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Cecilia Elizabeth Welch1,2,3,4,5

b. 29 July 1838, d. 5 January 1939

Family James Calvin McConnell b. 5 August 1837, d. 2 February 1912
Marriage* 24 September 1868  Butler Co., MO, Principal=James Calvin McConnell1,3,4 
Children  1. Grace Emma McConnell b. 28 Dec 1869, d. 1 Nov 1959
  2. Ira Welch McConnell b. 17 Oct 1871, d. 7 Jan 1933
  3. Lorin Austin McConnell b. 19 Apr 1874, d. 18 Oct 1918
  4. Florence Belle McConnell b. 26 Aug 1876, d. 16 May 1889
  5. Nelly Bly McConnell b. 18 Dec 1878, d. 16 Dec 1921
  6. Matilda Maxine "Mattie" McConnell b. 7 Jun 1883, d. Apr 1980

Note   The pioneer reminiscences of Mrs. J. C. McConnell, of Turner, were recorded in the Kansas City (Mo.) Star May 12, 1935. 
Note*   Cecilia is the daughter of John Ray Welch (b. 24 May 1805 d. 18 May 1891) and Matilda Eleanor Lowry (b. 27 Nov 1807 d. 19 Dec 1888) who were married 18 Jan 1826.4,6 
Birth* 29 July 1838  Decatur, Edgar Co., IL1,4 
Married Name 24 September 1868  McConnell1,3,4 
Marriage* 24 September 1868  Butler Co., MO, Principal=James Calvin McConnell1,3,4 
Census* 1870  1870 Federal Census, Missouri, Vernon County, Bacon Township, Series: M593, Roll: 824, Page: 508A, August 4
(enumerated with husband, James McConnell)
40, 119, 109, McConnell, Celia E, 32, F, W, Keeping House, , , Ill, , , , , , , , , ,1 
Census 1880  1880 Federal Census, Missouri, Bates County, Butler Township, ED: 158, Series: T9, Roll: 673, Page: 207A, June 14
(enumerated with husband, James C McConnell)
41, 9, 11, McConnell, Cecilla, W, F, 41, , Wife, , 1, , , Housekeeping, , , , , , , , , , , Illinois, Kentucky, Kentucky7 
Census 1900  1900 Federal Census, Kansas, Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Ward 6, ED: 165, Series: T623, Roll: 505, Page: 84A, June 6
Sheet 8A, 1212 Taylor Avenue
(enumerated with husband, J C McConnell)
81, 147, 152, McConnell, Elizabeth, Wife, W, F, July, 1838, 61, M, 32, 6, 5, Illinois, Kentucky, Kentucky, , , , , , , Yes, Yes, Yes, , , ,3 
Census 1910  1910 Federal Census, Kansas, Wyandotte County, Shawnee Township, ED: 201, Series: T624, Roll: 460, Page: 141A, April 25
Sheet 6A
(enumerated with husband, James C McConnell)
02, 108, 115, McConnell, Cecilia E, Wife, F, W, 71, M1, 41, 6, 5, Illinois, Kentucky, Kentucky, , , English, None, , , , , Yes, Yes, , , , , , , ,8 
Census 1920  1920 Federal Census, New Jersey, Essex County, Montclair, Ward 5, ED: 89, Series: T625, Roll: 1030, Page: 286B, January 5
Sheet 2B, 163 Montclair Avenue
(enumerated with son, Ira W McConnell)
72, 34, 34, McConnell, Cecelia, Mother-n-Law, , , F, W, 81, Wd, , , , Yes, Yes, Yes, Colorado, English, Ohio, English, Illinois, English, Yes, None, , ,9 
Census 1930  1930 Federal Census, New York, Westchester County, Greenburgh Township, Hastings-on-Hudson, ED 60-139, Series: T626, Roll: 1887, Page: 215B, April 9
Sheet 9B, Minturn Street
(enumerated with son, Ira W McConnell)
87, 217, 216, McConnell, Cecelia, Mother, , , , No, F, W, 91, Wd, 30, No, Yes, Illinois, Kentucky, Kentucky, , 61, , , , , Yes, None, , , , , , , ,10 
News/Obit 28 July 1938  (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., Thursday, July 28, 1938)
"Grandma" McConnell Cheerfully Faces Second Century of Life
Hastings Woman Reminisces Early Indian Days On Prairies

Friends Plan Celebration For Her Here Tomorrow On 100th Birthday
By Gertrude Willen

Talking to Cecilia Welch McConnell is like turning history, page by page, back to the year 1838, and breathing life into it.

By tomorrow Mrs. McConnell, known affectionately in Hastings as "Grandma McConnell," will have lived exactly one hundred years, and there is little of import which has happened during her lifetime that she does not remember. Imprinted on her mind, as keen today as it ever was, are the experiences of the pioneers who settled the middle west; the threatened dissolution of the Union and the war fought to preserve it; the assassination of the beloved Lincoln and the tragic events which followed.

She has watched the march of progress as one by one gas illu-mination and then electricity re-placed the kerosene lamp; tele-phones, telegraphy and trains erased distance, and the horse and buggy gave way to the automo-bile.

Liking to converse and recall the early days of her life, she chats charmingly with friends and family. She doesn't, however, live in the past, for she finds the present age exciting and full of interest. Today, possessed of all her faculties, she listens to the radio, reads the newspapers and modern fiction and is well informed on all current events.

Her smile and laugh are young and belie her years. Only her recollections make one certain she has lived a full century. The daughter of Iowa pioneers and the granddaughter of Kentucky settlers, she was born in Decatur, Ill., on July 29, 1938 following her parents' trek through the wilderness to Iowa.

Her first memories conc(?) white man's relations with the Indians. "They were friendly." she said, "If they found they could trust you. But if you be(?) them, they chose vicious ways to seek vengeance. We had no trouble with them and only on one instance do I rememember my mother showing any fear. It was the time a band of Indians wanted to buy my little horse attracted, perhaps, to his blond hair and blue eyes. If they wanted something badly, they would offer anything in exchange, but if they were thwarted, they would take what they wanted. In this instance, however, my mother's vehement refusal, they departed. Some days later our yard was filled with Indian braves on horseback and some children and with them was a little baby boy whom we did not recognize but who evidently had been stolen from his parents. They claimed the baby was their own. Then realizing we did not believe them they vanished from there as suddenly as they had appeared. Two days later the father of the child and two other men came in search of the kidnappers and I heard afterward that the Indians were overtaken and the child was returned to his parents."

It was the Sac, the Potawatomes and the Sioux Indian Natioins "Grandma" McConnell knew. When she was a young woman, she taught them at a school in Highland County, Kansas, that was known as the Sac & Fox Mission.

At the age of twenty Cecilia Welch returned to Illinois to attend the Female Seminary in Springfield, which offered the highest education obtainable for young ladies. She studied such subjects as algebra, history, mental philosophy and natural philosophy.

On September 24, 1863, she was married to James C. McConnell, an Ohio farmer. A year after their marriage the couple moved on to Missouri and then to Kansas City.

During the Civil War, though her grandparents were proud Kentuckians and her grandmother's marriage portion had been a negro slave, Mrs. McConnell's sympathies lay With the Northern cause. Her husband and her five brothers fought in the Union ar-my.

"Those were terrible times." said Grandma McConnell, and her frail figure trembled at the memory. "The country was rife with spies and secret societies. The South hated Lincoln. Even before his administration the feeling against him was bitter for the southern states feared his election, fully aware of his principles and the strife they would bring." Mrs. McConnell knew Abraham Lincoln when he was a young lawyer practicing in Springfield. She heard the Lincoln-Douglas debate and it is one of her prized memories. In a book concerning the incidents of early life in the west, which she has written but which as yet has not been published, Mrs.`McConnell tells of this event.

One of the historic occurences during her childhood days was the Morman migration to the west. Great bodies of them passed my parents home," she recalled, "as they journeyed westward after having been driven out of Illinois."

Mrs. McConnell mentions with pride that the settlers were of such fine stock that the very first thing they did when settling a site was to immediately establish a school of some kind. "My father," she said, "started the first school in Iowa in a barn built of hewn logs."

Mrs. McConnell attributes her long life and good health to no special diet. "I eat everything I want," she confided, "but I do abstain from stimulants. I drink coffee and tea, though I never tasted those beverages until after I was forty-two. When I was im my thirties I wasn't very well. I was suffering from malaria, the disease which is prevalent in newly settled countries. But once I conquered that I was quite well and I am in excellent health today."

Tomorrow afternoon at five 5 o'clock Mrs. McConnell's hundredth birthday will be celebrated at a large reception which her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Ira McConnell, and her daughters, Mrs. B.L. Short of Turner, and Mrs. E.P. Groben of Buffalo, New York, will hold in her honor at the McConnell residence on Sheldon Place. Three hundred invitations have been issued for the great event, and relatives from the west are arriving to be present to offer their congratulations.

Of Mrs. McConnell's five children, only two. Mrs. Short and Mrs. Groben, are living. They will share in their mother's celebration. The centenarian's other children were Ira W. McConnell, with whose widow she now lives, Lorin A. McConnell. who lived in Tulsa, Okla., and Nellie McConnell Crossen, whose home was Turner, Kansas.

Mrs. McConnell's grandchildren number an even dozen. They are John Waldo McConnell of Atlanta, Ga., Charles E. McConnell of Mountain Lake, N.J., Robert J. Short of Auburn, N.Y., James F. McConnell and Joseph M. McConnell of Tulsa, Okla., Miss E. Claire Groben, Miss Lois Groben and E.S. Groben of Buffalo, N.Y., Philip M. Groben of Auburn, N.Y., Mrs. R.C Jensen of Kansas City, Mo., Walter M. Crossen of Hays, Kansas, G.R. Crossen of Turner, Kansas.
News/Obit* 30 July 1938  (Google News,3355288)

St.Petersburg Times
July 30, 1938


Little Old Lady Blows Out
100 Candles at Party Held
On One-Hundredth Birthday

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY., July 29, --(AP)-- A twinkle-eyed little old lady who heard the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates fourscore years ago, blew out every flame of a 100-candle birthday cake today and beamed proudly.
"There!" she said. "I've done it!"
Just 80 pounds of spry energy, Mrs. Cecilia McConnell had achieved her long-held ambition of reaching the century mark.
A silver knife wielded by the youngest member of the clan McConnell, two and one-half-year-old Betsy McConnell, sliced the first piece of cake for 20 members of the immediate family gathered in a garden party celebration.
Waited Long Time For It
Five great-great grandchildren and four grandsons joined in the fete honoring the lively centenarian, who was up early, reading her morning newspaper as usual and then busily crocheting a fancy bedspread.
Scores of telegrams and cablegrams interrupted her morning routine. She read each one, chuckling gaily, and agreeing, "Well, maybe this is the proudest day in my life. I've waited a long time for it!"
She clapped her frail white hands in glee when 100 fire-cracker "bombs" were exploded by her great-great grandchildren in celebration of her feat of longevity.
Mrs. McConnell was born Cecilia Welch in Decatur, Ill., scene of a Lincoln-Douglas debate, and when still a small girl journeyed West in a covered wagon to Iowa, where her father staked out a farm on Government land.
Married in Missouri
She remembered seeing the great Mormon exodus in 1848 when a 150-wagon caravan passed the McConnell farm, how Joseph Smith's missionaries canvassed the prarie settlers trying to convert them to Mormonism, and how the little savages in the Indian mission where she taught kept eyeing her scalp.
She was married in Butler, Mo., later lived in Springfield, Ill., and Argentine Kas., "and bore five children without a doctor," she added vigorously.
The brisk-minded centenarian takes a keen interest in everything and everybody. She dislikes "swing" music and says so. "It's abusive," she commented. "Spoils people for real music."
She likes the radio and movies, likes to "get about." But she broke her hip about a year ago and finds it slow-mending. Before that, she "got about" dynamically -- crashing the gate at the Republican national convention in Kansas City in 1928.
"Wanted to see it," she said tartly. "Never too old to see things. That's life."
Death* 5 January 1939  Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester Co., NY4 

Last Edited 1 Feb 2010

  1. [S71] 1870 U.S. Federal Census , 1870 U.S. Federal Census.
  2. [S740] McConnell Family History, online
  3. [S246] 1900 U.S. Federal Census , 1900 U.S. Federal Census.
  4. [S334] Unknown compiler, "LDS International Genealogy Index", Ancestral File.
  5. [S744] Albert Nelson Marquis, New England, Who's Who in.
  6. [S829] Millie Apitz Family Info, Millie Apitz.
  7. [S100] 1880 U.S. Federal Census , 1880 U.S. Federal Census.
  8. [S73] 1910 U.S. Federal Census , 1910 U.S. Federal Census.
  9. [S247] 1920 U.S. Federal Census , 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
  10. [S248] 1930 U.S. Federal Census , 1930 U.S. Federal Census.

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