Search billions of records on

History of Greene County, Pennsylvania


HON. J. B. DONLEY, an attorney of Waynesburg, Penn., was born at Mount Morris, this county, October 10, 1838.  He is a son of Hon. Patrick and Margaret (Morris) Danley also natives of this county.  His ancestors were among the earliest settlers of Greene County, and have usually been farmers.  Mr. Donley’s great-grandfather was a captain in the Revolutionary war, and his grandfather Morris was a soldier in the war of 1812.  His father was a farmer and merchant, and was a member of the State Legislature in 1861 and 1862, serving two terms.  At the age of eighty-four years he still resides at Mount Morris, where he has spent many years of his life.  Of his family of eight children Hon. J. B. Donley is the fourth.  He graduated at Waynesburg College in 1859, when he went West and located in Abingdon, Illinois, having obtained a position as principal of schools.  In 1860 he became professor in Abingdon College.  When the war broke out Prof. Donley promptly enlisted under the first call of President Lincoln, but on account of the large number offering the company was not received into the service and disbanded, and Prof. Donley continued teaching until the summer of 1862, when he again enlisted and helped raise Company I of the Eighty-third Volunteer Infantry.  When the company was organized he was elected captain, being the youngest captain in the regiment.  It was the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry that fought the rebels alone at the second barrel of Fort Donnelson.  This regiment was distinguished for the great number of large men within its ranks, and was among the best regiments organized in the State.  Captain Donley was discharged in July, 1865, when he returned to his native county, and went to Albany, New York, and in 1866 graduated from the law department of the Albany University.  In 1867 he was admitted to practice at the Waynesburg bar, and was appointed register in bankruptcy during the same year, holding the position until 1869, when he became a member of the Forty-first Congress, having been elected thereto in 1868.  He votes the Republican ticket, casting his first vote for President for Abraham Lincoln in 1860.  He is president of the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is a member.  He is also assistant superintendent in the Sabbath-school.  Captain Donley is president of the Waynesburg Park Company.  He is a prominent member of the Knights of Honor, and a Master Mason in the Masonic fraternity.  He also belongs to the G. A. R. Post of Waynesburg.  Captain Donley was married in this county, in 1871, to Miss Ellen W., daughter of Col. John H. Wells, a retired attorney of Waynesburg.  They have three children—Nellie W., Grace E. and Patrick.  The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


Page 657-658
History of Greene County, Pennsylvania
Samuel P. Bates
Nelson, Rishforth & Co., Chicago. 1888

Transcribed by Annette Bame Peebles
The Greene County, Pennsylvania Biographies Project –
Date of Transcription: 11 November 2008
Copyright (c) 2007 – All Rights Reserved