Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 204-05.

Transcribed by Mary Alice Schwanke and Cyndi Vertrees

Biography of  C. G. Conley

The steps in the orderly progression which mark the life record of C. G. Conley are easily discernible. As the years have passed his powers have constantly expanded through exercise and activity in the business world and he has gone forward step by step until he is today occupying a position of prominence in commercial circles in Buena Vista county, being now president and treasurer of the Sioux Rapids Hardware Company.

He was born in Madrid, New York, in 1854 and is a son of A. B. and Nancy (Kingsbury) Conley, who always remained residents of the Empire state. The son acquired his education in the public schools and was a pupil of John S. Miller. When about seventeen years of age he started out in life on his own account and was employed for a time at farm labor but his ambition led him in other directions and coming to the west in search of broader opportunities, he secured a clerkship in a dry-goods store at Union Grove, Wisconsin, becoming an employee of the firm of Humphrey & Coburn.

Mr. Conley occupied that position for a few years and then came to Sioux Rapids, where he engaged in clerking for P. W. Goodrich for about one year. During that time he devoted all of his leisure hours to the study of telegraphy and in 1882 became assistant agent and operator with W. H. Pratt, agent at Sioux Rapids. A few months later he was assigned to a position on the construction train as field operator and thus moved from place to place with the extension of the road. He was afterward stationed at Eagle Grove as operator for the Northwestern Railway Company and in 1884 he gave up his position with the Northwestern to enter commercial life, believing that his previous experience and his well earned capital now justified him in the step. Turning his attention to the hardware trade in Sioux Rapids, he became a member of the firm of Smith & Conley, and when J. J. Duroe was admitted to a partnership the name was changed to Smith, Duroe & Conley, and when Mr. Smith sold out the name of Duroe & Conley was assumed. They conducted the store with good success until 1892, when the business was changed, becoming a part of the new organization known as the Sioux Rapids Hardware Company. The original officers were J. J. Duroe, president; F. A. Gabrielson, vice president; and C. G. Conley, secretary and treasurer. There is an authorized capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars with a paid up stock of fifteen thousand dollars. A full and complete line of everything in hardware and also farm implements of all kinds are carried. The business has constantly grown in volume and importance and is today one of the leading commercial concerns of Sioux Rapids and this part of the county. The building which they occupy is their own property and was erected in 1901. The present officers of the company are: C. G. Conley, president and treasurer and E. F. Conley, vice president and secretary. They are located on the most prominent corner in the town and the store is conducted along modern business lines and is bringing substantial profits.

Mr. Conley was married in 1885 to Miss Elnah Duroe, a daughter of J. J. and Agnes (Sands) Duroe, both of whom were natives of New York, whence they came to Iowa in 1868. Mr. and Mrs. Conley now have four children: Agnes E., a leading instructor in the music department of the Breck School at Wilder, Minnesota; C. E.; James; and Lucile.

Mr. Conley votes the democratic ticket and the family attend the Congregational church. They are interested in those things which contribute to public progress and cooperate in many movements for the general good. Mr. Conley stands as a man of strong and well defined enterprise and early realizing that advancement depends upon individual effort intelligently directed he has bent his energies toward gaining that success which is the goal toward which all business men are striving. What he has accomplished represents the fit utilization of his innate powers and his record is that of a man whose business development has been a source of benefit to the community as well as to the individual.