James Sevier Conway

James Sevier Conway (December 9, 1796 – March 3, 1855) was an American politician who served as the first governor of Arkansas from 1836 to 1840.

James Sevier Conway
AR Conway James Sevier.jpg
2nd and 8th Postmaster of Walnut Hill, Arkansas
In office
July 3, 1845 – August 9, 1846
Nominated byJames K. Polk
Preceded byFleetwood Herndon
Succeeded byFrancis E. Goodwin
In office
November 15, 1854 – December 19, 1854
Nominated byFranklin Pierce
Preceded byA. C. J. Phillips
Succeeded byAnn I. Sevier
6th Postmaster of Conway, Arkansas
In office
February 18, 1843 – July 2, 1845
Nominated byJohn Tyler
Preceded byGideon Ruyle
Succeeded byOffice abolished
1st Governor of Arkansas
In office
September 13, 1836 – November 4, 1840
Preceded byWilliam S. Fulton (as Governor of Arkansas Territory)
Succeeded byArchibald Yell
1st Postmaster of Conway, Arkansas Territory
In office
May 24, 1828 – November 7, 1832
Nominated by
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byThomas Quigg
Personal details
Born(1796-12-04)December 4, 1796
Greene County, Tennessee
DiedMarch 3, 1855(1855-03-03) (aged 58)
Lafayette County, Arkansas
Cause of deathPneumonia
Resting placeConway Cemetery State Park
33°06′06.8″N 93°40′59.0″W / 33.101889°N 93.683056°W / 33.101889; -93.683056Coordinates: 33°06′06.8″N 93°40′59.0″W / 33.101889°N 93.683056°W / 33.101889; -93.683056
Political partyDemocratic
Mary Jane Bradley
(m. 1826)
Parent(s)Thomas & Ann Conway
RelativesConway-Johnson family

Early lifeEdit

James Sevier Conway was born on December 4, 1796, in Greene County, Tennessee, to Thomas and Ann (née Rector) Conway. Conway's father was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1771.[1] His paternal ancestors originated in Conwy, Wales.[2] Thomas employed private tutors to teach his seven sons and three daughters. In 1818, the family moved to St. Louis, where Conway learned the art of land surveying from his uncle William Rector, surveyor-general in Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas.[1] In 1820, Conway resigned a Cole County, Missouri, circuit clerk's position to serve as deputy-surveyor in the newly-established Arkansas Territory,[3] where he purchased a tract of land in Hempstead (present-day Lafayette) County. While living there, Conway met Mary Jane Bradley, who had migrated with her family from Wilson County, Tennessee. They were married December 21, 1825, and had ten children, five of whom died in infancy or early childhood.[1]

Political careerEdit

In 1832, Conway became the surveyor-general in Arkansas Territory and served in that position until 1836. He was the elected to the new office of governor when Arkansas became a state in 1836. His administration focused on developing schools and roads. He ordered the militia to patrol the western frontier and worked to have the federal arsenal built at Little Rock. He worked to get funding for a state penitentiary. He pressed the General Assembly for establishment of a state library and university but was unsuccessful.[1] Conway left office in 1840 and returned to Laffayette County where he served three nonconsecutive terms as postmaster.[4]

Death and legacyEdit

Conway died from the complications of pneumonia on March 3, 1855. His remains were interred in the Conway Cemetery (present-day Conway Cemetery State Park), near Bradley, Arkansas. He helped establish Lafayette Academy in Greene County, Tennessee.[1] Present-day Conway, Arkansas, is named after him.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Williams, C. Fred (16 February 2018). "James Sevier Conway (1796–1855)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. CALS. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  2. ^ Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas. Illustrated. Chicago and Nashville: The Southern Publishing Company. 1891. pp. 108–109. LCCN rc01001245. OCLC 1041626718. OL 23338025M – via Internet Archive.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Paxton, John A., ed. (1821). The St. Louis Directory and Register. St. Louis. p. [78]. OCLC 1085319514. OL 24166744M – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971. NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls. Records of the Post Office Department, Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives.
  5. ^ "Profile for Conway, Arkansas, AR". ePodunk. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2012.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

General information
Party political offices
First Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded byas Governor of Arkansas Territory Governor of Arkansas
1836 – 1840
Succeeded by