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Stephen Conklin Sr. (1721-1791) and
Deborah Dimon
(1724-1774)

 

Stephen Conklin Sr. was born on or about Sept. 2, 1721 in Easthampton, Long Island, NY, the son of William and Ruth (Hedges) Conkling Sr. He was baptized on Sept. 3, 1721.

Deborah Dimon, his wife, was born in about 1724, was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Davis) Dimon. She was baptized on Feb. 23, 1724.

The couple was wed on Sept. 3, 1747, when he was age 25 and she 23.

Their nine known children were Climena Ayrs, William Conkling, Stephen Conkling Jr., Ruth Whitaker, Mary Runyon, Capt. John J. Conklin, Isaac Conkling, Abraham "Abram" Conkling and Deborah Seward.

 

Road between Morristown and Newe Windsor, NJ, 1700s. Library of Congress

 

 

Book profiling Stephen and Deborah

The newlyweds' first home was in Easthampton. About five or six years into the marriage, in 1752 or 1753, the couple took their young children in tow and moved to New Jersey. They settled in Morris County, NJ, where Stephen was considered a "freeholder" -- someone who held title to real property. There, in 1755, he joined the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, where he was elected as a trustee.

During the American Revolutionary War, Stephen served in a state militia. More about this military activity will be added here once learned.

Deborah was the first to die, on Aug. 23, 1774, at the age of 49.

Stephen survived for another 17 years. He lived to see the announcement of the Declaration of Independence and the colonists' victory over English forces during the American Revolution.

At the age of 70 years and six days, he surrendered to death at home on Sept. 8, 1791.

The ashes of both rest for eternity in the cemetery of First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, NJ.

In 1913, Stephen posthumously was featured in the book The Conklings in America (Chas. H. Potter & Co., Inc., Washington, DC). The profile said that his grave marker consisted of a "headstone or memorial tablet [which] is of a reddish brown color, and is in a good state of cultivation, is about thirty-three inches in height, twenty-four inches in width, and about one and one-half inches in thickness." The inscription on his marker read as follows:

 

Sacred

to the Memory of

Stephen Conkling, Sen.,

Who Departed This Life Sept. 8, 1791,

Aged 70 Years and 6 Days

The glorious God thou didst love and fear

And to His sacred Word adhere,

Faithful in thy Savior's cause was ever seen

In Church and State a useful member been.

 

~ Daughter Climena (Conkling) Ayrs ~

Daughter Climena Conkling was born on June 30, 1748 in Easthampton, Long Island, NY. When she was a young girl, she moved with his parents to Morris County, NJ.

When she was age 25, on Nov. 22, 1773, she was united in matrimony with Josiah Ayrs ( ? - ? ), a native of Basking Ridge, Somerset County, NJ.

Two children born to this mae were Stephen Ayrs and Deborah Ayrs.

 

~ Son William Conkling ~

Son William Conkling (1749-1803) was born on Oct. 22, 1749 in Easthampton, Long Island, NY. In young boyhood he moved with his parents to Morris County, NJ.

He was joined in wedlock with Rebecca Whitaker ( ? - ? ), daughter of Jonathan Whitaker of Minebrook, Morris County, NJ.

The Conklings settled in Basking Ridge, Somerset County, NJ.

They became the parents of Phoebe Conkling, Stephen Conkling, Jonathan Conkling, Mary Littell, William Conkling, Joseph Conkling, Isaac Conkling and Nathaniel Conkling.

William reputedly died on Valentine's Day 1803, as recorded in the 1913 book The Conklings in America.

Daughter Phoebe Conkling (1779- ? ) was born on Sept. 29, 1779.

Son Stephen Conkling (1782- ? ) was born on Feb. 3, 1782. He was twice-wed. His first bride was Sally Coriell ( ? - ? ). His second spouse was Catherine Taylor ( ? - ? ).

Son Jonathan Conkling (1783- ? ) was born on Oct. 28, 1783. He entered into marriage with Apha Colie ( ? - ? ).

Daughter Mary Conkling (1785- ? ) was born on Oct. 7, 1785. On May 6, 1809, she wedded John Littell (Nov. 28, 1779- ? ), son of Nathan Littell of New Providence. Ten children were born to the couple. John authored the book First Settlers of Passaic Valley, 1852. He "served his country in a number of official positions and was a man of honor and more than ordinary ability," said the book The Conklings in America.

Son William Conkling (1787- ? ) was born in 1787. He married but did not reproduce.

Son Joseph Conkling (1789- ? ) was born on Nov. 28, 1789. He was united in matrimony with Sarah Hall ( ? - ? ), daughter of Richard Hall. If the couple bore children together, the names are not known.

Son Isaac Conkling (1792- ? ) was born on Jan. 24, 1792. He married Emily Halsey Fitch ( ? - ? ), daughter of Col. Grant Fitch of Newton, Sussex County, NJ. The couple is not believed to have reproduced.

Son Nathaniel Conkling (1794- ? ) was born on March 5, 1794. He was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Janos S. Rose ( ? - ? ). Their three known offspring were James Augustus Conkling, Mary Margaret Conkling and Anna Eliza Conkling.

 

~ Son Stephen Conkling Jr. ~

Son Stephen Conkling Jr. (1751-1788) was born on May 10, 1751 in Easthampton, Long Island, NY.

He was twice-married. On May 2, 1776, he wedded his first wife, Abigail Mitchel ( ? -1777). Sadly, she died in less than a year, on April 20, 1777. The cause of her untimely passing seems to be lost to history.

Stephen grieved for a little more than two years before marrying a second time to widow Rachel (Lindley) McCarty (June 1, 1758-1798), daughter of Benjamin and Sarah Lindley.

Together, the couple produced a family of children -- Sarah Condit, Elizabeth Conkling, Rachel Conkling and Stephen Conkling III. The family grieved at the death of daughter Rachel on June 4, 1790 at age five.

Sadness cascaded over the family once again when, at age 37, Stephen died on Aug. 31, 1788.

Daughter Sarah Conkling (1779-1854) was born on Sept. 14, 1779. She entered into marital union with Rev. Aaron Condit (Aug. 6, 1765-1852). He was a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church of Hanover. The couple did not reproduce. Aaron died at the age of 86 on April 10, 1852. Sarah outlived her spouse by two years. Death carried her away into eternity on Aug. 15, 1854.

Daughter Elizabeth Conkling (1782-1866) was born on Sept. 15, 1782. She never married. Elizabeth was a talented seamstress known for women's hatware, known at the time as "millinery." She "educated several children of her brothers Stephen and Benjamin," said the book The Conklings in America. She succumbed to the angel of death on March 14, 1866, following the close of the Civil War.

 

Aged Stephen and Margaret Conkling III, seated, center, with children and spouses at a family meeting at LeRoy, IL in 1863, shortly before his death. Google Books

 

Son Stephen Conkling III (1786-1863) was born on Oct. 22, 1786. On Oct. 29, 1809, he was joined in holy matrimony with Abigail Cook (Aug. 23, 1789-1817), daughter of Col. James Cook of Morristown, NJ. Their four children were Elizabeth Shaw Gildersleve, Edgar Conkling, Henry Conkling and James Cook Conkling. Their son James was born in New York City in October 1816. Sadly, Abigail died just six months after childbirth on April 29, 1817 at the age of 37. The widowed Stephen spent a year in mourning and then on Sept. 1, 1818 married a second time to Margaret Belknap (May 16 1791-1867), daughter of Abel Belknap of Norwalk, CT. Eight more children were borne into the second union -- Sarah Conkling, Charles Conkling, Stephen Conkling IV, William Johnson Conkling, Francis Conkling, Mary Belknap Conkling, Aaron Conkling and Julia Ann Conkling. Three of the second set of children died young -- Sarah, Francis (Sept. 8, 1829) and Mary (March 7, 1849). Sons Charles, Stephen IV and William from the second family are known to have been born in New York City in the 1820s. The second marriage endured for 45 years until cleaved apart by death. Evidence hints that the Conklings relocated to Mt. Vernon, Knox County, OH by the early 1830s. Stephen died first, on July 8, 1863. Margaret followed him to the grave four years later, on Sept. 11, 1867.

  • Granddaughter Elizabeth Shaw Conkling (1810-1879 was born four days before Christmas 1810. At the age of 37 on Oct. 14, 1847, she married widower James T. Gildersleeve (April 10, 1803-1876). Their nuptials were held in Hudson, IL. He brought a stepson into the marriage, Charles Gildersleve. Elizabeth and James had no further children of their own. While in New Orleans, she died of pneumonia on March 10, 1879. Burial was in New Orleans.
  • Grandson Edgar Conklin (1812-1881) was born on Aug. 30, 1812 in Morristown, NJ. In a wedding ceremony held in Cincinnati on Aug. 30, 1833, he was joined in marriage with Belinda Longworth (Feb. 5 1813-1871), a native of Morgan County, OH. They established a residence in or near Springfield, IL and did not reproduce. Sadly, Belinda passed away on Aug. 31, 1871. Edgar died in Springfield on Dec. 9, 1881. Burial of the remains was in Bloomington, IL.

 

Civil War surgeon Dr. Henry Conkling and son Edgar. Google Books

 

  • Grandson Henry Conkling, MD (1814-1888) was born on April 27, 1814 in Morristown, NJ. At the age of two, Henry and his parents relocated to New York City. When he turned 16, he moved back to Morristown so that he could complete his studies at Morristown Academy. He then migrated to Ohio in 1832 to join his parents who already were there. He then completed studies at Sterling Medical College in the state capitol of Columbus, OH. The first of his three wives was Eliza Wiley (March 27, 1819-1850), daughter of Hugh Wiley of near Mt. Vernon. They were wed in Knox County, OH on July 27, 1837, when he was age 23 and she 18. They together bore three children -- Newton Wiley Conkling, Albert Cook Conkling and Elizabeth Catharine Conkling. Each child was born in a different place in Ohio, Newton in Mt. Vernon, Knox County; Albert in LeRoy, IL; and Elizabeth in Richland County. Sadly, son Newton died at age four on June 26, 1842 and Elizabeth just under age three on April 14, 1849 in Blooming Grove, OH. Henry was profiled extensively in the 1879 book History of McLean County, Illinois, published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr., Co. Addressing the early years of the first marriage, the profile read:

In the spring of 1838, he came to Le Roy, in this county, making the journey in eighteen days, on horseback; his brother Edgar Conkling, was living there and had laid off two additions to the town; he returned to Ohio in a few weeks, and moved back to Le Roy the next fall, with his family; they came in a covered wagon, camping out on the way by the roadside; while living in Le Roy, he taught school and studied medicine with Dr. David Edwards: in the year 1843, he commenced the practice of medicine near Mount Hope, in the year 1844, he moved to Washington, Tazewell Co., this State; his health failing, he returned to Ohio in 1845, and practiced medicine five years, during which time he graduated and received his diploma from the Starling Medical College of Columbus, Ohio.

Further grief descended upon the family when Eliza, at age 31, passed away in Blooming Grove on April 1, 1850. After several months of mourning and arranging his affairs, he returned in June 1850 to McLean County, and established a home in the town of Hudson, where his sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and James T. Gildersleeve, were residing at the time. Henry practiced medicine in Hudson for 14 years, building what the History of McLean said became an "extensive practice." On New Year's Day 1851, he wedded again to Eliza S. (Oliver) Sampson (Sept. 9, 1827-1863), widow of Lucian A. Sampson, who had died of cholera in 1849 in Bloomington, McLean County. She brought a daughter of her own into the marriage, Belle Sampson. Henry and Eliza went on to produce a half-dozen children, among them Henry Oliver Conkling, Edgar Graham Conkling, Francis Wing Conkling, James G. Conkling and twins William J. Conkling and Caroline Belinda Conkling. Sadly, Eliza died in the fall of 1863. The widowed Henry moved into the city of Bloomington in 1864, during the midst of the Civil War. The book The Conklings in America said that during the war, Henry "was sent to the South in 1864 by Governor Yates, of Illinois, as an additional surgeon to look after the sanitary condition of the soldiers. He was assigned to the 7th Illinois Cavalry in pursuit of this aim. Said the History of McLean:

 

Henry's influential Civil War tract. Internet Archive

...when Corinth was evacuated by Gen. Beauregard, the Doctor, with some of the Union army, pressed hard after them; many of the Union soldiers were wounded in a skirmish; these the Doctor took charge of, placing them in a cabin having one room, the best that could be done for them at that time; as soon as they were able to be moved, the Doctor sent them the general hospital.

Henry used his observations in the field to author an influential pamphlet, entitled An Inside View of the Rebellion, and the American Citizens' Text-Book. Thousands of copies were distributed, including 10,000 in Illinois, where it was republished in the Chicago Tribune. The pamphlet was reprinted in Cincinnati, with thousands more copies sent into Ohio, Indiana and other states. Said The Conklings book, "It was a remarkably effective campaign document, and greatly helped to roll up the large majority which was given to re-elect Abraham Lincoln." After the war closed, he re-established a home in Bloomington. He was appointed one of the Examining Pension Surgeons for disabled and wounded soldiers, which position he held about three years. Henry married a third time in May 1866 to Matilda (Withers) Dodge (June 13, 1825-1906), daughter of Kentucky native Peter Withers and widow of Rev. C.E. Dodge, a Baptist pastor. No children resulted from the third marriage. Henry continued on with a heavy workload of community activism. Continued the History of McLean:

In June, 1866, the first meeting was held in Urbana, Ill., for the purpose of devising ways and means for the construction of a railroad from Danville, Ill., through Bloomington, to the Illinois River; he was the only delegate from Bloomington to the meeting; the meeting adjourned to meet in Le Roy in August, at which time an organization was effected, and the Doctor was appointed Secretary and one of the Directors of the road) known then as the Danville, Urbana, Bloomington & Pekin Railroad; he took a very active part in this enterprise, devoting all his time to its accomplishment; May 1, 1870, the road was finished, the Doctor putting in the last bolt that tied the road between Indianapolis and Pekin; as an appreciation of his efforts and success, the citizens of Bloomington presented to him, by the hands of Gen. I. Bloomfield, in Schroeder's Opera House, a valuable gold watch, engraved thereon a locomotive with the initials I. B. & W.R.R. The Doctor is the proprietor of the Turkish and Electro-Thermal Institute, located in Bloomington, Ill., for the treatment of disease, which is largely patronized, not only by invalids but those who take the baths as a luxury.

Henry died in Bloomington on Jan. 28, 1888. Matilda lived until death on April 30, 1906. More about this family may be found on pages 30-33 of the book The Conklings in America.

  • Grandson James Cook Conkling (1816-1899) was born on Oct. 13, 1816 in New York City. In nuptials held in Baltimore, on Sept. 21, 1841, he married Mercy Ann Riggs Levering (Nov. 21, 1817-1893), a native of Georgetown, District of Columbia. They became the parents of James Lowroson Conkling, Clinton Levering Conkling, Charles Conkling, James Conkling, Annie Virginia Conkling, Alice Conkling and Katie Conkling. By 1843, James and Mercy relocated to Springfield, IL. He passed into eternity on March 1, 1899. More about this family may be found on pages 33-35 of the book The Conklings in America.
  • Grandson Charles Conkling (1823-1902) was born on Nov. 24, 1823 in New York City. On Sept. 2, 1850, he was united in matrimony with Mary Ann Adams (Aug. 15 1815-1870), a native of Otis, Berkshire County, MA. Their wedding was held in Wellington, OH. The children born to this couple were Alice Coles Conkling, Charles Grandison Conkling and Florence Perry Conkling. Mary Ann passed away in Oberlin, OH on April 18, 1870. Charles survived her by another 32 years. Death swept him away in Wooster, OH on May 8, 1902. See more about this family on pages 35-36 of the book The Conklings in America.
  • Grandson Stephen Conkling IV (1825-1872) was born on Sept. 22, 1825 in New York City. He was married twice. His first spouse was Eliza Ann Parks (Dec. 7, 1824-1858). They had one daughter, Mary Belknap Conkling. But tragedy rocked the young family when daughter Mary died just under four months of age on Aug. 27, 1858, followed by the baby's mother Eliza just 15 days later, on Sept. 11, 1858. The grief-stricken Stephen made his way to Illinois. In nuptials held in Wheaton, IL on April 24, 1862, he was joined in wedlock with Antoinette Glossen (Sept. 6, 1832-1899). Their four children were Eliza Cornelia Conkling, Charles Sumner Conkling, Stephen Ames Conkling and Harry Conkling. Adding to the family's despair, three of the four children also died young -- Eliza on Nov. 14, 1865; Charles on Nov. 27, 1865 and Stephen on Aug. 7, 1869.

 

William J. and Olivia (Holton) Conkling and daughter Grace. Google Books

 

  • Grandson William Johnson Conkling (1826-1904) was born on Nov. 21, 1826 in New York City. He entered into marriage on Sept. 11, 1855 with Olivia Jeannette Holton (Sept. 21, 1828-1905), native of Thetford, VA and the daughter of George W. and Sarah (Hosford) Holton. They begat a family of five -- Ella Georgene Buckley, William Holton Conkling, twins (?) Conkling and Sarah Belknap Conkling, and Grace Heaton Leaverton. They grieved at the death of daughter Sarah on Oct. 9, 1863, due to what was then called "summer complaint" -- acute diarrhea caused by contaminated food or poor hygiene.
  • Grandson Aaron Belknap Conkling (1832-1909) was born on Jan. 7, 1832. On May 19, 1860, he married Mary M. Maltby (Feb. 11, 1832-1901). The couple became the parents of Anna Julia Conkling, Edwin Starr Conkling, William Johnson Conkling, Katie Conkling and twins John Maltby Conkling and Mary Elizabeth Conkling. Mary succumbed to death on Oct. 13, 1901. Aaron endured for eight years and died on Feb. 26, 1909. See more details about this family on pages 40-44 of the book The Conklings in America.
  • Granddaughter Julia Ann Conkling ( ? - ? ) is lost to history.

 

~ Daughter Ruth (Conkling) Whitaker ~

Daughter Ruth (Conkling) Whitaker ( ? - ? ) was baptized on Jan. 27, 1854 by Rev. Timothy Johnes in Morris County, NJ.

On Jan. 27, 1779, when she was about 25 years of age, she wedded widower Stephen Whitaker ( ? - ? ). He was a resident of Minebrook, NJ and had been married previously to Susan White ( ? - ? ). Stephen thus brought a stepdaughter to the second marriage, Susan Finley.

Ruth and Stephen together bore seven offspring -- Jonathan Whitaker, Mary Hall, Debora Ray, Stephen Whitaker, Henry Axtel Whitaker, William Henry Whitaker and Helen Elizabeth Whitaker. Grief blanketed the family at the early deaths of son Henry (age 5) and Helen (11 months).

Stepdaughter Susan Whitaker ( ? - ? ) married Alexander Finley ( ? - ? ).

Son Jonathan Whitaker ( ? - ? ) married Mary Bailey ( ? - ? ) and put down roots in New York.

Daughter Mary Whitaker ( ? - ? ) wedded Moses Hall ( ? - ? ).

Daughter Debora Whitaker ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with William Ray ( ? - ? ). The couple dwelled in New York.

Son Stephen Whitaker ( ? -1851) died in 1851.

Son William Henry Whitaker ( ? - ? ).

 

~ Daughter Mary (Conkling) Runyon ~

Daughter Mary (Conkling) Runyon (1758-1848) was born in 1758 in Morris County, NJ. She received the rite of Christian baptism on Sept. 17, 1758.

At the age of about 20, on Feb. 18, 1778, she entered into marriage with John Runyon ( ? -1836), son of Richard Runyon of Long Hill. Their marriage endured for an extraordinary 58 years until separated by death.

The Runyons migrated to Ohio, settling near the head of the Little Miami River.

Eleven children born into this family included Stephen Runyon, Richard Runyon, John Runyon, Elias Runyon, Betsy McClain, Debby McClain, Polly Vance, Anne Runyon and three other daughters.

Son Stephen Runyon ( ? - 1813) was born in (?). He never married. He died in 1813.

Son Richard Runyon ( ? - ? )

Son John Runyon ( ? - ? )

Son Elias Runyon ( ? - ? )

Daughter Betsy Runyon ( ? - ? ) married Joseph McClain ( ? - ? ). He and James were brothers.

Daughter Debby Runyon ( ? - ? ) wedded James McClain ( ? - ? ). He and Joseph were brothers.

Daughter Polly Runyon ( ? - ? ) was joined in marriage with (?) Vance ( ? - ? ).

Daughter Anne Runyon ( ? - ? )

 

~ Son Isaac Conkling ~

Son Isaac Conkling (1761- ? ) was born in 1761 in Morris County, NJ. He was baptized on Aug. 30, 1761.

On Aug. 24, 1784, he was joined in holy wedlock with Comfort Pitney ( ? - ? ).

The couple's two children were Sarah Conkling and Jonathan Dimon Conkling.

Isaac is believed to have died on Sept. 12, 1791.

Comfort's fate is not known.

Daughter Sarah Conkling (1784- ? ) was born on Nov. 25, 1784.

Son Jonathan Dimon Conkling (1787- ? ) was born on July 7, 1787.

 

~ Son Abraham "Abram" Conkling ~

Son Abraham "Abram" Conkling (1765-1817) was born on Sept. 29, 1765 in Morris County, NJ.

On Feb. 11, 1789, at the age of 23, he was united in matrimonial bonds with Jemima Lindley (Nov. 15, 1769-1822), daughter of Major Joseph and Anna Lindsley/Lindley. Their wedding was held in Morristown, NJ by the hand of Rev. Timothy Johnes.

The couple is profiled extensively in the book The Conklings in America.

 

Abraham's family profile in The Conklings in America book. Google Books

 

Ten children whom they produced together were Anna Conkling, Mariah Perry Jenkins, Deboral Broadwell, Richard Conkling, Eliza Tingley, Judge Zela Conkling, Joseph Lindley, Conkling, William Conkling, Willamina Morton and John Runyan Conkling. Grief blanked the young family when their eldest daughter Anna died at the age of six.

The Conklings first made a home in Morris County, NJ, where one son is known to have been born in 1801. Then in about 1804 or 1805 they relocated to Ohio. In time they settled in the western part of the state, in Indian Hill, Columbia Township, Hamilton County, OH.

The fates of Abraham and Jemima will be added here once discovered.

Daughter Mariah Conkling was twice-wed. Her first husband was John Perry. Later, she tied the knot with Noble Jenkins. She relocated to Indiana and was the mother of eight.

Daughter Deboral Conkling was joined in matrimony with Ira Broadwell. They put down roots in Indian Hill, OH and produced nine children.

Son Richard Conkling was married thrice. In all he fathered nine children. He too settled on Indian Hill, OH and was a manufacturer of white lead.

 

Judge Zela Conkling

The Conklings in America/Internet Archive

Daughter Eliza Conkling was united in wedlock with William Tingley. The Tingleys made a home in Indian Hill, OH. Their seven offspring were Elizabeth Tingley, John Beers Tingley, Jonathan Tingley, Samuel Tingley, Jemima Tingley, William Benton Tingley and Albert Tingley.

Son Judge Zela Conkling (1891-1869) was born on Dec. 11, 1801 in Morris County, NJ. In young boyhood he moved with his parents to Ohio and eventually settled in Indian Hill, Hamilton County, OH. With a strong desire to advance his life, he went to Cincinnati to learn the trade of coopering (barrel-making). Said the 1893 book The Conklings in America, "He attended night school and became a fair English scholar. He was especially well informed on ancient and modern history. While learning his trade in Cincinnati he had access to the Public Library and was a constant patron of it, and thus he became a student and ultimately a scholar of no mean attainments." When the opportunity arose, he joined a local militia regiment and was promoted to the rank of major, a title which he retained for the rest of his long years. On May 22, 1823, he entered into marriage with Sarah Chapman (Aug. 3, 1804- ? ), a native of Baltimore, MD but at the time a resident of Hamilton County. Zela, Sarah and their brood were profiled in The Conklings book. Their entry read, in part, that Zela:

... worked at his trade for some years in Cincinnati and acquired some means and purchased a home in the town of Millford, Ohio, but on account of defective title he lost the property. He then returned to Cincinnati and applied himself to his trade, and by economy soon had sufficient funds to enter 160 acres of land in the Miami River bottom. The land was heavily timbered and somewhat swampy, but after a year or two he succeeded in "clearing off" forty acres suitable for cultivation. But his wife's health failing, he sold the "farm," and in the year 183S, in the early spring, he embarked on a steamboat for the "Grand River Country" in northern Missouri. He landed at the town of DeWitt, in Carroll County. Loading his household effects into a heavy wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen, he "trekked" the almost pathless prairie to what is now the extreme southwest corner of Grundy County, but which was then Livingston County, this county extending at that time -- 1838 -- to the Iowa line.

Accompanying Zela Conkling on this "move" from Cincinnati, Ohio, was George Truot [Trout?], with his family. No two pioneers, better qualified to endure hardships, ever entered the Western wilderness. They were both mechanics. They were both in the prime of life. They were experienced woodsmen. They were experts with the rifle, but did not depend upon it for a livelihood. They were social and domestic in their habits. They knew what the comforts of civilized life were. And so their thoughts and endeavors turned towards the attainment of the enjoyments and excellencies of life. "Cabins" were soon erected; other buildings soon followed. The second year a school was started in a cabin, and in a few years a school house was built, which was one of the first built in Grundy County. It attracted settlers. It also attracted preachers. The "circuit rider" came quickly. Then the "Baptist" was heard "preaching in the wilderness." Soon more than a dozen families located in reach of this "school house," and it became a center of influence. It became a regular preaching place for Methodist and Baptist and became known as "Gee's Creek Meeting House." The first "teachers" employed to teach in this school house were James Estes, Joshua Bond, and George H. Newton, a "Yankee..."

 

Jane (Smith) Wilson, Zela's 2nd wife
The Conklings in America/Internet Archive

After seven years of hardship, toil, and suffering, though not unmixed with some joy and triumph, Zela Conkling endured a painful bereavement. As is said of Ezekiel, "his wife died." Sarah Chapman Conkling died September 3, 1845. She lived a Christian and died in peace. Her tomb is in the cemetery of Mount Pleasant church yard, Gee's Creek, Grundy County, Mo. Sarah Chapman Conkling was a strong character -- strong in her devotion to her ideals of life. The firmness of her religious convictions was phenomenal. Duty, as she understood it, was the aim and end of life. Kind, affectionate, devoted, yet firm in all relations; she was respectful, dignified, courteous and friendly. She was companionable and a social favorite. There was a magnetism in her presence that charmed and attracted, and all that knew her were her friends. It was common for friends to say that Sarah Conkling was just naturally good. Doubtless she was a favorite of Dame Nature, which is a good asset. But she was intensely religious, and none knew this better than her family. And it was this that made her a devoted wife and an affectionate mother. Her admirers said she was amiable. It was religion reflected in her life. One of her children said that mother could sing "Away over in the Promised Land" sweeter than anybody else. This may have been tinged with filial affection, but Sarah Conkling's religious life was real -- and her memory is dearly sweet.

Zela and Sarah together bore these nine known children -- William Conkling, John Lindley Conkling, Abram Conkling, Margaret Jemima Newton, Joseph Conkling, Thomas Jefferson Conkling, Richard Conkling, Willamena Price, Ira Broadwell Conkling and James Finley Conkling. Sadly, sons Abram and James (1844?) died in infancy. After his first wife's death, Zela married a second time to widow Jane (Smith) Wilson (Feb. 19, 1813-1866). A native of Pocahontas County, VA, she brought three of her children into the union with Zela -- Mohn Smith, Cyrus Smith and Martha Anderson. Together, Zela and Jane produced another five offspring -- Harvey Wilson Conkling, twins Mariah Elizabeth Grimes and James Franklin Conkling, LaFayette Conkling and Francis Marion Conkling. Grief continued to make its presence felt at the death of son LaFayette at the age of only two months on April 22, 1853. Peacefully, Zela slipped away into death on April 7, 1869. Interment of the remains was in the sacred soil of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Grundy County. In closing out Zela's life story, the Conklings book said that he:

...was a man of pronounced personality. He was independent in thought, original, versatile, firm, yet complaisant. While charitable he was acquisitive, and by industry and economy he acquired extensive land interests, and was prominently identified with public enterprises of his day. In life he was exemplary; as a judge of the court in his county he was just. He was a Methodist and constantly an official of the church. Politically, Thomas Jefferson was his model statesman.

 

Zela and Sarah's sons L-R: John, Thomas, Richard
The Conklings in America/Internet Archive

 

  • Grandson William Conkling (1824-1886) was born on Oct. 19, 1824. He and (?) Kersey ( ? - ? ) were joined in marriage. They bore two children — Mary, who married James Davis, and Sarah, who married (?) Borden.
  • Grandson Rev. John Lindley Conkling (1826-1845) was born on Sept. 29, 1826. He did not marry but became a famed Methodist evangelist over the short span of a two-year career. "[In] that short time," said the book Conklings in America, "many thousands heard the Gospel from one whose tongue had been touched with a live coal from the altar. His most striking characteristic as a boy and a young man was his habit of studiousness. Having a retentive memory, he seemed to be precocious to a remarkable degree, and yet he was modest and unpretentious. As he grew to young manhood his deportment and piety won him a place in the atfections of his companions, and he became a favorite with the young and old. His gift of language and ease of description made him a most pleasant speaker. People came in throngs from near and far to hear him preach. The thousands that heard him at camp meetings were drawn to him as by an invisible power. And yet, like some swift meteor that flashes athwart the sky to please and arouse wonder and then disappears, s this messenger passed away, and only memory recalls his brilliancy and cherishes his virtues. Death cut him away on Sept. 6, 1845, at the age of only 19.
  • Margaret (Conkling) and Rev. George Newton
    The Conklings in America/Internet Archive
    Granddaughter Margaret Jemima Conkling (1830-1905) was born on June 18, 1830 in Cincinnati. She moved with her parents to Missouri. On Oct. 11, 1845, in Grundy County, MO, she wedded George Hutton Newton (Oct. 20, 1820- ? ), a native of Canadaigua, Ontario County, NY who migrated with his parents to northeastern Ohio in early life, and then as an adult relocated to Missouri and taught school. Five children were born into this family -- Genevera Newton, Byron Newton, Alice Newton, Hulda Newton and Bascom Newton. George continued to teach after their marriage, and after some years decided to become a minister of the Methodist Church. He was a member of the Missour'i Conference until 1875, when he transferred to the Pacific Conference and was an itinerant preacher until he was ordained. George "was a man of more than ordinary ability and intelligence," said the book Conklings in America. "He was a success as a teacher and a minister of great usefulness. His manner of speech was attractive, interspersed with effective pleasantry and soft words and hard arguments. His knowledge of human nature seemed intuitive, and gave him access to the feelings and motives of his hearers. is characteristics were ''faith, hope and charity.' He was always optimistic, and one of the most companionable of men, and a kinder heart never beat in a human bosom. He was an affectionate husband and a fond father. His entire life is an enduring monument to the Christian religion." In turn, Margaret was considered "a faithful wife, a devoted mother, an intelligent Christian, a great lover of her people, and the recognized historian of the Conklings and allied families in the West." George passed into eternity in Hollister, CA on Aug. 24, 1898. Margaret remained in Hollister where she died on April 2, 1905. Her entry in the Conklings book said that circa 1913, daughters Genevera and Hulda were deceased, Alice and Bascom resided in Hollister, CA, and Byron was in Greeley, CO. All had married and had children.
  • Grandson Joseph Conkling (1833-1862) was born on Sept. 6, 1833 and was named for Major Joseph Lindley, an officer of the American Revolutionary War. He was united in matrimony on Aug. 3, 1854 with Mary Jane Harville (1835-1868) of Daviess County. They became the parents of three -- John Lindley Conkling, Adelia Conkling and Ptollie. Joseph was a farmer and a carpenter. Said the Conklings in America book, he "was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and energy. It is said that had he lived he would have gone to the front in any undertaking of life. His short life was exemplary. He ever maintained the forms of religion in his family." 'Jo' was ever a favorite of his brothers and sisters, and it was a great sorrow that he fell a victim to the civil strife so lamentable in our country's history." He joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and is believed to have been placed in the 30th Missouri Infantry, Company F. Tragically, he was killed in in a skirmish with Confederate guerillas on Aug. 19, 1862. As a widow, Mary only lived for another six years before her death in 1868. She applied in 1867 to receive his pension (widow application #146.997), but died before it could be approved. Circa 1913, their son John L. lived in Rollinsville, CO and was a bachelor and veteran miner. Daughter Adelia married (?) Myers and were farmers of near Cleveland, Cass County, MO. Ptollie was married and lives in Rose Dale, KS.
  • Grandson Thomas Jefferson Conkling (1835- ? ) was born on May 12, 1835 in Ohio. When he was 29 years of age, on Nov. 30, 1864, he wedded Sarah Jane Dryden (May 10, 1837- ? ), daughter of Gus. Dryden, who emigrated from Missouri to California in 1862. As a young man, Thomas "manifested a fondness for books and literary culture, and was a phenomenal student," said the 1913 book Conklings in America book. "Being endowed with a wonderful retentive memory, he easily became a scholar of distinction. As a mathematician and penman he had few equals. For twelve years he was chief deputy clerk in the County Clerk's office of Grundy County, Mo. In 1863 he went to Califoruia and opened a ranch, and by industry and economy soon obtained a competency. His knowledge of law gave him prominence, and he served as judge in his county for some years. He is now in his seventy-eighth year, and his eye is not dimmed; has never used glasses, reads the finest print with ease, and writes with astonishing elegance. His style of composition is clear and direct." His home in 1913, in retirement, was in San Jose, CA.
  • Grandson Richard Conkling (1938-1912) was born on Feb. 22, 1838 in Ohio. He was united in wedlock with Julia Harville (Nov. 17, 1841-1911), a resident of Daviess County, MO, with the nuptials occurring on Sept. 2, 1858. Ten children were born to the pair included Zylphia J. Conkling, Francis A. Conkling, Emma B. Conkling, Zela G. Conkling, Finley R. Conkling, Sarah L. Conkling, George E. Conkling, Charles E. Conkling, Frederick R. Conkling and Homer I. Conkling. During the Civil War, Richard joined the Union Army. He is believed to have served in the same regiment as his brother, the 30th Missouri Infantry. He is known to have been wounded in a skirmish with enemy guerillas in Livingston County on Aug. 19, 1862, in which the brother was killed. After the war, said the Conklings in America book, he was "remarkable for his musical talent, which he doubtless inherited from his maternal ancestors, the 'Lindleys.' From childhood he loved music, and it was the delight of his life. His judgment of rythm, melody and dynamics seemed intuitive. For some years previous to his death he lived in Amarillo, Texas." Julia died May 20, 1911. Richard outlived her by only 10 months and surrendered to the spectre of death on St. Patrick's Day 1912.

 

Willamena and Samuel Price

The Conklings in America/Internet Archive

 

  • Granddaughter Willamena Conkling (1839- ? ) was born on Dec. 7, 1839 in Grundy County, MO. On Oct. 23, 1862, when she was age 22, she entered into the union of marriage with Samuel W. Price (Nov. 20, 1837-1912), a native of Virginia but at the time a resident of Daviess County, MO. He was the son of Addison and Peggy (Brown) Price who were pioneer settlers of Daviess. A profile in the 1893 book The Conklings in America states that Samuel was "s a farmer and an industrious man, and acquired a competency. About 1896 he with his family removed to Hollywood, now a part of the city of Los Angeles, Cal. Here he purchased a lemon ranch and continued to prosper. He was a good citizen and a Christian, and his life is a precious legacy to his wife, children, relatives and friends." The pair's five children were Thomas Price, Walter Price, Willie Price, Anna Price, Dora Anderson and Samuel Martin Price. As of 1893, the entire family dwelled in California with the exception of son Samuel who made his home back in Missouri in Bates County, MO.

Great-grandson Walter Price married Highland ( ? - ? ), with the wedding taking place in Missouri. They did not reproduce. Sadly, Highland died in California.

Great-granddaughter Willie [Willamena?] wedded William Ewing and bore four children.

Great-granddaughter Anna Price was not married circa 1893.

Great-granddaughter Dora Price was joined in marriage with Robert L. Anderson ( ? - ? ), son of John B. and Martha (Wilson) Anderson. They established their residence in Sacramento and produced two sons, Robert Anderson and James Anderson.

Great-grandson Samuel Martin Price lived circa 1893 in Bates County, MO. He was married at the time and had two children.

  • Grandson Ira Broadwell Conkling (1841- :? ) was born on March 28, 1841, in Grundy County, MO. He was joined in the bonds of marital union with teacher Sarah Frances Brown (Oct. 6, 1839), the daughter of Samuel Kincaid and Sarah (Whitman) Brown. Sarah Frances' parents had moved to Missouri in 1839 from Greenbrier County, VA, putting down roots in Daviess County, MO. Ira was a school teacher in Missouri for a quarter of a century. On March 16, 1894, he was "appointed Navy Pay Clerk and reported for duty in Washington, D. C, and served for ten years," said the Conklings in America book. Following that position, he " filled other clerical positions by government appointment. [Sarah Frances] early in life identified herself with the church, and her entire life has been one of intelligent activity and usefulness, and now that the premonitory shadows of life appear she peacefully abides in hope as she 'brushes the dews of Jordan's banks'." Five children were born of this marriage -- Virgil Marcellus Conkling, Marvin Whitman Conkling, Newland Chapman Conkling, Ira Francis Conkling and Emmet Ditzler Conkling. More about this family may be found on pages 65-78 of the Conklings book.
  • Mariah and James Grimes
    Conklings in America/Internet Archive
    Grandson Harvey Wilson Conkling (1846-1865) was born on Oct. 29, 1846. As he grew, he was considered "a model young man," said the Conklings in America book. Deep sadness cascaded down over the family at his death at age 18 on Feb. 2, 1865. The cause of his untimely passing is not known.
  • Granddaughter Mariah Elizabeth Conkling (1849-1886) was born on April 24, 1849, a twin with her brother James. In 1869, she wed James Grimes ( ? -1905), son of Judge Grimes of Grundy County, MO. A year after marriage, they migrated to the Pacific Northwest and settled in Oregon. The couple's seven children included George Conkling Grimes, Carlotta Ritchie, Mary Elizabeth Hutchings, Anna May Hubbard, Edwin Franklin Grimes, Maggil Cleveland Grimes and Charles Forrest Grimes. She died in Farmington, WA on Jan. 29, 1886. James endured as a widower and passed into eternity on May 29, 1905.
  • Grandson James Franklin Conkling (1849- ? ) was born on April 24, 1849, a twin with his sister Mariah. He moved to California and settled in Anderson, CA. He was married and as of 1913 had three children.
  • Grandson Francis Marion Conkling (1854- ? ) was born on Dec. 17, 1854. As of 1913, he was a bachelor living in San Jose, CA.

Son Joseph Lindley Conkling ventured into the union of matrimony with four different wives. He fathered one child by his second wife and two by his third.

Son William Conkling was married and lived in Cincinnati.

Daughter Willamina Conkling wedded William Morton. They were the parents of Jemima Morton, Susannah Morton, Sarah Morton, Emily Morton and Isaac Morton. The family dwelled in Cincinnati.

Son John Runyan/Runyo Conkling (1814- ? ) was born on Nov. 6, 1814. On Feb. 28, 1834, at the age of 19, he was united in the holy bonds of wedlock with Amanda Connet (July 29, 1815- ? ). The nuptials were conducted in Ohio. Together, they produced an extraordinary headcount of 14 children -- Albert L. Conkling, Ira B. Conkling, Charity A. Goben, Ellen J. Stowe, Katherine E. Porter, Mary W. Stowe, William H. Conkling, John R. Conkling, , Charles A. Conkling, Deborah J. Yeowel, Sarah M. Sinclair, Margaret L. Knight, Joseph L. Conkling and Richard A. Conkling. The Conklings book states that "In 1850 John Runyan Conkling emigrated from Ohio to Missouri and settled on a farm in Livingston County. He was a coopoer and a fine workman, an active Mason, and an exemplary man in every respect. In 1857 he moved to Texas and died in Denton County." Most of the Conkling children wedded Texans.

  • Grandson Albert L. Conkling wedded Anna Brown of Daviess County, MO.
  • Grandson Ira B. Conkling was married twice. His first bride was Mary Stowe. His second spouse was Ernestine Shaw of Texas.
  • Granddaughter Charity A. Conkling entered into marriage with P.F. Goben of Missouri.
  • Granddaughter Ellen J. Conkling was joined in matrimony with Edward Stowe of Texas.
  • Granddaughter Katherine E. Conkling was united in wedlock with Rev. John H. Porter of Texas.
  • Granddaughter Mary W. Conkling married Joel Stowe of Texas.
  • Grandson John R. Conkling served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He lost his life in 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • Grandson Charles A. Conkling wedded Meda (?) of Texas.
  • Granddaughter Deborah J. Conkling was united in matrimony with Lee Yeowel of Texas.
  • Granddaughter Sarah M. Conkling took as her husband (?) Sinclair. He was a Texan.
  • Granddaughter Margaret L. Conkling was joined in wedlock with T.J. Knight of Texas.
  • Grandson Joseph L. Conkling entered into the bonds of marriage with Mary C. McGrady of Texas.
  • Grandson Richard A. Conkling wedded Ida Wade of Texas.

 

~ Daughter Deborah (Conkling) Seward ~

Daughter Deborah (Conkling) Seward (1769- ? ) was born on April 17, 1769 in Morris County, NY.

On March 18, 1790, when she was age 20, she wedded John Seward ( ? - ? ).

The Sewards relocated to Goshen, NY.

 

Copyright 2021 Mark A. Miner

David Shaw has provided valuable content for this biography.