Martin Cleveland Delaney Sr.

Martin Cleveland Delaney, Sr.

At five a.m. on 29 January 1885, my grandfather, Martin Cleveland Delaney, is born to Margaret Montgomery and John Francis Delaney.1 The birth took place at the family residence on Vanderveer Street, near Broadway, in Brookyn, New York. Martin is the second of Margaret's and John's eight children. Mary A. Goodwin, a midwife, was the medical attendant and the person who filed the birth certificate with the Department of Health.2 The birth certificate does not contain his name, but based on other documents we can be certain that it is the one for Martin. Besides the lack of a name, the certificate incorrectly lists Ireland as the father's birthplace. We also know from the certificate that at the time of Martin's birth, John was employed as a "store keeper." We also learn from the document that Margaret was 28 years old and that she was born in "New York."

Like his father, Martin was a colorful individual, as we will see as his life story unfolds. Although still living at home, by age 15 Martin is already in the workforce, employed as a clerk for a broker.3 Martin possesed an excellent voice, and early in life he turned to singing, a vocation that would last for several years. We don't know exactly when he took up singing nor do we know exactly when he stopped. However, a 1947 newspaper article about Martin states that he performed in Broadway shows when he was younger and that he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Company. According to the article, at age 19 "he sang his way into a job at the Met."4 Thus, by 1904 Martin was already performing as a singer. Also, his marriage certificate from 1907 also documents his career in singing. Apparently he stayed with that career until sometime during the latter part World War I.5

On 8 June 1907, Edwina Acker Lowery, the daughter of Henry Franklyn Lowery and Mary Ellen Acker Lowery, married Martin Delaney in Brooklyn, New York.6 The marriage took place in the Church of St. Charles Borromeo.

After the marriage, Edwina ("Ned") and Martin lived for a short period of time at 140 Montague Street in Brooklyn. By the time of the birth of their first son, Martin Cleveland Delaney, Jr., they had moved to 723 Hancock Street in Brooklyn.7 Martin, junior, was born on 18 September 1908 at the Hancock Street house, and was baptized 28 October 1908 in the Parish of Our Lady of Good Consul in Brooklyn.8 Martin is now 23 years of age and Edwina is 18.

Four years later, the couple's second son arrived. My father, Franklyn Lowery Delaney, was born on 15 October 1912 in the family home, which was located at 412 East 2nd Street in Brooklyn. The family doctor, Frank C. Dudley, was in attendance at the birth, and Martin's occupation is still that of a singer.9 Edwina is 22 years old and her husband, Martin, is 28.

While 1912 was a year of happiness with the birth of Martin's second son, it was also a time of sadness. Martin's mother, Margaret Montgomery Delaney, died at her home, 199 Baltic Street in Brooklyn, from lobar pneumonia at 4:00 p.m on 03 December 1912. She was only 54 years years old at the time of her death.10

After Edwina divorced Martin in 1916, Martin married Susan Ruth Heil the following year. Susan Ruth already had one child, Ruth, from a previous marriage. The marriage between Susan Ruth and Martin resulted in five children:

Bruce Albert Delaney
Nicholas Harrison Delaney
Francis Mullins Delaney
Natoma Margarita Delaney
Mary Jane Delaney

Toward the latter part of World War I, Martin appears to have moved into automobile sales. At the time of Nicholas' birth in 1923, Martin is still making a living as an automobile salesman.11 According to Francis Mullins Delaney, Martin was an excellent salesman and once won an award for selling the highest number of a particular model of car during a particular year.12

At some point, Martin moved into real estate sales. Frank Delaney recalls visiting the family in the 1920s when they were living in Caldwell, New Jersey. At that time, Martin was selling homes in a development known as Valhala Estates.13 Real estate was Martin's calling and for the rest of his life we find him engaged in it.

In the early 1930s, Martin and his family left New Jersey. Traveling by car, they crossed the United States and landed in Laguna Beach, California, where Martin continued to engage in real estate sales.14

By the post-WWII years, Martin was already involved in the real estate scene in the Beverly Hills area. A 1947 newspaper article about him in the Beverly Hills Bulletin states that he was a prominent realtor and that he had just been elected as the president of the Santa Monica Ambassador Club.15 Bill Cahill recalls, upon returning from Japan after service in WWII, being entertained at Romanoff's in Beverly Hills, where Martin regularly conducted business.16 Other family members recall Martin being involved in a number of property sales to various celebrities in the Beverly Hilll and Southern California area. In the 1950s, Martin operated as a realtor in the Palm Springs and Cathedral City, California area.

Martin Delaney died on 01 October 1955 at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, California, from post-operative shock after an operation for cancer.17 Burial took place 04 October 1955 at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Orange, California. Susan Ruth Delaney, from whom Martin had been divorced for a number of years, preceeded him in death.

The Delaney family story continues through two branches. The first branch is through the children of Martin and Edwina Delaney, and the second through the children of Martin and Susan Ruth Delaney.

1 Certificate of Birth, Brooklyn, Number 208, January 29, 1885. The certificate is date stamped by the Department of Health, Office of Register, on January 31, although the handwritten date of January 29 is supplied after "Date of Return" on the document.
2 Mary A. Goodwin is the same individual listed as the midwife in attendance at the birth of some of the other children. The certificate indicates that she resided at "727 Herkimer St."
3 1900 U.S. Census - Brooklyn, NY ED387 23rd Ward Page 240, Sheet 9.
4 Newspaper clipping titled "Local Realtor Named Ambassador Club Head," Beverly Hills Bulletin, 09 January 1947, no page number noted, in Franklyn L. Delaney's collection.
5 When Edwina Acker Lowery, my grandmother, and Martin were married in 1907, his occupation was listed as "singer" on the marriage certificate. By the time of the birth in May 1918 of a son, Bruce Albert Delaney, from his second marriage, Martin was employed as an auto salesman.
6 State of New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage, The City of New York, Department of Health, certificate number 5918, 8 June 1907. Witnessed by Jessie Powell Brundage and Margarat Berrian.
7 Certificate of Birth (Delayed Registration), Special Certificate No. 156-52841766, issued 9 May 1952 by the Borough Registrar.
8 Ibid.
9 State of New York, Certificate and Record of Birth, The City of New York, Department of Health, Number 35358, reported 21 October 1912 by Frank C. Dudley.
10 State of New York, Certificate and Record of Death, The City of New York, Department of Health, certificate number 22352, date of death 3 December 1912, certificate filed 6 December 1912.
11 Birth certificate for Nicholas Blair Delaney, 7 February 1923, Borough of Caldwell, Essex County, New Jersey, State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, certificate number 0015782. Note: There is an unresolved discrepancy between the middle name on the birth certificate (Blair) and the middle initial "H" (Harrison) on his death certificate.
12 Telephone conversation between Robert F. Delaney and Frances ("Fran") M. Delaney. Fran indicated that he had a picture showing Martin with the award.
13 Conversation between Robert F. Delaney and Franklyn L. Delaney, 1999.
14 Information from Fran Delaney during a telephone conversation with Robert F. Delaney. Fran told me that he remembers the car trip to California.
15 See note 4 above.
16 Telephone conversation between Robert F. Delaney and William A. Cahill, the son of Martin's sister, Maude Delaney Cahill.
17 Certificate of Death, County of Orange, Santa Ana, California.

Martin Cleveland Delaney - Photograph as Child
Martin Cleveland Delaney
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Margaret (Montgomery) Delaney - Photograph
Margaret Delaney
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For additional images of the family see Delaney Photo Album
St. Charles Borromeo Church - Brooklyn
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Laguna Beach - 1933
Laguna Beach - 1933