Sunday, March 30, 2008

Isaac Conger


As one who has a significant interest in Rooks County, the town of Codell, and the Conger Cemetery, I thought possibly that you did not have the following information regarding the CONGER family which resided in Paradise Township.

The quoted information is taken from "Lest We Forget" published by the Rooks County Historical Society, Stockton, KS, printed by the Osborne Publishing Co., Osborne, KS, 1980 (reprinted in 1998 by Western Books, Woodston, KS). Pages 111-113.



Isaac Conger was born at Marietta, Marion County, Ohio on July 26, 1847.
[Note: The birthplace is in error. He was born in Maryette, Monroe Co., OH. Richard E. Henthorn]

His parents, James and Elizabeth, were the parents of eleven children, which included two sets of twins; Isaac had a twin brother, John.

When Isaac was nine years of age, the family decided to go on west and settled on a homestead near Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa, where he lived until his marriage on March 12, 1871, to Emma Jane Thompson. She was born near Bradyville, Page County, Iowa on February 12, 1850. Her father was killed when Emma was very young and her mother, Eliza, married Wesley Farrens.

Isaac and Emma ventured farther west, homesteading on the banks of White Rock Creek near Burr Oak, Jewell County, Kansas in 1871. Their trip was made in a covered wagon drawn by two oxen, and their possessions were a few pieces of walnut furniture made by Emma's step-father, Wesley Farrens. They also had a dog, pig, and a cow.

Their first home was a dugout where their first son was born. It was not unusual for friendly, but curious, Indians to visit them. Most of their meat was buffalo meat. Isaac would sometimes be away for several days at a time hunting buffalo, leaving his young wife and son alone at the dugout. Pioneers accepted these things as the usual type of occurrences.

In 1878 they sold their claim and migrated to Rooks County where they purchased land near a little town known as Old Motor. Here the first home was in a dugout, also, until a stone house could be constructed. Later a larger frame house was built, and in time the little stone house became a bunk house for ranch help. In this east Paradise Township home, in the southeastern part of Rooks County, the nine children were reared. Cattle and crops were the order of the times in this part of Kansas, and the size of the ranch increased over the years to indicate prosperity and industry.

Ike, as he was known, served his community as a leader, as a commissioner, and twice as a member of the state legislature. Such successes of early times could seldom happen but for the strong support of a wife and mate such as Emma. She was the hub of the wheel around whom her family and friends gathered for strength and guidance. T he Conger family were members of the Codell Methodist Church, later transferring to the Natoma church when a storm destroyed the Codell church building. They were active members always.

On March 12, 1921, Isaac and Emma celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with many relatives and dear friends coming long distances to congratulate them. Seven of the nine children were with them. The two sons missing from the family circle were Russell A. and Isaac, Jr., both of whom died as young men.

The Congers, their children and families have taken part in, and seen many beginnings and developments in Rooks County since 1878 wh en they first came to call this good area "home". Their lives have gone with this growth. Today none of the children are living, but five of their grandchildren remain to remember Isaac and Emma.

Isaac died March 28, 1932, near Codell, Kansas. His wife, Emma, died May 15, 1929 at the home near Codell. Burial was in the East Paradise Cemetery.

James Lloyd Conger was born in a dugout on the homestead in Jewell County, near Burr Oak, Kansas on October 15, 1871. He moved with his parents to Rooks County in 1878, where he grew up at the family home. He was a teacher as a young man, and later a rancher-farmer on his own ranch which joined his parents' ranch on the east.

He was married married August 3, 1898 to Serena Bromley at Plainville, Kansas. Two sons were born to this couple: Ralph Lloyd and Halbert Mark.

Jim, as he was known, was active in community affairs, and as an adviser in business. He was well liked and a friend to many.

After living about forty years at his home, he died there May 23, 1940, the third son of Isaac and Emma to pass away.

Lida Estella Conger, daughter of Isaac and Emma, was born in Iowa at Bradyville in Page County on December 20, 1874, and soon traveled with her parents to their homestead in Jewell County, Kansas. In 1878 she moved with her family on westward to a new and permanent home in Rooks
County, east of Codell, Kansas, where she spent the rest of her life.

When Lida was about seven years old she suffered a very serious illness with whooping cough which greatly damaged her health. She was never a strong, healthy person again. Her life was devoted to be a kind helper in the family home with its many activities and needs. She passed away at the family home on January 10, 1932.

Russell Addison Conger was born in Jewell County, near Burr Oak, Kansas, August 1, 1877. He moved with his parents to Rooks County in 1878 and grew up at the family home east of Codell. He was a teacher before going to Wyoming where he worked on a ranch before volunteering for service in the Hispano-American War. He was a member of General Torrey's "Rough Riders" in Company "A", Troop "E", 2nd U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. While in the service he became ill with typhoid fever and was sent home on a furlough to recuperate. He was unable to regain his health and died on November 11, 1898. He was the first of the Conger children to pass away.

Jennie Nevada Conger, daughter of Isaac and Emma was born April 16, 1880, at the family home east of Codell, where she grew to womanhood. She was married to Walter W. Sidwell on September 20, 1903. This couple were the parents of three children, a daughter and two sons: Vera Arlene, Milo Roscoe, and Richard Dean.

Jennie and Walter lived on a farm south and east of Plainville most of their years together. Jennie was a most loving wife and mother, and devoted much of her time and energies caring for members of her family who were invalids or ailing. She was a faithful and enduring woman. She was loved by all who knew her, but lost her own battle with life on October 10, 1940.

William Thompson Conger, son of Isaac and Emma, was born August 7, 1882, at the family home near Codell. He grew up helping on the home ranch. He was married to Bethena Hoskins, April 6, 1910, and they moved to their own home which joined the homes of both her parents and his. Four children, two boys and two girls, were born to this couple: Grant Vester, Ardna LoRee, Mildred Ruth, and William Duane. Bill, as he was known by his friends, was a helpful neighbor, and a good friend to all who knew him well. He spent the rest of his life at this same home as a successful rancher-farmer. His life ended December 23, 1964, the last of the five sons of Isaac and Emma.

Marshall Martin Conger, son of Isaac and Emma, was born December 7, 1884, east of Codell in the family home. He grew up learning the role of rancher-farmer with his father and brothers. As others left home, his help was needed more and more, so in time it became necessary for him to manage the ranch affairs and perform the farm duties. Marsh, as he was known by his friends and family, married Meta Hires on July 25, 1917 at Stockton, Kansas. Lager they adopted a daughter, Peggy Lou, who was a great joy in the home. A better neighbor than Marsh would be hard to find, and his friends were many. He passed away October 3, 1951, the fourth son of Isaac and Emma.

Isaac Conger, Jr. was born March 18, 1887 at the family home of Isaac and Emma Conger near Codell. At just sixteen years of age, as a brilliant pupil of Codell High School, he suffered a severe attack of what would be called appendicitis today. Medical science was unable, at this time, to cope with this situation and he passed away on May 8, 1903. He was the youngest son of the family, and the second to die.

Cloie Ethel Conger, daughter of Isaac and Emma, was born January 19, 1890 at the family home east of Codell. She attended Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. It was a severe blow to Cloie when the man she was to marry was killed in the service of his country. The many duties of the home and services to her church and community gave Cloie a full and busy life. After the death of her parents she left the family home and married Leonard C. Uhl on August 14, 1937. Smith Center, Kansas was her home for the remainder of her life. She passed away on December 7, 1968. She was the last of the nine children of Isaac and Emma Conger.

Vesta Lee Conger, daughter of Isaac and Emma, was born at the family home east of Codell, April 22, 1893. She was the youngest of the nine Conger children. After local schools, she went to a Kansas City school from which she graduated as a deaconess. Lee was married to Clarence P. Ellis, August 2, 1916 at the family home. To this union were born a son and a daughter: David Clarence and Elfra Maralee. This talented couple spent most of their years together working as evangelists in many different states. Their work was very rewarding and their friends were many. After retiring they moved to Pasadena, California where they spent their last years. Lee passed away on May 9, 1961.

--Submitted by Ardna L. Miller



Hope this information will be of use to you. I have several relatives buried in the Paradise Cemetery. Those surnames of interest are JOHNSON, McCORD, RICHMOND.

Best of luck in your research.

Clarence E. Lott, in the Mile High City, Denver, CO, and a native of Hill City, Graham Co., Kansas. Mon, 29 Mar 2004
(Shared With Joyce Posey)

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