Elias Nelson Conway

Gov. Elias Nelson Conway

Arkansas

Term(s)
November 15, 1852 - November 16, 1860

Born
May 17, 1812

Passed
February 28, 1892

Party
Democrat

School(s)

Birth State
Tennessee

BIO

ELIAS NELSON CONWAY, brother to Arkansas’s first governor, James Sevier Conway (1836-1840), was born at Greenville in Greene County, Tennessee, on May 17, 1812. He moved with his family to Missouri where he attended the Bonne Femme Academy. In 1833 Conway moved to Little Rock, studied surveying, and served as Arkansas’ auditor from 1835 to 1849. Conway declined the 1844 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, but accepted it in 1852. He was sworn into office on November 15, 1852, as Arkansas’s fifth governor, and was reelected to a second term in 1856. During his administration, the office of state geologist was created, major physical improvements were made in the state and also in the state penitentiary, and large grants were given to the state’s railroad system. His greatest accomplishment was restoring the state’s solvency, which he did by creating a court of chancery. The treasury held a surplus when Conway left office on November 16, 1860. Conway retired from public life, nearly becoming a recluse. Governor Conway died on February 28, 1892, and is buried at the Mount Holly Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Source

Donovan, Timothy P., and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Fayetteville; The University of Arkansas Press, 1981

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Herndon, Dallas T., Centennial History of Arkansas, Vol. 1, Chicago, Little Rock, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922. 3 vols.

Old State House Museum

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