Michael Heery, a retired contractor and capitalist of Topeka, Kan., has been a resident of that city since 1869. He is a native of the Emerald Isle, having been born in County Langford, Ireland, on Nov. 30, 1840. He was the youngest in a family of six sons and one daughter born to Thomas and Ann Heery, the former of whom died when Michael was about six years old. About that time Ireland was being oppressed by English rule almost beyond the endurance of its people, and to escape the oppressor as well as to seek a home in the New World, Michael's older brothers decided to come to America in advance of the mother and younger children. Their letters telling of the opportunities for the poor man in America induced Michael, his sister and his mother to bid farewell to their native land and in due time they reached their destination, which was Clifton, Pa. Michael was then thirteen years of age, and had received some schooling in Ireland, but not as much as he desired. Therefore, after his arrival in Pennsylvania, he devoted all of his spare time to acquiring a better education, and by diligent self-study he equipped himself for teaching school and taught three terms. He also found time to read law, and after two years of delving into Blackstone and jurisprudence, was admitted to the bar at Wilkes-Barre, Pa. It should be noted in this connection that Mr. Heery accomplished all of this prior to his twenty-eighth birthday. During one of the terms of school that he taught he had twenty-two pupils enrolled, each of whom was older than the teacher.
Although Mr. Heery was admitted to the bar, he never took up the practice of law, as he preferred a more active career. Having learned the carpenter's trade in his youth, he followed that occupation in Wilkes-Barre until 1869, when the whole trend of his future life was changed by reading Horace Greeley's account of his trip beyond the Mississippi. Mr. Heery at once decided to make Kansas his future home, came directly to Topeka, which was then a small village, and began working at his trade. He arrived there poor in purse, but being a young man of fine physique and with a willing heart to guide his brawn and muscle, he set to work to win his share of the rewards offered in those days to sturdy manhood. He soon began contracting in a small way, and by observing strict honesty in all of his dealings it was not long before he had an established reputation as a contractor and builder. He built scores of the best residences and business blocks of Topeka during his active career, also many of the state's public buildings, including the last large building of the insane hospital and the buildings for the state industrial school for boys.
He was married in 1869 to Miss Margaret McGavan, a native of Pennsylvania, and nine children are the issue of this marriage, all of whom were reared in Topeka. Politically Mr. Heery is a Democrat, and as such he served as a member of the Topeka city council seven years, and as a member of the state board of public works two years. While serving in the latter capacity, he aided in overseeing the construction of many of the buildings for the state institutions. Mr. Heery was reared a Catholic and has been a leading member of that church during his residence in Topeka. He is a member of the local lodge of the Knights of Columbus and takes an active interest in the welfare of the order. He began life a poor boy, but by adopting a system of good morals, which by the way he claims is the best equipment a young man can start with when beginning his independent career, he has achieved success, and is not only regarded as one of Topeka's wealthy citizens, but one of its most honored as well. He has always aided liberally in charitable work and is ever ready to encourage any enterprise which tends toward the upbuilding of the community. It is to such men as Mr. Heery that much of the credit is due for the substantial growth and progress of the capital city.Pages 1507-1508 from volume III, part 2 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 December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project