William W. Conover (October 2, 1826 - December 18, 1896), a.k.a. 'Black Bill', was a New Jersey landowner and real estate developer active in the late 19th century. Conover was from a wealthy family based in Red Bank, New Jersey. He made a fortune in cattle, reportedly owning one of the 'largest droves in this country'. Contemporaries describe him as a rough-spoken man with 'no pretense of goodness or charity', but claim this crude exterior hid a big heart, and those who owed him gratitude were innumerable. He was also an ardent abolitionist who served the Union cause during the American Civil War (1861 - 1865) with such rigorous brutality that he earned the nickname 'Black Bill'. For our purposes, he was also keenly interested in real estate. He was instrumental in developing Rumson as a resort of the elite and, in his waning years, duplicated the feat with the acquisition of a large farm, some 360 acres, in Port-au-Peck. His funeral in Red Bank was recorded at the time as the county's largest.