Plymouth Meeting House

The ‘Old Homestead’ of John and Sarah Child Conard

John Conard was the son of Joseph Conard and Rebecca Cook, his wife; grandson of Henry Conard and Catherine Streypers, his wife and also his first cousin and great-grandson of Thones Kunders and Elin Streypers, his wife-the original settlers from Crefeld, Germany, who located in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1682.

John was born on February 4, 1782, in Whitpain Township, Montgomery County, on the farm owned by his father, Joseph, on the road leading from Gwynedd to Chestnut Hill and between Blue Bell and Sandy Hill. This farm was later divided between John and his brother Joseph, the older of these two only children of Joseph and Rebecca.

According to an article which appeared in the Ambler Gazette, June 24, 1909, "John was indentured as an apprentice to James Wood, the pioneer of the well-known iron manufacturing company." He made use of this training later by "conducting a blacksmith shop in addition to tilling his farm. He invented' a screw auger which had a wide sale."

In 1805, May 23, he married Sarah Child at Plymouth Meeting House, "in the presence of his step- father, Joseph White; his mother, and sixty other Friends." John and Sarah lived on his half of the farm inherited from his father, he having erected new buildings on his portion, the older brother Joseph having received the original farm

house. He died here in 1853, July 29, aged 71 years. His grave and that of his wife, is in the burial ground at Plymouth Meeting.

Sarah Child was the daughter of John Child and Mary, his wife. She bore to her husband nine sons and three daughters, and it is with the descendants of these twelve children that this book deals.

"Forty-eight years of married life, twelve children, everyone of them to reach maturity, nine married during the life-time of the father and one married during the brief interval before the death of the mother, and every marriage having issue, this is indeed a remarkable record," says her grandson, John (48) in one of his papers read at the Reunion.


(These biographies are taken for the most part from the report read at the Conard Reunion of June 15, 1912, at Plymouth Meeting, as reported in the "Ambler Gazette" the following day).

James B. (1), the first-born son of John and Sarah Child Conard, was born 5-30- 1806 at his father's farm in Whitpain. After his marriage to Sarah Sterringer of Norristown on 6-6-1834, he lived on his father's farm and later worked as a miller at Plumley's mill on the

Wissahickon Creek between Broad Axe and Ambler, Pa. Afterward he moved to Fort Washington to a farm then worked by Henry Johnson, husband of Emma A. Conard (21), daughter of his brother Peter (3)

He served in the Army of the Potomac, from which he was discharged for disability contracted in the service. After he had retired from business he lived with his son Augustus (15) on a farm near Dover, Delaware, where he died 7-8-97, in his ninety-second year. He is buried in Camden, Delaware. His wife, who spent her latter years with their daughter, Adaline B.Fleck (16) in Montgomery County, died 4-6-1884.

Mary (2), according to a paper read at the Conard Reunion 6-12-1912, by John Conard (48), "was born about one o'clock in the morning; married Levi Roberts, died at the age of 23, and was buried at Gwynedd. She had but one daughter, and since the two children of that daughter, Sarah Fitzgerald (17), both died in infancy, that family is now extinct."

Peter (3), born 9-26-1810, married Sarah Ambler, daughter of David and Margaret Hallowell Ambler at Providence Meeting House, 1-26-1836. They lived on a farm at Providence, Montgomery County, Pa" until 1845, and here their first five children were born.

Successively thereafter, they moved to Plymouth; Upper Merion in 1856; Whitemarsh, in 1859; and then in 1861 bought the farm at Horsham later owned by their son-in-law, Silas C. Morris. Here Peter died as the result of an accident in 1876. He was survived by his wife and all of their children except Elizabeth (26), who died in infancy.

His wife was born 1-11-1816 and died at the age of 81 at the home of their daughter, Mary R. Bright (23), at Norristown, Pa., on Twelfth-month 30, 1897. Both are buried at Plymouth Meeting Burial Ground.

Joseph P. Conard (4), the fourth child, was born 12-24-1812 at the old homestead in Whitpain Township. He worked on the farm and in the shop at auger making until the spring of 1835, when he was married to Rebecca A. Shaw, March 24.

In the meantime, having bought a farm above the Blue Bell, they moved there with a limited capital of $100 and an old mare. Here they established a home, cut off the wood, and made the farm productive by hard work and good management. He also had a market route on which he sold not only his own produce, but much of his neighbors on commission. He was very active in clerking at sales, acting as administrator in the settling of estates and also as guardian for minor children.

His activities were further directed for the betterment and the benefit of the community in which he lived. He helped to organize the Blue Bell Library and continued as a director as long as he lived. He also helped organize the Blue Bell Horse Company and was secretary of the same at the time of his death. He was identified with the Plymouth Valley Creamery as a director and as superintendent.

One of the first to agitate the need of a good road to Philadelphia, he helped to organize the Skippack Turnpike Company and was treasurer and president of the company. His education was limited to a few months of each year in the winter, but he had a great fund of information acquired by reading and by associating with so many different kinds of people. He died 11-26-1897, and was buried at Plymouth Meeting. His wife had died 4-28-1874.

Tacy Conard

Tacy Conard (5)

Tacy (5), the fifth child, was born 7-20-1815 and died 6-9-1894, unmarried. She lived at home until her mother's death, when she went to keep house for her brother Isaac (11), who had lost his wife. She brought up his three daughters.

After Isaac's second marriage she went to the home of her brother Albert (7), where she died at the age of 79, and was buried at Plymouth Meeting.

John R. (6), was born 11-3-1817 "at twelve o'clock noon." He first married Emeline Adams, but she died 11-14-1848; and in 1852, the third day of the Fifth Month, he married Anna P. Lewis, who was the mother of his nine children. Of these, all but two died unmarried.

At this writing, 1938, there are three grandchildren living: Marian Fixary Bay (175), John Foster Davis (177), and Margaret Davis Holt (178); none of whom have any children. John owned and operated a coal yard at Ninth and Master Streets in Philadelphia. This he later sold to his brother Lewis (10). He died in Philadelphia 5-11-1893, at the age of 76, and is buried in Odd Fellow's Cemetery there. His wife survived him until 11-12-1897.

Albert (7) , the fifth son and seventh child, is recorded in John Conard's paper as having been born at one o'clock in the morning, 1-25-1820. He married Martha D. Ball, 2-12-1846. At her death 3-12-1860, he was left with five children, two sons and three daughters.

At this time his niece, Emma A. Conard (21), came to keep house for him. When she fell sick with measles her mother's sister, Phebe Ambler, came to take care of Emma and the children. He liked her and her housekeeping so well that on 10-13-1864 he married her.

He followed' the trade of his father at Fort Washington, Pa., where he, and later his brother Isaac, manufactured the Conard augers and bits, and also operated a grist mill. He was a faithful attendant of Plymouth Meeting- always, and was an elder for many years. He died 6-5-1904, aged 84, and was buried at Plymouth Meeting. His second wife had died 3-3-1871.

Charles N. (8) was born 4-24-1822. He married Lydia, daughter of Silas and Priscilla Walton of Montgomery Township, 2-14-1850. After several years of farming in various places in Montgornery County he moved to Horsham Township, north of Hatboro, where he had a mill. Later he bought a farm in Warrington, Bucks County, where he died 5-22-1893 at the age of 71. He is buried in the Horsham Friends Meeting graveyard. His wife survived him until 1907.

Elizabeth Conard

Elizabeth Conard (9)

Elizabeth (9), third daughter, was born 9-7-1 824. She married Joseph Walton, son of Eber Walton and Nancy Shaw, his wife, 2-17-1848. They always lived in Whitpain Township, first on his father's farm on Walton Road, and then on their own farm on Skippack Pike. Here they lived until 1888, when they moved to the home of their daughter, Tacy Shoemaker (67) in the same house where she and her husband. Joseph (152) now lives.

Elizabeth was the soul of hospitality, and all of her nieces and nephews were frequent visitors at her home. Her nephew, Ellwood B. Conard (68), said in a paper read at the Conard Reunion that she resembled her mother, Sarah Child, more than did any other of the children. She was active in Friends Meeting as long as she was able to attend. She died 12-26- 1890, and both she and her husband, who died in 1904, are buried in the Plymouth Meeting graveyard.

Lewis Conard

Lewis Conard (10)

Lewis (10), was born 11-1 6-1826, and died 2-13-1910. He married Rebecca Bailey, 11-1 6-1 848 and had seven children, five sons and two daughters. The last born, Joseph and Levi R., were twins, this being the third set of twins among the grandchildren. He lost his wife 1-5-1897. (The other twins were Sara C and John C, children of Joseph and Elizabeth Walton; and A. Lincoln and Mary, children of John and Anna Lewis Conard.)

Lewis worked at the auger trade with his brother Albert for a time, then taught school for a number of years. Being of a studious nature he acquired a good education. He changed the spel1ing of his name to Conrad, believing Conard to be incorrect.

He was later in the coal business at Ninth and Master Street, Philadelphia, in the yard established by his brother John. He was a member of the Episcopal Church, died in Philadelphia, and was buried from the residence of his son Emerson at the Fairhill burying ground

He was the first vice-president and later the president of this association, in which he took a great interest.

Isaac Conard

Isaac Conard (11)

Isaac (11), the eleventh child and the last to be "summoned by the grim reaper," was born 10-30-1828. He married Mary Walton, daughter of Silas and Priscilla Walton, and sister of Lydia, wife of his brother Charles, in Montgomery Township on 4-6-1854. They had

three daughters, al1 of whom survived him. Mary died 12-27-1859; and on 11-1-1866, he married Sarah A. Ambler, daughter of John Ambler and first cousin of the wife of his brother, Peter.

He learned his trade with his brother, Albert, with whom he was associated in business, manufacturing the Conard augers and bits. He retired in 1905, and 3-9-1909 he lost his wife. He died 12-13-1911, and is buried in the Plymouth Meeting burial ground. "He was quite a correspondent of the local newspapers. The Herald of Norristown published frequent communications from him over the name of 'Fort'. Scarcely a week passed but that he contributed news or reminiscence to the Ambler Gazette. His comments were quite acute and interesting.

"He was one of the early Republicans, having been a member of the Mounted Campaign Club that aided in the election of Lincoln in 1860. He never held any political office, but was school director in Whitemarsh for many years.

“One day during the dark days of the Civil War, I went to Philadelphia with the intention of enlisting, his oldest brother, James, and the youngest, Levi, being already in the army. But upon arriving at the recruiting office he found many men standing around and all had not as yet been enlisted. He concluded that perhaps his motherless children at home might have a prior claim on his services to that of his country. So he returned to them.”

Levi Conard

Levi Conard (12)

Levi (12), the one to round out the even dozen, and youngest of the family, was born 12-26-1830, died 9-13-1862, unmarried, aged 32 years, and was buried at Plymouth. He lived at home with his mother until her death, then lived in Philadelphia several years. Early in the War of the Rebellion he enlisted in the 90th Pennsylvania Infantry, Col. Peter Lyle commanding officer. He was wounded at the second battle of Bull Run, died in the hospital in Washington, being rated in Bates' "History of the "War" as "missing." He was the only one of the family sacrificed upon the battlefields of Virginia.

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Kunders, an humble wool dyer from the banks of the Rhine, who, settling in the untrodden wilds of America, and pursuing the even tenor of a modest and uneventful life, “builded better than he knew.”

Robert Proud, in his history of Pennsylvania says, “Among the first Germantown settlers was Dennis Conrad. The first religious meeting of the Quakers, in that place, was held at his house in 1683. He was a hospitable, well-disposed man, of an inoffensive life and good character.”