(The master versionof this biography, which includes images, is maintained at http://www.dorneyfamilyhistory.net/famtree_web/History_dorney.pdf)
William was born around 1830, the son of Edward Dorney. When his father died in 1847, he took over the family hairdressing business. The business moved to 41 George's Street in 1850.
He had, in 1858 at least, a face which was “distinguished by a full beard”
William had a ‘tobacconist and fancy pipe depot’ shop at 93 George’s Street between at least 1855 and 1868. This shop was directly over the road from number 45. In 1863 William opened a second shop at 29 Grand Parade. The Grand Parade shop was nearly destroyed in a riot in 1868, and he subsequently moved to 7 Grand Parade.
Like his father before him, he was a member of the Odd Fellows society. In 1860 he was secretary of the Odd Fellow's soiree committee, and was a Provincial Grand Master of the society in 1867. When he retired from the role of Grand Master in early 1868 he was presented with a “handsome gold watch and chain”.
William's letter to the Cork Examiner gives an indication of the activities the Odd Fellow's Society was engaged in.
There are a large number of articles in the newspapers referring to William Dorney, but it does need to be remembered that there was another William in Cork, who was a baptismal sponsor in 1843, and it's not always clear that it is definitely William Joseph that is being referred to.
Several articles refer to a W. Dorney who was present at Burgess meetings in the early 1850s. William Joseph also appears on petitions, many minor court cases, was sworn in on a market jury and was a shareholder at a meeting of the Cork Gas Consumer's Company.
In 1861 there was a fire in Old George's street, in which several people died. William was present when the fire occurred and gave evidence at the inquest, which is included in the Appendix.
William was married to Hannah Barry, and they had five children together, William Joseph in 1853, Edward in 1856 (who later died in 1858), Kate in 1863, Arthur Francis in 1864 (who later died in 1867) and Hannah in 1867.
William's situation took a turn for the worse in 1868. In the start of that year, there were riots in Cork. Several men had been arrested for firing at police, and after their appearance in court the next day a crowd pelted the police van and station with stones. William's shop (referred to as a cigar divan in Australian reports) was damaged in the riot, and he moved to 7 Grand Parade. Later that year Hannah died of premature confinement (a miscarriage). Then, and I imagine this is a result of bankruptcy, his shop and household goods were forcibly auctioned off.
William appears to have emigrated to New York around 1869, and died there in 1881.
He may have been captured in the 1870 US Census, where his occupation was given as Clerk.
He and his eldest son were captured together in the 1880 US Census, but it is not currently known if any of his other children came with him. William's occupation was given as Accountant.
His death certificate gives his age as 50 years and states that he had been living at 241 East 31st Street prior to his admission to hospital.
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