From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 680
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   J A McConnell is the proprietor of the Little River stock farm and is one of the most prominent representatives of stock raising interests in central Kansas.  He is engaged in the breeding of shorthorn cattle and has done much to improve the grade of cattle raised in this portion of the state, so that his efforts have been of wide-spread benefit, for through the improvement of the stock its market value has been increased and added prosperity has therefore come to the community.  Mr McConnell came to Rice county in 1881, and has since been numbered among its prominent, intelligent and prosperous citizens.

   Almost half the width of the continent separates him from his birthplace, for he was born in Juniata county, Pennsylvania, June 25, 1842, a son of William McConnell, whose birth occurred in the same county in 1804, and he represented one of the old and highly respected families of the community.  The McConnells, however, were of Scotch descent, the grandfather, Thomas McConnell, having been born in the land of hills and heather.  After arriving at years of maturity William McConnell married Catherine Morthland, who was born in York county, Pennsylvania, in 1812, and was a woman of many estimable qualities.  They became the parents of nine children, of whom seven are yet living, namely:  Ellen, James A, Mary, Nancy, William, Margaret and Marshal.  In the year of 1857 the family removed to Henry county, Illinois, locating near Woodhull.  They were early settlers of that locality, taking up their abode there when the country was wild and the work of progress and improvement seemed scarcely begun.  The father opened up a good farm of two hundred acres and vigorously prosecuted his agricultural pursuits until he had developed an excellent home and surrounded his family with all the necessities and many of the luxuries of life.  In his farming operations he was quite successful and as the years passed gained a handsome competence.  In politics he was a Democrat and in religious belief was a Presbyterian.  He died at the age of sixty-seven years, but his widow is still living and now resides in Henry county, Illinois, at the age of ninety years.  Her many excellent characteristics have won for her the love and friendship of all with whom she has been brought in contact.

   J A McConnell, whose name forms the caption of this review, spent the first fifteen years of his life upon the old family homestead in the Keystone state and then accompanied his parents on their removal to Henry county, Illinois.  Lessons of industry, economy and integrity were early instilled into his mind and his literary training was received in the public schools of his native state and of Illinois.  He is a man of excellent memory and has a good practical education.  Reading and observation have largely added to the knowledge acquired in school, and he is particularly well informed on general history and on all matters of interest at the present time.  He assisted in the work of the home farm until twenty-two years of age, when he started out in life on his own account, and in the usual manner of most young men entering on a business career he sought a companion and helpmate on the journey of life, being married in 1864, to Miss Margaret Stitt, who was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and spent her girlhood days in that state and in Illinois, her parents, William and Margaret Stitt, both passing away in Henry county.

   Mr and Mrs McConnell began their domestic life in Illinois, and unto them six children were born, namely:  Frank, a stock dealer of Little River, Kansas; Mrs Lotta A Duvall, whose husband is the editor of the Inman Review, of Kansas; Russell M, a successful attorney in Oklahoma; Minnie, wife of George Annabel, editor of the Central Democrat, a weekly paper issued at Lyons, Rice county, Kansas; David, editor of the Rice County Eagle, published in Lyons; Lillie Dale, who died aged one year; and William, who is living in McPherson county, Kansas.  The mother of this family was called to her final rest in 1873.  She was a devoted wife and mother and a kind neighbor and enjoyed the unqualified regard of all with whom she came in contact.  In 1876 Mr McConnell was again married, his second union being with Mary Connor, a daughter of R F and Jane (Roach) Connor, both of whom died in Clarinda, Page county, Iowa.  Their daughter, Mary, was born near Savannah, Missouri, but when only one year old she was taken by her parents to Clarinda, Iowa, where she received her education in the high school of that city.  After graduating therein she taught in the same school for about eight years, after which she accepted a position in Amity College, a Presbyterian institution at College Springs, Page county.  The marriage of Mr and Mrs McConnell was celebrated in Clarinda, Iowa.

   From the time of his first marriage until 1881, Mr McConnell resided in Illinois and was identified with the agricultural interests of that state.  He then came to Kansas, taking up his abode in Rice county, where he has since made his home.  The period has been one of success to him, for in his farming operations he has prospered and is now the owner of five hundred and sixty acres of valuable land, on which is a good residence, barns and other improvements.  He is one of the most prominent and successful stock dealers and breeders in this portion of the state and keeps on hand two hundred head of cattle, together with a large number of horses and hogs.  For a number of years he has been prominently known as a breeder of shorthorn cattle, and his herd is a very fine one, including some very fine high grade animals.   His business ability is indicated in his diligence, his prominence and trustworthiness, qualities which have won him continued advancement and which insure him success.  In his political views he is a Democrat and religiously is connected with the Presbyterian church.  His life has been an active, busy and useful one, and Rice county numbers him among its most valued and worthy citizens.