James Conlin Life Sketch

abt 1807 - abt 1887

aka James Conlon

James Conlin, also spelled Conlon, was born about 1807 likely in County Leitrim, Ireland. Around 1844, James married Bridget McManemon, daughter of Thomas McManemon and Bridget Kelley. James and Bridget had the following known children:

  1. Mary Ann Conlon
  2. John Thomas Conlin
  3. Margaret Ellen Conlin

James Conlin died most likely in Taylor County, Iowa between 1885 and 1890.

James Conlin was born in Ireland sometime around 1810. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact year of birth due to different ages recorded on the US and Iowa censuses. The Iowa census of 1856 lists James' age as 51. The US 1860 Census lists James' age as 53; the 1870 census as age 55; the 1880 census as age 70; and in the 1885 Iowa census, as age 78. All the censuses record Ireland as James' place of birth. While the county of birth is uncertain, James' oldest daughter, Mary Ann, was born in County Leitrim and members of his wife's family list County Leitrim as their place of birth, so James was likely born in the same county.

James married Bridget McManemon around 1844 and the following year, their daughter Mary Ann was born. About this time, life in County Leitrim became extremely difficult due to the Irish potato famine and the family immigrated to the United States. While their immigration records have not been located, according to Mary Ann's census records, she arrived in the United States in 1849, age 4, probably with her mother. It is not known whether James arrived in the U.S. earlier or whether the family came together. While the family apparently lived in the United States during the US 1850 census, their location remains unknown.

In 1853, James' son, John Thomas was born in Wayne County, Indiana. Around 1855, the family moved to Cedar Township, Muscatine County, Iowa and joined Bridget's parents. Bridget's parents arrived a year earlier and leased land from Joseph Jean. James was a farmer and, according to Conlin family lore, was also a carpenter. In February of 1856, Margaret Ellen was born. The following year, James' wife Bridget died and was buried in Jean's Cemetery, also known as Oak Grove Cemetery.

The family and extended family farmed the land next to the Cedar River. A neighbor was the Viner family from England, Charles, Emma and their 7 children. Sometime in late 1850's, the Berry family, B.F. and Polly, moved from Indiana to Iowa near the Conlins. Also nearby in Louisa County, Solomon Dill was the local doctor.

In January of 1867, James' daughter Mary Ann wed William L. Berry. Later that year, James' first grandson was born, James F Berry. In January of 1876, the Conlin family celebrated two weddings, Margaret Ellen to Alfred Viner on January 4 and John Thomas to Mary Augusta Dill on January 6.

Between 1877 and 1880, John and Mary Conlin, and Margaret and Alfred Viner moved to Holt Township, Taylor County, Iowa. James went with them and lived with John and Mary. James passed the land in Cedar Township, Muscatine to his eldest daughter, Mary Ann and her husband, William Berry. William and Mary Ann farmed the land until William died, and the land was passed to their eldest son, James F. The Berry's are buried in Jean's Cemetery, Mary Ann with her husband and near her mother Bridget.

By 1882, John and Mary Conlin moved to Oneida, Kansas. James moved in with Margaret and Alfred Viner who remained in Taylor County, Iowa. While Conlin family lore relates that James moved to Oneida and lived with his son, John until almost 100 years of age, he does not appear in the household of John in the Kansas census of 1895 or the US 1900 census. He also does not appear in the household of either daughter in the Iowa census of 1895 or the US 1900 census. More likely James died sometime between 1885 and 1890, around the age of 80 in Taylor County, Iowa.

Genealogical research and Life Sketch completed: 15 July 2020


Thomas McManemon household, 1856 state census of Iowa, Muscatine County, Cedar Township, p. 579, line 19-26; microfilm 008984721, FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah.

"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch, James Conelen, 1860.

"United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch, James Conlan, 1870.

"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch , James Conlin in household of John Conlin, Holt, Taylor, Iowa, United States; citing enumeration district , sheet , NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm .

"Iowa State Census, 1885," database with images, FamilySearch, Taylor > Holt > image 23 of 30; State Historical Society, Des Moines.

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch, Miss Mary A Berry in household of William Berry, Grandview Township Lettsville town, Louisa, Iowa, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 85, sheet , family , NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm .

"Kansas, Births and Baptisms, 1811-1940", database, FamilySearch, John Thomas Conlin in entry for Charles Franklin Conlin, 1886.

“Conlon, Mary”, obituary, Muscatine News-Tribune, Feb 1, 1907.

“Conlin, John Thomas”, obituary, Sabetha Herald, July 13, 1932.