Biography of William Tecumseh Rooney
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William Tecumseh Rooney, a native of Kansas, had had an active career of over thirty years, spent as a farmer, land owner, merchant and business man. His home and business interests for the past twenty years have been at Haddam, and during that time he had become one of the leading factors in the community.
Mr. Rooney was born at Leavenworth, Kansas, October 1, 1865, and the name he bears shows that his father was a great admirer of that brilliant Civil war leader General Sherman. His father, Patrick Rooney, was born at Killkeel, County Down, Ireland, August 12, 1828. He grew up in his native country, and in 1852 married Rosana Levings. She was also born at Killkeel in County Down, in March, 1828, and is still living at Horton, Kansas, in her ninetieth year. In 1854, a little more than a year after their marriage, they set out for the United States. Their first home was at Galesburg, Illinois, and afterwards Patrick Rooney worked on a Mississippi River steamboat. In 1859 he joined the pioneers at the Town of Leavenworth and for the next ten years conducted a draying business. In 1869 he moved to a farm at Capioma, and was a practical farmer until he retired in 1887 and removed to Horton, where he died in December, 1915, at the age of eighty-seven. After coming to America he identified himself with the democratic party and was always loyal to its principles and candidates. He and his wife were active members of the Catholic Church. During the Civil war he was a member of the Home Guards at Leavenworth and was called into active service to repel Price’s raid. He and his wife had eight children and their lives do the parents credit. Edward, the oldest, is a retired farmer at Fairview, Kansas; Margaret Jane lives at Hebron, Kansas, widow of J. R. Prentice, who had an implement business at Sabetha; Mary Alice lives on her farm at Beattie, Kansas, widow of Alexander McKibbon; John lives on a farm at Fairview, Kansas; the fifth in order of birth is William T.; George B. had his home at Fairview and conducts an elevator and owned a large ranch at Mineola, Kansas. A. P. Rooney is a graduate of the University of Michigan and of Rush Medical College of Chicago, and is successfully practicing his profession at Harlem, Montana; Annie Elizabeth married H. E. Miebach, who owned a large ranch and had a hotel at Lethbridge in the Province of Alberta, Canada.
William T. Rooney spent his early life on his father’s farm, attending the rural schools at Fidelity and finishing his education in Saint Benedict’s College at Atchison. Leaving school in 1884, he then remained at home until twenty-one, when he took up farming at Beattie. In 1896 Mr. Rooney left his farm to engage in business activities at Haddam. He established the implement business which he had now conducted for over twenty years, and during that time had supplied most of the farm implements and machinery used in the country surrounding Haddam. In 1909 he added automobiles to his general line, and he now conducts the largest garage in town, on Main Street. For his store and garage he had two buildings, each 42 by 90 feet. He also owned his home in Haddam, the printing office and hardware store on Main Street, and had five farms, totaling 800 acres in Washington County, besides 1,280 acres in Kearney County.
His fellow citizens have appropriated his business judgment and ability for the welfare of the locality and he is now serving his second term as a member of the local school board, and is in his third term as a member of the town council. Mr. Rooney is a republican in politics, is past noble grand of Haddam Lodge No. 528, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is affiliated with Haddam Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America.
In March, 1902, he married Miss Tillie A. Pelasky. She is a daughter of Wesley and Annie (Novak) Pelasky. Her mother lives at Haddam. The father, deceased, is one of the pioneer homesteaders in Republic County, having come to this state in true emigrant fashion, with a prairie schooner drawn by ox teams. He became a successful farmer and stock raiser. Mr. and Mrs. Rooney have a bright and happy family of eight children: Annie Elizabeth, born July 25, 1903; Mabel Alta, born February 23, 1905; Mae Marguerite, born October 13, 1906; William T., Jr., born October 4, 1908; Helen Eleanor, born May 21, 1910; George Arthur, born December 16, 1911; Harry Edward, born May 22, 1914; and Paul Chester, born February 7, 1916.