My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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.

* * * *

CYRUS A. CONNER is well and favorably known in various parts of Johnson County, and is now the fortunate possessor of a valuable homestead, comprising two hundred and forty acres on township 46, range 25. He fought in defense of the Union during the late Civil War, and is now a member of Colonel Grover Post No. 78, G. A. R., at Warrensburg. A leader in the local ranks of the Republican party, his friends desired him to run for the position of Judge in this district on one occasion, but he steadfastly refused. He has been the architect of his own fortune, having commenced his business career at the bottom round of the ladder, and has achieved success through his own industrious and persevering efforts.

The paternal grandparents of our subject were Alexander and Elizabeth (Jackman) Conner, natives of Ireland and Virginia, respectively. They moved from their home in Russell County, Ky., to a farm on island No. 10, in the Mississippi River. Mr. Conner was financially well-to-do at the time of his death, which occurred in 1840 on the island, where his wife also departed this life. The maternal grandparents of our subject were Hon. John Wolford and his wife, whose maiden name was Jane Lapsley. They were both born in Albemarle County, Va., and were married in Casey County, Ky. Mr. Wolford was a farmer by occupation, and owned a beautiful country home, where he kept a number of slaves prior to the war. He was a member of the Legislature for about ten years, and for four years represented his district in Congress. His first wife died when Mrs. Conner was only four years old, and he then married Mahala Lane, who died in Casey County. His own death occurred at his old home when he was in his eighty-seventh year. By his first marriage he had the following children: Eleanor, John M., Jacob, James L., Eliza Jane and Emily T. By the second union the following children were born: Franklin L., William, Cyrus, Albert, Elizabeth A., Rachel C., George, Sarah J. and Francis M.

William Conner, our subject’s father, was born in Russell County, Ky., March 19, 1805. His brother Thomas died on a farm near Ft. Scott, Kan., and his brother John also departed this life in the same locality. His sister Lizzie married Samuel Miller, and both are now deceased. Roena became the wife of Samuel Brown, and both have been called to their final rest. Eliza, the youngest, is a resident of Macoupin County, Ill. When William Conner was about nineteen years of age he moved with his parents to Island No. 10, but, not liking it there, he returned to his native state. He engaged in farming in Russell County, and soon afterward married Minerva Hutchison, who died two years later, about 1830, leaving one child. This daughter, Angelica, married Levin Granger, and both she and her husband are now deceased. About two years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Conner married Eliza J. Wolford, who was born January 25, 1812.

After several years of farming in Kentucky, William Conner moved to Missouri, where he had heard there was much good, cheap land. His family came by the Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers and thence up the Missouri, landing here April 17, 1844. After renting a farm for four years, Mr. Conner took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, now the homestead owned by our subject. Later he took up one hundred and sixty acres more, and in 1851 built a good farm house. He made extensive improvements, and at one time owned three hundred and sixty acres. The principal products of his farm were hemp and cotton, for this was before the days of wheat-raising in this section. Wild game was very abundant and included bears, panthers, wolves, wild hogs and deer. One of his hired men was chased by a pack of wolves and did not dare to venture forth from his cabin for several days.

April 24, 1878, Mr. Conner was called to the silent land, leaving a host of friends who still hold his memory dear. He was never an office-seeker, but used his franchise in favor of the Republican party. Of his five sons, James Monroe, born May 26, 1832, married Mary Reed in 1862. He died in December, 1878, and his widow afterward married John Curnutt, of whom a sketch will be found elsewhere in this volume. John Milton, born August 1, 1835, was a diligent student, but was cut short in his life work at the age of twenty-one years, his death occurring on the anniversary of his birth. William Thomas, born in 1841, married for his first wife Adelia Lapsley, from whom he afterward separated, and by whom he had several children; for his second wife he married Mrs. Emma Newland, from whom he is also separated. The lady who now bears his name was formerly Miss Liggett. He is an attorney and prominent real-estate man in Cheyenne, Wyo. Joseph Franklin, born January 1, 1849, married Jennie Budd, of English extraction, and their home is in Sedan, Chautauqua County, Kan., where he holds the office of District Clerk.

Cyrus A. Conner was born in Russell County, Ky., April 24, 1837, and was in his eighth year when he came to Missouri. He assisted his father until he was nineteen years of age, when he began hauling freight for the Government across the plains. With six yoke of oxen he started westward by way of Ft. Laramie and Salt Lake City, passing one winter in Skull Valley, Utah. He spent about three years in the trip, reaching home in August, 1859. The following November he went to Texas and turned his attention to raising stock on a large ranch situated on the boundary line between Collin and Denton Counties. In his three years’ experience there he met with great success, and only left the business in order to enlist in the war. He started home on horseback, and though stopped several times by the Confederate soldiers, arrived safely in the spring of 1862. He planted a crop of corn and tobacco, but gave it to friends and offered his services in the First Missouri Cavalry. Under Captain Peabody and Colonel Ellis, he fought on the frontier until August 30, 1864, at Pea Ridge, when he received a wound which was considered fatal. He recovered from that, however, but was wounded in the side near Little Rock. In a short time he was back in the ranks and fought bravely until the close of the war, being mustered out June 13, 1865, at Little Rock, after nearly three years’ service.

April 19, 1866, Mr. Conner married Mary E. Hess, a native of Ohio, born near Dayton. Her parents, Abraham and Susannah (Reynolds)Hess, after their marriage, lived on a farm in Ohio until the death of the father. His widow subsequently became the wife of David Zumbrun, and shortly afterward moved to this county. The mother died on their farm here, but Mr. Zumbrun’s death occurred in Jewell County, Kan. The only brother of Mrs. Conner was George, who died when about twenty-one years of age. After nearly twenty-five years of happy married life our subject was deprived of his wife’s love and faithful care by death. They were the parents of nine children. William Sherman, born January 27, 1867, married Lizzie Lesh, and is a telegraph operator in western Kansas; Agnes died at the age of four years; Lucy Mabel died in infancy; Elizabeth Ann, born in 1872, married W. L. Bethel, and now lives only a quarter of a mile distant from her father’s home; Arthur A., born in July, 1873, is attending Parkville College, near Kansas City; Lucian Stanley, born December 8, 1876, lives at home, as do the younger members of the family, namely: Mary Louisa, born in 1879; Walter Otto in 1881; and Luther Cyrus, October 2, 1886. April 17, 1892, Mr. Conner married Mrs. Mary M. Wilson, who was born April 3, 1843, in Knobnoster. Her parents, Samuel and Sarah (Walters) Workman, were both born near Hanover, Pa. At an early day they emigrated to Missouri, and in 1839 moved from Howard County to Knobnoster, buying one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which the town now stands, and which was laid out by Mr. Workman. He lived there until his death, January 4, 1889, and his wife survived him only a year and a-half, dying June 20, 1890. Mrs. Conner is one of eight children, and of the others we note the following: Rebecca died in her sixth year; Eliza A. became the wife of Thomas Cooksey, of Oklahoma; Sarah J. married Aaron Weidman, a retired citizen of Knobnoster; Walter A., who married Myra Hague, is now engaged in farming in Illinois; Samuel E. is a real-estate and insurance man of Knobnoster, and his wife was formerly Fannie Garrison; William J. first married Katie Elbert, then Emma Wells, and his present wife was formerly Mrs. Lulu Oliphant; their home is near Ashland, Kan.; and James Madison, a successful physician of Woodward, Okla., married Sadie Brown, of Indiana.

For two years after his second marriage, Cyrus Conner lived in Knobnoster, having turned his farm over to his children for the time being. Ever since then he has conducted his own farm, which he purchased from the other heirs of his father’s estate. About two hundred acres of this are under cultivation, corn, wheat and hay being the principal products. Mr. Conner is a believer in the future of clover, and claims he can make more money raising clover seed than he can from wheat crops. He lost a large sum by the burning of the mill in Knobnoster, in which he had stored an immense quantity of wheat.

On account of the wound which he received during the war, Mr. Conner now draws a pension of $12 a month. His fortune has been made entirely since the war, as when he left the service he did not have a dollar. A man in favor of good schools and teachers, he served for several years as a School Director, but aside from that has never held public office. For about fifteen years he has been a member of Sandstone Lodge, A. O. U. W., of Knobnoster. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of that place, and are ever active in religious and benevolent work.

* * * *

This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.