Captain Isaac Conroe –
Kristin F. Smith
From the Vertical Files
Montgomery County Memorial Library
eldest son of Levi and Ann Conrow (sic), was born in Long Branch, New
Jersey in 1834. Levi, a farmer and "mechanick", moved the family to
Chicago in the 1840s, and there Isaac grew up in a bustling household
which included several brothers and sisters and his maternal
grandparents. Other Conroe relatives lived nearby. Isaac became a
In August 1861,
amide the turmoil of the Civil War, he joined the Union Army. A tall,
blue-eyed, dark-haired man of twenty-seven, Isaac was also apparently a
skilled horseman. When he enlisted as a private in McClellan's Dragoons,
12th Illinois Cavalry, he provided his own mount and accoutrements. He
served throughout the war, rising to the rank of captain. [Click here
Isaac Conroe's Civil War Pension Card]
At Gettysburg, July
1, 1863, he suffered a gunshot wound to the face and neck, an injury so
severe his commanding officer initially reported him as "killed in
action." Lt. Conroe spent the next month in hospital, then rejoined his
troop. Posted to Memphis, New Orleans and finally Texas, he mustered out
as a captain at Galveston in May, 1866.
farmer's son, one-time carpenter, came to love
the Dine woods
of East Texas, and after a quick trip to Washington, D.C. to marry his
Margaret K. Richardson, he settled here
and built a sawmill. The mill was originally located at Halton, south of
Conroe. In 1881, Isaac purchased land near the present city of Conroe
and moved his operations to this place. A 2½ mile tram route connected
with the I&GN railroad. [See
Isaac Conroe, Lumberman]
In these years, the
Conroe family lived in Houston and Isaac commuted there by train, using
his handkerchief to flag the engineer. On one of his trips he sat next
to an official of the railroad, and convinced that gentleman to make the
place a regular stop. The official suggested the name "Conroe's Switch,"
later shortened to "Conroe's." A thriving community grew up. The Conroe
family built a home here, and Isaac became a respected leader in the
town he had founded.
Isaac Conroe died
August 2, 1897, suffering a heart attack while hard at work in his mill.
He was 63. The local paper concluded a heartfelt and florid obituary
with the simple words, "A good man has passed away."
For more information on Isaac Conroe, contact the
and order a copy of "Isaac Conroe, Founder of Conroe, Texas 1834-1897 and
some of his Ancestors & Descendants," compiled by Vera Meek Wimberly.