The Conway cattle are raised by Bura Conway and his son Bruce in Richton, Mississippi. Bura began managing his father's
herd at age 14 in 1910, because his father had an injury that kept him from actively managing the herd himself. Bura preferred
red speckled cows and tended to keep those for the herd. The herd was maintained within itself until about 1938 when a bull
was added to the herd. This bull was from a speckled bull that Bura had seen while deer hunting on Pascagoula Creek. That
speckled bull had produced a speckled heifer from a Devon cow, and this speckled heifer and her bull calf were the ones introduced
into the Conway herd. The bull was most likely 1/4 Devon breeding, and his offspring only 1/8 Devon. Since that time the
herd has been largely closed.
Initially single sires were used in the Conway herd, but as numbers increased they began to use two bulls at a time. In the
1980s, bulls were used in the herd until they are 8 or 9 years old. The Conway cattle were used extensively for the production
of oxen for use in the southern logging industry. In the mid 1900s Bura entered a logging contest, and competed using oxen
instead of the mechanized tractors that all the other constestants used. At the end of the allotted time Bura had harvested
some 10,000 more board feet than the next contender, largely due to the ability of the oxen to work in wet conditions. At
one point Bura had a team of 4 yoke of identical twin oxen. Each pair was identical in color and horn length and shape.
All of the Conway cattle are some variant of red and white, with many of them attractively
speckled. Although the shade of red does vary the overall impression of the whole herd is a herd of peppermints. As late
as the 1960s there were also black and yellow cattle in the herd, but these are now all gone. The cows are of good conformation
and produce calves regularly until they are in their teens. As with other herds, some of the cows are polled, although these
are now rare.
Jerald O’Neal has a herd of some 40 head of cattle that originated from the Conway herd in the early 1970s. His start
was seven heifers and a bull from Bob Eubanks, who was an oxdrover of the Conways and had started his herd from the Conway
herd in the 1950s or 1960s. Otis O’Neal, an ancestor, sold Conway a bull that he had himself bought from Eubanks, so
the herds are interconnected at several levels. Bob Eubanks was the last one to have black and grullo based Conway cattle.
The present O’Neal herd is important as a source of Conway genetics that is slightly different from the more recent
herd. Due to its early separation from the main Conway herd, the O’Neal herd has minimal Devon influence. The colors
are a light red (distinct from the deeper red of most Conway cattle) with either linebacked, colorsided, or speckled patterns.
Conway cattle are nearly all dark red and white. The white varies from linebacked to colorsided. Most are medium sized,
some larger, and most are blocky. Horns are typically short to medium, without a well developed twist. The O’Neal subherd
is similar, but a lighter red predominates and the horns are more medium to longer.