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Mike O'Malley is the uncle of Nellie O'Malley.

Personality and Facts[]

Mike is the brother of Nellie's father (it is never specified if he is older or younger). He is a drunkard and poor worker, and those in the neighborhood know him as a hooligan, unkempt and rough, and good for nothing; a neighbor says drinking is all he's good for, and Nellie thinks of him as terrible. He has a rough, growling voice and a mean countenance. When Nellie, Bridget, and Jenny must move in with him after their parents die in Changes for Samantha, he mistreats them, takes everything they owned and sells it for drink, and then abandons them in the run-down apartment. The next time he sees Nellie--after she, Bridget, and Jenny have been taken in by the Edwards and informally adopted--he threatens to take her away and make her and her sisters work in a factory for wages he will take.

He is dishonest, as seen when he tries to feign emotion towards the O'Malley sisters to bribe money from Gardner Edwards to sign away his guardian rights, and completely untrustworthy. He does not appear to have a work ethic; the foreman at his job had to yell at him to get him back on task and he is willing to force all three girls into work to take any money they would earn rather than work for himself. He is a bully but is easily cowed if he doesn't think he can get away with what he's doing. He calls Nellie "Nellie-girl" as a pejorative.

Mike is the major antagonist of Nellie's Promise; his threats to taking the girls away from the Edwards scares Nellie into trying to leave New York, but also motivates her to seek a school more to her liking.

In the Books[]

Meet Samantha: An American Girl[]

Nellie mentions that she and Bridget had to go out with their uncle, likely Mike, while Jenny was being born, and he said that the midwife brings the the baby in a black bag which she doubted.

Changes for Samantha: A Winter Story[]

After the death of Nellie's parents, they return to New York City as they have no other options and move in with him. He lives on Eighteenth Street above the shoemaker in a run-down apartment and, as soon as they arrive he sells everything they have for drinking and abandons them, ultimately resulting in them ending up at Coldrock House.

Nellie's Promise[]

Nellie walks past a group of men doing road work with the evening paper and Mike, recognizing her, stops mid-work, drops his wheelbarrow, and grabs Nellie by the arm roughly. He snidely remarks on her fine appearance and that Nellie has clearly found some well-off people to care for them; when he asks where they live, Nellie doesn't answer. Uncle Mike calls her a stubborn brat and threatens that he'll find out where she lives now and take the girls away to live with him since he has that right--and that once they do so, he'll put all three in the factories to work for him. Nellie screams at him and stomps on his foot to twist out of his grasp and run away. Uncle Mike stars to give chase after Nellie but falls over his wheelbarrow; the road-crew boss yells at him to get back to work. Mike shouts after the running Nellie that she belongs to him, which bothers Nellie as she runs all the way home.

The secret of Mike's reappearance bothers Nellie severely through the book. When Nellie takes Cornelia and Samantha to the settlement house and Nellie suspects she has seen him, she ends up leading Cornelia and Samantha off down a rough alley to get away. He later goes to the settlement house and tries to get information on the whereabouts of the O'Malley sisters, but Miss Brennan runs him off with no information. This near scare motivates Nellie to try and leave town.

After confessing about about Mike to Samantha at night, when Nellie and Samantha go down to breakfast Nellie hears voices and freezes, grabbing Samantha's hand as one of the voices is Uncle Mike, and Nellie is sure he's come to take the girls away. When Nellie decides to face him and greets Uncle Mike, he is slouched in a chair. He says he's found Nellie, and Gardner corrects Mike--they found him, and he's here because he was asked to be.


Nellie tells Uncle Mike to sign the papers.

Uncle Mike growls that he was chased by a detective and dragged there. The Edwards have been looking for Uncle Mike since they took in the three girls to talk to him about adopting them. They found him a few days ago and when Nellie mentioned leaving for Boston, they felt they should speak to him sooner rather than later. Uncle Mike tells Nellie she's been keeping secrets and she didn't tell the Edwards that he and Nellie ran into each other already and he swore to take them back. The Edwards explain that Uncle Mike can sign papers giving up his rights to the three girls and allowing their adoption; he won't be able to see them any more once he does. Uncle Mike crosses his arms and says that he may or may not sign the papers. The three are his late brother's children and not seeing them anymore would be a loss. He then tries to bribe the Edwards, saying they could pay him into signing and then blatantly asks Gardner how much the girls are worth to him.

Nellie steps in and tells him that he had better sign the papers and not ask for money--when Mike tries to push back, Nellie says that if he doesn't she'll make it known how he abandoned her and her sisters and took everything they had and left them to starve, and that if a judge got involved he'd probably be jailed for what he did. Uncle Mike is shocked, then he snatches the pen and scrawls his signature hastily on the paper, jams his hat on his head, and says good riddance to bad rubbish. He shakes his fist angrily and says he hopes he never sees any of them again as long as he lives before slamming the door behind him.

Uncle Mike is never seen again.

Samantha: An American Girl Holiday[]

Mike is completely removed from the film to slim down characters and events; thus after the death of their father, the O'Malley sisters are sent immediately to Coldrock House.