The Conley Sisters
The Conley Sisters served as the champions of the Huron Cemetery. The sisters, Lyda, Helena, and Ida, came to the defense of the cemetery when Congress proposed selling the land. To defend the cemetery, the Conley sisters erected a small, fortified shed on the grounds and through their efforts succeeded in saving the historic location. Lyda defended the cemetery before the Supreme Court of the United States. This action made her the first woman of Native American ancestry to appear before the high court and argue a case. Although she lost, Lyda and her sisters gained support for their cause and the Huron Cemetery was not sold. Decades later after the Conley sisters died, the federal government did approve and make improvements to the cemetery through work with the City of Kansas City and Urban Renewal plans.
The following images relate to the Conley Sisters.
Fort erected by the Conley Sisters
Grave marker for Lyda Conley
Grave marker for Ida Conley
Grave marker for Helena Conley
Articles & Video
The following documents and articles provide information about the Conley Sisters and their work along with obituary notices.
|Article Title||Date Published||Description|
|Conley's Argument||1910||Lyda Conley's argument presented to the Supreme Court of the United States.|
|Lyda Conley Interview||1909||Interview with Lyda Conley regarding her work and the lawsuit over Huron Cemetery.|
|Conley v Ballinger - U.S. Supreme Court Opinion||1910||The Supreme Court decided on the Conley v Ballinger on Jan. 31, 1910 with its opinion delivered by Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. Conley lost her case, but gained support for her cause. The Huron Cemetery was not sold and no bodies were disrupted.|
|Defense of Cemetery and the Curse of the Conley Sisters||June 7, 1946 and May 17, 1959||Two articles from the Kansas City Times that focus on the Conley sisters and their defense of the Huron Cemetery.|
|A Defender of Huron Cemetery Dies at 72||May 28, 1946||Obituary notice and article about Lyda Conley.|
|Ida Conley Was Noted for Huron Cemetery Stand||Oct. 6, 1948||Obituary notice and article about Ida Conley.|
|Descendant of Wyandot Tribe Dies||Sept. 16, 1958||Obituary notice and article about Helena "Lena" Conley.|
|Last of Conleys Joins Family||Sept. 19, 1858||Story about the funeral and burial services for Helena Conley.|
|Huron Cemetery plans 'wouldn't please sisters'||Feb. 29, 1976||The federal government approved city and Urban Renewal plans for Huron Cemetery improvements. Article interviews Conley sister friend to gain perspective on what their reaction would be.|
Huron Cemetery Segment
KTWU's Sunflower Journeys featured Huron Cemetery in a segment, which aired on Dec. 12, 2017. The segment behinds about 10 minutes into the video.