David McConaughy

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David McConaughy (July 23, 1823 – 1902) was a noted attorney, cemetery president, and civic leader in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as a part-time intelligence officer for the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was a driving force behind the creation of the Gettysburg National Cemetery following the Battle of Gettysburg. He also led early efforts to preserve the Gettysburg Battlefield for future generations.

Early life

McConaughy was the grandson of Irish immigrants who had settled in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1712. The McConaughy family was among the first settlers of Adams County and among the most prominent pioneers. He was the youngest of six children of John and Margaret (Patterson) McConaughy. His father died when he was four years old, and David was raised by foster parents. He attended Gettysburg College from 1834 until 1838, when he transferred to Washington College, where his uncle, also named David McConaughy, a former Presbyterian minister in Gettysburg, was the president. After graduating in 1840, he accepted a position as principal of a high school in Maryland, where he remained two years.

McConaughy then studied law under noted abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens and became an attorney in Adams County. He was active in politics as a Whig. He helped organize the Gettysburg chapter of the YMCA and often sponsored lectures to raise funds for the organization, which often used "McConaughy's Hall" as a meeting place. From 1853 until...
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