Ironically, the South’s most prominent abolitionist, Stafford’s Moncure Daniel Conway, came from a diverse and eclectic family of predominantly slaveholders and independent thinkers:
1. Uncle Peter Vivian Daniel (above), was Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He advocated the “peculiar institution” of slavery as benevolent to mankind.
2. Cousin and Richmond editor John Moncure Daniel vehemently supported slavery and secession with his “pen of fire.”
3. Moncure Daniel Conway’s father, Walker Peyton Conway, was a magistrate and businessman. He believed the institution of slavery was doomed, but held slaves.
4. R.C.L. Moncure, Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, voted to sustain Hannah Coalter’s overturned will allowing her slaves to choose freedom in Africa, the North, or this region, or remain in bondage.
5. Judge Eustace Conway was an active pro-slavery Democrat.
6. John Conway Moncure was the Stafford commonwealth’s attorney. He was pro-slavery and later served as a major in the Confederate Army. He became House Speaker in Louisiana.
(Moncure Daniel Conway’s mother, Margaret Daniel Conway, was a descendant of Declaration of Independence signer, Thomas Stone. She was anti-slavery and strongly influenced her son and daughter, Mildred Conway, toward abolitionism.)
At least 17 of Moncure Daniel Conway’s brothers and cousins served in the Confederate Army.