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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Capt. Patrick H. Coney, one of Topeka’s most successful lawyers, is a veteran of the Civil War and during his many years residence in Kansas has fought with relentless vigor for the protection of the rights of the old soldier, his widow and orphans. He was born in Newbury, Vermont, March 10, 1848, and is a son of Luke and Honor Berry (Reddy) Coney.

The genealogy of this family is traceable back to Laogare, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials, a son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland, in A. D. 379.

Luke Coney, father of our subject, was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in 1839, locating in Boston, Massachusetts. Thence he removed a few years later to Vermont, where he met and married Honor Berry Reddy, at White River Junction in 1844. From there they removed to Newbury, Vermont, and in 1850 located in the towns of Macedon and Walworth, Wayne County, New York. Mr. Coney was a hard-working, man, and although at times it was difficult for him to make prosperous headway he was successful in giving his children a common school education. He is now living at the home of his son in Topeka, at the advanced age of 92 years.

Patrick H. Coney worked in boyhood on a farm during the summer months and worked for his schooling during the winters. When 15 years of age, he enlisted in Company H, 111th Reg., New York Vol. Inf. He was detailed as dispatch bearer on the staff of General McDougall, and was later promoted to be orderly dispatch bearer on the staff of Gen. Nelson A. Miles, and served in that capacity up to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. He was transferred June 5, 1865, to Company H. Fourth New York Heavy Artillery, and served until October 5, 1865, when he was honorably discharged at Hart’s Island, New York. He was wounded at Peach Orchard in front of Petersburg, Virginia, on June 16, 1864, which detained him in hospital for 60 days. In November, 1864, he was absent for a period of 15 days to attend the funeral of his mother, who was killed in a railroad accident at Palmyra, New York, on returning home after assisting in the work of caring and providing for the sick and wounded soldiers in the Rochester (New York) hospitals. Captain Coney was in the most important engagements of his regiment in the great Army of the Potomac, from Gettysburg to Appomattox Court House, more than 30 in all, his regiment losing in killed and wounded 412 out of a total of 1,103 men in the fighting line.

After his discharge he returned to his home in Walworth, Wayne County, New York, where he attended the Academy, graduating therefrom in April, 1867. Removing to the “Sunflower” State, April 21, 1867, he lived at Leavenworth until 1881, attaining prominence as a business man, student, writer and publicist. Since that year he has been a resident of Topeka. He founded and published the first exclusively soldier and sailor paper in the West,—the National Banner, which was subsequently merged into the Knight and Soldier and afterwards the Western Veteran. In 1885 he was admitted to the bar at Topeka, and afterwards to the United States District and Supreme courts. He has practiced as a lawyer in all the courts, and in all the departments of the government since making a specialty of pensions and war claims. He has prosecuted and procured the allowance of more pensions for comrades and their widows and orphans than any or all of the attorneys in the entire West. He has been the special, resistless champion of his comrades and their rights, through all trials and tribulations, through good and ill report. It is safe to say, no comrade, his widow or orphan, however poor or desperate the case, ever asked him for assistance in securing his or her just dues and was denied the same. Captain Coney fearlessly and ably exposed the perfidious and false “Cleveland-Lochren” administration and defended his comrades and their widows against the wicked and disloyal assaults on all pension claimants and pensioners. He was first and strongest to arraign the administration of H. Clay Evans, ventilating his conduct of the Pension Office. He pinioned Evans in the most masterly manner, exposing him in detail as no other person dared to do, and he did so at the peril of his extensive practice before the Pension Office and the Interior Department. He successively and successfully arraigned him before Congress and before the national and department G. A. R. encampments, and brought him justly before the bar of public opinion and public justice, thereby forcing him out of the Pension Office in the face of the strongest forces in the nation that were sustaining Evans. Captain Coney and Capt. J. G. Waters brought quo warranto proceedings against the County Board of Shawnee County to compel county boards to technically respect and obey the law for the burial of soldiers, which was favorably decided by the court. He also, with David Overmyer as assistant, instituted the quo warranto proceedings in the Supreme Court against Mayor Bergunthal and the city of Topeka in behalf of H. K. Goodrich to compel compliance with and to test the constitutionality of the “Soldiers’ Preference Law” which was sustained and held to be constitutional for the first time on March 12, 1904. Captain Coney received no compensation for services in either of these cases, in fact they resulted in considerable financial loss to him. It was a labor of love and duty to him, and he fought where others sulked. His voice for over 20 years has been heard, respected and heeded in the national encampments, and he is now the best known, respected and loved comrade of the West, not alone in Kansas but in the national encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Captain Coney has one of the finest libraries in the city of Topeka, and recently received from his close personal friend, Lieut-Gen. Nelson A. Miles, a copy of the latter’s recent book, bearing on the fly-leaf the authors autograph and kind wishes. The library also contains many of the choicest, rarest and costliest publications; among them are genealogies of Irish families and other races.

Captain Coney has always affiliated most actively and prominently with the Republican party and although not an office holder or seeker, he has, since attaining the age of citizenship, been one of the party officials, being chairman of the City and County Central committees of Leavenworth County when only 22 years of age. He was a member of every State convention of his party in Kansas for 34 years, and served more or less in the councils of the party as an officer, delegate, representative or public speaker without compensation or reward during all his public political life. He was president of the Republican Silver League of Kansas.

In the great political campaign of 1884 Captain Coney took a prominent part in support of Blaine and Logan, the standard-bearers of the Republican party. As Blaine was his ideal statesman, and Logan his ideal representative of the volunteer soldier of America, the ticket appealed to him as no other had done since the attainment of his majority. Although the ticket went down in defeat, his interest in the Republican cause did not wane or waver, and in the succeeding campaigns, both national and State, he was active with voice and pen in the defense and dissemination of Republican principles. He helped to turn the tide of Populism in Kansas, to prevent the overthrow of civil government, and to restore the State to the Republican column. In 1888 he canvassed New York for Harrison and Morton, and received the special commendation of the Republican National Committee for his efficient service. For some years thereafter he was closely identified with the Topeka Daily Capital, the leading Republican organ of the State, and provided funds for its operation in every emergency that confronted it, through a period of serious business depression, when it had no political patronage to fall back upon, and the company’s financial resources were inadequate to maintain it. Many other instances might be given of his devotion to the interests of his party and the welfare of his political associates and personal friends. Responding to every call of duty as a citizen, performing much more than the average citizen’s share in public matters, and laboring zealously in every campaign for the advancement of the party and its candidates, Captain Coney has neither held nor sought official position, preferring his home, his books, his business affairs and his private station, to all the fleeting rewards and glories of office.

Captain Coney joined Custer Post, No. 6, G. A. R., at Leavenworth, in 1870, and with others reorganized Lincoln Post, No. 1, of Topeka, in 1881. He organized Rice Post, now Topeka Post, No. 71, G. A. R., and served as its commander. He was elected department commander of Kansas G. A. R. at Parsons, Kansas, May 24, 1905. He is a member of the Irish National Alliance, and has been a stanch advocate and supporter of its movement for an independent government for Ireland. During the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893, he organized, promoted and successfully conducted, as president and general manager, the Lapland Exhibit Company. He is a member of Orient Lodge, No. 51, A. F. & A. M., of Topeka; Capital City Tent, K. O. T. M.; Irish American Historical Society; New England Society of Kansas; State Camp, No. 75, W. O. W.; Capital Lodge, No. 1, Select Knights and Ladies; and U. S. Grant Command, No. 1, U. V. U. All Kansas knows and respects him, for he has “stood up” for this State and her interests and welfare with eloquent voice and pen for more than 38 years.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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