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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

BENJAMIN F. CONNER. - Benjamin F. Conner devoted the greater part of his life to the practice of law, but while residing in Springfield, was engaged in teaching. He was well known, however, to the members of the bar of this city for it was here that he prepared for the legal profession. His birth occurred in Warsaw, Indiana, November 27, 1839, a son of James and Elizabeth Conner. The father was a native of Ireland where he belonged to the Queen's Body Guard. His wife, however, was a native of Kentucky. He followed farming during the greater part of his life and both he and his wife died in Indiana. Three of their children are yet living: Mrs. R. N. Ingraham, of Idaho; James, who is extensively engaged in the raising of fruit near San Francisco, California; and Samuel B., a stock raiser of southern California. The children were all educated in the best schools of Indiana.

Benjamin F. Conner was but two years old when his father died and in his early boyhood he assisted his mother in the operation of the home farm. When a young man he began teaching school in the home neighborhood in Indiana and he followed that profession through several terms in his native state and also devoted his energies to farming. In 1873 he removed to Springfield, accepting a position in the public schools of this city. After teaching here for s short time he took up the study of law and pursued his reading for several years under some of the best attorneys of the city. He was then admitted to the bar and decided to go west and enter upon the practice of the profession. Removing to Oregon he located near Portland and built up a large practice, securing a distinctively representative clientage. He was actively connected with the profession until 1883, when he as taken ill, and died in October of that year.

In 1874 Mr. Conner was married to Miss Elizabeth Adams, of Springfield, who was born in this city, a daughter of Josias and Harriet (Taft) Adams, the former a native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, and the latter of Vergennes, Vermont. Her father came to Springfield in 1848 and established a hat store, which became the leading enterprise of this character in central Illinois. It was then located on the south side of the square, and there he dealt in hats and caps. Subsequently he removed his business to the west side of the square and also engaged in the manufacture of hats, conducting the business until 1874, when he sold out and purchased a farm in Christian county, where he carried on agricultural pursuits until 1886. In that year he was injured in a runaway accident and died soon afterward. He was a very prominent business man in the early days of Springfield and his name is inseparably interwoven with the history of the city's commercial development and prosperity. Mrs. Adams now resides with her daughter Mrs. Conner, and is eighty-two years of age. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Conner were born three children: Jessie, who is a bookkeeper in the Ridgely Bank of Springfield and resides with her mother; Josephine, who is employed by the Franklin Life Insurance Company; and Eugenia, who is at home.

Mr. Conner voted with the Republican party and kept well informed on the issues of the day, but was never an office seeker. He was a member of the Episcopalian church, to which his wife and children also belong, and in the various localities in which he resided he was held in high esteem. After her husband's death Mrs. Conner returned to Springfield, where her children are now occupying good positions. She now resides at No. 416 South Spring street, where she and her family, including her mother and sister, Maud Adams, reside.

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