Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

William Bernard Conway

(ca. 1802-1839)
Pennsylvania & Iowa

--lawyer, journalist, and author, from Johnstown, Pittsburgh,
and Ebensburg, Pennsylvania

Source: William B. Conway Collection, Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

[The State Historical Society of Iowa archival collection includes "clippings of poetry by Conway. We find in The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge, for the Year 1841 277 (Boston: David H. Williams, 1840) that Conway "was a man of literary talents and taste, and a writer of poetry, which obtained a considerable degree of popularity."]

"William B. Conway was born about 1802 [on the Brandywine in Newcastle County, Delaware]. He was a weaver's apprentice until his father moved to Westmoreland county in 1818, when he purchased a farm ne mile from Livermore, near Spruce run, which has remained in the Conway family . . . .

It is not known when William B. Conway left the farm, but between 1825 and 1833 he read law and was admitted to practice in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, and also formed a partnership with Thomas Phillips, of Pittsburgh, and published in that city the American Manufactuer, a Democratic newspaper.

It was also during this period that he married Miss Charity Anne Kinney, of McKessport. . . .

Willam B. Conway died in Davenport, Iowa, in December, 1939, while he was secretary of the territory, and was buried on the westerly bank of the Mississippi river." [Henry Wilson Storey, History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania 378-379 (New York: Lewis Publishing Co, 1907)] [online text]

Conway was reputedly the author of a long political poem, " The Bribed Legislator," and an uninished novel, titled " Philosopher's Luck."


William B. Conway, The Cottage on the Cliff: A Tale of the Revolution (Ebensburg, Pennsylvania: Printed by James Morgan, 1838)


William B. Conway, The Statute Laws of the Territory of Iow (Du Buque, Iowa: Russell & Reeves, printers, 1839)