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Patrick Sarsfield O'Reilly, physician, was born in the County Cavan, Ireland on December 26, 1844, son of M.J. and Mary (Smith) O'Reilly.
Dr. O'Reilly received his first instruction under the paternal roof, his teacher being a Presbyterian minister, Rev. Mr. King by name, who was a tutor in his father's family for many years. Dr. O'Reilly came to St. Louis with his father shortly after the death of his mother and as a youth was left in charge of his brother, Dr. Thomas O'Reilly, who had then established himself in the practice of his profession in this city and who is now one of the most eminent of Western physicians.
Shortly after his coming to St. Louis, Dr. Patrick S. O'Reilly matriculated in St. Louis University and after being graduated from that institution began the study of medicine. After obtaining his doctor's degree he studied for some months in New York City under the eminent Professor Draper and from thence went to Dublin and London, where he continued his medical studies under the most advantageous auspices.
This was followed by a series of observations in the Paris hospitals, where he formed the acquantance of Dr. Marion Sims who showed him much consideration and secured for him much pleasant social recognition, being instrumental in having sent to the young student cards of invitation to notable receptions given by the Emperor Napoleon and the Empress Eugenia at the Palace of the Tuileries.
Returning to this city with a very superior general and professional education, he began the practice of medicine on the eve of the Civil War. Coming of chivalrous stock. he could not resist the call to arms and the impulse to render the best service in his power to his country, and he offered himself to the government as a private soldier. The authorities, however, wisely determined to avail themselves of his professional skill, and he was placed in charge of a medical department, with field and regimental hospitals under his control. At times he found it difficult to content himself with the discharge of mere hospital duties, and whenever it was possible for him to do so, he went to the front, and, on numerous occasions, his conduct was so gallant as to win the special commendation of corps commanders. On one occasion he was shot through his right leg, his horse being killed under him, and on three different occasions he was highly complimented by the surgeon-general of the United States for his efficient work.
Returning to St. Louis at the close of the war he resumed the civil practice of medicine and was at once elected coroner of St Louis city and conty for the years 1865-6. He was at that time the youngest man who had ever filled an elective office in St. Louis; had both a taste and a genius for politics and took a lively interst in the politicial movements of that period.He was an ardent supporter of the movement which resulted in the overthrow of the "Drake Constitution" and later became a conspicuous figure in the Irish-American movement which resulted in the Fenian invasion of Canada.
In 1890 he married, Miss Lousie Gordon, daugher of Martin and Louise Bringier of Louisiana. They had two children - Martin Gordon O'Reilly and Dubourg O'Reilly
(Condensed from a bio in Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis: A Compendium of ..., Volume 3, Part 2 )