Captain Isaac Conroe, whose death in 1897 at the age of sixty- two terminated the career of one of the most enterprising lumbermen and public-spirited citizens of Southeast Texas, was the founder of the town which bears his name and which is now the capital of Montgomery County. He was the first postmaster at this place, holding the office many years, and was the active leader of its business and civic affairs up to the time of his death.
He was born in the town of Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1835. At the outbreak of the Civil war, he was in the postal service at Chicago, and there enlisted and became a member of the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry. He served with distinction and was promoted to the rank of captain. At the close of his service, he was mustered out at Houston, Texas, and soon after his marriage at Washington, D. C., he returned to Texas and settled on Cedar Bayou in Harris County, where he was engaged in the wood and freighting business between Lynchburg and Houston. One of his first experiences was in freighting a cargo of lumber from the mills to Judge Munger’s lumber yard in Houston. On arriving with the lumber, it happened that Judge Munger’s checker was absent, and Captain Conroe undertook to do the checking himself. He performed the task in such a satisfactory manner that Judge Munger offered him the position of checker, which he accepted. While in this work he familiarized himself with all departments of the business, and was soon taken into partnership with Mr. Munger, later buying his interests.
In the early seventies Captain Conroe went into the sawmill business on his own account, operating a mill at Egypt on the I. & G.N. Railroad, and another at Halton, both in Montgomery County. He later established a mill at Conroe and thus founded this town. The name adopted by the first citizens of the town was adopted at the suggestion of Mr. Moxie, who was at that time president of the I. & G. N. Railroad. He was identified with the lumber industry at Conroe from that time until his death. Though he was a Republican and held only the office of postmaster he was one of the most progressive and public-spirited citizens of the town. His personality was one to win friends and keep them through life, and his worth in the community was such that his death was looked upon as a loss to every member of the community which he had helped to build up. He was a member of the Masonic order and was buried with Masonic honors at Houston.
At the close of the war he married, in Washington, D.C., Miss Margaret Richardson. Their children are: Rowena, widow of Thomas B. Hart; Effie, wife of H. B. Whitley; and William Munger, mentioned below, all the children being residents of Conroe.
William Munger Conroe, son of the late Captain Isaac Conroe, was born at Houston, October 30, 1870. He is the successor of his father in many of the important activities of that prominent citizen, and has made an independent record of achievement in business. He received his early education in the public schools of Houston, and at an early age began working in his father’s mills. At the age of twenty-two he went to Poughkeepsie, New York, and took a business course in the Eastman’s Business College. On returning home he was again associated with his father in the lumber business and continued until the latter’s death. He was then appointed administrator of the estate, and after its settlement he organized the Conroe Lumber Company, the stockholders of which were himself and his two sisters, Mr. Conroe served as president and general manager until the company ceased operations on account of the timber being exhausted. Since 1907, Mr. Conroe has been engaged in milling lumber in transit.
During the administration of President Harrison Mr. Conroe served as postmaster of Conroe, resigning from the office for political reasons. He is prominent in fraternal affairs, being a member of Conroe Lodge, No. 748, A. F. & A. M., is past high priest of Conroe Chapter, R. A. M., and a member of Trinity Commandery, No. 29, K. T., at Huntsville, and El Mina Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Galveston. He also affiliates with the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He married, in 1898, Miss Hattie E. Urquhart, a daughter of W. N. Urquhart, of Conroe. They have two children, Elbert Isaac and Lois Louise.