William H. Delahanty was the son of Mrs. James Flanagan's wife Bridget's brother Dennis.
PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF QUEENS COUNTY
(CHAPMAN PUBLISHING CO. 1896)
WILLIAM H. DELAHANTY. Of the various divisions into which the operations of the
municipality are divided, there is none of which the citizens feel more justly proud than
the active. well-trained vigilant and excellently equipped fire department. William H.
Delahanty, who is chief of the fire department of Long Island City, has served his present
capacity since 1893, and the notable efficiency to which the department has attained is in a
large measure due to his thorough knowledge of the business and his careful training the men
engaged with him. He was born Astoria, Long Island City, in 1856, and inherits much of his
determination and energy from his Irish ancestors.
His father, Dennis, was born in Ireland and came to this country in boyhood, subsequently
becoming superintendent for the E. C. Smith Varnish Company. He continued with that concern
until his death in 1869, when thirty-eight years of age.
The mother of our subject, who still resides in Astoria, bore the maiden name of Mary A.
Toomey and was born in Albany, N. Y., being a daughter of Michael Toomey, who learned and
followed the trade of a varnish maker in Albany, removing thence to Astoria, where he held
the position of superintendent in the Smith Varnish Works until his death, at eighty-eight.
In this position he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Mr. Delahanty. Of the latter's family
of eight children five are living, William H. being second in order of birth. He passed his
childhood years in Astoria, receiving his primary education in the First Ward and completing
his studies in the Fourth Ward school.
The first position held by Mr. Delahanty was that of starter for the Steinway Railroad
Company, but later he became assistant superintendent and afterward for four years served as
superintendent. After one year as supervisor of the city, in 1893 be was appointed chief of
the fire department by Mayor Sanford and the board of fire commissioners. When he accepted
this position there were but two fire companies and two houses, but at this writing there
are nine companies and seven houses and the department has been reorganized, equipped and
enlarged. Five new engines have been added, the number of men has been increased from
fourteen to forty-two, and there are two of the latest improved trucks. Each house has an
electric system and there are twenty street boxes, the system having been perfected through
the efforts of Chief Delahanty, who devotes all of his time to the duties of the office and
each day inspects all of the houses.
In Long Island City Mr. Delahanty was married to Miss Emma Hartel, a native of this city,
and they are the parents of seven children: Kate, William, Emma, Marv, Nellie, Grace and
James. From 1882 to 1886 Mr. Delahanty filled the position of alderman and in the last named
year he was president of the board. He was chairman of the fire and water committee and was
active in the department, In the improvement of city property he is deeply interested.
Fraternally he is a member of Long Island City Council No. 17, Order of Firemen, the
International Board of Fire Chiefs, and the Veteran Firemen's Association.
He was assistant foreman and foreman and
served as assistant engineer for two years under Chief Camisky. In politics lie is a
Democrat is a charter member of the Jefferson Club and for a number of years before being
made chief of the department served on the general committee.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Queens Co., ( unkn. auth. NY & Chi: Chapman Publishing Co, 1896)
is available in the Long Island Room at Queensborough Central Library in Jamaica.
Also at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Boston, MA (local history, 5th floor).