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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM E. COONEY, a prominent citizen of Northampton, was born in Haydenville, Hampshire County, Mass., November 13, 1855, son of Michael and Rosanna (Martin) Cooney and grandson of William Cooney, a farmer in County Tipperary, Ireland.

William Cooney died in his prime, of typhoid fever, leaving a widow, five daughters, and one son, who emigrated to America in 1840. Four of the daughters are yet living in Chicago, Ill., and in Massachusetts. The family made the voyage in a sailing-vessel, consuming nine tedious weeks. Shortly after his arrival on American soil Michael Cooney, the father of William E., found work as a laborer in Brooklyn. Subsequently he removed to Leeds, Mass., where he was employed in the woollen-mill, and later entered the button factory in Haydenville, where japanned buttons were manufactured. Finding that outdoor work suited him best, he engaged in trucking, doing the teaming for the cotton company and the brass company. He was an enterprising and successful man, and at his death owned a good home in Haydenville, besides considerable other property. In politics he was a Democrat, a leading man in the party. He died in 1883, at the age of sixty-three years. Mrs. Cooney was a native of King’s County, Ireland, and was married in Chicopee in 1845. She died December 31, 1891, in her sixty-fourth year. She and her husband were the parents of five daughters and two sons, namely: Katie, who died in childhood; Rose, wife of William D. Larkin, of Haydenville, who has passed away, leaving one daughter; Michael E., proprietor of the Hotel Florence; Ella, in the millinery business at Northampton, successor to Cooney & Larkin; William E., the subject of this sketch; Lizzie, wife of Thomas H. Gilfoil, proprietor of the City Hotel; Anna, wife of John T. Keating, an attorney in Northampton.

William E. Cooney received his early education in the common schools of the town, and at fifteen entered the office of the Northampton Free Press as “printer’s devil.” He served an apprenticeship of three years, and afterward worked at the case nine years. In 1877, in company with John T. Dewey, he opened the Nonatuck House, now the City Hotel. In this hotel he was interested four years, Mr. Dewey in the meantime selling his share to William D. Larkin. In 1881 Mr. Cooney, in company with Mr. Parnell, opened a wholesale liquor store, under the firm name of Parnell & Cooney; and the enterprise proved to be a very profitable one. In 1895 Mr. Parnell bought the entire business, and Mr. Cooney retired.

On November 18, 1874, Mr. Cooney was married to Kate, daughter of John and Mary (Powers) Roach, of Waterford, N.Y. Mrs. Roach died when quite young, leaving four children, the youngest, Mrs. Cooney, being but two years old. Mr. and Mrs. Cooney have lost one son, Martin James, who died when two years old. Their other children are as follows: Michael M., a young man of nineteen, who is engaged in the manufacture of bricks; William S. and Austin E., aged respectively eleven and eight years; and Bernard Joseph, two years old. Mr. and Mrs. Cooney are members of the Roman Catholic church. Their pleasant home, which is situated at the corner of Park and State Streets, was erected by Mr. Cooney in 1883. Mr. Cooney is a man of diversified knowledge, having travelled extensively in the West and South, especially in Texas, New Mexico, and Minnesota.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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