Michael Stanton. Honored among the oldest settlers of Northeastern Kansas are Michael Stanton and his wife Maria (Melody) Stanton, of Leavenworth. Theirs had been an ideal life. For nearly three score years they have been married, years of happiness, of hard work and of useful, frugal living, and as the evening shadows of their earthly pilgrimage lengthen their retrospective view brings to them but little to regret and much for which they are thankful. Each had lived beyond the Psalmist’s allotted three-score-and-ten, and their married life of fifty-eight years of happiness not unmixed with sorrow, as is usual in the lives of the average–have been spent at Leavenworth.
Michael Stanton was born in the County Mayo, Ireland, August 15, 1841, and is one of seven children born to the marriage of Thomas Stanton and Mary Brennan. In 1847 occurred in Ireland what was known as the “Great Famine,” and it was in that year that Thomas Stanton, owing to the impoverished condition of the country, taking such money as he had and borrowing enough more, took passage on a sailing vessel with the avowed purpose of establishing a home for himself and loved ones in America. He was a landscape gardener and found employment at this occupation on a large plantation near Baltimore, Maryland. In 1850 he had accumulated enough means to bring his family to this country. The ship on which they took passage narrowly escaped being wrecked, and when it had arrived at New Foundland was driven back to the City of Cork by adverse gales. There, after undergoing repairs and refitting, it again set sail and finally arrived at its destination in safety, nine months after the original start. Thomas Stanton and his wife lived the remainder of their days in Maryland. They were devout Roman Catholics in religion and reared their children in that faith.
Michael Stanton vividly recalls the misery of the journey from Ireland to America, but he had never regretted his coming. At twelve years of age he was employed in fishing along the Potomac River, but later served several years as an apprentice to a stonecutter, particularly in monumental work. Exigencies caused him to assist in tunnel construction on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and about this time he came West to Wisconsin as an employee of the Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad. At Janesville, Wisconsin, March 6, 1859, he married Maria Melody, and in that same year they became residents of Leavenworth, Kansas. For years Mr. Stanton was in the employ of the United States Government, first operating a farm where now stands the United States Prison, and later constructing buildings at the fort and elsewhere. When the Confederate General Price invaded Kansas during the Civil war, Mr. Stanton was placed in charge of the construction of Fort Sully, near Fort Leavenworth, and was given charge of the mounting of cannon on boats in the Missouri River to check the Confederate advances. During his later life Mr. Stanton had followed contracting of various kinds. He inaugurated the manufacture of brick in the state penitentiary at Lansing, and was probably the first Kansan to make vitrified brick.
It should not be said that Mr. and Mrs. Stanton have grown old together. It is better to state that they have lived nearly sixty years of married life together without growing old. To them the zest of life, the intelligent interest in all that pertains for the best of the community, are as keen as in youth. Above all is their appreciation of all that the supreme Architect of the Universe had vouchsafed unto them. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Stanton, the following of whom survive: Mary Ann, who is the wife of Patrick Collins; James; Kate, who is the wife of William Miller; Charles; and Nellie, who is the wife of J. J. Brown.
James Stanton, the eldest son of Michael Stanton, was born August 4, 1868, at Leavenworth, and received his education in the public and parochial schools of his native city. His first employment was as mailing clerk in the office of the Leavenworth Times, under the elder Anthony, and for a number of years he was receiving and shipping clerk in the furniture factory of H. J. Helmers. He acquired a practical knowledge of the building and contracting business under his father, and in January, 1902, began contracting on his own responsibility. A year later he became a member of the McGuire and Stanton Construction Company. The volume of business performed by this concern gives it rank as one of the foremost in its line in Kansas. Mr. Stanton is a Roman Catholic in religion, and a republican in politics. In April, 1893, he married Miss Una Hendren, and to their union three children have been born, as follows: Ferris, who is the wife of Thomas Wallace; James, Jr., and Earl.