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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Edward A. Conyne

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 772-775 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Edward A. Conyne

Portrait: Edward A. Conyne

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Edward A. Conyne, a retired manufacturer of Little Falls, is a native of this city, born on the 27th of March, 1860. He comes from a pre-Revolutionary family of French extraction, whose ancestors came from the Swiss border of France and settled in Albany prior to the war for American independence. The original family homestead was burned by the Indians when it was in the possession of his great-great-grandfather. Peter Conyne, born in 1753, in Albany, was an adjutant in the Continental army up to March, 1781, when he was honorably discharged from further service. His son, Abram, was born at Ephratah, New York, August 30, 1800, and died at Tribes Hill, New York, in January, 1852. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Catherine Stoller, was born near Tribes Hill in 1802 and died in Gloversville, at the age of seventy-six. Their son, Peter A. Conyne, born at Tribes Hill, July 7, 1824, was long known as a wagon manufacturer in Little Falls, where his death occurred on the 30th of June, 1912. He married Annis Smith, who was born in Little Falls on March 11, 1830, and there spent her life. She came from a family of "high Dutch" origin. Her father, Isaac Smith, was born here May 7, 1799, and died in this city at the early age of forty-five, on November 24, 1844. His wife, who was Margaret Keller before her marriage, was likewise a native of Little Falls, her birth occurring on August 9, 1802. Mrs. Smith passed away May 17, 1845, at the untimely age of forty-two.

After graduating from the Little Falls high school Edward A. Conyne attended the Little Falls Academy for a short time, before he pushed aside his textbooks to go to work for his father in the latter's wagon shop, which was then located on Second street, on the site of the present D. H. Burrell & Company's plant. Beginning as an apprentice in 1876, at the age of sixteen, Mr. Conyne worked for fourteen years before his father gave him a half interest in the business in 1890. Later the business was conducted under the name of P. A. Conyne & Son until the father's retirement in 1906. At that time Edward A. Conyne took over the entire business, which he continued under his own name until April, 1922, when the property was purchased by D. H. Burrell & Company, Incorporated, and Mr. Conyne retired from business.

Mr. Conyne is a democrat and has been rather prominent in local politics, holding a number of municipal and village offices. He has been commissioner of alms for the village of Little Falls, treasurer of the village for a term, and alderman of the city for a term, refusing the nomination for a second term. Formerly he was also foreman of the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company for the village of Little Falls. Mr. Conyne's fraternal associations are with the Elks, his membership being with Lodge No. 42 of Little Falls, and he is a member of the First Baptist church of this city. Many forms of outdoor life and sport appeal to him, especially fishing and tramping in the woods. Formerly he played considerable golf at the Little Falls Country Club, to which he belonged.

Living with Mr. Conyne at his residence at No. 22 West Main street, Little Falls, are his two sisters, Mrs. Kate (Conyne) Thomas and Gertrude M. Conyne. The former was born here on July 7, 1853, and on the 3d of October, 1877, was married to John G. Thomas, who was born in Tioga county, New York, February 21, 1841, and died in this city on the 23d of January, 1920. Mr. Thomas was one of the early locomotive engineers and in connection with his work had many interesting and exciting adventures. During the gold rush to Panama, when more people were falling victims to tropical fevers than discovering gold, he was offered a large premium to go down to Panama to run a locomotive. He refused to sign a contract agreeing to stay a stipulated term of years, but did consent to go down and try it out. When he arrived at his destination he refused to stay for any length of time on account of the sickness and ran away from his job, making his way back to the more healthful climate of the United States. During the Civil war he took locomotives to the south for the Federal government and for some time had his headquarters in New Orleans as a government locomotive inspector. For a number of years prior to his retirement Mr. Thomas ran a locomotive on the New York Central Lines, serving on both freight and passenger trains. Mrs. Thomas is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and takes an interest in the work of the Episcopal church, which she attends. Her political affiliations are with the democratic party.

Gertrude M. Conyne, who was born in Little Falls, on the 9th of December, 1863, and married here on April 15, 1886, is the mother of a grown son, Edward A. Conyne, (II). He was born May 10, 1887, and educated in the public and high schools of this city, where he is now engaged in the automobile business, under the firm name of Shaut & Conyne. Mr. Conyne was inducted into the United States military service during the World war and on the 29th of April, 1918, left his home city for Camp Dix. On June 6th he embarked for overseas service with the Lightning Division (Seventy-eighth Division), with which he served for a year as No. 1,758,022, Wagon Battery, B 309, Field Artillery. He drove a ten-ton Holt tractor that drew a No. 1 gun and took part in the following battles: Toul Sector, August 28 to October 4, 1918; St. Mihiel, September 12 to 16, 1918; Toul Sector, Preney attack, September 26, 1918; Meuse-Argonne, October 18 to November 11, 1918, including the Grand Pre attack of October 23 and 24, 1918. During his stay abroad Mr. Conyne had the opportunity of passing through England. He arrived in the United States on May 10, 1919, and was honorably discharged from the army after a long and gallant service.

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