Love at First Sight or Family Drama?

The city’s elite were stunned when they learned that Kathleen O’Niell, the daughter of State Supreme Court Justice Charles O’Niell, ran away with George Tobin McSween one hundred years ago today and eloped. What were the couple’s motivations? History leaves us with more questions than answers.

In the main newspaper article (download full article at the bottom), which dates back to September 11, 1919, depicts a very distraught Charles upon hearing the news of his daughter.

Charles O’Niell

Charles O’neill is regarded as one of the most influential people of his time. As supreme court justice of Louisiana he was highly respected in his community, people adored him so much that they thought to nominate him for the United States Supreme Court. Because Charles was so highly regarded could it be that he saw George Tobin McSween as a threat to his image, thus banning the marriage of Tobin and his second oldest daughter Kathleen. The newspaper article outs Charles as a concerned father, but is this a hoax to protect what really happened.

In addition to being a supreme court justice, Charles O’niell was a loving husband and father. He married Bettie Gordy O’niell on March 24, 1894. They had a total of nine children, including Kathleen McSween. The elopement could also be contributed to Kathleen not feeling seen within her family of nine, cause her to find love and attention through Tobin McSween.

As I did more digging and more research on the couple I found them in a census, they were still married and owned a home in another county away from her father’s prying eyes. This moment of bliss was short lived because 23 years after getting married Tobin is subject to a terrible accident which cost him his life. This left Kathleen as a widow, which is where my research ends. The end of a happy marriage, what would Kathleen do now? She has no home to call her own since she has run away from her parents, what is she to do now?

The article left so many questions rather than answers. Such as why did Kathleen leave a happy home, how did life turn out for her, did she keep into contact with any of her 8 siblings. The trail in this story leaves us at a dead end, begging the question is this a case of daddy terror or love struck lovers.

Work Sited’Niell_Charles.aspx

1910, 1920, 1930 U.S. Federal Census via

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