O.T. Conway


Among the native sons of Allamakee county who have won success and prominence in agricultural pursuits, carrying forward the work of development which their fathers began in pioneer times is O.T. Conway, owner of five hundred acres of land on section 29, Paint Creek township, a fine property which has been the family homestead for many years. Upon this farm his birth occurred, his parents being James and Rose (Gordon) Conway, natives of County Roscommon, Ireland. The father was born July 17, 1820. The parents were married in 1843, and in the same year emigrated to the United States, settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where they resided until 1847. They then moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and the father obtained employment as a deck hand on a boat on the lower Mississippi river. He was afterward promoted to the position of second mate and acted in that capacity during the terrible epidemic of cholera in 1849. He was at that time on the Red river, and he was often obliged to go ashore between stations in order to bury the dead. These were mostly negroes and Mr. Conway often placed ten in the same grave. He severed his connection with river navigation in 1850 and brought his family to Dubuque, Iowa, he himself coming to Allamakee county and locating one hundred and sixty acres of wild land on section 29, Paint Creek township. In December of the same year his family joined him and all who were old enough aided in the clearing, development and improvement of the homestead. For four years Mr. Conway spent only the winter months on his farm, while during the summer he worked on the upper Mississippi river but eventually took up a permanent residence upon the property. He was one of the first settlers in Paint Creek township and endured all the hardships and trials of pioneer existence, evolving out of the wild and unimproved tract an excellent and productive farm. The years brought him prominence, success and substantial fortune, and he gradually extended the field of his activities to include participation in local political life. He became well known in the ranks of the democratic party and held various important township offices, as well as that of county sheriff. He died upon his homestead in 1895 and was survived by his wife until 1904. To them were born ten children, five of whom are still living, as follows: Mary, the wife of John McErlane, of Paint Creek township; D.B. who resides in Seward, Nebraska; W.P. of York, Nebraska; Rose, the wife of P. Maloney, of Jefferson township; and O.T. of this review. The deceased members of this family are J.J. who died at Sibley, Iowa; J.F. who passed away in Gurshen, Nebraska; Ellen, the deceased wife of James Carroll, of Milbank, North Dakota; and two who died in childhood.

O.T. Conway was reared upon the family homestead and acquired his education in the district schools of Paint Creek township. At an early age he began assisting with the work of the farm and before he was twenty-one was a practical and able agriculturist. After the death of his father he came into possession of the homestead and there he has since carried on general farming and stock-raising, success following his well directed and progressive labors. he married Miss Emma Adams, a native of Clayton county, Iowa, and they have one daughter, Rose Ellen. Mr. Conway is numbered among the substantial and representative farmers of this part of Iowa and among Allamakee county's most progressive and successful native sons. His record is an added credit to a name that has been held in high honor and esteem since pioneer times.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Cathy Joynt-Labath

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