Skip to main content

Benjamin Conley papers

Identifier: 1999-0004M

Scope and Contents

Collection includes business, family, and political correspondence and accounts from Conley's arrival in the South until his appointment as postmaster; letters among the Georgia Republican Party members; and business of the Macon and Augusta Railroad (1868-1869). Correspondents include: Amos T. Akerman, James Atkins, John S. Bigby, Foster Blodgett, Jr., Joseph E. Brown, John E. Bryant, Ruffus B. Bullock, John T. Burns, Robert T. Kent (African-American), John E. King, A. D. Rockafellow, Thomas J. Speer, Alexander Stephens, and Caleb Tompkins.


  • 1839 - 1875, 1880, and no date


Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Conley was born in Newark, New Jersey, and supposedly was clerking in a store in Augusta, Georgia, by 1830. Among his papers are records of several other Conleys, including his brother, Morris J. Conley, an Alabama plantation owner who died during the Civil War. In 1842 Benjamin married Sarah (Sallie) H. Semmes and had three children, one of whom was John L. Conley whose papers are also in this collection. During his early years in the South, Conley was in business with different members of the Force family in Augusta, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, and Alabama. A friend later wrote that Conley had the largest wholesale shoe business in the area. He was popular enough to be elected mayor of Augusta from 1857-1859 although he was a Whig and later a Unionist.

During the Civil War Conley was cut off from his siblings in the North and withdrew to a plantation in Montgomery, Alabama, to remain neutral. Immediately afterward the war, his services were greatly in demand as president of the Macon and Augusta Railroad, delegate to the Georgia Constitutional Convention, and Georgia Senator in 1868. By 1871, however, the Republican Party was in shambles; Governor Bullock fled the state to avoid impeachment; and Conley, as president of the Senate, became governor at the end of October. Unable to prevent a new election (see Attorney General Akerman's December 2, 1871, letter in folder 25), Conley served only until James M. Smith's inauguration Jan. 12, 1872. In addition, Conley had lost much money and business through his association with the "Republican Ring" of Augusta and his support of the LOYAL GEORGIAN newspaper. For several years he attempted to obtain a federal post in Augusta as postmaster or Internal Revenue agent. Finally, in 1875 he was appointed postmaster in Atlanta where he lived until his death in 1886. A devout Episcopalian, Conley was associated with St. John's Church in Montgomery, St. Paul's in Augusta, and St. Philip's in Atlanta.


1.15 Cubic Feet

1 folders (folder, oversized)

Language of Materials



Organized into groups by authur in a rough chronologcial scheme. Then iiiitems arranged chronologically within each folder.

Related Materials

Benjamin Conley papers, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries (Athens, Georgia).

Related Materials

Related materials in this repository: Amos T. Akerman letter to Rebecca Latimer (Mrs. William H.) Felton, 1978-0022M.

Benjamin Conley papers
Georgia Archives
2024 January
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgia Archives Manuscript Collections Repository

5800 Jonesboro Rd
Morrow GA 30260 United States