Baptized in 1832 in Kilteevan Parish, County Roscommon, Ireland, Daniel Devany was the son of Michael Devany and Bridget Hanly. The second of eight children, he survived the 1847 potato famine on fish, as his people were fisherfolk who lived next to Lough Ree, a lake formed by the Shannon River. They had fruit, also, and salted pork. And they had friends who lived on Inchenagh Island, which had escaped the windborne potato blight.

Daniel left Ireland, where he had three godchildren, sometime after 1857. In 1864, he was in south St. Louis living near the Iron Mountain Railroad depot and working as a tanner and a teamster. About 1870, he moved to north St. Louis and worked for the Henry Schwaner tannery on 16th Street.

In America, he changed his surname from Devany to Devanney. In 1875, Daniel married Irish-born Ann Agnes Whelan, daughter of John Whelan and Bridget Delaney. They had two children who died in infancy: a son who died on 23 October 1876 and a daughter. Wife Ann Agnes died in 1882.

In 1878, Daniel purchased four contiguous building lots on the same block as Henry Schwaner’s tannery, city block number 1741. On one of those lots, he built his home; the other three lots became his tannery, where he employed his brother, John Henry Devaney, and his nephew, Richard Shea from County Longford, Ireland. They made linings, roans, pad skins, aprons, and alum stock. A Michael Devany had another tannery across the road from Daniel’s, on city block 1160; he was from Kilbride Parish, County Roscommon, Ireland. The 1880 census shows several other people in the area who were employed by tanneries. A slaughterhouse on Agnes Street, a block away from Daniel’s, provided hides. Rocky Branch Creek provided water. Daniel Devanney’s tannery was located at 16th and Branch Streets (now 3323 Florissant Avenue). It was still in business in 1912. Richard Shea worked it then.

In October 1883, Daniel married Margaret O’Rourke, known as Maggie O. Her death certificate names her parents as John O’Rouke [sic] and Margaret McMarrow. Another source names them as Hugh O’Rourke and Bridget McMullen.

In 1897, Daniel sponsored and employed another nephew from Ireland, Michael Devanny. In 1900, he sponsored Michael’s sister Kate Ann, arranging a job for her at the L. M. Rumsey Manufacturing Company. He was a member of Catholic Knights of America and Knights of Father Mathew.

Dan Devanney died of hepatitis in 1913. His widow, Maggie O, survived him until she died in 1935. In 1920, she lived at 5865 Garfield Street with her brother John and his wife Helen. In 1930, she was a guest at the school of the Immaculate Heart, 7800 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis. Daniel, Ann, and Margaret found their final resting places at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

(Documentation includes census records, church records, city directories, civil registration of marriages and deaths, fire insurance maps, Irish maps, obituaries, passenger lists, property records and deeds, and a Shea family account.)

Written by John Sullivan
March 2017

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 21:32