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Biography of Hon. William A. Conn

Hon. William A. Conn, of San Bernardino, is one of those strong individualities in the pioneer history of California, who by his force of character and intellect stamped his impress upon the early civilization of the Golden State. Though a number of the first years of his residence on the Pacific coast were passed in the northern part of the State, at San Francisco, yet for a third of a century Southern California has had the benefits of his public-spirited patriotism, his business attainments and his generous philanthropy. Mr. Conn was born in 1814, on the West India Islands, where his father had settled some years previously to engage in shipping and mercantile business, and was a large property owner there. Four years after the birth of the subject of this memoir, he came with his family to the United States and resided several years in the city of Baltimore. Deciding to seek a home in the then new West, he started with his family for Pittsburgh, he and his wife traveling on horseback and the children in a Pennsylvania “schooner” wagon. On reaching the ” Smoke City” the family and their belongings shipped on board a keelboat down the Ohio River for Cincinnati, their final destination being St. Louis. They stopped about a year in the Ohio metropolis, then started for St. Louis, but Mr. Coon was diverted from his purpose by the persuasion of a friend who induced him to settle in the young State of Illinois, in the then promising town of Kaskaskia, which was thought to be a place of great promise, and destined to...

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