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The Old Conaway Cemetery at Le Roy, Illinois

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Location: Le Roy, McLean County, Illinoismap
Surname/tag: Conaway
Profile manager: Jim Kennedy private message [send private message]
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“The Conaway Cemetery is in Section 28 of Empire township just south of LeRoy on the east side of what used to be the south LeRoy blacktop road. It was feared that I-74 would go through the cemetery but it is just north of I-74. Some of the people buried in that cemetery were moved to Oak Grove Cemetery after it was started but not all of them were moved.”

“These early small family or community burial grounds were most in use during that period from early settlement until after the Civil War when there were no undertakers in this vicinity. The markers in these early cemeteries were usually sandstone or marble about three inches thick. This may be one reason these cemeteries disappeared. After some of the people were moved to larger cemeteries and the remaining graves neglected it was easy for the stones to be piled along a fence row so the land could be farmed or livestock grazing around them trampled them into the ground. Many of these stones, especially the ones in fence rows, were carried away by people for door steps, walks and even patios.”
(Heritage of the Prairie: A History of Le Roy and of Empire and West Townships, McLean County, Illinois, 1976, page 81).[1]

Bertha B. Watters (1887-1968) of McLean County did extensive genealogical research about William and Nancy Conaway and their descendants. William Conaway was the patriarch of the extended family in the Le Roy area and died in 1832.[2] Bertha’s husband Samuel “Fay” Watters was a grandson of William Conaway’s daughter Christiana. Bertha’s family files were placed in the Crumbaugh Library at Le Roy, McLean County, Illinois.

Bertha wrote: “the old Conaway Cemetery was destroyed years ago. Some were moved to Oak Grove. My husband’s father (who was 60 when Fay was b) regretted he did not move the 20 graves left. We know now, that is where William and Nancy are buried. But can’t prove it.”[3]

Other members of the extended Conaway family who died in the Le Roy area in the early to mid 1800s were probably also buried in the now defunct Old Conaway Cemetery. This would include William and Nancy’s daughters:

  • Matilda (Conaway) Barnett, who apparently died sometime between the birth of her son Amos in 1830 and August, 1832 when her husband Robert Barnett remarried;[4]
  • Providence (Conaway) Barnett, who apparently died sometime between June, 1843 when her last child Elvira was born and March, 1846 when her husband Jesse Barnett remarried.[5]

Sources

  1. Heritage of the Prairie: A History of Le Roy and of Empire and West Townships, McLean County, Illinois, 1976, LeRoy Bi-Centennial Commission. https://archive.org/details/heritageofprairi00lero
  2. William Conaway, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Conaway-202
  3. From an undated page in the “Conaway letters file” at the Crumbaugh Library in Le Roy, Illinois.
  4. Matilda (Conaway) Barnett, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Conaway-1002
  5. Providence (Conaway) Barnett, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Conaway-966




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