This is a collection of short biographical sketches submitted by individuals with a link to the Researcher. You are invited to send appropriate sketches of early Atchison County residents for inclusion on this page


Atchison County Kansas Bio Sketches 


William R. Donnellan, hardware merchant and postmaster of Lancaster, Atchison Co., KS, was born June 25, 1868 at Lancaster. He is one of six children of John and Mary J. (DAVIDSON) Donnellan, as follows: Anna A. (OSTERTAG), of Atchison; Thomas E. Parsons, KS; William R., the subject of this sketch, Lancaster, Atchison Co., KS; Emma B., Atchison, KS; Margaret (A. MANGLESDORF), Atchison, KS; Junia (J. CLEARY), Shannon township farmer. John Donnellan, the father, was born in Ireland in 1827. When twenty years of age he left the Emerald Isle to trust his fortunes in America. Landing at Ellis Island, NY, he set out for the interior of New York State and found employment on a diary farm. After a few years of hard labor there he went to Crawfordsville, IN and worked in a hardware store. In 1856 he left Crawfordsville and came to Kansas, where he preempted 160 acres of land in Lancaster township, Atchison Co., and built a farm four room house and lived in the most primitive way. When he first broke the soil on his farm he used oxen, but later, as he prospered, he used improved methods of farming. He died on his farm in 1893. The mother of the subject of this sketch was born in Harrisburg, A and died in 1892, a year preceding the death of her husband.

William R. Donnellan was born and reared on his father's farm in Lancaster township. He attended the public schools of Lancaster and at the age of twenty-one went to Kansas City, MO and secured employment as a motorman and conductor in the service of the Street Railway Company there. Three years later he became shipping clerk for the A.J. HARWI Hardware Company of Atchison, KS and a year later returned to his home and engaged in farming on the home place. He remained on the farm until 1903 when he moved to Lancaster and purchased the hardware stock of H.O. WHITTAKER. This is a large store, carrying $8,000 worth of stock. In politics Mr. Donnellan is a Republican. He was elected mayor of Lancaster in 1907 and served until 1911. In 1903 he was appointed postmaster.

Mr. Donnellan was married in 1893 to Lillian M. SANDERS, who was born February 12, 1870 at Lewisburg, PA. She is a daughter of George L. and Elizabeth (HARRISON) Sanders, both natives of PA. They have one child, Eva M. (CARSON), living in Lancaster. She is a graduate of the high school and business college. Mr. Donnellan is a member of lthe Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights and Ladies of Security Lodges.

Taken from:

History of Atchison County, Kansas

by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916

Submitted by:

Clemi Higley Blackburn, August 2001

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Last updated 7/18/2001

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