Eli Edward Conaghy was born on August 24, 1900, in Camden, New Jersey. His father, James P. Conaghy, was involved in the Eagle Coal and Ice Company, a business he co-operated with his uncle, Joseph Henry Conaghy, located at 246 Pine Street by 1906.
Theodosia Hunt Conaghy, born in Gloucester City, New Jersey, in March 1875 to James and Mary Hunt, moved to Camden’s 316 Line Street by 1894. Her father, James Hunt, served as Fish Warden and later as a constable in Camden. Theodosia married Joseph Henry Conaghy, a coal and ice merchant, after 1900, and in 1906, they lived at 246 Pine Street, where Joseph ran the Eagle Ice & Coal Company.
Around 1910, Joseph Conaghy transitioned into the tavern business, operating a bar at 601-603 Kaighn Avenue, where he and Theodosia resided. Meanwhile, Eli Conaghy’s father, James, remained with the Eagle Coal and Ice Company and ventured into real estate.
In 1914, the younger James P. Conaghy took over the Eagle Ice & Coal Company, while Joseph and Theodosia opened “Conaghy’s” bar at 950 South 5th Street. However, the bar enterprise faced difficulties, and by September 1918, Joseph and Theodosia had purchased a home at 814 South Sixth Street, next door to James Conaghy, who had relocated his residence and business to 812 South Sixth Street as early as 1914.
Joseph Conaghy’s health deteriorated, possibly leading to Eli Conaghy residing with his uncle and aunt at 814 South Sixth Street, while his father, James, lived next door at 812. Joseph Conaghy passed away shortly after the 1920 Census. In 1923, Theodosia Conaghy was appointed matron at the Camden County Jail, a position she held until 1950.
Eli Conaghy registered for the draft in September 1918 while working at Keystone Leather at South 16th and Mickle Streets in East Camden. In the late 1910s, he pursued boxing professionally, using the moniker “Kid Conaghy.” He humorously referred to himself as “Kid Linoleum” in later years.
In the late 1920s, Eli Conaghy associated with a group that included Joseph “Mose” Flannery, Russell Sage, Joe O’Connor, and John Doris. Within a span of 17 months, from late September 1928 to early April 1930, Flannery, O’Connor, and Doris were all murdered in gangland hits. In all three cases, the victims refused to identify their assailants.
As of April 1940, Eli Conaghy still lived with his aunt at 814 South Sixth Street, where his uncle, Camden fireman Eli M. Hunt, and cousin Nellie Conaghy also resided. Eli had married Evelyn G. Terrel but was separated from his wife at that time. He worked at the RCA radio factory in Camden.
Despite being over 40 years old, Eli E. Conaghy was drafted into the United States Army in October 1942. After his military service, he returned to work as a structural ironworker.
In the 1947 Camden City Directory, Eli Conaghy lived with his wife, Evelyn, at 558 Line Street, while his father, James Conaghy, still resided at 812 South Sixth Street. His aunt, Theodosia Hunt Conaghy, had relocated to 543 Roberts Street.
Theodosia retired in 1950, likely due to the introduction of mandatory retirement at age 65 for certain government employees in New Jersey, even though she was approximately 75 years old. In her later years, she lived with her nephew, Eli, at 704 Berkley Street. Theodosia passed away on December 7, 1957, survived by Eli and a sister, Mrs. Katherine Abrams.
Eli E. Conaghy divorced his wife, Evelyn, during the 1950s and resided at 704 Berkley Street until around 1958. He acquired Theodosia’s property at 543 Roberts Street and moved there. In 1965, he suffered a stroke, leading to a six-month stay at Cooper Hospital before transferring to the Camden County Hospital at Lakeland, where he remained until his death in December 1968. He left behind one son, two daughters (with one, Eileen, passing in 2007), five grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. Eli Conaghy was a member of Ironworkers Local 399, a World War II veteran, and is interred at Harleigh Cemetery.