Peter Conley Marries
In 1876, Thomas married Mary Ellen Dempsey, daughter of James and Hannah (Hanley) Dempsey of Crooked Run in Lewis County. Known as “Ellen”, she was the mother of ten children, all born on Posey Run: Mary, born in 1877; Anna, born in 1880; James, born in 1881; Peter, born in 1884; Thomas Jr., born in 1886; Genevieve, born in 1889; John, born in 1889; Patrick, born in 1894; Coleman, born in 1896; and Nell, born in 1898.
Uncle Zeke continued his jibes at Tom’s propensity to puff his pipe in an August 22, 1929 column. “Tom Conley who is a real Irishman and smokes a pipe as strong as horseradish, was recently seen riding in an automobile. What puzzles us is to know whether it was run by the strength of tobacco or gasoline. Anyhow, you could frequently see a puff of smoke from Conley’s pipe as he sped along.”
As they grew older, some of Tom and Ellen’s children eschewed life on the farm for employment in Clarksburg. According to Lawrence Conley, his father Pat Conley, and several uncles, including Jim, John, Coleman, and Thomas all were employed at one time or another at the “tin mill” in Clarksburg. The “tin mill” was the Phillips Sheet and Tin Mill, which later became the renowned Weirton Steel Corporation. Judging from the frequency of their visits home to Posey Run as duly recorded by Uncle Zeke, Tom’s sons welcomed the respite of fresh Posey Run air instead of the polluted Clarksburg air.
The children of Tom and Ellen Conley did their bit for their country during World War I. John served in France during the hostilities and was wounded during the late stages of the war. Patrick also served his country as a member of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Coleman was a late inductee into the war and was still at Camp Meade, awaiting deployment when the war ended.
Left: One of the three Conley boys who served in World War I: John Conley
A New House
In late 1915, Tom set to work with his sons building a spacious two story clapboarded home with a wing on the rear and with two story porches on the main house and the rear wing. Uncle Zeke reported in his January 4th, 1916 column that Tom’s new residence was nearing completion. Since the Philadelphia Gas Company had drilled a gas well on Tom’s property in 1915, the home was well heated during the cold winters of that day with free gas. The home burned in 1992. One of the original foundation stones of the home which was hand cut by Tom Conley from the Conley farm now decorates the front lawn of the Burnsville home of Thelma (Conley) West, daughter of Coleman and Macel (McCauley) Conley. Thelma is the granddaughter of Thomas Conley.
Above Right: The house that Tom and his boys built on Posey Run, long after the family had moved on.
A Reunion and HomecomingBy 1930, Tom and Ellen were approaching eighty years of age and were both in bad health. Their children were far-flung across the country. Jim lived in Oakland, California where he was employed by a railroad, Anna McGaffick lived in Houston, Texas, Genevieve Brice lived in Richwood, Mary Gallagher lived on Three Lick, Nell Shepherd lived in Clarksburg, as did her brothers John, Coleman, Peter, Patrick and Thomas Jr. Tom’s children thought it would be fitting to celebrate their parents’ life while they were still living and arranged for a family reunion, at which Uncle Zeke was an invited guest along with all of their Posey Run neighbors. Uncle Zeke of course took paper and pencil to the reunion to record the festivities.
In his July 3rd, 1930 column, Uncle Zeke paid tribute to his friends and neighbors, Tom and Ellen Conley.
“On last Sunday there was a real homecoming and family reunion at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Conley. Sixty-five persons were present, including eight children, their wives and husbands, twenty-four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Two of the children, Mrs. Mike Brice and Mrs. Al McGaffic, were unable to be present. An infant child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Conley, Jr., thirty-nine days old, was the youngest, and Miss Margaret Gallagher, 77, the oldest person present. The noon hour seemed to be the most attractive and enjoyable hour of the day. A table was spread throughout the length of the dining room which seemed to groan and tremble under its weight of delicious viands of all sorts. After the tempting repast was over and all present seemed to have satisfied appetites, the afternoon was spent in music, games and gab. When old Sol began to drop behind the western slope and people began to think about repairing to their several places of abode, lo and behold, there came a tumultuous uproar, when, to the surprise of all present, there came a mighty rushing of ice cream and watermelon from all directions, and a second time more than half a hundred appetites were appeased. It was a day well spent and everybody present seemed sociable and happy except Pete Conley who was ill from accidentally eating a little too much mutton the evening before; but glad to say before the day was spent Pete was feeling as jubilant and merry as an old sock. No fatalities from overeating have been heard of as yet. But somehow we seem to have a little fear of Johnny Gallagher and Pete Farrell. Now that the pleasure of the day is past, let us hope that the event is so indelibly written on memory’s pages that it will never be forgotten. Mr. and Mrs. Conley, both being in their seventy-sixth year, we hope for them many bright future years. There will be a homecoming and reunion some day in God’s other world, where there will be more joy and gladness in one hour than there would be in a million years. Let us be in readiness for that great day. We hope to meet Mr. and Mrs. Conley and all their children and families over there."
Above, left and right: Some of the many grandchildren Right: Daughters of Pat and Anna Emma (Kreyenbuhl) Conley, Jane, Alice and Irene. Left: Children of Mary and Mike Gallagher in 1912, John, Margaret and Ann Gallagher The Gallaghers lived on Three Lick.
Requiescat in Pace
Tom and Ellen Conley lived a few more quiet years on Posey Run. Ellen was the first to go when she died on May 16th, 1936. Tom lived less than a year, passing on April 21, 1937. They were both buried at St. Bridget’s on Goosepen. Requiescat in pace; rest in peace.
comment 1 by Donna Gloff
Another Tom Conley lived in Braxton County at the same time as Posey Run’s Tom Andrew Conley, born 1856.
A Tom Conley who was born in Preston County in 1853 (parents unknown) married Amanda Wine, daughter of David Smith and Elizabeth (Conrad) Wine and they lived in the town of Dutch. At least one of their children, Thomas Conley born 1878, lived in Orlando. No connection has been found between these two Conley families.
comment 2 by David Parmer
In his June 25, 1931 Buzzardtown News column, Uncle Zeke mentioned that Tom Conley still had his bow-legged walking cane that he got from Grover Foley as difference in a cow swap. Grover Foley at the time was living at Hyre’s Run and was related to Tom through his mother Bridget (Donahoe) Foley Conley.
If any of the descendants of Tom Conley still has the bow legged walking cane, I would appreciate a photo of it.
comment 3 by Donna Gloff
Some believe that Tom, before he married Ellen, had two daughters with Rosena Heater, a neighbor and daughter of pioneers William and Mary (Cogar) Heater before he married Ellen Dempsey: Catherine Bridget and Ann Heater. Right: Rosena Heater
comment 4 by Judy Castro
My husbands grandfather was James Conley from Posey Run. I came across your blog and was thrilled to death at the information you have posted there. My mother in law was Anne Louise Conley, she had 3 sisters Rose, Marie & Peggy, Anne being the youngest.
My husband and our family came back to Posey Run in 1978 and got to see the old house before it burned down. We picked a cousin in Weston who took us to the property. I wondered who we might contact to get some copies of pictures and more info about the Conleys?
Our kids would be thrilled to learn about they family, Anne was so young when they came to Calif that she didn't remember a lot about WV.
Can you let know if there is someone I might contact. Thank you.
comment 5 by Uncle Zeke
Uncle Zeke frequently mentioned his neighbors in the Buzzardtown area which included the families who lived on Posey Run, Road Run, and those who lived on Oil Creek, within throwing distance.
A novel way in which Uncle Zeke referenced his neighbors was to put them in a poem. In his February 12, 1931 column, Uncle Zeke wrote a poem called "A Census in Rhyme," in which he named the neighborhood residents beginning with those who lived at the head of Posey Run and then farm by farm down to the mouth of Posey Run on Oil Creek and then those families who lived on Road Run. Tom Conley and his son Pete are mentioned in this poem.
Census in Rhyme
Arch McHenry, first at the head of the run,
Tom Conley next, full of fun,
Pete Conley next, with much to say
Then comes Taylor Riffle, old and gray.
Wade Mick appears upon the scene,
Next Alva Riffle, though very green,
Gilbert Riffle steps into view
Then Grafton Riffle, tried and true.
Next Ruddle Posey, he comes in,
Then Manly Posey with a little grin,
Brownie Riffle, next we find,
Then Sanford Posey, good and kind.
Next Bill Beckner steps in sight,
Then Ernie Fox with all his might,
Ray Fox comes next to take his stand,
Then Boss Riffle joins the band.
Now comes Fred Riffle, slim and tall,
George Riffle next, both great and small,
Next Ezra Posey, blithe and gay,
Then Burr Skinner steps this way.
Amos Henline next we greet,
Then Walter Blake with his big feet,
Mart Posey next, whom you all know,
Jim Murphy next, though very slow.
Bruce Posey next comes down the pike,
Closely followed by his son, Mike,
Cam Sharp, the pumper, he comes next,
Then Walter Sharp, so easily vexed.
Now comes Glen Sharp with easy tread,
Next Martin Fox, with whiskers red,
Clem Crislip next with lots of cheek,
Next on the list is Uncle Zeke.
Next we find Jack Posey’s name,
Fred Posey next, of fighting fame,
Young Bennett next, whose name is Holt,
Doyle Skinner next, like a frisky colt.
John Posey next, with pipe in hand,
Then next Linn Strader takes the stand,
Next Early Riffle takes his place,
Then Okey Strader with his fat face.
John Strader next, sly as a fox,
Then Floyd Posey, dumb as an ox,
Billy the Newspacker completes the list,
Unless there’s more we may have missed.