Noah Conover was born February 8, 1802 near Woodbury, New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. His parents were Peter Conover and Jemima Smith, Jemima being the second or third wife of Peter. Peter died in 1814 leaving his land, boat, and horse to his wife and oldest sons John and Peter. Noah was about 12 or 13 then, and Peter's will asked John to give Noah ten dollars when Noah turned 21. In 1816 or 1817, Jemima and her sons moved to Ohio and settled in the Bantam, Clermont County, Ohio area.
A valuable resource for the history of the Conovers in Ohio is Elizabeth Conover Kelly's book, Conover Pioneers and Pilgrims (1982; Kelley.) Her motivation in writing this hook was telling the story of Noah's brother John and his descendants; her information on Noah is limited, and quite sketchy concerning his brother Peter.
The Conovers moved from New Jersey to Ohio with many of their relatives and neighbors to a settlement on the East Fork of the Little Miami River founded in 1803 by Rev. John Collins, a Methodist minister. The "Jersey Settlement", as it was known, became quite successfully settled with other families from Gloucester County, New Jersey, as they sought more land to farm. Little exists of the original settlement today, as damming the river flooded the favored bottom lands chosen by Rev. Collins, and construction of a state park on the new lake's shores destroyed other remnants of the pioneers' community.
Noah's family settled along with his first cousin Eliakim Conover, who was one of the sons of his father's brother David, and with his third cousin Somers Conover. Eliakim and Somers relocated to Pike township of Brown county (not far from the original settlement), and when Noah later moves to Brown county, he chooses a location not far from them.
Noah's eldest brother, John, bought about 100 acres of land on the East Fork of the Little Miami River in 1817, supposedly building and operating a mill there. In 1820, Jemima bought a small parcel nearby, but she sold it to Amasa Higbee in 1825. That same year, Noah's brother Peter acquired seven acres in Columbia Township in Hamilton County. In 1828 John had purchased and presumably relocated to a small parcel in Cincinnati, on Plum Street between First and Second.
Noah married Ann String (daughter of Thomas String) in 1823, and they had at least four, and maybe six, sons. I presume they resided in the East Fork area for at least a short time, but by 1830 they are on the census of Columbia Township of Hamilton County, near brother John and mother Jemima Conover. This might have been John's land, as he did sell a holding in Columbia to his brother Peter in 1837 shortly before John and his family left for Illinois. In 1834 Noah bought land in Clermont County, near present-day Crosstown on the Clermont/Brown county border. (For maps of this location, click here to see the them. )
A large portion of Clermont and part of Brown Counties were in the Virginia Military Land District. By an act of Congress in 1794, land "warrants" were granted to soldiers and officers of the Revolutionary War to compensate them for their service in the Virginia Militia. Warrants gave the soldier a right to acquire a portion of land set aside in the Ohio area, as yet unsettled and unimproved, primarily as "payment" for their service, but secondarily to encourage settlement of these lands. The recipient of the warrant could acquire the land by having it surveyed, or could sell the warrant to another party, or could simply hold it until later. Warrants didn't represent actual land parcels, just the right to acquire same. These warrants were frequently sold at a low price, as no real land was attached to them, and the expense and difficulty of surveying, relocating to, and clearing the land was difficult for most warrant holders.
William J. Mosely from Bedford County, Virginia, served for three years as a Major, and as such was entitled to a warrant for 5,333 1/3 acres in the District. He immediately (in 1795) had 1,333 1/3 acres surveyed on the East Fork of the Little Miami River by William Lytle. In 1808, he received a patent, a document granting ownership of a specific parcel, for that land. This area was designated as Military Survey No. 949.
In November of 1834, Noah Conover bought 232 acres from William Mosely for $500. Less than a month earlier, Noah's brother John had sold a parcel in Fulton Township, Hamilton County, for $550, suggesting that he loaned the money to Noah for his acquisition. Mosely was still a resident of Bedford County, and was represented in the transaction by Phillip Gatch, suggesting that the land had been left untouched by anyone until Noah bought it. Clearing, draining, and farming 232 acres of untouched land would have been a daunting task.
A year later, Noah sold off 95 acres to Reuben Harbaugh for about $300; in 1838 he sold 20 acres to Daniel Malott for $50, and the remainder (117 acres) was sold to Theo Simonton in July of 1839, for $1500. I'd guess that he sold the first 95 acres off to raise some money, perhaps to pay back his brother, the 20 acres to his neighbor, and he farmed the 117 acres for himself.
Noah and Ann's Family
We know the names of four of Noah and Ann's sons: Henry born in 1827, Thomas born in 1831, Wesley in 1834, and Francis in 1837. Early census records list two other sons, and there might well have been other children born and lost. Henry died in 1849 at age 21, single, and Noah was the administrator of his estate, small as it was. Thomas died at a similar age in 1853, Wesley in 1860 at age 26, and we don't see any trace of Francis after the 1850 census, when he was 17.
Ann Conover died in September of 1840. In the 1840 census Noah is alone with six sons all under 15 years of age, meaning that two other sons were lost between then and the 1850 census. Ann, Harry, and Thomas are buried in Price Cemetery, a very tiny cemetery located near Crosstown on private land. Photos of the markers, and more information on this cemetery can be seen by clicking here.
Noah's second family in Brown County
In December of 1840, Noah married Lucinda White, who was the widow of Hosea Flowers. She and Hosea were married in 1837 when she was seventeen, and she was twenty one when she married Noah.
Noah was listed on the census in 1840 as being in Sterling Township of Brown County, very close to his Clermont location. The earliest land record I've found in Brown County is a purchase by Noah at a Sheriff's auction in 1839, where he paid $1011 for about 160 acres.
The surviving descendants of Noah were all born in Brown County from his marriage to Lucinda: William Edward born in 1842, Mary Harriet in 1845, John Nelson in 1849, Granville M in 1851, Amanda in 1854, Charles H in 1857, Ruth in 1859, and Elmer in 1862.