The McConaughey Family


This postcard picture of the McConaughey Home in Cameron, Marshall County, West Virginia, was contributed by Garry Foster, a recent guest in the Victorian-style home, now a Bed & Breakfast establishment.

From the postcard:

Tucked away under one of Cameron's seven hills stands the McConaughey Home. Built around 1840, the original house was a small log structure in which Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother McConaughey "set up housekeeping".

Great Grandfather McConaughey, along with others, realized how much a railroad would benefit the community. He decided to make a trip to Baltimore by stagecoach to talk with B&O officials about bringing the railroad through Cameron and on to Wheeling (which was a port of entry). The railroad was completed in the 1850's. The town of Cameron was named for the Right-of-Way Purchasing Agent - Samuel Cameron.

The McConaughey Home was remodeled as a late Victorian house by D. W. and Elizabeth McConaughey and was used as a private home. It features spacious rooms, high ceilings, beautiful staircases, ornate woodwork and plate rail in the dining room. The remodeling took 3 years and $27,000. Current residents, John and Ila McConaughey, have continued the remodeling since 1983.


John and Ila Mae McConaughey, May 1999.

(Photo by Garry Foster.)


The following is miscellaneous information about the McConaughey family. It is posted here with the hope that more information will be submitted for inclusion on this page.

  • Excerpts from, THE McCONAUGHEY HOUSE - In a booklet of Marshall County articles compiled by the Newell, WV Genealogical Society. It refers to a July 14, 1985 Wheeling News-Register feature about the McConaughey Guest Home:

    ...The original owner of the home was David McConaughey who was born about 1798 in County Tyrone, Ireland. He married Sarah Anne Michaeltree (Mitcheltree?), born ca 1805 in Ireland, in Marshall County by J. H. McMechen on November 14, 1836; book 1, page 4.

    They aren't on the 1850 census for Marshall County but are found on 1860 with eight children and an older lady living in the home: Mary, b. ca 1857; Samuel, b. ca 1849; Robert, b. ca 1852; Sarah Ann, b. 10 Jan 1853; James, b. ca 1856; Mary V., b. ca 1858; David W., b. 9 June 1859; and Anne Long, age 78, born in Ireland.

    Martha was married 21 October 1869 to E. R. Richardson, s/o Harrison an M. A. Richardson of Ohio. Samuel was married 17 June 1880 to Elisabeth D. Hicks. David W. was married 2 June 1897 to Lizzie J. Crawford.

    At first they lived near Martins Ferry, Ohio ca 1832, then moved to the Cameron area where he (David) used his influence to have the B&O Railroad built through the little settlement. Following its completion, the town was incorporated and named in honor of the R.R. agent, Samuel Cameron. David was appointed to serve as the first postmaster in 1855....


  • Phyllis Dye Slater sent the following about the McConaughey Family:

    David McConaughey b. 1750 in County Tyrone, Ireland, married Martha Lindsey, daughter of Robert Lindsey. They stayed in Ireland where they had:

    1. Robert McConaughey b. 1783 County Tyrone, N. Ireland, was in Pennsylvania for a while and then settled in West Virginia, married Mary Anderson, d. 1858 in Little Rock, Arkansas. (This is the line of Francis Baker Bounds of Marshall, Texas.)

    Martha Lindsey McConaughey born and died in Ireland, where she married Archibald Calhoon.

    Mary McConaughey married David White and lived and died in Ireland. At least one son, David White, came to West Virginia.

    James McConaughey married ___ Calhoon (Archibald Calhoon's sister). Two of his daughters may have come to West Virginia.

    David McConaughey, born 1798 County Tyrone, N. Ireland, married Anna Marie Davis(on). He named the town of Cameron, West Virginia and he died there. (This is the line of Florence Dean Post, b. 1896, who lived in Arkansas. She worked on the family history since the 1930's when she corresponded with Samuel Chalmers McConaughey.)


  • Excerpts from an undated article, "Cameron", by Susan Pavilkey, Wheeling News-Register Staff Writer:

    ....The town of Cameron, originally called Longbottom, was founded in the late 18th century. Descendants of many of the early settlers still reside there.

    John McConaughey is one of those people, and he remembered the story of how the town got its present name.

    McConaughey said that in the mid-1800s the railroad system was put through the town, and his great-grandfather David McConaughey and some others from the area went to Baltimore to convince the B&O Railroad to make a stop in the town.

    "A man by the name of Samuel Cameron, who was a right of way purchasing agent with the company, came to check the area out. We needed a name for the town if a train was to stop here, and Cameron suggested that the town be called McConaughey. My great-grandfather rejected that idea, though, because he said kids would have to graduate eighth grade before they'd be able to spell it. So the name ended up being Cameron," said McConaughey.

    McConaughey lives in a house built by his great-grandfather, and said that the site was once part of the underground railway by which slaves escaped in the pre-Civil War days.

    During that war, McConaughey said his great-grandfather was visited by a friend of his who happened to be a colonel with the Confederate Army. When the man left the McConaughey home, he met with a detachment of soldiers coming to take David McConaughey to jail for harboring slaves.

    The colonel turned the soldiers back, telling them he'd take care of the matter. McConaughey recalled that the reason for the colonel's intervention wasn't as political as it might seem.

    "It turned out that the colonel fancied great-grandpa's sister, and he didn't want his future brother-in-law to wind up in jail," said McConaughey....


  • Excerpts from an article, "Centenarian Celebrates Life", by Jim Cochran, The (Wheeling) Intelligencer Staff, October 12, 1991:

    In 1919, Nellie Circle (McConaughey Fair) of Springfield, Ohio, stepped off a train in Cameron. The 28-year old woman (born October 6, 1891) visiting friends would come to call Cameron home....

    ....When she arrived in Cameron in 1919, the city was busy with three potteries, four retail dairies, the Cameron Tool co., six gas companies, three hotels, two theaters, two blacksmith shops, two flour mills, a stave mill, and even a city fair....

    However, Fair (Nellie) didn't come to Cameron because it was a booming city. She came to get married.

    Robert McConaughey from Cameron had a farm next to the Circle family in Springfield, and in 1916 she came to Cameron to visit the McConaughey family. During that visit she met Robert's nephew, Charles.

    She returned three years later and marred Charles. They operated a dairy about 1 mile from where she now lives.

    "The mode of transportation at that time was a mule-drawn wagon for 75 customers," she said. "Milk sold for 5 cents a quart, and some customers paid their bill by doing chores on the farm.

    "In addition to raising dairy cattle we also had sheep and hogs," which provided food, she said.

    Having come to Cameron when the town had only dirt roads, she vividly remembers concrete being poured for U.S. 250 which was referred to as "the big road."

    Fair became involved in the First Presbyterian Church and was a member of Lorraine Chapter No. 9, Order of Eastern Star, and the Marshall County Farm Bureau. She was a chapter member of the Seven Hills Garden Club in the 1930s.

    Fair, her son, and daughter-in-law, Ila Mae, opened the first licensed nursing home in Marshall County in 1955. "She did everything at the nursing home, but mostly was the cook for the 20 residents."

    Charles (McConaughey) died in 1957. Nine years later Fair married widower, Roscoe Fair. After Fair died in 1973, she cared for her daughter, Anna Katherine Fish, who contracted polio in 1956.

    At the age of 97, Fair was still helping to care for her daughter, who died in 1988. Following her daughter's death, she moved in with John and Ila Mae on Pennsylvania Avenue....