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Conoly/Conoley History

By Donald N. Conoly


In "Virginia Valley Records", by John W. Wayland, pub. BGFCo., 1965, p. 224, it states that the name Connelly/Conoley was descended from Mileseus, King of Spain, through his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Eogan, ancestor of the Northern Hy Nials, the son of Neal-of-Nine-Hostages, King of Ireland, 379 A.D. The ancient name was Conally and signifies "a light". The possessions of the Clan were located in the present counties of Galway, Meath, and Donnegal. The Connelly’s were also Chiefs in Fermanagh.

The spelling on the name has had many variants Conally, Conley, Conoly, Conoley, Connelly, Connolly etc. The Conoly, Conoley, etc. family has been gathering each year for the past forty nine years. The idea of a clan gathering was started by the late John Duncan McMillan a business owner of Raeford. They are descendants of a Scotsman Daniel Conley and Nancy Campbell.

Daniel Conley (1768-1849) and wife, Nancy Campbell (1770-1851) were natives of Scotland, where they were born, reared and married on 23 June 1792 at Bowmore Parish (now Kilarrow), Isle of Islay. A few days after the marriage they left their native country for the United States, settling in the Cape Fear River basin of Robeson Co., NC with a Scotch colony, with which he came to this country, and spent the rest of their lives in Robeson County. He was an educated farmer and landowner in the Lumber Bridge/Shannon area. Their family consisted of six sons and four daughters. Elements of the family moved to lower Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. Some of the descendants became quite prominent.

Son Peter Conoly married Effie McDonald and they had 10 children. Peter was a farmer and landowner, he moved to what is now Hoke Co., NC. He lost 3 sons in the War Between the States. One son, Simeon was murdered in 1891 and it led to the most famous trial of the time in the State, and a book “The Trial of D. A. McDougald for the Murder of Simeon Conoley”. Descendants of this family have served the City of Raeford as Mayor, Justice of the Peace, City Council, County Commissioner, and business leaders.

Daughter Mary Conoly appears on the 1850 census in the upper division of Robeson County; also in her household was Flora Brown age 50 and Patrick age 15.

Son James Conoley married Mary Johnson Currie and had 12 children. He was a farmer, landowner, and teacher. He was a postmaster at Fair Play Post Office in Robeson Co. They lived near Shannon, NC.

Daughter Elizabeth Conoly married John McEachern. This family moved to Sumpter Co., Georgia then to Pike Co., Alabama. They had 8 children. A former governor of Alabama was a descendant.

Daughter Margaret Conley married Neill Mathews. They had 5 children all born in Robeson Co. This family moved to Georgia.

Son William Conoley married Annie Patterson and they had 6 children. William was a large landowner, farmer and educator near Lumber Bridge, NC. J.A.P. Conoley an officer in J.E.B. (Jeb) Stuart’s Calvary found his church had been burned when Sherman’s Army came through. He contacted the commander of the unit involved and they took up a collection and sent the money to rebuild the church. He was a respected leader of the community.

Son Malcolm Campbell Conoley married Nancy Ann Thompson they had 11 children. He became a Presbyterian Minister and preached in Sampson Co., NC before moving to Texas in 1851. During his life he was a respected Minister, a Missionary, a renowned educator and teacher, a landowner and farmer.

Daughter Isabella Conoly married Hugh Galbreath and had nine children. This family moved to Montgomery Co., GA.

Twin son John Francis Conoley married Mary Eliza Pitts and had 7 children. In 1833 he moved to Selma, Alabama and started the John F. Conoley & Co. He organized the Selma Rangers against the Creek Indians. He was elected sheriff in 1843. In 1850 he was a lawyer in Selma. John was a Colonel in the 29th Alabama Regiment in the War Between the States and was wounded by a cannon ball at Resaca, GA; he was later General of the State Militia. He was elected Judge in 1867.

Twin son Alexander Hamilton Conoley followed his brother John to Selma, Alabama. He was single, took the 1840 census for Selma and was active in politics.





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CD Available!!


Written by Don Conoly

The CD includes:

 ~ The Conoly Family History ~

~ Photos ~

~ Movies ~

For more info about what's included on the CD

click here or

contact Don Conoly

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Scotland County Highland Games

Laurinburg, NC


Clan and Society tents, quality vendors, five pipe bands, amateur athletic competitions, Scottish dance demonstrations, and solo piping and drumming competitions. Come enjoy Scottish musical entertainment, sheep dog demonstrations, and special children’s athletic events where all participants can wear a kilt that will be provided.

For more information, go to their website at www.schgnc.org


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