William G. Conley

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William G. Conley
18th Governor of West Virginia
In office
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
Preceded by Howard M. Gore
Succeeded by H. Guy Kump
Attorney General of West Virginia
In office
May 9, 1908 – March 3, 1913
Preceded by Clark W. May
Succeeded by Armistead Abraham Lilly
Personal details
Born (1866-01-08)January 8, 1866
Kingwood, West Virginia
Died October 21, 1940(1940-10-21) (aged 74)
Charleston, West Virginia
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Bertie Ison Martin Conley
Profession Politician

William Gustavus Conley (January 8, 1866 – October 21, 1940) was an American politician who served as the 18th Governor of West Virginia as a Republican from 1929 to 1933.

Life and politics[edit]

He was born near Kingwood to Major William Conley and Mary Courtney Freeburn. He was a school teacher from 1886 to 1891. In 1892, he married Bertie Ison Martin.[1] In 1893 he graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in law. Afterwards, he began a law practice in Parsons, West Virginia. While there he served as Tucker County prosecuting attorney, and later as the mayor of Parsons. He also founded and was the editor of the Parsons Advocate newspaper. He also served as mayor of Kingwood from 1906 to 1908.

In 1908, Governor William Dawson appointed Conley to the post of state Attorney General. After being elected to the same office in 1908, he continued in that role under Governor William Glasscock. In 1911, he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Virginia v. West Virginia, 220 U.S. 1 (1911) which involved Virginia's pre-Civil War debt and West Virginia's share of it. He was also involved in Maryland v. West Virginia, 225 U.S. 1 (1912) which involved the border between Maryland and West Virginia.

In 1912, Conley ran for Congress as a Republican but lost by 14 votes. Over the next 12 years he was a lawyer in Charleston. In 1924, he was appointed to the State Board of Education. He served there until his resignation on March 1, 1929. He was elected as governor of West Virginia in November 1928 and was inaugurated on March 4, 1929. His time as governor was marked by the Great Depression. His time as governor, limited by the state constitution at the time to one term, ended on March 4, 1933. He remained in Charleston and organized the law firm of Conley, Thompson, and Neff.


  1. ^ "West Virginia's First Ladies," West Virginia Division of Culture and History, June 2007.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Clark W. May
Attorney General of West Virginia
Succeeded by
A.A. Lilly
Political offices
Preceded by
Howard M. Gore
Governor of West Virginia
Succeeded by
H. Guy Kump