and now the wife of J. R. Campbell.

In politics, James Obey is a stanch republican. He was elected treasurer of the city of Pittsburgh in 1863, and a member of the city council in 1863 and 1864. He is a member, in high standing, of St. Clair Lodge, No. 862, Free and Accepted Masons, of PIttsburgh. He is a member of the Main street Methodist Episcopal church of Pittsburgh, and is thoroughly versed in the principles of engineering, as well as having years of valuable experience in the practice of that science on the western waters and in the great iron mills of western Pennsylvania.

Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia
of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania
Samuel T. Wiley, Historian & Editor
John M. Greshan & Co.
Philadelphia, 1891

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