Friday, May 8, 2015

Beeks line: Thomas Conway abt 1654-1689 Irish Quaker Immigrant

We don't know a lot specifically about Thomas Conway.  One paragraph would probably suffice to fill in the known details of his life.  He was born about 1654 to Thomas Conaway and Mariah Tanney in Lisburn, County Armagh, Ireland.  The parents apparently aren't proven but they are believed to be his parents.  He married Mary Hollingsworth, daughter of Valentine Hollingsworth and Ann Ree (last name uncertain) in 1682 in Segoe, Armagh, Ireland, in the Quaker religion.  Two months later, the young Conways emigrated with Mary's father to what became the Brandywine Hundred, in northern Delaware.  (At the time, it was considered part of Pennsylvania.) The couple had three daughters, Mary, Ann, and Sarah, before Thomas died in 1689.  I've found three different death dates for him but all at least agree that he died in 1689.

That is all that I can learn about Thomas, other than a list of witnesses at his wedding.  We don't know whether he was the first Quaker in the family, but it appears his parents didn't attend the wedding.  We don't know when his parents died, or how far the wedding was from the family home, if there was one.

We do know that the Hollingsworth and Conway families emigrated for more than economic reasons.  Yes, the promise of cheap land in William Penn's tract was enticing, but most Irish Quakers emigrated because they were being persecuted, thrown into jail and their land or/and belongings confiscated.  Ireland was no place to try to raise a Quaker family.  We also know that life in the New World was not easy.  Starvation was a possibility and malnutrition a probability, which led to any of numerous diseases and conditions.  We don't know why Thomas died but there is no record of an Indian attack that would account for his death in 1689, so it was either an accident or illness.  He was only about 35 years old when he died. 

His widow, Mary, later married Randall Malin and they had three children.  Mary is said to have died in 1746, when she was about ninety years old. 

The line of descent is:

Thomas Conway-Mary Hollingsworth
Mary Conway-Charles Booth
Lydia Booth-Isaac Malin
Sarah Malin-David Ruble
Hannah Ruble-Samuel Dunham
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents