Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tribute to John W. Conway

Newspapers are a wonderful source of information. Especially valuable are obituaries or tributes to people who died where there were no local newspapers. The following tribute for a Union County, Kentucky resident was printed in the 14 January 1904 issue of the Crittenden Press, which was published weekly at Marion, Kentucky. The tribute is very long and has been abstracted for use here.

Thursday evening, Dec. 17th, 1903, at 7:45 o’clock, at my old home, Father fell asleep in Jesus.

The Lord blessed Father with noble ancestors. He was of Welsh descent. For generations back our ancestor have been good and noble people. I have heard grandfather John Conway say that his ancestor fought under Oliver Cromwell. Grandfather had five brothers, I think, who fought through the revolutionary war. I heard him say he was the youngest son, and was 11 when the battle of Yorktown was fought, and saw Cornwallis’ army as Washington and Lafayette marched them through his father’ plantation. They lived in Fauquier county, Virginia.

Grandfather was a good man, used to preach sometimes. Nearly 110 years ago he with his wife, newly married, and an old family servant and her child crossed the Allegheny mountains on horseback and came to the wilds of Kentucky - finally settling in Trimble County, Kentucky, in the hills 3 miles south of Madison, Indiana. There on a small, rather unproductive farm he raised a large family, five sons and two daughters, named William, Polly, John, Peter, Thomas, James, Mary. In 1812 he buried his wife and two small children in the same grave. He was left in a howling wilderness with seven small children, the oldest 16. No stores, no factories, no steamboats then.

It was in 1812 my mother saw the first steamboat that came down the Ohio river (a sorry affair). Grandfather had to raise flax, spin and weave the flax for clothing. Deer were abundant and he used their skins for pants and shoes, and raccoon skins for hats.

One of these seven children came to Union County, Kentucky and settled near Morganfield, Thomas Conway, the father of John W. Conway, the subject of this tribute. His mother was Cornelia Connell. My father was born Oct. 14, 1844. He was the only son of a large family. Grandfather was well known by the former citizens of Union County, and they showed to him their high regard in many ways. He was elected sheriff of the county several times and represented the people for three terms in the State Legislature.
He was a firm Baptist and a man of noble mould.

In 1870 father was happily married to Miss Barbara Ann Davenport, a daughter of Abram Davenport. Twelve children blessed this delightful union. All of the children (but two infants) and the loving mother survive the death of father. Their names are as follows: T.A. Conway, a minister; Dr. Jno. W. Conway; Berry L. Conway; Mrs. Oth McMurry; children at home: Maggie, Bettie, Hugh, Barbara, Joe and Hal. All are christians but Hal, and he is young.

Papa loved the farm. Well do I remember reading him James Whitcomb Riley’s famous poem on the Clover. He loved his stock - cattle, hogs and horses. How lonesome Bettie, his horse, looks; the pigeons he fed each morning and that lighted on his shoulders, oh! how lonesome; his favorite dog seems to have given up as he lies and waits for his master. His life on earth is over. We miss him and our hearts are torn and bleeding, but the will of God be done.

No comments: