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Re: John Connelly 1744-1798 m. Sarah Wilson
Posted by: Gary Conley Date: June 16, 1999 at 17:22:50
In Reply to: John Connelly 1744-1798 m. Sarah Wilson by connie conley crosby of 3084

I have been researching Dr. John Connolly, Jr.'s history with the objective of writing his biography for some four years now. John Connolly, Jr. was born at Wright's Ferry, York County, Pennsylvania in 1743 or 1744. His mother was Susannah Howard who was married three times: first to James Patterson, second to Thomas Ewing, and third to John Connolly, Sr., a retired surgeon in the British Army.

John Connally Sr., died in 1747, and Susannah died in 1755. Susannah named James Wright of Columbia, Penmnsylvania, guardian of John Connolly, Jr. in her will. John Connolley, Jr., was apprenticed to Dr. Cadwaller Evans of Philadelphia to stdy "physic". At some point in his studies he prevailed on his guardian to buy out the unexpired term of his apprenticehip so he could pursue a carreer as a soldier. He served in Martinque, and later with Boquet in Pontiac's rebellion. After this war, he became a trader in the Illinois Company and married Susan
Sample (often spelled "Semple"), sister of Samuel Sample an inn-keeper in Pittsburg (by some accounts Samuel Sample was her father, however, letters during this period refer to Samuel Sample 's wife as John Connolly's sister-in-law, so her background is unclear).
John Connolly failed as a trader, moved back to Pittsburg and developed properties there. He may have continued in British service, perhaps as an employee of British Indian Agent George Croghan, for he traveled extensively through the Ohio & Illinois regions often accompaning British military officers in what appear to have been reconissance missions of some kind. George Washington wrote that Croghan was Connolly's uncle, but this remains unproved. In 1773, Connolly was appointed Commandant of the Pittsburgh Militia by Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore, although Pittsburgh was at the time being governed by Pennsylvania. There ensued a prolonged border dispute between the Virginia and Pennsylvania Colonies, interrupted by an Indian War (i.e., Lord Dunmore's War) which was instigated by Connolly and Dunmore. The Revolutionary War broke out shortly thereafter and Connolly conspired with Dunmore and General Gates to originate and Indian uprising against the Patriots and attack Pittsburgh with British regulars stationed at Detroit and the Illinois country. Connally was captured in Fredericksburg, Maryland,in November, 1775, while in route to Detroit. He was kept in prison in Baltimore and Philadelphia until October, 1780.

Sometime during this imprisonment he ended his relationship with Susan Sample. A will, filed in Philadelphia, January 3, 1800, indicates that he probally married Sarah Francis (maiden name Sarah Mifflin) while imprisoned.

Upon release he violated parole, eventually entered service with Cornwallis in Virginia and was recaptured in the vicinity of Yorktown in the summer of 1781. He was imprisoned again, but released in March, 1782, whereupon he went to London.

In London, he published a biography, presumedly to support his claims against the British government for property lost as a result of his service to the Crown. Included in this was a claim for 2000 acres at the present site of downtown Louisville. The Crown paid him a fraction of what he requested.

He returned to the New World, settling in Detroit, where he continued intermittant espionage work in behalf of the British. Later he moved to Montreal. Here he married for a third time. He died January 30, 1813, in Montreal.

With John Connolly almost anything is possible so perhaps there is a wife I have not identified so I do not dispute the relationship you suggest with Sarah Wilson. The John Connely you identified as having died in Wilkes County is not, however, Dr. John Connolly. More likely, he is a reelative (maybe Brother or cousin)of the famous Captain Henry Connelly who lived in Wilkes County at that time. Since Captain Henry is a relative of mine, I would deeply appreciate any addtitional information you may have about your John Connelly.


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