Michael Delaney, a pioneer merchant and the present postmaster of Waterville, Kan., is a native of the Empire State and was born at Lockport on September 3, 1851. He is a son of Daniel and Ella (Collings) Delaney, both natives of Ireland. When they immigrated to America they settled in New York, where the father was a contractor and builder. He was one of the contractors in building the Missouri Pacific railroad, in Missouri, and was also interested as a contractor in building the Central Branch railroad, which was the first railroad to be built in northern Kansas. On March 17, 1865, the family first came to Kansas, crossing the Kansas river at Kansas City, and locating at Lawrence. When the family left New York they removed to Illinois, where they remained until 1861, when they went to Sedalia, Mo. This was their home during the Civil war. The father served in the Seventh regiment, Missouri cavalry, but before the close of the war was wounded in an engagement against General Poindexter's command in Missouri. He was sent to the hospital at his home town, Sedalia, where he was finally discharged on account of disabilty.
Michael Delaney, the subject of this review, began his education in Missouri in a subscription school, the tuition of which was one dollar per month. He later attended the public schools in Waterville, Kan. The family remained at Lawrence about a year after coming to Kansas, and in November, 1867, they removed to Waterville, at the time the railroad was being constructed there. When they arrived they found that what later became Waterville then consisted of one portable house, which was the boarding place of the railroad constructors, and the Delaney family lived in tents during the summer and in the winter time lived in farm houses near by. Michael Delaney remembers well when the present town site of Waterville was a common, with here and there a cultivated field, and he has hunted rabbits over every inch of the ground. These were the happiest days of his life. At that time neighbors were neighborly and spring seats on wagons were a luxury. After his father completed his railroad contract there he began to take contracts for the building of stone houses when the town began to develop and he erected the first stone house in that section, and two of the buildings which he constructed are still standing. The father and his son, Michael, soon after engaged in railroad contracting again and went to southern Kansas, returning to Waterville in about a year where the family had remained during the meantime. The father and the other members of the family then removed to the southern part of the State, but Michael remained in Waterville, where he clerked in the grocery store of J. C. Peters four years. He then worked in different hardware stores two years. In 1879 he bought a grocery store in Waterville and conducted this business uninterruptedly until June 10, 1907. In his early days of clerking in Waterville settlers drove for hundreds of miles to Waterville to do their trading, as it was the nearest railroad point of a large area of the northern part of the State for a number of years. Mr. Delaney was appointed postmaster at Waterville in 1890 and at that time built the block where the postoffice is located, which includes several other business places. This block is of brick and is a substantial structure, which he still owns. He did not serve as postmaster during the second administration of Cleveland, but when McKinley was elected he again received the appointment as postmaster, in 1897, and has faithfully and efficiently filled this office of trust and responsibility up to the present time. He also conducted his grocery business until 1907, when he sold out, and has since devoted himself to the discharge of his duties as postmaster and looking after his various private interests.
Mr. Delaney has served as mayor of Waterville two terms; has been a member of the council and for ten years served on the school board. He has been active in furthering every enterprise for the development of the town; he circulated the petition for the new city hall, which is one of the finest municipal buildings, according to the size of the town, to be found anywhere. He was also instrumental in getting electric lights, a water works system and a new school building. He was one of the organizers of the Waterville Telephone Company and served as the first president of that company. He was also one of the organizers and promoters of the Triple Tie Benefit Association, which became a strong organization with a large membership. He was supreme treasurer of that organization for fourteen years.
Mr. Delaney was married, April 29, 1880, to Miss Lillie Winterbottom, daughter of Daniel Winterbottom, of Washington county, Kan., where he was engaged in the grocery business. The Winterbottom family came from Illinois and after coming to this State Mrs. Delaney taught school several years. To Mr. and Mrs. Delaney were born three children: Frederick, Daniel D. and Carl Andrew, all of whom reside at Tologa, Okla., where they are connected with the First National Bank, of that place. Frederick is cashier; Daniel D., assistant cashier, and Carl A., bookkeeper. Mrs. Delaney departed this life in 1893. In 1897 Mr. Delaney married Miss Abigail Winterbottom, a sister of the first Mrs. Delaney. Mrs. Delaney is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, the Eastern Star and the Knights and Ladies of Security, and Mr. Delaney belongs to the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Fraternal Union, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Eastern Star and the Modern Woodmen of America. Politically he is a Republican and for twenty years was chairman of the Waterville Township Central Republican Committee and was a frequent delegate to district and State conventions. He has also attended several National conventions. He has seen Kansas in its great development almost from the beginning, and Mr. Delaney represents that type of men with strong hearts and willing hands who did their part nobly and well in the building of this great empire that stretches from the Missouri river to the Rocky mountains. Kansans as well as Kansas are what made the great State.Pages 480-482 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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