When William Fay married Margaret Delaney in 1893 he married into a large and prolific Irish family.
The Delaneys were originally from the area around Kilsheelan, County Tipperary, a town on the southern Tipperary border with CountyWaterford, about half way between Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel. The Catholic Diocese was known as Gambonsfield and Kilcash, but unfortunately existing church records begin only in 1840.
Apparently there were three brothers – William , Bartholomew and Patrick Delaney. William appeared in the Tithe Applotments of 1834 in Poulakerry Townland just outside of Kilsheelan, farming 29 acres, growing 5 acres each of potatoes and wheat, with a two acre orchard, and the rest in pasture. Bartholomew was in nearby Kylanoreashy Townland, but on just two acres, growing an acre of potatoes for his family and an acre of oats. Bartholomew was a mason, a trade that he would eventually passed on to his sons. Bartholomew was born in 1781 and died in 1865 at the age of 84. We don’t know much about his other brother Patrick Delaney, except that his wife was named Helen, and that he also died in 1865.
Bartholomew had three sons that we know of – Michael (1819-1884), William (1825-1875?) and Patrick (1829-1879). William apparently never married and Michael married late, when he was 39 years old, to Catherine Lonnegan who was just 25. Together they had ten children that we know of. According to the 1884 civil death records Michael lived in Mayladstown Townland and was both a farmer and masonry contractor.
Patrick, the youngest son of Bartholomew, was also a mason, and it was he that emigrated to the U.S. and whose youngest daughter married William Fay. Patrick also had a younger cousin, Bartholomew (born 1835), the son of Patrick and Helen, who emigrated to New York as well. The only other Delaney that we know of that would emigrate was a nephew named William, son of Michael and Catherine, who ended up in Providence, Rhode Island.
Patrick Delaney left Ireland shortly after the Famine. We have a ship manifest from April of 1853, the “Progress” sailing from Liverpool, that listed a Patrick Delaney, “bricklayer”. Although he gave his age as only 18 years (born 1835), age estimates in that era have proven to be notoriously unreliable. In the New York State Census of 1855 we also find Patrick Delaney (b. 1835), a mason, boarding in the 20th Ward of New York City (26th to 40th St. on the West side).
Although I haven’t located the marriage record, Patrick married Margaret Connor shortly after 1855, probably in New York City, and by 1857 he had moved upstate with her to the town of Hudson, New York. Parish records in Ireland place Margaret’s baptism on April 14 of 1833 in Powerstown Parish, Tipperary, only five miles from Kilsheelan. Her parents were Michael and Margaret Connor, names she later passed on to her children. Margaret most likely emigrated in November of 1853, the same year as Patrick, either on the “Constantine” or the “DeWitt Clinton” out of Liverpool. These facts suggest that it is likely that Patrick and Margaret were sweethearts in Ireland and had made plans to meet later in the States.
We don’t know why Patrick chose to move to Hudson, N.Y. from New York City , but in the July 1860 Census he was living there and already had three children – Michael, Barclay (Bartholomew), and Patrick.
Hudson, originally called Claverack Landing, was located 120 miles north of New York City on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Hudson was the last place on the river with a natural water depth sufficient to accommodate oceangoing ships, and so it became the last stop for many ships to unload cargo to be transported by shallow-bottomed boats or land wagons to other destinations further north. (The Hudson River wouldn’t be dredged to accommodate large ships bound for Albany and Troy until the 1920’s.)
In the 1820’s Hudson had established itself as a major port of entry to New York State and had even built two steamboats of its own, the “Bolivar” and the “Legislator” to facilitate transportation to New York City and Albany. And at the end of the decade Hudson surprised many with the formation of a new association “having for its object the revival and prosecution of the whale-fishery.” In just three years there were fourteen ships built and launched in Hudson, including the “James Monroe”, “George Clinton”, and “America” which later brought in $80,000 worth of sperm oil, the most “valuable cargo brought to our hamlet ever” as one commentator claimed.
However as whaling succumbed to more economic ways to obtain the same materials, “railway agitation” among Hudsonians grew. Citizens pressed for the economic benefits to be had through a direct land connection to the metropolitan hubs in the area. While larger firms in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts bickered in the courts over road rights, the Hudson Gazette proudly reported that three days after opening the books for a subscription to stock in the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad a total of $746,550 was subscribed, “an astonishing sum three times what was needed to open the railroad.”
The Hudson and Berkshire Railroad, first began operating in 1838. Initially, this rail line reached only to West Stockbridge, Massachusetts (and an iron ore mine there). But by 1841, an unbroken route between Boston and Hudson had opened, ending just south of the city’s docks along the river. With this great connection now establishing Hudson as the link between Boston and New York, the industries of the future found a home: The Hudson Foundry and Machine Shop, The Hudson Iron Company, Hunt & Miller’s Stove-Foundry, The Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Company, and the Phillips Spiral Corn-Husker Company
The late 1840’s witnessed an industrial revolution in Hudson presaging the more dramatic change in America’s entrepreneurial spirit after the Civil War. The Hudson River Railroad (today’s Amtrak path) was constructed in 1851 across the mouths of both South and North Bays. Like other river communities, Hudson was anxious to be a stop on the north/south railroad. Local Hudson businessmen hoped that the direct connection with the Hudson River Railroad would improve their fortunes, and indeed it did.
At this point, the industrial development of South Bay area of Hudson increased rapidly. First, the Hudson Iron Works received a “grant of land underwater” in 1855 from the State Legislature to fill in several acres of the river on the west side of the new railroad. The Iron Works was built on these lands “reclaimed from the water” and remained a dominate presence on the Hudson waterfront until it went bankrupt and was torn down in the late 1890’s.
It is likely that Patrick Delaney moved to Hudson seeking employment as a mason during the construction of these industrial facilities, and simply remained there. In the 1865 Census his occupation was listed as a laborer, and then in 1870 and 1875 as a foundry and furnace worker. By 1870 Patrick and Margaret Delaney had produced eight children, most of whom would stay in the Hudson area and form their own families. However his youngest daughter Margaret, as we have recounted, married William Fay of Brooklyn around 1893 when she was 25 years years of age. How they met and courted still remains a mystery.
Hudson in the 1890’s, however, was considered a vacation destination, and the railroad and steamboats running up the Hudson river provided an easy connection with the upstate town. For many years the city of Hudson was considered “one of the most beautiful and flourishing towns on the noble river whose name it bears.” Visitors came from all over to enjoy the mountains, the natural springs, and the rich and varied political and religious residents who attracted public attention and notoriety. Whether visitors were just stopping over or staying on for a while, Hudson had a great deal to offer the typical guest in 1890.
Visitors to Hudson could stay at The Hotel Lincoln which was described in 1890 as one of the finest hotels on the Hudson River, supplied with all the modern improvements such as steam heat, electric bells, and electric lights. The Hotel Lincoln offered “handsome suites of rooms for gentleman and wife or families.” Other guests who did not require such select finery could find shelter at The Central House which provided “good rooms, good table, and good attention for commercial travelers and businessmen.”
Perhaps William Fay had taken a cruise up the Hudson and had met and fallen for the small-town girl in upstate New York. At any rate, the two were soon married and had three children before Margaret died in 1900. As previously stated her body was then taken upriver one last time and she was laid to rest in the Hudson City cemetery, beside her father and brother John.
Bartholomew Delaney (1835-1914)
At this time it might not be amiss to trace the life of Bartholomew Delaney, Patrick’s cousin (son of Patrick and Helen Delaney). Bartholomew was about five years younger than Patrick and had remained in Kilsheelan when Patrick emigrated in 1853. Parish records show that he fathered two daughters with Catherine Harrigan – Annie in 1856, and Honora in 1858. In March of 1862 the couple finally married. One witness at the ceremony was William Delaney, Patrick’s cousin. Then in April of 1863 their first son, William, was born. This time the sponsor was Catherine Lonergan, cousin Michael’s wife.
Apparently the Delaneys soon afterwards left for New York. Bartholomew worked as a mason in New York City, living around 74th and 75th St. There the couple had four more children. In 1875 it seems that they decided to try life upstate, no doubt after visiting cousin Patrick in Hudson. In 1875 they were living in Athens, New York, directly across the river from Hudson, where their fourth daughter, Mary Agnes, was born. Unfortunately Catherine died shortly after the birth , and Bartholomew then returned to the city with his children.
Bartholomew eventually remarried around 1880 to Esther Roach. Esther was born in Ireland in 1849 and had emigrated around 1870. They lived in Manhattan, where they had four more children, but they eventually ended up in Queens, on Lockwood Street. Bartholomew died in 1907, leaving Esther with the remaining children who hadn’t moved out.
The Delaneys in Hudson
Patrick Delaney’s children, Margaret (Delaney) Fay’s siblings, for the most part remained in the Hudson, New York area. There were seven of them, two of whom died fairly young and did not marry. The other five siblings, all boys, each married and between them had sixteen children. Remarkably a dozen were females, so Marguerite Fay had a sorority of cousins to socialize with when she went to Hudson, although most were older than her. However it was the one male cousin, Bartholomew Delaney, son of Bartholomew Sr., that would change Marguerite’s life.
Bart Delaney Jr. married Margaret McNally of Athens, New York on November 30 of 1916. Undoubtedly Marguerite had been invited to the wedding. The best man at the ceremony was Bart’s friend Peter William Coursen. Peter, son of Peter Coursen Sr., had been born in Hudson in 1897 after his parents had relocated there from Hardyston Township in northern New Jersey, sometime before 1885. Peter was Marguerite’s age and worked for a local butcher named Fred Garrison. Although he had registered for the military in June of 1918, he only served stateside until the war ended in November.
We don’t know for sure when the sparks started flying between these two, but they were soon engaged to be married. Marguerite received her teaching certificate in April of 1921, and the couple married that July at Francis Xavier Church in Brooklyn. Interestingly the witnesses to the marriage were John J. Coursen, Peter’s older brother and Lillian Fay. Lillian, as you might recall, was Lawrence Fay’s daughter, a cousin of Marguerite’s father. She would have been 42 years old at the time, still unmarried, but apparently she and Marguerite had kept in touch.