California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
FRANCIS J. CONWAY. In every community there are certain men whose work is marked by its constructive character, and whose popularity is unquestioned. Because of their evident sincerity and honesty their connection with any movement gives it solidity, and as they are public-spirited, they may be depended upon to do what is necessary to advance their home section. Such a man is Francis J. Conway, one of the prosperous orange growers of Riverside, and one of the most dependable citizens of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Not only has he acquired a well-earned reputation for his horticultural efforts, but also for his skill as a painter, and he follows both lines of endeavor.
Francis J. Conway was born in the province of Ontario, Canada, October 21, 1854, a son of Francis J. and Elizabeth (Smith) Conway. The father, who was born in Ireland, died in 1855. By occupation he was a shoe merchant. The mother, born in England, is also deceased. Francis J. Conway was educated in the public schools of Ontario, and as a young man learned the trade of a painter, serving his apprenticeship at Oshawa, Ontario. He worked there and at many other places in Canada and the United States, and then, in 1885, came to California, arriving at Los Angeles May 5th of that year. For a couple of years after coming to the Golden State he followed his trade, and still takes contracts for painting when an especially careful job is required. After settling permanently at Riverside, in August, 1888, he bought two acres of land at 903 Pennsylvania Avenue, and has resided in the same house ever since. Subsequently he bought an orange grove of five acres, and later another one of ten acres, but has disposed of both of them. He has been a member of the Alta Cresta Fruit Exchange since its organization, and has never sold his fruit on the outside. While he votes the republican ticket, he is not active in politics, and he has never sought public honors, although did he desire to come before his fellow citizens as a candidate would likely receive a generous support on account of his great personal popularity. He belongs to the Fraternal Aid Union, and while in Canada was tenor horn in the band of the Thirty-fourth Battalion, Canadian Volunteers.
On July 11, 1881, Mr. Conway was married at Oshawa, Ontario, to Edith E. Billings, a native of Ontario, and a daughter of George W. Billings, a mechanic, and musician of repute. Mr. and Mrs. Conway have four children, namely : George, who is an engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, married Morna Main, a daughter of M. P. Main an orchardist of Riverside, has one child, Enid; Edith Estella, who is the wife of Charles W. Bennett, a merchant of San Bernardino, has three children, Murial, Francis and Robert; Pauline, who is the wife of P. L. Kyes of Riverside, has four children, Doris, Eleanor, Pauline and Perry; and Ernest Lawrence, who is in the shoe business with his brother-in-law, at San Bernardino. Not only have Mr. and Mrs. Conway made a success of their own lives, but they have reared their children to become responsible and desirable adjuncts to their several communities, and have in this way, as in many others, contributed valuable assets to their country, and have fully earned the appreciation they receive from all who know them, and place at their true value their excellent qualities.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011