Biography of Thomas E. Donnellan

Thomas E. Donnellan of Parsons has the active supervision of all Southeastern Kansas, Eastern Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri for the International Harvester Company. He has been general agent for that great corporation for the past fifteen years. Mr. Donnellan is a Kansas man, is a birthright farmer and knows the practical side of farming, an experience which has proved valuable to him as representing a great agricultural house.

His family on both sides came to Kansas in territorial days. His father, John Donnellan, who was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1824, came to this country at the age of twenty years, and for several years was employed in the lumber camps of New York State. It was in March, 1856, that he came to Kansas. Kansas was then a territory and the scene of the great struggle which earned for the territory the name “Bleeding Kansas.” His first location was in Miami County, where he secured 160 acres of an old Indian reservation and for two years was engaged in cultivating it. The activities of the Bushwhackers drove him away from that land, and he then moved to Atchison County. Subsequently he sold the quarter section in Miami County and in Atchison County he bought a farm of 160 acres a half mile west of Lancaster. Thereafter he was one of the leading farmers and citizens of Atchison County until his death in 1894. John Donnellan was a republican, and was one of the first justices of the peace in Atchison County and for many years served on the school board. For twelve years he was township treasurer of Lancaster Township. John Donnellan and all his family were members of the Catholic Church. During the war he was a member of the Home Guards, in the Union army, and helped repel the invasion of General Price. The wife of John Donnellan was Mary Davidson, who was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1828 and died in Atchison County, Kansas, in 1895. Her father Robert M. Davidson was born in Pennsylvania in 1807 and was of Scotch ancestry, the Davidsons having come to Pennsylvania in colonial times. Robert Davidson spent his early life in Pennsylvania, was a carpenter and builder by trade, and in 1857 migrated to Atchison County, Kansas. For a number of years he was a general merchant there and died at Lancaster in 1889. The children of John Donnellan and wife were Anna, wife of Albert Ostertag, a traveling salesman living at Atchison, Kansas; Thomas E.; William R., who has a hardware and implement store at Lancaster; Emma, who is cashier in a store at Atchison; Margaret, wife of August Mangelsdorf, who is in the wholesale seed business at Atchison; and Juniata, wife of John Cleary, a farmer in Atchison County.

Born in Atchison County, Kansas, April 16, 1864, Thomas E. Donnellan spent the first twenty-one years of his life on his father’s farm. He attended the public schools, and himself became a school teacher, following that work in his native county for five years. He was one of the young and progressive farmers of Atchison County four years, and also filled the position of under-sheriff there four years.

After two years in the coal and lumber business at Atchison Mr. Donnellan in 1901 entered the service of the International Harvester Company, becoming general agent for Kansas. He has since represented this corporation and in December, 1914, moved to Parsons, from which city he supervises a force of fifty-four men in Kansas, Eastern Oklahoma and Southwestern Missouri. There are five other branch offices in the State of Kansas under his jurisdiction. Mr. Donnellan’s offices are on Twentieth Street and Broadway.

His home is at 1631 Corning Street. Mr. Donnellan is a republican, and besides the official service already mentioned was township trustee and township treasurer of Lancaster Township in Atchison County. He is a member of the Catholic Church, and belongs to Council No. 723, Knights of Columbus at Atchison, to Lodge No. 647 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at Atchison, to the Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights of the Maccabees at Atchison, and the Woodmen of the World at Topeka. He is also an active member of the Parsons Commercial Club and the Rotary Club.

In Atchison County on April 4, 1888, Mr. Donnellan married Miss Emma Schletzbaum, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth Schletzbaum. Mr. and Mrs. Donnellan are the parents of three children: John F., who is a graduate of St. Benedict’s College at Atchison, is now advertising manager for the Coast Banker and lives at San Francisco; Rosalia is a student in the Parsons High School; Robert E., a graduate of St. Benedict’s College at Atchison, is now a traveling representative of the International Harvester Company.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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