09 January 2006 by Published in: Union Cavalry 32 comments

Every now and again, I like to feature unknown and forgotten cavalrymen. This is one of those opportunities.

Seymour Beach Conger was born in Plymouth, Huron County, Ohio on September 25, 1825. His brother Everton Judson Conger was born in Montorse, Pennsylvania on April 25, 1834. With the coming of war in 1861, the Conger brothers both ended up with commissions in the 3rd Virginia Cavalry (USA), which later became known as the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry. Only one squadron (2 companies) of the 3rd West Virginia typically served with the Army of the Potomac.

By the fall of 1862, Everton was a captain and Seymour was a lieutenant. On October 25, 1862, Everton led 30 troopers on a scouting expedition in the vicinity of Bristoe Station on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, and was badly wounded. The next day, Capt. Ulric Dahlgren led a mission to try to find out what had happened to Everton Conger, and Dahlgren found Conger with four serious wounds. Dahlgren made it back, reported Everton Conger’s location, and the captain was located and brought back safely.

After recovering, Everton Conger ended up receiving a commission in the 1st District of Columbia Cavalry, serving as its lieutenant colonel. In that capacity, Conger worked closely with Lafayette Baker, the regimental colonel and head of Lincoln’s secret service. After Lincoln’s assassination, Everton Conger led the cavalry expedition that ultimately captured David Herrold and that brought John Wilkes Booth to bay, so that Boston Corbitt could fire the shot that killed Booth. Conger lived to the ripe old age of 82, dying on July 12, 1918.

Even though he was only 31 years of age when he caught Booth, 63-year-old Harrison Ford is set to play him in a feature film that is supposed to be released in 2007 titled Manhunt. While I’m a big fan of Ford, I’m very skeptical about his ability to play a man half his age convincingly. We shall see. At the same time, it is kind of exciting to see a good Civil War story being given the “star” treatment. I just wish that they had chosen someone closer to Conger’s age to play him.

After Everton Conger was wounded, his brother Seymour received a promotion and ended up commanding the squadron of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry that was part of Col. Thomas C. Devin’s First Cavalry Division brigade. In that role, Conger’s men performed good duty at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. On August 7, 1864, Seymour Conger died of combat wounds suffered in action.

The Conger brothers are largely forgotten to this day. I’m glad that Everton’s role in bringing Booth to bay will be played up in Manhunt. Because there was only a single squadron of the 3rd West Virginia attached to the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps, Seymour never got much of a chance to make a name for himself, but his service was dutiful and competent.

Here’s to two horse soldiers who are deserving of recognition.

Scridb filter


  1. Richard Wolfe
    Sat 14th Jan 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Are there any know photos of the Conger brothers?

    Seymour is buried in section 1 in Arlington Cem. Do you know where Everton is buried?


  2. Sat 14th Jan 2006 at 5:01 pm


    I don’t know of any, and, in fact, am looking for one of Everton.

    My understanding is that Everton is buried in Carmi, IL, which is where he settled after the war.


  3. Dee Koester
    Tue 31st Jan 2006 at 8:11 pm

    EJ Conger was my great Grandfather. I understand that he is actually buried in Hawaii on Oahu. He went there to be with his daughter, Margaret (called Daisy I believe) who was the wife of Joseph B. Poindexter, governor of Hawaii in the early 1940’s.

  4. Dee Koester
    Tue 31st Jan 2006 at 8:29 pm

    After sending my first posting, I checked another source. This source is an unpublished paper, completed in 2002 by Everton Ellsworth Conger, a grandson of E. J. Conger.

    His concluding paragraph says:

    “In 1905 his wife Emma died, and his daughter Margaret “Daisy” and her husband, Joseph B. Poindexter, moved in with him. Then, in 1917, Poindexter was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to be a federal judge in the Territory of Hawaii, and Everton and the Poindexters moved to Hawaii. Everton died in Honolulu in 1918. After a memorial service in Honolulu, Everton’s body was returned to Dillon (Montana) and interred there.”

    I may have a photo of E. J. Conger and will see if it is something I can scan.

  5. Tue 31st Jan 2006 at 10:34 pm


    Thanks so much for posting. Characters like the Conger brothers really add a lot to the human side of the war. Everton is a fascinating fellow.


  6. William Conger
    Wed 15th Mar 2006 at 10:23 am

    It is interesting that so little is known of Everton Conger after his role in the Booth capture. After all, he did receive the largest portion of the official reward. In a privately published book, The Conger Famly of America, author Maxine Leonard says that Everton moved to Montana, was made a federal judge by President Grant, later moved to Hawaii where he died. At a recent book signing, Manhunt author James Swanson told me that he didn’t know about a judgeship for Everton or where he died. I was surprised, not only because the forthcoming movie has a leading actor in the role of Everton Conger, but also because Swanson didn’t include any further information about Everton in his book’s epilogue, despite rather detailed information about lesser characters in the story of Booth’s capture.

  7. duane r. conger
    Sat 20th May 2006 at 11:40 pm

    a picture of everton can be found on page 70 of the smithsonian,june 2006

  8. John Hughes
    Sun 27th Aug 2006 at 2:45 pm

    Great website, and the emails responding were of great information as well. I agree with you that Ford might not have been the best choice to play Conger because of his age–15 yrs ago he could have gotten away with it. Whoever plays Booth will be the pivotal role–I think, I hope they choose someone with some sand.

    It’s strange that this story is so little known except for Corbett, Dr Mudd etc.

    I hope the movie is successful at the boxoffice so that there will be a possibility of other Civil War stories yet to be told via movies. Eric Dahlgren and his raid would make an exciting story, inmho.

  9. John Hughes
    Mon 28th Aug 2006 at 10:02 am

    ……make that Ulric Dahlgren……

  10. Bob Johnson
    Sat 26th May 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Everton Conger is buried In Dillon, Montana at Mountain View Cemetery
    I was just there today, he is related and has a very small military head stone. I have quite of family history on him if your interested.

  11. Richard Smyth
    Sun 22nd Jul 2007 at 5:03 pm

    I am doing research on the Lincoln assassination. Do you have a picture of Everton’s grave? Thanks

  12. Darlene Bittaker
    Sat 08th Sep 2007 at 7:11 pm

    There is a photo of Everton Conger’s headstone posted on Findagrave.com.

  13. Lisa Conger
    Fri 16th Nov 2007 at 3:57 am

    I am one of two daughters of Everton Ellsworth Conger, the grandson of Everton J. Conger. My father, known as Ev, (born in 1919) lives in Virginia. Several years ago he wrote about his grandfather – in the paper my cousin Dee Koester refers to.
    I am curious to know how Bob Johnson is related and what family history he has.
    Lisa Conger

  14. Linda Ejzak
    Sat 12th Jan 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Just an FYI – Plymouth, Ohio, where Seymour Conger was born, is actually in Richland County, not Huron County.

  15. Kent Dorr
    Mon 16th Jun 2008 at 12:25 am

    Linda Ejzak wrote….”Just an FYI – Plymouth, Ohio, where Seymour Conger was born, is actually in Richland County, not Huron County.”

    Actually the town of Plymouth is in both Richland and Huron counties. The dividing line runs east-west on Broadway right thru the center of town. If Seymour Conger was born north of Broadway, he was born in Huron County.

  16. Kent Dorr
    Mon 16th Jun 2008 at 12:28 am

    I also would like to add that Seymour Beach Conger was honored in 1883 when the GAR Post in Lexington in Richland County OH was named for him. A number of men from Lexington served with the Conger brothers in the 3rd VA Cavalry.

  17. Randy Forehand
    Mon 29th Dec 2008 at 9:50 am

    Greetings and Happy New Year. Seymour Beach Conger is my great great grandfather. I have Civil War artifacts that belonged to both SB and EJ Conger. Has a completion date for Manhunt been estimated? I would like to see all Conger descendants attend the premier!
    Randy Forehand

  18. Kyril B Conger II
    Thu 11th Jun 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I have an original Civil War portrait of Lt. Col. S. B. Conger (my Great Great Grandfather) hanging in my home next to a portrait of his grandson S. B. Conger my father’s father.

  19. Philip Davis
    Sat 05th Dec 2009 at 5:12 pm

    In 1910 my grandfather Joseph C. Faller moved to Dillon, Montana from Thornville, Ohio. He stayed at the Conger boarding house located on Railroad Avenue. The Conger house is still there today.

  20. Andy Gallagher
    Thu 14th Jan 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Does no one know of any diaries or letters written by Seymour? I’ve read a number of his letters seeking promotions for himself and other officers, but does no one have anything that he wrote about Gettysburg? I’m interesting in writing a history of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, since none has been written. And Seymour is an integral part of that. Thanks. I’m a part time instructor at West Virginia State College and wrote a novel on Stalingrad called The Ghost Army. I’m in Charleston, where I went through Seymour’s official records at the state archives. I can be reached at (304) 415-4187.
    Andy Gallagher

  21. Frank Everton
    Thu 26th Jan 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Is the Everton first name in any way associated with the Everton family name? My family name originated in the Carolina’s and then settled in Virginia.

  22. Denise Molitoris
    Sat 03rd Mar 2012 at 6:50 pm

    My father, who is 90 years old & grew up in Dillon, MT, has some letters written by EJ Conger to his wife Emma while he was in Washington (or maybe during the war—I haven’t read them for a long time). I can either post them where ever that can be done or could email them to whoever is interested. Some of it is a bit hard to make out since the lettering is small and he wrote in two directions on some of them. In one, he chews out Emma for using pencil in her letters to him since it smears & is hard to read!
    My dad’s family knew the Congers and I’m not sure exactly how my dad go them, but he has had them since the 1930s and he treasures them. His grandfather fought in the Civil War (and great xxx in the Revolutionary War). The Conger letters are part of his collection of old time things.

  23. Bob Johnson
    Mon 04th Jun 2012 at 9:41 pm

    One of my cousin’s on the Poindexter side was married to
    Evertons daughter, Poindexter was Gov. of Hawaii, and
    Everton went to visit and died there, he was ship home
    to Dillon, Mt. he is buried near the Poindexter’s.

  24. Renea Conger
    Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I am the wife of Joseph (joe) Conger of Jacksonville, Fl. and most of his family we know of are from Tipton, Ga. But I was wondering if He would also be related to Everton J. Conger? I feel like he is because it may sound crazy, but there is some resemblance. His Dad’s name was Hayward and I believe his grandfather was James nickname (rounder). But I think it would be very neat to know the ancestery of his last name. if one of the Conger’s know i would really appreciate it if you could email. thanks. Conger fam. we live in ky.

  25. William Albert Conger
    Tue 14th Aug 2012 at 12:28 am

    My dad, William Allen Conger (deceased), was born in 1903. I know very little about his roots other than he once told me about his father being killed as a guard during a robbery of his resource transport job. My dad had one brother named Clorn (deceasef) who resided in the Syracuse, NY area. There appears to be a strong tie to the Cincinnati area as I think my dad lived there a long time and was a student at Xavier University. Other than that I have no idea of his or my background. Any clues? Thanks

  26. Sat 08th Sep 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Everton Conger will be mentioned in my upcoming book, a biography about Judge Peter C. Shannon. Sometime after the Civil War ended, Conger was appointed to be an associate justice on the Montana Territory Supreme Court. Shannon was a chief justice on the Dakota Territory Surpeme Court. When Conger got in trouble on the bench, he was suspended by President Arthur and Shannon was appointed to go to Montana and investigate allegations of misbehavior including excessive drinking and gambling. Conger was cleared after the investigation and reinstated, partly due to his war record and the wounds he received.

  27. Erik Kreh
    Fri 02nd Nov 2012 at 7:32 pm

    There are two volumes of Conger genealogy researched by Maxine Leonard. They used to be available at http://www.aeroknow.com/arts/congal1.htm
    It looks like vol. II is out of print, not sure about vol. I.
    There is other Conger info on the site, but it looks like updates stopped in 2008. There is a Word version of the basic genealogy without all of the detail that is in the books somewhere out there.

  28. Erik Kreh
    Fri 02nd Nov 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Family tree for William Albert Conger:

    1. John Belconger (b.Abt 1640-Great Yarmouth,Norfolk,England;d.Abt 27 Aug 1712 Woodbridge,Middlesex,NJ)
    *sp1: Mary Kelly (b.14 Apr 1644/1646-Newbury,Essex Co,MA;m.12 Jan 1666;d.Abt 1685-Woodbridge,Middlesex Co,NJ)

    2. Job Conger (b.9 Jun 1694-Woodbridge,Middlesex Co,NJ;d.1758-Woodbridge,Middlesex Co,NJ)
    sp: Mary Keziah Thorp (b.Abt 1694-Woodbridge,Middlesex Co,NJ;m.Abt 1726)

    3. Moses Conger (b.Abt 1732-Rahway,Union Co,NJ;d.1809-Near Harrison,Hamilton Co,OH)
    sp: Elizabeth Marsh (b.1733)

    4. Daniel Conger (b.Abt 1789-Pennsylvania;d.15 Nov 1851-Hamilton Co,OH)
    sp: Mary Goudy (b.1 Apr 1790-Ireland;d.11 Oct 1845-Hamilton Co,OH)
    5. Hugh Goudy Conger (b.5 Jun 1832-White Oak,Hamilton Co,OH;d.17 Jan 1908-Mt Airy,Hamilton Co,OH)
    sp: Heighlin Jane (Helen) Taylor (b.14 Oct 1833-Dayton,Montgomery Co,OH;m.12 Jan 1853;d.27 Jan 1923)
    6. John Taylor Conger (b.5 Jan 1854;d.22 Nov 1936-Bevis,OH)
    sp: Anna Belle VanAusdall (m.25 Dec 1878;d.12 Sep 1943)
    7. Clarence Conger (b.Abt 1880)
    sp: Anna May Cloran
    8. Cloran Conger
    8. Van Hullet Conger
    8. William Allen Conger
    sp: Marie Virginia Weaver
    9. Robert Allen Conger
    sp: Rita Senour
    10. Robert Allen Conger
    10. Laura Marie Conger
    10. Amy Elizabeth Conger
    10. Margaret Mary Conger
    10. Jodi Ann Conger
    10. Christopher Senour Conger
    9. William Albert Conger
    sp: Mary (Molly) Brennan Payne
    10. Catherine Marie Conger
    10. William Allen Conger
    10. Craig Conger

  29. Cathy Conrad
    Thu 20th Feb 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I also descend from John Belconger & his wife Mary Kelly. My 4th g-grandfather was Jonathon Conger who fought in the Revolution, moved to Indiana, and is buried in Pike County. Thank you for your lineage.

  30. Brian Conger
    Sun 03rd Aug 2014 at 9:46 pm

    My 4th great grandfather was john conger.

  31. Craig Gauger
    Thu 13th Aug 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Re: Frank Everton. Everton Judson Conger was named after a good friend of his Father. Rev. Everton Judson. Rev. Enoch Conger (his Father) and Rev. Judson were instrumental in organizing the Mansfield (OH) Congregational Church in 1835.

  32. Carl Shrout
    Sat 11th Feb 2017 at 8:27 pm

    There is a picture of Seymour Beach Conger on a website called “Custer’s West Virginia Red Ties. I haven’t found one of Everett. My great great grandfather, Andrew J. Shrout was a private in Co. “C” 3rd West Virginia Cavalry

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