History of a Well-Known Family


The following will was transcribed by Sharon McConnell of Coto de Caza, CA and submitted for inclusion at the Genealogy in Washington Co., PA web site in August 1997. It was found in the Family Files kept at the Citizen's Library in Washington, PA. 

The following history of the McConnell family was prepared and read by Rev. W.A. McConnell, D.D., of Hickory, at a family reunion held last summer at the home of B.K. McConnell, Cecil Township:

What seems to be an entirely reliable tradition traces our ancestry back to one William McConnell, Sr. of Scottish parentage, and who in the troublous times in Scotland fled to Ireland to escape persecution.

 ...obtain this information from a brief sketch of our ancestry written June 3, 1826, 75 years ago -- by my uncle, Francis McConnell. For the use of the aforesaid sketch, I am indebted to Miss Sadie Berry, who having seen the same, copied it, and kindly furnished me her copy.

 From the tradition that has come down to me of the writer's intelligence and accuracy, I have no doubt of the entire reliability of the facts as he recorded the same; and therefore I have no hesitation in weaving them into the historical sketch which I now present.

 In order that we the more readily and the more clearly understand the succession, as we trace it our in this history; it is necessary that we have some one from among ourselves to use for comparison in sketching the relationship and for that purpose I may as well make myself the target as any one else.

 Beginning then with William McConnell, Sr., of Scotland. To see how far back we start with this history he would be my great, great, great grandfather. And for B.K. McConnell, who now occupies the old homestead, where we are now assembled, we would have to add another great, and for B.K.'s children, still another great! There are present here to-day at least of the ninth generation, from the point of starting. To the ninth generation belongs the precious son of the Rev. R.H. Coulter, D.D., of Canonsburg, Pa.

 Next in the line of succession comes William McConnell, Jr., and son of William McConnell, Sr., my great, great, grandfather. He emigrated from Ireland some considerable time before the revolutionary war. We have no information other than inferential in regard to the section in which he located on his coming to this country.

 The next in order comes Alexander McConnell, son of William McConnell, Jr., my great grandfather. According to the forementioned sketch, from which I derive my information relating to these early times, the son, Alexander came to America in advance of his father, William McConnell, Jr., and on coming to this country he settled in Cumberland county, Pa. That fact seems to warrant the inference that his father, William McConnell, Jr., who came to this country subsequently to the coming of his son would likely be... ...to locate in the same section, namely Cumberland county, Pa.

 Alexander McConnell married Prudence Alexander. To them were born 10 children as follows: William, John, Jane, Frances, Mary, Elizabeth, Matthew, Prudence, Letitia and Alexander.

 Of these 10 children born to Alexander, all have dropped out of history, as least so far as known to your historian, with the exception of Matthew and Alexander and their descendants.

 Alexander McConnell and his two sons, Matthew and Alexander, Jr. and also his daughter Jean, came to Washington county, and to Cecil township, settling on the tract of land where we are now assembled, about the year 1775. There is still extant, and in a good state of preservation, the certificate of church membership which Matthew McConnell brought with him and which bears that date. The certificate was present at the time of the reunion, and was read at this juncture of the history.

 No denomination was mentioned in said certificate. It is known, however, that his Pastor, the Rev. Matthew Lind, who signed the certificate in question came to this country as a Reformed Presbyterian minister, and remained such until some seven years after the date of this certificate, or until 1782 when a union was effected between the Associate and the Reformed Presbyterian churches in this country taking the name of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church of North America. It is clear then that Matthew McConnell was at the time of the issuing this certificate a Reformed Presbyterian - or a Covenanter as commonly designated now.

 A certified copy of the will of Alexander McConnell, Sr., my great grandfather, was present at the time of the reunion, and was read in connection with the presentation of the history. It had a double interest - first its antiquity, having been written in 1781, and executed in 1793; second, it brought to light in some cases, and corroborated in other cases, facts in the early history of our ancestry.

 It is clear from said will that Alexander McConnell, Sr., came with his two sons Matthew and Alexander, Jr., and also his daughter Jean, and settled upon the plantation, as designated in his will; now owned and occupied by D.L. and B.K. McConnell. It also appears that Alexander, Sr., and his daughter Jean made their home with Alexander, Jr., or Alexander, Jr., and his family made their home with Alexander, Sr. In his will he left his son Matthew that part of his plantation on which Matthew then dwelt, the same tract of land on which his great, great grandson, B.K. McConnell, now lives. Also in that will he left to his son, Alexander, Jr., that part of his plantation on which he himself then dwelt, the farm that is now occupied by his... these, two brothers, Matthew and Alexander, dwelling side by side during the remainder of their earthly pilgrimage -- and so far as known at least, at peace, on with the other -- the Psalmist ideal. "Brethren dwelling together in unity!" At this stage, in a line with my appointment, I now take up the history of Matthew McConnell and his descendants, leaving to another ro present the sketch of Alexander and his descendants. (It is proper to state in this connection that owing to the brief time intervening the projection of this movement and the holding of the reunion, only a little over two months, no one seemed willing to undertake the work in so limited a period; and therefore the presentation of a history of Alexander and his descendants was deferred to a later period.)

 Matthew McConnell was united in marriage to Mary Alexander. It may be stated here that in presenting this history, you historian will confine himself strictly to the McConnell line, and not reach out to those to whom they became united in marriage except simply to state the fact, without attempting to follow out their history and portray their excellencies or otherwise.

 To Matthew McConnell and his wife were born 13 children, namely: Elizabeth, Alexander, Francis, John, Prudence, Jane Matthew, William, Mary, Margaret, James, Letitia and Martha. He departed his life December 21, 1824, his wife surviving him a few years.


Elizabeth and Alexander died in childhood, and this statement closes the sketch on their earthly career. Francis, third child of Matthew, married Jane Slemens. To them were born eight children, namely: Mary, Alexander, Matthew, Samuel, Eliza, Jane Margaret and Susan. Of the family of Francis there remains no living issue.

John, fourth child of Matthew, married Nancy Travis. To them were born, so far as known, six children, as follows: Alexander, John, Mary, Rebekah, James and William. Of this line of the descendants of Matthew, all further trace has been lost by the Washington county friends, though all these years they have not been widely separated. John, soon after his marriage, located near Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio.

 Prudence, fifth child of Matthew married John Dunlap. Tradition says they located near to Poland, Mahoning county, Ohio. Of their descendants, or whether they had any, nothing is known at this date.

 Jane, sixth child of Matthew, married William Gilmore Berry. She has a greater number of descendants than any other child of Matthew. To them were born eight children, namely: John, Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, William, Prudence, Matthew and James. John, the oldest child of Jane, married Jane Eagleton. They had six children viz: Jane, Rachel, William, John M., David and Carson.

 John's second wife was Mary Barn, who had one son, Joseph. He died when a young man and unmarried. John's third wife was Sarah J. Logan. She had no children. Jane, daughter of John, married Ebenezer Carson. They had five children, as follows: Ulysses, John B., David, Bessie and Mary. Of these Ulysses, John B., David and Bessie are married, but their descendants further are not here recorded.

 Rachel, second daughter of John, married Robert Herron. They had six children, as follows: Jennie, Lizzie, Minnie, Sadie T., William and Walker. Of these children of Rachel, the following are married, namely Jennie to J. McVay, Lizzie to Miller Munce, Minnie to Hugh McNary, Sadie T. to John Fulton, and William to Miss Roberts.

 William, son of John, married Mary Patterson. Their children are: Margaret, David, Mary, Robert and Pearl.

 David, son of William, married Mary Graham, and they have two children.

 Mary, daughter of William, married Lee Scott. Margaret, Robert and Pearl remain single.

 John M., son of John, married Jennie Weir. Their children are: Samuel C., Minnie J., John ., W., and William E.

 David, son of John, died in the war of the rebellion. Carson, son of John, married Abby Boyd. They have three children, viz: Lizzie, Bankhead and Albert.

 Mary, daughter of Jane, married John May. They had seven children as follows: Phebe, William, John R., James, Alexander, Carson and Anna.

 Phebe, daughter of Mary, married D. T. McCloy, and they had four children, viz: Mary, John, Alexander, and Jane.

 Mary, daughter of Phebe, married Mr. Johnson. She died without children. The other children of Phebe all married, and some of them are known to have children, but I cannot give their number or names.

 William, son of Mary, remained single.

 John R., son of Mary, married Samantha Fulton, they have no children.

 Alexander, son of Mary, married Sarah Thompson, they had two daughters, Nettie and Ida.

 Ida, daughter of Alexander, married.

 James, son of Mary, died in early manhood, and unmarried. Carson, son of Mary, married Anna Pooler. The had two children. I cannot give their names.

 Anna, daughter of Mary, married Wilson Scott. They have two daughters, viz: Blanche and Laura.

 Elizabeth, third child of Jane, married William McLaughlin, and lived in Harrison county, Ohio. To them were born six children, namely: John, Jane, Gilmore, James, Samuel, and Martha.

 John, son of Elizabeth, married Jennie Neff. They had one daughter, who is also married. That makes one of the ninth generation from the starting point of the history, married.

 Jane, daughter of Elizabeth, married James Hawthorne, and they have three children, namely: Ross, Reed, and Boyd. Ross and Reed, sons of Jane, are also married, but to whom I cannot tell.

 William, son of Elizabeth, married Minnie A. Livingston, and they have six children, but I am not able to give their names.

 James, son of Elizabeth, married Sarah Backhurst. No children so far as known.

 Samuel, son of Elizabeth, married Bell Porterfield, and Martha, daughter of Elizabeth, married Mr. Hawthorne. Jane, fourth child of Jane Berry, married John Thorne. They had no children.

 William, fifth child of Jane, married Elizabeth Callahan. They had seven children, namely: John C., Jennie M., George A., James D., Rebekah C., Charles G. and Samuel L. Of these seven children of William, all are married, with the exception of the youngest daughter, Rebekah C.

 Prudence, sixth child of Jane, married John Carson. They had one child, a son, Hugh Frank.

 Matthew, seventh child of Jane, married Margaret Willison. To them were born three sons, viz: W.G., Samuel W. and John A.

 W.G., son of Matthew, married Nancy L. Garrett. They had three daughters, namely: Lilly M., Nannie W., and Maggie L.

 Nannie W., daughter of W.G., married S. H. H. Arnold. Samuel W., son of Matthew, married Isabella McNary. They had three children, viz: Elva L., Matthew W., and Walter U. and Elizabeth A.

 John A., son of Matthew, married Rachel McNutt, and have two daughters... ...two children, Ethel and Albert.

 Frank, son of James, Sr., married Minnie McPeak, and they have one child, a son, Bert.

 David, son of James, married Bertha Rigby, and they have no children. Sarah J., Martha and William, children of James, remain unmarried.

 Matthew, seventh child of Matthew, Sr., married Ann Merchant, and to them were born seven children, as follows: Matthew A., Margaret, Elizabeth A., Samuel M., Prudence, Matthew F., and Mary Jane. Of these, Matthew A. and Elizabeth A. died in childhood.

 Margaret, daughter of Matthew, Jr., married Thomas Merchant. They had no children.

 Samuel M., son of Matthew, Jr., married Sarah J. Wallace, and had one daughter, Anna J., who married George Sexton. They have three children.

 Matthew Francis, son of Matthew, Jr., married Sarah Ann Hutton. To the were born two sons, Samuel F. F., and William A.

 Prudence and Mary Jane, daughters of Matthew, Jr., remained unmarried.

 William, eighth child of Matthew, married Elizabeth Allen. The had 10 children, as follows: Matthew, Eliza, Mary, Margaret, Sarah, Thomas A., James C., Wilson and Martha Jane. Of these, Mary and Margaret died in infancy.

 Matthew, son of William, married Priscilla C. Cobean. They had two children, a son that died in infancy, and a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth.

 Sarah, daughter of Matthew, married Joseph McKee, and had three children, Leigh, etc.

 Eliza, daughter of William, married George Irwin. They had no children.

 John, son of William, married Mary Jane Finney. They had two sons, John and William. John died when a young man and unmarried.

 William, son of John, married Miss ----, and with the exception of William's widow, this family is extinct. William A., son of William, was twice married.

 (1) To E.J. Reed, and had one daughter, Alice. Emma, daughter of William A., married William A. McCalmont, and have three children, Eltha, Janet and William.

 (2) To Agnes McKitrick -- and have two children, Clara and William L.

 Clara, daughter of William A., married A.H. Elliott. They have one child, Andrew Henry.

 Thomas A., son of William, married Rebekah Watt. They have no children.

 Wilson, son of William, married Mary Ann Watt, and had two children, Fleming and Bell. By a second marriage was united to Mary Patterson, but had no children.

 Fleming, son of Wilson, married -------. They had one child.

 Bell, daughter of Wilson, married Mr. ---- Speer, and have one child.

 Martha Jane, daughter of William, remained unmarried.

 Mary, ninth child of Matthew, married Robert Patterson, and had three sons, viz: John, Matthew and James.

 John, son of Mary, married Miss ---- Guthrie, and had one daughter, Agnes.

 Matthew, son of Mary, married Elizabeth Mawhinney. They had six children, namely: Jennie, Sarah, Tillie, Mary, Robert and May.

 Mary, daughter of Matthew, married Mr. --- Irwin, and are known to have two children.

 Mary, daughter of Matthew, married William Thompson. The had two children.

 Jennie, Sarah, Tillie and Robert, children of Matthew, remain unmarried.

 James, son of Mary, married Catharine Stewart and had six children, as follows: Robert, Jane, John, Anna, Ella and Rebekah.

 Robert, son of James, married Miss ---- Wellen. They have no children.

 John, son of James, married Lizzie Phillips. They have two children, Laura and James.

 Jennie, daughter of James, married C. Reed. They have two children, Pauline and Clare.

 Rebekah, daughter of James, married James Cullen. They have one child.

 Anna and Ella, daughters of James, remain unmarried.

 Margaret, tenth child of Matthew, married William Alexander. They had four children, viz: Matthew M., Elizabeth, Mary and Margaret.

 Matthew M., son of Margaret, married Miss ---- Andrews. They had no children.

 Elizabeth, May and Margaret, daughters of Margaret, Sr., remain unmarried, and with the exception of Margaret, Jr., now in advanced years, this family is extinct.

 James, eleventh child of Matthew, married Sarah Philips. The had nine children, namely: Mary, Martha, John P., William, James, Sarah, Jane, Elizabeth and David L.

 Mary, daughter of James, married Hugh McDowell. They had that came to years of maturity four children, viz: Ella, John, Martha and Effie.

 Ella, daughter of Mary, married W. J. Johnston. The had five children: Eva, Elmer, Bessie, William, and Warren.

 John, son of Mary, married Lizzie McMillan, They have four children, Louie, William, Hugh and one -----.

 Martha and Effie, daughters of Mary, remain unmarried.

 Martha, second daughter of James, married Samuel Van Eman. They had three children, Bell, J.J., and Sarah.

 Bell, daughter of Martha, married Nevin Brown. They have three daughters, Marcie, Mamie and Blanche.

 Marcie, daughter of Bell, married Rev., R. H. Coulter, D.D.. They have one child, Nevin.

 J.J., Sr., son of Martha, married Margaret Espy, and they have five children, Ettie, Maud, Samuel, Nettie, and J.J., Jr.

 Sarah, daughter of Martha, married Samuel...

 John P., son of James twice married. First to Martha -----. They had one son, B.K. Second to Martha Johnston. They had two daughters, Minnie and Ella, who remain unmarried.

 B.K., son of John P., married Ella McPherson. They have five children, viz: Blanche, Beulah, John, Anna and Wilmer.

 William, son of James, married Rachel May. They had one daughter, Elizabeth.

 Elizabeth, daughter of William, married John H. McCalmont. They had two children, a son Wilbert, and a daughter May.

 James, sons of James, Sr., married Margaret Ann Hill. They had five children, namely: Minnie, Wier, Walter, Roy and Margaret.

 Minnie, daughter of James, Jr., married Wilson Baird. They have seven children, viz: Alice, Emma, Mabel, Elmer, Mae.

 Wier, son of James, Jr., married Bessie Moore. They have two children.

 Sarah, daughter of James, Sr., married S.B. McPeak. They had four children, viz: James, Alice, Jean and Eva.

 James, son of Sarah, married Lillie Patton. They have one child, a daughter, Ethel.

 Alice, daughter of Sarah, married W. P. Crane. They have two children, a son, Earl, and a daughter, Hazel.

 Eva, daughter of Sarah, married J.A. Galbraith. They have three children, viz: Walter, Ruth, and Samuel.

 Jean, daughter of Sarah, remains unmarried.

 Elizabeth, daughter of James, married Mark Kelso. They have six children, namely: Sarah, Edwin, Martha,.... ...They have four children, namely: Robert, Helen, Margaret and Mary.

 Minnie, third daughter of Elizabeth, married Joseph Moore. They have no children.

 Edwin, James and John, sons of Elizabeth, are unmarried.

 David, son of James, married Elizabeth McPeak. They have six children, namely: Sarah, Nettie, Bird, Lillie, David and Logan.

 Letitia, the twelfth, and Martha, the thirteenth child of Matthew, remain unmarried. This closes the history of the descendants of Matthew McConnell, Sr., for far as your historian has had the time and facilities for tracing out the same. In many respects it is defective, and perhaps not always correct, but approximately so. It is known to the writer that a number of the descendants dying in infancy do not appear on the record.

 Two children of Matthew, Sr., died in childhood, namely: Elizabeth and Alexander. Two of his daughters remained unmarried, viz: Letitia and Martha.

 Of John's descendants, all trace has been lost of his six immediate...

 The line of one of his children, that of Francis, is known to be extinct, and that of another, Margaret's is practically so, only one in advanced years remaining. Still our record of the descendants of Matthew McConnell, makes the number 398. Of these the descendants of Jane Berry, number 159 and the descendants of James McConnell, the eleventh child of Matthew, the next highest, number 113.

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