Charles J

Charles J. McDonald Conaway


Birth Date: 28 Feb 1842

Birth Place: Covington, Newton Cty, GA

Christen Date: 10

Death Date: 15 Aug 1920

Death Place: Alabama

Burial Place: Macedonia Cemetary Coosa Cty AL

Occupation: Sargent, Co K 59th Alabama Inf; Private, Cobb's Legion, GA

Religion: Baptist



1880 Federal Census Crew, Coosa Cty, AL page 192c.


Excerpt from Connaway, Conaway, Conway family / prepared by the Conaway Family Collective. United States: Conaway Family Collective, c 1996. Georgia State Archives, LC control number 98104524:

"Charles J. McDonald Conaway was the tenth child of John and Lydia Hand Conaway. He was born February 28, 1842, in Newton County, Georgia. He was sixteen years old when his parents moved to Alabama in 1858. He may not have gone with his parents. He was not on the 1860 Coosa County (AL) Census of his father, John, and he enlisted in the Confederate Army in Newton County, GA in 1861. His nephew, John Harlan Conaway, stated in his autobiography that his Uncle Charlie came by his father's house in Georgia on his way to the front in 1861.

Charles J. entered the Confederate Army as private July 1, 1861, in Covington, Georgia, in the Cobb Legion, Company A. He continued serving in this unit until March 1, 1862 when he re-enlisted as sergeant in Morristown, Tennessee. Charles must have enlisted in the 2nd or 4th Battalion of Hilliard's Legion, which would become the 59th Regiment Alabama Infantry in November 1863. Charles enlisted in this unit most likely because three of his brothers already served in it.

He was wounded at Petersburg, Virginia, July 24, 1864 and must have spent several months in the hospital recuperating. His wound disabled him for further service and he was discharged at Petersburg December 21, 1864.

On his application filed for Confederate Soldier's Pension March 22, 1898 in Talladega County, Alabama, he stated he was struck by a fragment of mortar shell on his right thigh below the hip joint, breaking a bone and causing stiffness of his knee and shortening his leg six inches.

Charles J's discharge was on a Form for Retiring a Soldier. He was described as: twenty-two years old; five feet eight inches high; dark complexion; dark eyes; and dark hair. His occupation was farmer. The "dark hair and eyes" is questioned by some descendants.

Family members say a button was later made from a part of bone that was taken from his leg. He had a rocking chair made especially for his condition.

Charles J. Conaway may have had a crippling injury but it certainly didn't disable him. He busied himself at many occupations in the years to come.

On September 27, 1867, he married Louisa Ellen Yarbrough. They were married in Coosa County, AL at the home of the bride by Justice of the Peace James A. Logan, witness: John J. Yarbrough and W.M. Conaway.

In 1870, Charles J. lived in the Jordon Beat near Macedonia Church. He was twenty-eight years old and teaching school in the little two room school at Macedonia.

Louisa Ellen was twenty-two and they had two young children. Only initials were given for the children but the ages match those of Magnus born in 1868 and Ida born 1870. Four more children were born in the 1870s and Charles J. would also move his family to the Crewsville Precinct before 1880.

Charles J. was the enumerator for the 1880 Censuses of Beats 4, 5 and 6; Goodwater, Mt. Olive and Hanover. He was also Postmaster at Crewsville and listed his occupation as farmer. He was #30 on the 1880 Census and age thirty-seven. Ellen was thirty-three; Magnus E. 11; Florence I. 10; Argus W. 8; Emma C. 7; Ada F. 4; Charles J. 2.

Charles J. must have moved around quite a bit. He was a Clerk at Macedonia Church in 1883, 1885, and 1886. In 1887, when he filed application for Soldier's Disability in Coosa County, he listed his occupation as teacher. We believe he was teaching at the Macedonia school again."


Additional information from Rayford Cannon, via email:

Charles J. and wife Ellen are buried in Macedonia Cemetery in Coosa Co AL which is about 6 miles south of here. They had a nice marker there and we added a CSA marker last year. His was the last of the boys. Charles went back to Newton Co GA and enlisted when the War started and was indeed in Cobb's Legion before transferring over to 3 of his bros unit (2nd Batt., Hilliard's AL Legion which later became the 59th AL Inf). He kept a diary which a gr grandson, Charles Wm Conaway (professor at FSU) has. It is also on microfilm in GA Archives. Thomas Jefferson is buried in New Hope Cemetery in Dunwoody, GA and Curtis Adams is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.


Veteran records obtained from Georgia and Alabama confirm his service in Cobb's Legion and the 59th Alabama Infantry.


Spouse: Eliza Ellen Yarbrough

Birth Date: 4 Jul 1847

Birth Place: Rockford, Coosa Cty, AL

Death Date: 17 Oct 1918

Burial Place: Macedonia Cemetary Coosa Cty AL

Spouse Father: Reuben Yarbrough (1805-1860)

Spouse Mother: Cinthia Short (1811-1860)


Spouse Notes:

1850 Federal Census Coosa Cty, Al page 61. (Ellen is 4 years old).


Eliza Ellen is referred to as Ellen Louisa in some records.


Marriage record from Coosa Cty, AL shows Eliza Ellen.


1880 Federal Census Crew, Coosa Cty, AL page 192c.


Marriage Date: 22 Sep 1867

Marriage Place: Yarbrough home, Coosa County, AL


Children: Magnus Eli

Florence Ida

Walter Argus

Emma Keturah

Ada Frances

Charles J. Mc Donald

Margie Ellen

Mamie Jesse

Thomas Freddie