Select Delaney Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- The Norman Black Slaney Family
- O’Dubhshlaine in the 14th Century
- Dean Patrick Delany
- Delany and Delaney in Griffiths Valuation
- John Delany, from Laios to Illinois
- The Delaney Whiskey Distillery
The Norman Black Slaney Family
Dubhshlaine or Black Slaney was said to have been named
after Norman knights who moved through Ireland in the late 12th century
fight on behalf of a removed king of Leinster.
De Slaney became the family name of the Norman family which were
land along the river Slaine or Slaney. The Norman Lord of Slaney wore
armor and used a black sword in battle.
The family crest was made up of three
stripes, two light grey on either side for cleanliness, wisdom,
sincerity, peace and joy, and in the middle maroon for victorious and
persevering in battle. The crest also had three fish on the middle
the fish of the river Slaney. In some
versions of the crest there is the helmet of the black knight and a
of the crest in honor of the knight who founded the family.
O’Dubhshlaine in the 14th Century
O’Heerin’s 14th century Topographical Poems made
the following reference to the O’Dubhshlaine:
“The high chief of the fruitful cantred
Of the delightful Coill Uachtarach
Is O’Dubishlaine, hospitable the man,
From the mountain of the most beauteous river.”
Cancred here means the family’s territorial land.
Dean Patrick Delany
His father had been a servant
to an Irish judge, Sir John Russell, who afterwards held a small
Laios. There was some money for Patrick,
born in 1684, to be educated as a poor scholar at Trinity College in
Dublin. Patrick subsequently became an
eloquent and renowned preacher and was appointed the Chancellor
of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin in 1730.
However, he was to owe his prominent position in Dublin
life to his two marriages. In 1731, at the
forty seven, he had married Margaret Tenison, a rich Irish widow, who
him with funds to gratify his hospitable disposition and to indulge his
literary tastes. When she died ten years
later, he then married Mary Granville, “a lady of uncommon brilliancy,
accomplishments,” who was his junior by fourteen years. Her
fortune brought a considerable addition to
his income. She had visited Dr. Delany
during his first wife’s lifetime and had long been an admirer of his
From his beautiful
residence at Delville in Glasnevin near Dublin, Patrick was wont to
brilliant circle, in which Dean Jonathan Swift shone pre-eminent.
Delany and Delaney
in Griffiths Valuation
The following were the number of Delanys and
Delaneys in Leinster and neighboring counties at the time of Griffiths Valuation in 1850:
John Delany, from Laios to Illinois
In his 71st year John Delany wrote the following in
his journal about his early years in America.
John Delany was
born on the
2nd of September, 1813 in Mountfaed in
the parish of Raheen in the Queen’s county (now Laios), the
eldest of twelve, five brothers and six sisters.
name was Michael Delany. My mother’s
maiden name was Catherine Lawler. I
left my father’s
house on the
12th day of February, 1837 and emigrated to the
United States and landed in New York.
York was very dull that year. A
great many crises
and not much employment for immigrants of any
met with some relatives, acquaintances and some
warm friends. Among
the latter was Catherine Rafter.
She got me a situation with a milkman on Long
Island at ten dollars per month to work night and day almost. I
two months. It
was very hard times there, nothing for nothing. With
relatives I had to pay my way, as well with
was root little pig or die. So
I pushed out on my own hook and went to the
Croton water works on the third of July.”
married Bridget Maher, also from Queens
in New York in 1842.
The same year they
settled in Newport township in
Illinois where their nine
children were born.
The Delaney Whiskey Distillery
To supplement their income as farmers in rural
Victoria, the Delaneys began distilling whiskey for sale around the
At that time imported whiskey was
expensive (an import tax of 15/- per gallon applied) and there was a
cheaper good quality whiskey made in Australia.
Grain could be grown locally and pure water and firewood were
in large quantities. Some distilling
knowledge would have been carried with the immigrants from Ireland. In addition by 1878 the Delaneys seemed to
have gotten hold of an American guide The Complete Practical Distiller. It was said that the
Delaneys relied on this
book in their whiskey-making years. Its
thumb-marked pages were evidence of frequent usage.
March 1881 Warrnambool police received information
that there was a whiskey
mill in operation somewhere in the neighborhood. They
at Delaney’s Corner and
Delaney, charging him
with being on premises where illicit distillation was going on. Inside
they had found
a still full of water with a large fire
under it. There
were four casks of fermenting mash, bags containing malt and oats, a
fourteen gallons of whiskey and a demijohn of low wines.
a 27 year old bachelor
at the time and the
second youngest child of immigrants John
and Bridget Delaney. In
court he claimed
that he had just called in to the hut
for a morning nip of whiskey, as was the custom in Ireland. The Bench
this claim. John was fined
fifty pounds, a stiff fine at that time.
Being unable to pay, he was sentenced to three months
The Delaneys, however,
were not done with whiskey distilling, with the police this time being
claimed that at their peak the Delaneys were producing 100 gallons a
Legend has it that the whiskey was labeled “Mountain Dew” and was
branded with the official government stamp. It
was a common drink at
local weddings and one day at the Koroit races it was the only drink on
the second race the
crowd was said to be in a fighting mood.
The whiskey distilling continued until 1894
when the police closed down the operations, this time for good.
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