Grand Pockets’s Blog

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The Conaways of Marion and Tyler Counties, West Virginia, part 1


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Thomas Conaway of Conaway Manor, a son of Baron John and Mahala Conaway, was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, May 4, 1612. In 1638 he became a barrister. He married Mariah Tanney and their children were Thomas, born on September 4, 1640, James in 1642, Mary in 1644, Patrick in 1651, and John in 1654.

Thomas went to Cheshire about seven miles from Chester, England, in 1672. In 1666 he married Ann, daughter of Issac and Elizabeth Hale. Their children were John, Joseph, born October 12, 1669, Samuel, Jeremiah, Mahala, Elizabeth and Ruth. Joseph married Sarah Birch in 1624 and their children were James, Joseph and John, who married Mariah Wentworth, and one daughter.

James Conaway, born in Chester, England, in 1698, married Elizabeth Shipley in 1717 and their children were Thomas, born in 1719, Jeremiah, and Mary. This family sailed from Liverpool on the Grey Swan June 11, 1732, and landed at New City Point, Prince George County, Virginia, July 27.

John, son of Thomas, married Frances Sinah Spann, and their son Thomas married Dorothy Fleming, and their children were Thomas, born March 3, 1775, died February 14, 1824, and is buried at Farmington, in the Willey Cemetery, John Spann, born October 16, 1762, and died 1841, Jeremiah, and Joseph killed by Indians when young in the Flintstone Hills, near Cumberland, Maryland. Thomas married Sarah, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Davis Dew of Hampshire County, Januarv 9, 1783. She was descended from Roderick the Great, King of All Wales whose son Howell Dhu the Good, died in 947. Samuel Dew was Sheriff of Hampshire County in 1769. His second wife was Betsy Ann Lewis. John Conaway, Commonly known as John Spann Conaway, married Rachel, daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Heath Willison and granddaughter of Cornelius Willison of Cumberland Maryland, in 1780. The will of Thomas Conaway, their father, is recorded at Bedford, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and dated 1784. He went there from Hampshire County in 1760. He is

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buried at Bean’s Cove in Cumberland Valley Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Both were soldiers of the Revolution and after their discharge, went from Bedford to Monongalia, now Marion County,

where Thomas settled at Piney Grove; near Barrackville, Marion County and John on the site of the present Fairmont Hotel in Fairmount, then Middletown. He bought lot 37 from Boaz Fleming, August 9, 1820 for $100.00 and sold it to William B. Fleming, March 29 1826, for $125.00 with a house on it. He also bought lot 50 from Daniel Folelly [last name unreadable], September 25, 1833, for $15.00 and sold it to William B. Fleming for the same price. John and Charles Conaway owned a tract in Buffalo Creek in and before 1822. It adjoined the land of William Ice. He died in 1791. He is buried in the Katy Clelland Cemetery. Iva Shrieve and husband, Benjamin, sold their interest in the William Ice land to John Conway. Charles and Elizabeth, his wife, and Eli and Mary, his wife, were witnesses in the William Ice land suit, also John Conaway. I have been able to trace the Conaways of Tyler County from County Antrim, Ireland, by way of England, to Monongalia County of West Virginia, then Virginia. It should be noted that Monongalia County was formed in 1776 from the District of West Augusta, Virginia. Harrison County was formed in 1784 from part of Monongalia and Marion County in 1842 from parts of Monongalia and Harrison.

The children of Thomas and Sarah Dew Conaway were:

1. Jeremiah, born March 15, 1785; he married Mary Brown and both are buried at Basnettville, Marion County; their son, Thomas, settled on the Hughes River and his descendants are still living in Ritchie County;

2. Samuel, born December 25, 1787; he married Eleanor Ice;

3. Daniel, born April 25, 1789, who was a soldier in the War of 1812; he married Phoebe See, daughter of Adam; second wife was Mariah Streight;

4. Mary E., born May 28, 1791, died March 15. 1875; she is buried at Spring Hill;

5. Elizabeth, born February 25, 1793; she married Charles Conaway, her cousin, second son of John and Rachel Willison Conaway, and died in Little Rock, Arkansas;

6. Eli, who died June 13, 1851, aged fifty-four years, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was discharged at Morgantown March 4, 1815; his first wife was Mary, daughter of Nicholas and Judy Kendall Baker of near Mannington, and her grandfather was from Denmark; Joshua Baker was of this family;

7. Andrew Dew, born September 15, 1799. He married Rebecca Luman and died December 23, 1861, aged 52 years, 3 months and 20 days;

8. Sarah, born July 18, 1803, married a Yost of Marion County and lived and died in Ohio;

9. John, born February 14,1805; married Esther Baker and then Millie Moore; their son was Doctor Joshua B. Conaway of Bristol, Harrison County; also Andrew Jackson, lawyer of Silver Cliff, Colorado, and Charles H., Methodist minister, and grandson, Wyckliffe M. Conaway, lawyer of Clarksburg; and Charles Harvey, born October 15, 1808 and died May 29, 1895. He married Mary Polson;

10. Polly married John Hogue of Allegheny County, Maryland.

Andrew Dew and Charles H. Conaway came from Marion to Tyler County. John Ripley sold 139 acres to Andrew D. Conaway on Bond’s Upper Run, later known as Conway’s in Centerville District, in 1832. Charles H. Conaway bought 165 acres and 83 poles on Middle Island Creek, near and above Joseph’s Mill and the March Mill, on Route 18, from Thomas Wells and Drusilla, his wife, in 1852. His descendants still own and occupy this farm. At the time of his death, Andrew D. Conaway owned 317 acres and 2 rods and 17 poles. This land is situated not far from the Fairview Methodist Church. After his death, it was owned by Thomas Conaway, his son, and one time by Caleb R. Riggs and Nancy Conaway Riggs, his wife. Both Andrew D. and Charles H. Conaway are buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery near Joseph’s Mill. The children of Andrew D. and Rebecca Luman Conaway were: Alpheus, Eli, Thomas, Lewis, Nancy and Theresa.

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Eli Conaway went from Marion County, Virginia, to Monroe County, Ohio, after he married Mary Baker. In 1837 he came to Tyler County and bought 135 acres and 149 poles from John Barker and 50 acres from James Morris Smith on Middle Island Creek, across and below Joseph’s Mill. In 1858 this farm was sold by his heirs to Zephaniah B. Riggle. Berkeley Smith, son of John M. Smith, grandson of James Morris Smith, and great-grandson of John and Mary Morris Smith, now lives on this farm. Mary Morris was the daughter of Reverend Isaac and Ruth Henton Morris. John Smith was born in Wales in 1775.

By 1852 three sons of Thomas and Sarah Dew Conaway – Andrew D, Charles H., and Eli – had thus settled in Tyler County. The children of Eli and Mary Baker Conaway were Austin, of California, Evans, of Bridgeport, Ohio, Silas, of Ravenswood, West Virginia, Joshua A., William, who lived in Mannington, married Jane Furbee and their children were

1. Sallie, wife of Absalom Pritchard,

2. Lelia, wife of Thornton Keen,I think that Lelia Conaway married Thornton Fleming KOEN. They lived in Mannington, WV and their son Homer moved to Wheeling and then Denver, Gena Wagaman and

3. Abbie, wife of David Kohler,

4. Priscilla, who married Caleb Wells on November 30, 1848, and their daughter was Mary Ruffner Dobbins of 37 Alpine Terrace, San Francisco, California,

5. Thomas B., who married Mary Ann Smith, March 22, 1865, daughter of Issac,

6. Andrew, who married Mariah Smith, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Smith, Sadie, daughter of Andrew and Mariah Smith Conaway, married James M. Wells and their children are Ollie, Grace, Maude, and Alma and Matilda, who married James Henthorn in Monroe County, Ohio, August 20, 1837, Eli Henthorn, son of James and Matilda, was a Colonel in the Civil War while Eli Leslie Long, State Treasurer, was a grandson of Matilda and James. Martha, wife of L. H. Long, Tillie, wife of George M. Baker, and Mary A., wife of Eli B. Long and Parthenia, wife of Frank P. Baker, were daughters of Matilda. Thaddeus and Jan. Henthorn were children of Mary A., generally called Sis. Mary Baker Conaway preceded her husband in death and is buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery. Her monument says she died April 11, 1840, age 41 years. Eli Conaway is also buried at Spring Hill. Frank P. Bakers’ daughter was Mamie.

Parthenia Morris Wells was the second wife of Eli Conaway, they being married on December 22, 1840. They had two children,

  1. Charles I., born October 11, 1844, and
  2. Eli B. Conaway, born May 12, 1848. Eli B. married Mary E. Smith, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Smith, on April 13, 1876. Their children are
    • Fred M., married Ida Reppard, daughter of Henry and Rachel Stathars Reppard.
    • Austin 0., married to Camilla Moore, daughter of Archie and granddaughter of Israel Moore and John M. Smith.
    • Edna , married to K. C. Moore and their children are Richard C., who married Caroline, daughter of A. Brooks Fleming, and Virginia. Their daughter is Diana.
    • Elizabeth, married Harvey B. Raiguel.

Eli B. Conaway was educated at Poughkeepsie, New York, Miami College of Medicine at Cincinnati, Ohio, and at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsvylania. Among his fellow students were Samuel V. Woods, Waitman T. Willey, Francis H. Pierpoint and William McKinley, President of the United States. From his graduation until his death in 1916, he was busily and successfully engaged in the practice of medicine in Cantorville. His son, Austin O., lives in his father’s home and continues the practice of medicine in his father’s office. Both have rendered faithful service to their fellow men. If not rewarded in this world there will surely be much to their credit in the next. Will there be a third Doctor Conaway in that town?

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Charles I. Conaway married Elizabeth Virginia Stealey on April 15, 1866, in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Their children were:

1. Eli, who died in childhood

2. Parthenia, who never married

3. Maude B., married to Creed L. Morris, son of William and Mary Flesher Morris, and their children were:

· Russell C.,who never married

· Maude B., who never married

· Mary who married Lowell Z. Evans and lives at Delaware, Ohio

4. William R., married Hattie, daughter of Marion and Jennie Workman Wilcox of Iuka, Tyler County, and their children are:

· Charles M., Charles is editor of the Akron, Ohio, edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

· Lelia, who married Herbert Cooley

· Louise, who married A. W. McNeal

· John D.

· William Howard

· Robert

5. Thomas C., who never married

  1. Orrin Bryte, married Maude K., daughter of Joseph Schneider and Frances Kramer Carpenter of Middlebourne. They had two children:

Helen Keller, who died when eight years of age, and

Orrin Bryte, Jr., who married Ann Hardman Theiss, daughter of W. Henry and Margaret Hardman Theiss, and granddaughter of O. W. O. and Lydia Ann Peterson Hardman. Their child is Charles Orrin Conaway.

7. F.Guy, married Alice, daughter of Issac Curry of Webster Springs. Their children are:

· Charles Issac, now deceased, who married Louise Ferrell, Louise Ferrell Conaway is editor of the West Virginia Law Quarterly

· James.

8. Max,

  1. Archie Rue, married Lula, daughter of Lemuel and Jane Fordyce Tallman. Their children are:

· Enid

· Vivian,

· Genevieve,

· Edward,

· Eugene

· Thomas

10. May, who died young,

Parthenia Morris, second wife of Eli Conaway, was from Kanawha County and descended from people important in the early history of Virginia and West Virginia. On one side she was descended from William Morris who was born in England in 1722 and came first to Philadelphia. In 1744 he lived in Culpepper County, Virginia, where he married Elizabeth Stapp, In 1774 he arrived in Kanawha County and founded Cedar Grove at the mouth of Kelly’s Creek, head of navigation on the Kanawha River. Thera he built a Baptist Church and a school house. He was the first permanent white settler in the great Kanawha Valley and his was the first will recorded in Kanawha County.

William Morris was the father of eight sons and two daughters. His son Joshua, a soldier of the Revolution, married Francis Simms of Orange County, Virginia. Another, son, William, a major in the Revolutionary War, married Catherina Carroll, a descendant of Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, of Carrollton and Homewood, Maryland. Carroll Morris, son of Major William, married Frances See and Parthania was their daughter. Adam and Michael Frederick See came to Pennsylvania from Prussian Silesia, Germany, in 1734. From Pennsylvania they went to Hardy County, Virginia, in 1745. Adam See went from Hardy to Greenbrier County in 1860. He had several daughters and one son, George. George See had five sons and four daughters. William Morris was of the same family as Robert Morris, financier, Lewis Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independance, Robert Hunter,

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Morris, Colonial Governor of Pennsylvania, Governor Morris and Captain Roger Morris, associate of Washington in the French and Indian War. Levi Morris of the same family took up land around Montgomery, West Virginia, in 1770. He later went there from Alex­andria, Virginia, by mule and built the first residence in the present Montgomery. In 1774, Leonard Morris, also of the same family, made a permanent settlement at Marmet, then called Brownstown. Bishop Thomas Ashbury Morris of the Methodist Church was born there April 28, 1794. He was elected Bishop in 1836 and died September 2, 1874. Among the reminders of William Morris are Morris Memorial Methodist Church in Kanawha City, Morris Memorial Hospital at Milton and Morris Harvey College.

Parthenia Morris was also a descendant of Joseph Ruffner, son of Peter, born in Switzerland, married Mary Steinman in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and was a large land owner on Hampshire Creek near Luray in 1739, who went from the Shenandoah Valley in search of ore lands to Charleston, alone on horseback, in 1795. At Clifton Forge, on Jackson’s River, he bought from Colonel John Dickinson a survey of 502 acres at mouth of Campbell’s Creek, including the salt spring there, for 600 pounds, sterling. At his death, at the age of 63, in March, 1803, he owned up the valley from the mouth of Elk for three miles. He left his estate to his sons, David, Joseph, Tobias, Daniel, Abraham and Samuel. They were the founders of Maiden and the sail industry there. The Reverend Henry H. Ruffner, founder of the Presbyterian Church in the Kanawha Valley in 1816, President of Washington and Lee University and spokesman for the western Virginia counties on slavery, was also a descendant of Joseph. Some members of the family are buried on the Boulevard just west of the Capitol in Charleston.

Parthenia’s first husband was Absalom Wells who was born November 1, 1795. He died November 9, 1837, and is buried in the northeast corner of Beechwood Cemetery. He was the son of William, younger brother of Charles Prather Wells, and Catron Selman Wells, of Baltimore. William Wells was the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Prather Wells. I descend from William and Catron SELLMAN WELLS. William was my 3rd great grandfather and HIS parents were Benjamin & Temperance BUTLER WELLS, not Alexander & Elizabeth Prater WELLS. Thank you, Becky Cole
And Wellsburg, founded December 7, 1791, was named for Alexander Wells, who was the son-in-law of Charles Prather. William Wells came to Tyler in 1802. He bought 200 acres from John Caldwell in 1801 and 585 acres from Ninian Beall in 1803 and 40 from Valentine Buckly in 1803, and 200 acres frcm John See in 1806, and 214 acres from Thomas Wells in 1810. Charles P. Wells, born in Baltimore on April 6, 1745, came to Ohio County in 1775 and to Tyler in 1812. Benjamin, John, Thomas, Charles, Amon, Joshua and Caleb brothers of Absalom, and Ruth and Edith were his sisters. Benjamin married Mary Ruffner of Kanawha County; Caleb, Drusilla Ivers; Amon, Christene McKay; William, Priscilla Ireland; Edith, William Inghram. Twelve children were born to William Wells, Catron Sellman Wells, buried at Stonehurst, being the mother of ten-, and Margaret Ankrom Wells, the mother of two, they being Amanda and Oliver Phelps. John Catron was a member of the Supreme Court.

Benjamin Wells married Mary Ruffner of Charleston, March 21, 1821, and their children ware James, Selmon and Selman B. Wells of Bens Run, Tyler County. Charles and Elizabeth Prathar Wells were the parents of Eli Wells, who married Nancy Neff and their child was Ephriam, who married Elizabeth R Paden and their daughter Blanche S. married

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John Kinkaid. Nicholas, son of Charles Prather Wells, married Rachel Witten and their son was Phillip W., who married Mercy Pickering Hickman, daughter of David, in 1854. Their daughter Blanche Hickman Wells is the second wife of Creed L. Morris. Lewellyn W. Wells is a son of James S. Wells and Russell was a son of Selman B. Wells, Caleb Wells married Priscilla Conaway, November 30, 1848, and Benjamin Wells Jr., married Theresa Conaway, February 15, 1850. Their sons, Alpheus and Emery, lived and died in Pennsboro. His sister was Mary Ruffner Wells.

The first Wells to appear in English History was Richard, who sailed from Normandy with William the Conqueror, in 1066, fought at Hastings, and was rewarded with a manor in Dorsetshire, England. Gideon Wells of Connecticut was in Lincoln’s Cabinet. Henry Wells of New York was the founder of Wells Fargo Express and Wells College on Lake Cayuga at Aurora, New York. Most famous, however, was H. G. Wells, the English philosopher.

The children of Absalom and Parthenia Morris Wells were Caroline, who married James Nesbitt of Sardis, Ohio, in October 14, 1845; Susan, John S., who married Lucy, daughter of Lemuel M. Wells, in 1866, Thomas, who married Mary Ann Smith, April 22, 1852, and their children were: David, John and Thomas, and Mary Ann, who married Daniel Cosgray Sweeney.

The children ef James and Caroline were Martha, who married Charles Wells; Elizabeth, who married Reuben Richardson; Sue, Margaret., Luella, who married William Webb; Parthenia, who married Frederick Theiss; James Douglas, Evelyn, Jonathan, who married Rena Myers; and Dora Anna, who married Walter Douglas More. James Patton Nesbitt was a son of Jonathan and Elizabeth Patton Nesbitt. The Nesbitts and Pattons were early Wheeling families. Among many others there is Frank W. Nesbitt, formerly a circuit judge. The Nesbitts are English and the Pattons are Irish. Elizabeth Patton was a cousin to Betty Zane. The Nesbitts are closely related to Lord Wellington and fought under him at Waterloo. Many of the Patton and Nesbitt relics and heirlooms are owned by Dora Nesbitt Moore at Sardis, including a gun used in the battle of Waterloo. Issac Patton, the pioneer, settled on the military road from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, a little west of Chamberburg, before Braddock’s defeat.

In 1752 Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia commissioned Joshua Fry of Albermarle County and Lunsford Lomax and Colonel James Patton of Augusta County to procure the ratification of the Treaty of Lancaster with the Indians. This treaty greatly concerned the rights of the Enqlish in the Ohio Valley and was negotiated by them with the Indians at Logstown on the Ohio River, 18 miles below Pittsburgh, James French Patton was Supreme Judge in West Virginia in 1881. Of all the Nesbitt and Patton relatives, however, the most famous is general George Smith Patton of the Second World War. His father lived in and about Charleston, West Virginia. Lemuel A. of Hartford, Pike County, Missouri, who married Mary E., daughter of James Walton and Nellie Parton Higginbotham, is the only son of John S. Wells, Captain, Confederate States Army. His children are Mary V., Nettie A., Lucy E., Dora F., Lemuel A., and Jimmie.

The children of Daniel Cosgray and Mary Ann Wells Sweeney were Eli A., who married Louise Bandi of New Martinsville; John D., who



  1. Charles Harvey Conaway Born October 15 1801, I have listed as a son of Thomas Conaway and Sarah Dew. Do you have the same data? I am most interested in Charles Conaways wife. Mary Hoult Poleston, Polston Polson Poulson. Her father John Poleston etc….. Born abt 1793 married Elizabeth Hoult. My 3rd Great Grandfather. Any data on that would most helpful.
    Thank You Cynthia

    Comment by C A Wren | February 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. This is a correction on the WELLS line. You stated.”Parthenia’s first husband was Absalom Wells who was born November 1, 1795. He died November 9, 1837, and is buried in the northeast corner of Beechwood Cemetery. He was the son of William, younger brother of Charles Prather Wells, and Catron Selman Wells, of Baltimore. William Wells was the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Prather Wells…”
    I descend from William and Catron SELLMAN WELLS. William was my 3rd great grandfather and HIS parents were Benjamin & Temperance BUTLER WELLS, not Alexander & Elizabeth Prater WELLS.
    Thank you,

    Comment by Becky Cole | April 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Correction noted, This is a book excerpt from Orrin Bryte Conaway “The Conaway’s of Marion and Tyler County, WV”. I added your noite to append the William Wells parentage.

      Comment by Grandpockets | November 11, 2011 | Reply

  3. I think that Lelia Conaway married Thornton Fleming KOEN. They lived in Mannington, WV and their son Homer moved to Wheeling and then Denver, Colorado.

    Comment by Gena Wagaman | September 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Gena, I’ve appended your remark into the record. Thank you for your input!

      Comment by Grandpockets | November 11, 2011 | Reply

  4. I’m trying to find what happened to my great-grandfather, Daniel Amos Price, who married John Conway’s daughter Lavina on 19 Jul 1868. Lavina died 16 May 1929 in Jackson County, WV and is buried at Drift Run Cemetery at Sandyville, WV. Lavina and Daniel Amos Price are the parents of my grandmother, Marilla Virginia Price Conger. Thank you…

    Comment by Paul Conger | February 28, 2011 | Reply

  5. I am intereested in a Philip Heinrich Metz, father of Jacob Metz and Ada Catharine Hackman who married Sophia Sherer in Bermany prior to 1714. Directions indicated your blog referred to these two indivdiuals but have been unable to locate them. The Metz family eventually settled in Metz, WV (Marion Co.) and later descendants moved to Ritchie Co. WV I would be a 9XGGD to Philip if I have it figured correctly. Thak you for any help you may provide

    Comment by Pat hardin | October 11, 2011 | Reply

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