Thomas McConnell Sr.

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THOMAS McCONNELL, SR., grandfather of Oliver W. Gilpin, attorney, of Kittanning, died Monday, March 12, 1888. The following account of his life and work was written by his personal friend, Col. J. B. Findley.

On the 31st of January, 1813, Thomas McConnell, Sr., was born near Blairsville, Indiana Co., Pa., and he spent his earlier years on a farm. Early he had been sent to the native village school, where he acquired the elements of such an education as was then to be obtained, for the teacher�s knowledge was limited to but a few common principles. These he soon had pressed upon his susceptible mind, and their lessons he subsequently largely improved by the acquisition of a cultivated taste for conversation, reading, study and reflection. Few men were ever as happily endowed in conversation. Nature fitted him in appearance, grace, intelligence, manners, deportment, culture and congenial conversational powers for that which he was---the exemplar of a true Christian gentleman. He had a wide circle of friends and admirers. Few men ever passed through so long a life with so few opponents. If he ever had an enemy it was never known.

In his early life his business training was under his father. In later years he was engaged in several enterprises. He was one of the firm of Brown, McConnell & Patterson, a member of Brown, Phillips & Co., the senior member of McConnell & Reed, and of McConnell & Co., also a member of Campbell, McConnell & Son, and other firms whose styles and titles cannot at present be recalled. When the oil fever broke out at Parkers Landing, he became interested in many of its large business projects, and was largely concerned and successful therein.

From the organization of the Kittanning Bank, in 1857, until its successors, the First National Bank and Kittanning National Bank of Kittanning, were dissolved, he was one of the directors. In the council of the borough his influence as a member, interested in behalf of prudent administration, was exercised on many an occasion where wise counsel was needed.

His marriage with Miss Olive Robinson, daughter of Elisha Robinson, Esq., of Parkers Landing, was a source of domestic happiness, of which two daughters, Mrs. John Gilpin and Miss Elizabeth R., and three sons, Thomas, Elisha R. and William H. McConnell, now deceased, were the fruits.

When a young man he connected himself with the Methodist Episcopal Church of this place, but subsequently transferred his relations to the First Presbyterian Church of Kittanning, with whose Sabbath school, either as a teacher or a member of the Bible class, he was connected until about two years before his death, when declining age caused him most regretfully to withdraw. As a Bible student he was indefatigable in the investigation of the lesson. He never came unprepared. He had independent opinions of his own, which he never was either at a loss to express or afraid to disclose; while his uniform urbanity of manner and gentlemanly like deportment, as well as his well known courteous treatment of and deference to the opinions of others, gained for him an influence and a respect which will still continue to grow green in the memory of all his former associates and fellow members of the community to whom he was so well and so favorably known, and by whom so universally honored in every relation of his long and useful life.

Source: Page(s) PAGE 344
Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914

Transcribed  July 1998 by Pat Godeskyt  for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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