David H. Conwell, one of Carlyle's most progressive and capable business men, was born upon a farm in Delaware August 3, 1827, and was reared to manhood in Milton, that state. He is a son of Charles CONWELL, a soldier in the War of 1812 and a carpenter by trade, who spent his entire life in Delaware. Twice married, by his first union he had three children, of whom only one survives. Unto him and his second wife, Jeannette, were born seven children, four of whom are now living.
One of the children of the second marriage was D. H., the subject of this sketch. His boyhood years were passed in Milton, where he prosecuted his studies in the pioneer schools, but devoted his attention principally to farming until he bound himself out to learn ship carpentering. Learning that trade, he was thus engaged until the age of twenty-five. Meantime he went to sea and followed his trade on board steamers and sailing-vessels. A sea-faring life, however, was not exactly suited to his tastes, and it was without regret that he returned to his former place of residence.
At Milton, Del., in 1848, Mr. Conwell was united in marriage with Miss Patience HIGBY, also a native of Delaware. Five years later he came to Illinois, and followed his trade in Hancock for two years, after which he went to Rock Island, and was there employed for about two years. Proceeding from there to St. Louis, he engaged in steamboating on the Mississippi River for nine years. In 1860 he moved his family to Clinton County, and in 1868 permanently located here himself. During the trying and perilous times of the late war he ran transports on the Mississippi, and had many unpleasant and dangerous experiences during that conflict.
Upon settling in Clinton County, Mr. Conwell purchased a farm in Wheatfield Township, and continued to reside there until 1872, when he moved to Carlyle. Here in 1873 he bought the livery business in which he has since engaged. In addition to that enterprise he also conducts a large trade in the coal and teaming business, and has an undertaking establishment in connection with his other interests. His first wife died in 1872, and two years later he married Mrs. Christina WELLS, a native of Pennsylvania, from which state her father, Adam YINCHS, removed to Clinton County, Ill., in an early day. By his first marriage Mr. Conwell had five children, of whom the following four are now living: Charles, who is in the employ of the American Express Company in St. Louis; Samuel, who is employed in Kansas City, Mo.; Mary, the wife of James SHADE, a teamster of Carlyle; and Marshall, who assists his father. The third son, William, is deceased.
A Democrat in national issues, Mr. Conwell is somewhat independent in local matters, voting for the man whom he considers best qualified for the office in question, irrespective of political affiliations. For about sixteen years he has been Highway Commissioner of the township and has also served as Alderman. He is a man of temperate habits and a strong advocate of temperance. As a citizen, he is public-spirited, as a business man prosperous, and as a friend thoughtful and genial. Socially, he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and belongs to the encampment. He is also connected with the Knight of Honor. In the former organization he has held the majority of offices and is the present Deputy Grand Master of Lodge No. 38, at Carlyle. He became an Odd Fellow in 1848, and since that time has always been prominent in the fraternity, which he has frequently represented in the Grand Lodge. His membership is in the Presbyterian Church and his contributions to religious and benevolent projects are generous and frequent.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, IL
Submitted by: Connie Albers
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