CONNER FAMILY DATA
1770 at age 15, Philip A. Conner came to America from either England or Ireland. Five years later, upon the
outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he volunteered for the 3rd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line near Norfolk, Virginia, and
fought in several battles between then and 1761 when he mustered out near Fredricksburg, Virginia.
Rising to the rank of Orderly Sergeant and wounded at the Battle of Whitemarsh by sabre, he missed the
encampment at Valley Forge, but participated in Washington's crossing of the Delaware in winter and the surprise attack upon the
British at Trenton, NJ.
Following the War, Philip engaged in farming, "not far from the Potomac River", in Virgina, married and
had two sons, Willoughby and John B. prior to 1800. About 1806, disgusted with slavery in Virginia and amidst an economic downturn
there, the family uprooted and proceeded to the Green River area of Kentucky, where it remained until 1815, when Philip's wife died
and he and his sons moved to Cincinnati.
Willoughby, the elder son, married Rachael Johnson of Clinton County, Ohio, descendant of one of the early
settlers of Chiviot, in very early Hamilton County. While his wife bore two daughters, Alice Sales (1817) and Sarah Ann (1818), Willoughby
and aging Philip took advantage of land sales offerings in Cincinnati and obtained the rights to land in Jennings County, to which the
family moved by flatboat via Madison around 1819, arriving at their holdings in the "unbroken forest" northeast of Vernon, not far from
what would become Butlerville in Campbell Township.
Son John B. appears to have joined an ill fated expedition of a Colonel Wolley, designed to explore the
Red River in Lousiana. The group fell upon extreme illness, and all died except John and one other, who set out to walk back toward
the Ohio. When the comrade died, John ended up in Wayne Count, Missouri, where he established a smithy, married and became a landowner
and politician of note in the state, serving in the Legislature, and producing offspring who became prominent in Missouri and Arkansas,
including one Wibb Conner, of some note in the Confederacy. Interestingly, John B. accumulated slaves in Missouri, where he died about
Aging Philip A. Conner became a prominent and revered Methodist lay minister in the area, and was awarded
a War pension of about $100 in 1828, and died in 1834 at age 79. A farrier, or horseshoer, most of his life, he is a Patriot buried in
an unknown location in Jennings County.
He became an established farmer and his father a Methodist minister, Willoughby bought up adjacent land,
eventually resulting in holdings of 1000 acres or more in Jennings County. Ultimately another 11 children were born, and among those
surviving to adulthood, several married into to local families. Alice married Richard Randall in 1835, and he and Willoughby introduced
"The Visitor" a local political publication, and later "The Jennings County Exporter" in 1844. Sarah married William Anderson Jones, and
later ended up in Opdyke, Illinois.
Sons Eliza and Philip A. were born in the early 1820s, worked in farming and died young. Nancy Jane Conner
(1825) married Isaac Arney, in 1844 and died in 1857. Harriet (1827) married John French and moved to Kentland, Newton County, where
he and some of the younger Conner sons operated "The Kentland Gazette." Harriet died in 1881. Mary Ann (1829) married Byron Hoyt and
ended up in Johnson County, near Indianapolis.
The last five were boys, and all went on to Civil War service. John Byrd Conner (1831) and brother Allen
S. purchased "The Vernon Banner" before the War, later owned after the War by brothers Richard A. and Allen S. as the "North Vernon
Plain Dealer". Strongly Republican, he was elected County Recorder in 1859, and after War service, became involved in the Kentland
Gazette, and later was elected to the Legislature from Marion County. He became chief of the Indiana Bureau of Statistics, and served
as such, on and off, until his death in 1912.
Son Allen S. (1833-1912) and James Mayfield established the "Plain Dealer," first published in 1864, and
Allen operated a general store and a restaurant in Butlerville and was a First District Trustee. Daniel Wiley worked in farming and as
a carpenter after War service, and migrated west, ending up in Santa Barbara, CA, where he died in 1881, being later buried in Jennings
County. Samuel Preston (1837), after War service, was almost entirely involved in the newspaper business in several locations over the
years, including Newton County, joining other brothers in the Kentland Gazette. He served as a US Customs inspector in Washington state
later in life, and died in Los Angeles.
The thirteenth child, my Great Grandfather, Richard A. (1839) took an interest in printing prior to the War.
He served in the local 6th Indiana Infantry, and was wounded and captured at the battle of Chickamauga. Healed in Richmond, VA. he was
transferred to Andersonville Prison in 1864, where he developed "black scurvy" and other disabilities. After the War he married Louisa
Burdge and served as Jennings County Auditor (1868-1872), before serving as Indiana State Librarian (1877-79) living in Indianapolis.
Later he worked with brothers on the Kentland Gazette, and alone on the Chattanoga Times in Tennessee. He died in 1903 in the Indiana
Soldiers Home in West Lafayette after a later life of politics, including service as a Federal Special Timber Agent.
Hard of hearing, Willoughby was hit by a train while walking from North Vernon to his Butlerville area farm
in 1864, and died shortly thereafter. His burial location in the County is not known. Wife Rachel died in 1882 in Indianapolis, and was
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