New Orleans Public Library
|Administrations of the Mayors of New Orleans|
John R. Conway (1825-1896)
John R. Conway, thirtieth Mayor of New Orleans, was nominated by the Democratic Party.|
He was born in Alexandria, Virginia, August 24th, 1825, a descendent of a family which had emigrated from Wales to America during the reign of Charles II. He settled in New Orleans in December 1862 and was employed by a large cotton commission house. Due to general suspension of business during the occupation of New Orleans by the Federal forces, he was thrown out of employment. In 1865 however, he re-entered business as a wholesale grocer and commission merchant, together with his brother Colin A. Conway. It appears that he was quite successful in his venture up to the time he became Mayor. When the Orleans Parish Democratic Committee reorganized after the Civil War, he was made first chairman. His administration is noteworthy because during it the period of military control over the government came to an end. He was a man of small stature and lacked the vigor, both physically and mentally, to deal energetically with the different problems which demanded his attention as Mayor.
The following incidents of interest occurred during his administration:
On February 18, 1870 a letter was received from Hiram Powers, the American sculptor, dated January 23rd, from Florence, Italy accepting the proposition for the completion and shipment of the Benjamin Franklin Statue to this city. An enterprise undertaken and carried to a successful termination by the New Orleans Times.
On March 26, 1870, Pierre Soule, a native of France and one of the most brilliant lawyers and gifted personalities which characterized the era of 1834-1836 throughout the South, died at his residence, 200 Burgundy Street, between St. Ann and Dumaine, at the age of 69. He lies buried in the St. Louis Cemetery.
It also may be of interest to mention that when the Federal vessels of war made their appearance in the river facing the city, he was one of the chief advisers of Mayor Monroe and is credited with having written the letters signed by the Mayor and sent to Captain (who later became Admiral) Farragut.
When New Orleans surrendered to the Federal Forces, General Butler had Soule arrested and sent to Fort Lafayette, where he was detained as a prisoner of State for several months. After being released he went to Richmond where he was given the rank of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army, but never served in that capacity.
Mr. Conway was a member of the Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce, he belonged to the American Legion of Honor and was one of the oldest members of the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club. He also was one of the organizers of the Sons of the Revolution.
He married Miss Elize G. Waggeman, youngest daughter of the late Hon. George A. Waggeman, on December 9th, 1857, at Avondale Plantation. She died in Brooklyn at the age of 33 and her remains were sent to New Orleans in 1869.
John R. Conway died on March 11th, 1896 at his residence, 1405 Baronne Street at the age of 70 and lies buried in Cypress Grove (Firemenís Cemetery).
Two daughters survive him, Mrs. Thomas A. Shaffer and Miss Margaret S. Conway.
|Members of the Conway Administration|
June 10, 1868-April 4, 1870
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