William Gustavus Conley

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 418-419

HON. WILLIAM GUSTAVUS CONLEY, attorney general of West Virginia, and a
citizen of that state who has been prominent both in professional and public
life for many years, was born in Preston County, W. Va.. January 8, 1866, and
is a son of Major Will-iam and Mary (Freeburn) Conley.
Major William Conley, who was an officer in the state militia, was born also
in Preston County, but the mother was a native of Scotland. She came to
America with her parents at the age of eight years, resided with them in
Philadelphia, and later accompanied them to West Virginia, where her death
occurred in 1896, her husband having passed away when their son, William G.,
was quite young. Maior William Conley was a man of local prominence, and at
one time was deputy sheriff. He was a school teacher and was also engaged in
business as a contractor.
William Gustavus Conley was educated in the public schools of Preston County,
and the West Virginia University at Morgantown, and was graduated there from
the department of law, in 1803, and in the same year was admitted to the bar.
On April 2, 1903, Mr. Conley had conferred on him the honorary degree of
Doctor of Laws, by the Nashville College of Law, at Nashville, Teun. From
1893 until 1903, he was engaged in the practice of law at Parsons, W. Va.,
during the closing six months of this period being in partnership with
Charles D. Smith, under the firm name of Conley & Smith. He was in active and
citizen there, serving in the city council and also as mayor. From Parsons
he came to Kingwood, W. Va., where he is a member of the law firm of Hughes &
Conley, and where he has his residence. Mr. Conley has filled many important
political positions. In 1896 he was chosen assistant secretary of the
Republican National Convention that nominated the late President McKinley.
Subsequently he was twice sent to the convention of the National Republican
League Club; for six years was chairman of the Republican Executive
Committee, and for several years was a member as well as assistant secretary
of the Republican Congressional Committee. On May 9, 1908, Mr. Conley was
appointed attorney general, by Gov. William M. 0. Dawson, to serve until his
successor was elected and qualified, and was elected for both short and long
term, expiration being March 4, 1913. This position is one befitting one of
his talents, connections and achievements. Attorney Ceneral Conley maintains
his office on the first floor of the Capitol Building, Charleston.
Mr. Conley was married in 1892, to Miss Bertie I. Martin, who was born in
1873, near Kingwood, W. Va., and they have three children living. Mrs.
Conley is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, while he was reared a
Presbyterian. He is identified with the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the
Knights of Pythias.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange