from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Dr. Henry Oliver Conaway, devoting his attention to office practice, chronic diseases, deformities and diseases of the eye and ear, has come into public recognition as one of the able and distinguished members of the medical fraternity of Iowa. He was born in Harrison county, near Scio, Ohio, on the 27th of January, 1848, a son of Aaron and Dorcas (Busby) Conaway, who were also natives of Ohio. A memorial written by Dr. Conaway of his father contains the following: "Aaron Conaway, born in Harrison county, Ohio, in 1807, was the son of Michael Conaway, a United States soldier of the war of 1812 fame and one of the pioneer settlers of eastern Ohio. He was a brother of Charles, the first Methodist Episcopal minister to ever ride a circuit and preach a Methodist sermon in the state of Ohio. They were born in Maryland of Scotch-Irish parentage. "Aaron Conaway's birth was in that memorable year when Robert Fulton built and successfully sailed the `Clermont' up the Hudson river-the first steamboat-in the year 1807, a date far more memorable than any battle ever fought on earth. In 1812 Aaron Costaway's first notable act was performed when he accompanied his father one day's journey through the wilderness, the father and son riding an old white mare on the journey to the war of 1812 with Great Britain. The next morning Michael placed little Aaron on the mare, kissing him good-bye, enjoining upon him to be a good boy and mind his mother till he would return, and telling the little son not to fear that the faithful mare would take him home safe from the wildcats of the woods. "His early life was spent on a farm and teaching school until his marriage to Dorcas Busby in 1832. The result of their union was fourteen children, six of whom are still living: Michael, a farmer, who lived near the old homestead and is deceased; Dr. John B., of York, Nebraska, ex-member of the Nebraska house of representatives; Mrs. R. M. Welch, wife of J. W. Welch, of Archer, Ohio; Dr. H. Oliver; Dr. A. B., of Marshalltown, ex-state senator of Iowa; Mrs. C. B. Burner, of the old homestead, a loving daughter and sister, the example of purity, vigilance, fidelity and constancy, following almost constantly the trembling footsteps of her aged father for almost fifty years, her loving kindness being a continual balm until the last hour. If to honor ones father and mother would in fact make our days long on earth, she should live long and prosper in the peaceful tranquility of a life well spent, and titles of nobility well earned, for it has been written `Once I was young, now I am old, yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging for bread.' "Moses Conaway, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was killed at the battle of Fisher's Hill, Virginia, September 22, 1863, aged twenty-two years. George Alexander was killed at Dennison, Ohio, December 17, 1873. Mrs. Agnes B., wife of W. B. Welch, of Cadiz. Ohio, deceased. Susan, deceased. Martha, deceased. Mary Jane, deceased. Enoch, deceased. Aaron Marion, deceased. All of whom died in sickness. "During the great American rebellion Aaron gave four of his sons, besides raising all the men and means in his power, to prosecute the war on the part of the government. He held different offices of trust in the county in which he resided, was land appraiser, county commissioner, justice of the peace for over forty years and in all that time never had one of his decisions reversed by a higher court. He lived and died within two miles of where he was born, a patient, consistent and conscientious Christian gentleman, whose whole life was sunshine and shadow; a contented disposition being to him a continuous feast. He was admired, revered and respected by his family and all who knew him. His last days were full of peace and pleasantness to him and a hallelujah to his family. He was the last one of a noble family of consistent Christian people. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and at the head of every temperance movement. He died March 11, 1896, at the age of eighty-nine years." At the time of his mother's death, which occurred January 20, 1901, Dr. Conaway wrote to the sister who had long cared for them, "I remember her as the ever faithful mother who never slept until every little back was tucked in. Then if a neighbor knocked on the door with a message for help she was ready to light the candle in the old tin lantern and with staff in hand, travel as a messenger of mercy to the relief of suffering humanity or to the scene of distress, through the dark alone. I remember her in the shadow of her first real grief, when the tocsin of war sounded and her boys of whom she was so proud volunteered and went to the Army of Freedom. I can see her knitting by the old `fat lamp' and the `shell-bark' fire mingling her tears with the stitches, making mittens and socks for the soldiers in rags in the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia and Kentucky, while her noble husband drove his team from house to house, asking for clothes and blankets to cover and protect from the bleak winter those noble lads who had gone at their country's call to do and to die for the eternal right. Yes, God bless her noble womanhood, she gave her boys and her husband to die on the field of battle; and then when General Morgan came through Ohio on his memorable raid she planted me (a little boy that soon went to sleep-with the old squirrel rifle) to guard one door, while she stood through the midnight hours and until the day yawned, at the other door, with her eyes on the children who were asleep and with the ax from the wood-pile firmly grasped, ready if need be, to sell her life for her home, her children and her country. But the silver cord is loosened and the golden bowl is broken. `There is no velvet so soft as a mother's lap, There is no rose so sweet as a mother's cheek, No music as sweet as a mother's voice. And while the soul retains the power To think upon each faded year, In every bright or shadowed hour The heart shall hold the mother dear.'" Dr. Conaway, whose name introduces this record, acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of Scio, Ohio, and was graduated from the Oakdale Normal School in the class of 1872. He is an alumnus of the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio, of the class of 1875, and following his graduation he located for practice at Deep River, Iowa, where he remained until 1882, when he accepted a chair of professor in Drake University at Des Moines, Iowa, becoming professor of human anatomy, in which position he continued until 1886, proving a capable educator who elucidated the complex subjects and imparted clearly and readily the knowledge that he had acquired. He was at the same time engaged in the private practice of medicine. In 1886 he located in Columbus, Ohio, and after the death of his father and mother refurned to Mahaska county, Iowa, settling in New Sharon, where he remained until 1892. In that year he went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he spent two years, and following his return to Iowa he practiced for a few months in Iowa City. In the fall of 1904 he came to Oskaloon, where, opening an office, he has since devoted his attention to chronic diseases, deformities, diseases of the eye and ear and to general office practice. In 1905 he was elected county physician and is still filling the office. On the 16th of May, 1873, Dr. Conaway was married to Frances Sarah Hoover, of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Their children are: Josie, the wife of Jesse Rodgers, of Montezuma, Iowa; Clement A., of Deep River, Iowa; and George, at home. Mrs. Conaway is also a graduate in medicine, having completed her course in the medical department of Drake University, and she practices in conjunction with her husband. Both Dr. Conaway and his wife are deep and earnest students of the profession, practicing along scientific lines and keeping in touch with the trend of modern thought in scientific development.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy