John Thomas Conlin Life Sketch

(1853 - 1932)

John Thomas Conlin, also known as JT Conlin, was born April 5, 1853 in Wayne County, Indiana. On January 6, 1876, John married Mary Augusta Dill in Muscatine County, Iowa. John died in Oneida, Kansas on July 9, 1932.

John Thomas Conlin was born in Wayne County, Indiana, the second child of James Conlin and Bridget McManemon and their only son. While an infant, John, his parents, and older sister, Mary Ann, moved from Indiana to Muscatine, Iowa, settling in Cedar Township on land along the Cedar River. They lived with his mother's parents, Thomas and Bridget McManemon, and were there a little over a year when sadly, in 1857, both John's mother and his mother's mother died.

John grew up on the farm and learned farming and carpentry from his father. Members of his mother's extended family lived nearby. On January 6, 1876, John married Mary Augusta Dill, daughter of Dr. Solomon Dill and Elizabeth Fowler. While there is no information relating how John and Mary met, Mary's father was the doctor in nearby Louisa county and perhaps that they met upon a visit to the doctor.

John and Mary had 8 known children:

  1. James Solomon Conlin
  2. Laura Conlin
  3. John Edward “Ed” Conlin
  4. Charles Franklin Conlin
  5. Ella May Conlin
  6. Olive May Conlin
  7. William Garrett Conlin
  8. Mary Elizabeth Conlin

John's first son James Solomon, born in December, 1876, was named after his two paternal grandfathers, James Conlin and Solomon Dill.

In 1877, John leased the farm from his father who at the time was in his late 60's. By 1880, John's family, his father, and his sister Margaret's family, moved west and south to Holt Township, Taylor County, Iowa. John's father, James, lived with John while Margaret lived nearby.

John and Mary welcomed a daughter Laura, born in 1879, most likely in Taylor County, Iowa. Laura was also the name of Mary's younger sister.

In 1880, John purchased land in Oneida, Nemaha County, Kansas, although the family did not relocate until 1882. Upon arrival in Oneida, daughter Laura died of flux.

Oneida was a small town of less than 300 people. John bought the livery stock of Frank Hawkins, and as recorded in the paper "is ready to furnish nobby turnouts to his customers". He then purchased a meat market and by 1904, opened a restaurant, Conlin Bros.

The family grew in Oneida, 6 more children were born to John and Mary - John Edward in 1883; Charles Franklin in 1885; Ella May in 1887 - she lived a little less than a year and died in 1888; Olive May in 1889; followed by William Garrett in 1892; and finally Mary Elizabeth.

In April of 1897, John visited his sister, Mary Ann Berry in Cedar, Iowa and in December of 1899, John visited his sister, Margaret Viner in Taylor County, Iowa.

In 1901, John's oldest son James married and the following year, John's first grandson was born, Harold M Conlin. Son Charles married in 1905 however, that marriage ended very quickly in divorce. In 1909, daughter Olive May married Roy Neville. By 1910, John was 58 years old, out of the meat market and restaurant business and had returned to carpentry work.

The family celebrated two marriages in 1914, Mary Elizabeth to George Washington Riley in June, and Charles' second marriage to Mary Elsie Snyder in November. Sometime in 1917, John's son William headed off to serve in World War I. He returned home in early 1919. Mary Elizabeth's husband George died a couple of weeks before William's return, a victim of the flu epidemic that followed the conclusion of World War I. Mary Elizabeth and George's son William, also known as Billy, moved in with John and Mary, and son John Edward, or Ed as he is known, having never married, moved home also.

In 1920, daughter Mary Elizabeth married her second husband Floyd Gellatly, the union lasted a little over a year when Floyd died of typhoid fever. In 1921, John's eldest grandson, Harold Conlin, or Jack as he was called, headed to college at the University of Nebraska, the first in the family with the “Conlin” surname to attend college. Son William married Georgia Robertson in late 1921 and in 1922, Mary Elizabeth married for the third time John Merle Howard.

By 1924, James Solomon and his family, John Edward, all lived in Oneida. Charles, Olive May and William's families all lived nearby - Charles' family in Sioux City, and Olive May's and William's families in Seneca. According to Conlin family lore, the extended family often got together on the weekends at John and Mary's house, the women in the house and the men sitting under an immense elm tree in the yard.

In 1931, John's health started to fail and on July 9, 1932 John Thomas died in Oneida at the age of 79. He was buried in the Oneida Cemetery.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch completed: 10 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.

"Kansas State Census, 1895", database with images, FamilySearch, John Conlin, 1895.

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch, John Canlin, Gilman Township Oneida, Nemaha, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 115, sheet 3A, family 52, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,492.

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch, John T Conlin, Gilman, Nemaha, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 115, sheet 8A, family 12, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 450; FHL microfilm 1,374,463.

"United States Census, 1920", database with images, FamilySearch, John Conlin, 1920.

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch, John T Conlin, Oneida, Nemaha, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 6, sheet 2B, line 80, family 57, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 713; FHL microfilm 2,340,448.

"Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934," database, FamilySearch, John T. Conlon and Mary A. Dill, 06 Jan 1876, Muscatine, Muscatine, Iowa, United States; citing reference Vol C p 104, county courthouses, Iowa; FHL microfilm 1,003,361.

"Kansas Births and Christenings, 1818-1936", database, FamilySearch, John Thomas Conlin in entry for Charles Franklin Conlin, 1886.

"Kansas, Births and Baptisms, 1811-1940", database, FamilySearch, John Thomas Conlin in entry for Olive Conlin, 1889.

"Nebraska Marriages, 1855-1995", database, FamilySearch, J I Conlin in entry for Chas F Conlin or Conklin, 1914.

“Conlin, John Thomas”, obituary, Seneca Times, Seneca, Kanssa, July 13, 1932.