Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of
Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


DAVID CONN. The original founder of the family of Conn on American soil was William Conn, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, who was born in Ireland and came to this country with his family in 1787, settling in Butler County, Pa. In the section in which they settled, Indians abounded, but he and his family were not molested, and they continued to prosper until they were the owners of a large farm of 600 acres, all of which was in one body and which was eventually divided among their children, Joseph, Robert, William, and five daughters whose names are not remembered. William Conn was a member of the Seceder Church, was of a deep religious nature, and was honored and respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. His son Joseph was born in Ireland in 1787, and was six weeks old at the time of his parents' removal to this country in his youth he was given such educational advantages as could be obtained at that time, and upon reaching manhood became the owner of 200 acres of land from his parent's estate, upon which he spent the remainder of his days in healthful, congenial, and profitable occupation. He was first united in marriage to Miss Nancy _____, by whom he became the father of five children: Robert, John, Betsey, Nancy, and one that died in early childhood. After the death of the mother of these children, Mr. Conn took for his second wife, Miss Elizabeth Ferguson, the daughter of David Ferguson, an Englishman, and a family of eight children were given them: Ferguson, Clara A., Joseph, David, William, Eli, Margaret J., and James, all of whom were born on the old home farm in Pennsylvania. Joseph Conn lived to be sixty-four years of age, and like his worthy father before him was an earnest and worthy member of the Seceder Church. In him was imbued a deep affection for the land of his adoption, which led him to take up arms in her defense during the War of 1812-14, and he afterward adjusted the difficulties of the people of his section for two terms while serving in the capacity of justice of the peace. He was an industrious, intelligent, and successful farmer, and at the time of his death, in 1851, was in good circumstances, possessed of an ample amount of worldly goods. He always supported the principles of the Republican party after the breaking up of the Whig party. David Conn, the subject of this sketch, was born on his parent's farm in Pennsylvania, November 8, 1831, and was given such education as the schools of his day afforded. He learned the details of farm work thoroughly in his youth, for that branch of human endeavor was agreeable to his tastes, and to it he decided to devote his lifelong attention. In Butler County, Pa. he was married on the 24th of June, 1858, Elizabeth, daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth (Hillyard) Chambers, becoming his wife. She is descended from an Old Colonial New Jersey family, and David Chambers the father of Lewis, was one of the early settlers of the Keystone State. He was a successful and wealthy merchant of Harrisville, Pa., and purchased each of his children a good farm in Butter County. He lived to the advanced age of ninety-nine years, and upon departing this life, left an untarnished name, as well as a goodly property, as a heritage to his children. To Lewis Chambers a family of eight children were given: Thomas, Lydia, Daniel, Hillyard, John, James, and Margaret, all of whom were reared on their father's fine farm of 250 acres. On this estate Lewis Chambers died when over seventy years of age, a respected and highly honored citizens and a devout member of the Methodist Church for over sixty years of his life. After his marriage David Conn settled on the old home farm, where he, on the 9th of August, 1862, enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Regiment Volunteer Infantry, and during the great civil strife was in the service of his country for nearly two years. He was elected and commissioned second lieutenant, and was in the engagements at Fredericksburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville, in a number of skirmishes during the Burnside expedition, and was in the Battle of the Wilderness. During his entire service he was neither sick nor wounded, although on various occasions his clothing was pierced by bullets, this being especially the case at Chancellorsville and Antietam. He was honorably discharged from the service in January, 1861, and the following year he came to Oil City, Mo., where he began prospecting for oil. In 1866 he brought his family to Greene County, Mo. where they arrived on the lst of September. For four years thereafter, Mr. Conn farmed on Kickapoo Prairie, but in 1873 came to his present farm on Grand Prairie, which consists of about 200 acres of well tilled and fertile land. He is decidedly practical in his views, energetic by nature, and correspondingly prosperous in all his ventures. A good old fashioned family of fourteen children have been given to himself and wife, seven sons and seven daughters: Almeda M., Ida E., Milo C., Harry A., Edith M. (who died at the age of seven years), Lydia A., Almina M., Lewis O., Newton, Oscar O., Lizzie C., David S., Maggie A., Marshall S., and Rufus A. D. Mr. Conn has always been a Republican of considerable influence and is a member of Brookline Post of the G. A. R., in which he has been officer of the day for the past two years. He is very favorably known throughout Greene County and has reared a large family to honorable manhood and womanhood, all of whom are well settled in life except the four youngest. Daniel Chambers, the grandfather of Mrs. Conn, was the father of sixteen children by one wife, who lived to be about seventy years of age.

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