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Submitted byMickie Elliott-Thomas and Bill Moore


P. J. CONNELL.The career of Mr. P. J. CONNELL, who for a number of years has had a successful place in business affairs in Muskegon, is that of a man who began life early in boyhood, who depended upon his resources of mind and body to earn his living, and make himself useful in the world, and who through that same self reliance and honesty of purpose has long since acquired both prosperity and influence.

††††††††††††††† P. J. CONNELL was born in Ireland, September 25, 1840.His parents were James and Mary (MALONE) CONNELL, both natives of Ireland, the father born in 1810 and died in 1847, and the mother born in 1806 and died in 1883.The paternal grandfather was Watson CONNELL, who spent all his life in Ireland as a farmer.The maternal grandfather was Thomas MALONE, who also lived and died an Irish farmer.The parents two years after the birth of their son,P.J., crossed the ocean and located in Canada, in 1842, and from there moved to Oswego, New York, where the father died.The mother then came out to Michigan in 1849, and her family were among the pioneers of Ottawa county.Here she married Edward McCUE, and they lived on a farm in that county until her death.Mr. McCUE died in 1901 in Muskegon.They were the parents of fourteen children, of whom two are living.Mr. CONNELLís brother is Captain Richard CONNELL, for many years a captain on the great lakes, and he has the distinction of opening the first life saving station on Lake Michigan at Grand Haven.

††††††††††††††† Before the construction of railways he carried on horseback the first mail north of Grand Haven to the settlements along the Lake Shore.The CONNELL family are members of the Catholic church, and Mrs. CONNELL, the mother, was very active in church affairs.The first Catholic church established in Ottawa county was located on her brotherís farm, and roads had to be cut through the woods for the five miles in order to attend church.Their first home in Ottawa county was a log cabin and that sheltered the members of the household for a number of years.

††††††††††††††† P. J. CONNELL had only six months education in the schools of Ottawa county.During 1852-53 he worked for his board, while attending school and at the age of twelve left home to make his own way.For some time he was employed in a sawmill at thirteen dollars a month, including board, after which he was on a sailing vessel, and during 1857 learned the Masonís trade.It was as a Mason that he made his real start in life and has worked at the trade and as a contractor for many years.His contracting business began in 1870 and the last important building erected by him was the Muskegon Courthouse, a piece of construction which is highly creditable to his ability and business management.At the present time he handles general building supplies, and for a man who had not a cent to start on has prospered exceedingly well.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† In 1863 Mr. CONNELL went to Chicago with the purpose of joining the Union army.His enlistment was refused, and while in that city he met and married Miss Maria J. CURLEY.Their children are:Jennie, the wife of John W. GRANDFIELD of Muskegon, where her husband is a bricklayer; and Julia M., who married the late Thomas J. HOLMES, and she now has her home with her father.The family are members of the Catholic church, and Mr. CONNELL is a past grand knight of the Knights of Columbus, and in August, 1913, represented the state of Michigan at Boston.He is also affiliated with the Good Templars and has held the highest offices in the state.His politics is Republican.At one time Mr. CONNELL served two years as chief of the Muskegon fire department.For sixteen years he operated a brick kiln at Muskegon.


Source:History of Michigan by Charles Moore, 1915†††† page 2062


Real Estate Transfers

Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon, MINovember 21, 1895, page 3:4

P. J. Connell and wife to Joseph Goodman and wife, five acres in Norton township: $600

Information donated by Bill Moore

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