OKE, GEORGE COLWELL (1821–1874), legal writer, born at St. Columb Major, Cornwall, on 8 Feb. 1821, was son of William Jane Oke. He commenced life as a solicitor's accountant, but by 1848 was acting as assistant-clerk to the Newmarket bench of justices. In 1855 he became assistant-clerk to the lord mayor of London, and in 1864 succeeded to the chief clerkship. Oke's knowledge of criminal law and of its practical application brought him a high reputation. He died on 9 Jan. 1874 at Rosedale, St. Mary's Road, Peckham, and was buried on the 15th at Nunhead cemetery. He married first Eliza Neile Hawkins (d. 1868), and secondly, on 20 April 1870, Georgiana Percy, stepdaughter of G. M. Harvey, of Upper Norwood.
Oke was author of many standard legal works, including:
- 'The Synopsis of Summary Convictions,' 8vo, 1858, better known by the title of its second edition (1849) as ‘Oke's Magisterial Synopsis' (14th edit. by Mr. H. L. Stephen, 1898).
- 'An Improved System of Solicitors’ Book-keeping,' 8vo, 1848.
- 'Oke's Magisterial Formulist,’ 8vo, 1850; (7th edit. by Mr. H.L. Stephen, 1893).
- 'The Laws of Turnpike Roads,' 12mo, 1854 (and 1860).
- 'The Friendly Societies’ Manual,' 12mo, 1855; withdrawn from circulation owing to its infringing the copyright of another work.
- ‘A Handy Book of the Game and Fishery Laws,' 12mo, 1861 (enlarged editions by J. W. Willis Bund).
- 'Justices' Clerks Accounts,' 8vo., 1863.
- 'London Police and Magistracy,' 8vo, 1863.
- 'Friendly Societies' Accounts,' 12mo, 1864.
- ‘The Laws as to Licensing Inns,’ 8vo, 1872 (2nd edit, by W. Cunningham Glen, 1874).
He wrote also 'The Magisterial Laws of London,' which was announced in 1863 to be published by subscription, but it never appeared.
[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.; Boase's Collect. Cornub.; Times, 10 and 12 Jan. 1874; Illustr. Lond. News, lxiv. 80 (with portrait); Graphic, ix. 124, 131 (with portrait); Law Times, 17 Jan. 1874, p. 207.]
O'KEARNEY or CARNEY (O'CEARNUIDH), JOHN (d. 1600?), Irish divine. [See Kearney.]
O'KEEFE, EOGHAN (1656–1726), Irish poet, was born at Glenville, co. Cork, in 1656. He married early, and had a son, whom he brought up to be a priest, but who died at Rochelle in France in 1709 while studing theology. He wrote a poem of fifty-six verses, 'An tan nach faicim fear’ (‘When I do not see a man'), on the death of this son. His wife had died in 1707, and Eoghan himself entered the church and became parish priest of Doneraile, co. Cork. He was president of the bardic meetings held at Charleville co. Cork, till his ordination. He wrote ‘Ar treasgradh i nEacdhruim do shiol Eibhir' (‘All that at Aughrim are laid low of the seed of Eber’), a poem of eight stanzas, lamenting the defeat and denouncing the victors. It has been printed, with a translation, by S. H. O'Grady. He also wrote many other poems which were current in the south of Ireland as long as Irish was generally read there. He died on 5 April 1726, and was buried at Oldcourt near Doneraile. A local stonecutter named Donough 0'Daly carved an epitaph on his tombstone, which states that he was a wise and amiable man, an active parish priest, and a learned scholarly poet ‘a bpriomhtbeangadh a dhuithche agus a shinnsear' (‘in the original language of his country and his ancestors’). Dr. John O'Brien, bishop of Cloyne, also wrote a short epitaph in verse.
[O'Daly's Poets and Poetry of Munster, Dublin, 1849; S. H. O'Grady's Catalogue of the Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum; O'Reilly in Transactions of Iberno-Celtic Society, 1820; Egerton MS. 154 in British Museum.]
O'KEEFFE, JOHN (1747–1833), dramatist, descended from an old catholic stock which had gradually sunk under the burden of the penal laws, was born in Abbey Street, Dublin, on 24 June 1747. His father was a native of King's County, his mother an O'Connor of co. Wexford. He was educated by Father Austin, a jesuit, who kept a school in Saul's Court. He afterwards studied art in the Dublin school of design, together with a brother Daniel. The latter exhibited fourteen miniatures at the Royal Academy, London, between 1771 and 1786 (Graves, Catalogue). But John had meanwhile been attracted to the stage by a perusal of Farquhar's plays. At fifteen he attempted a comedy—‘The Gallant,’ in five acts—and he afterwards obtained an engagement as an actor with Henry Mossop [q. v.], the Dublin lessee, after reciting to him some passages from Jaffier's part. He remained a member of Mossop's stock company for twelve years. In the season of 1770–1 he played Gratiano at the Capel Street Theatre to Macklin's Shylock. But when he had reached his twenty-third year his eyesight began to fail, an affliction against which he long struggled, but, as in the case of his dramatic contemporary, Kane O'Hara [q. v.], it ended in complete blindness about 1797.
While still an actor, O'Keeffe tried his hand at playwriting, and in 1773 his farce ‘Tony Lumpkin in Town,’ founded on Gold-