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07/30/2021 12:13 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

George C Connell


Session Position District Party
1861 1 Republican
1863 1 Republican
1865 4 Republican
1867 4 Republican
1869 4 Republican
 Counties   Philadelphia


1815 - 1871

Abolitionist, champion of Fairmount Park and Mt. Moriah Cemetery, born October 4, 1815, Ryerson’s Station, Greene County, Pennsylvania; Senator Connell was the son of sea captain Joseph Richards and Hanna (Pennock) Connell, formerly of Marcus Hook, New Jersey.  George received a rural education, later attending school in Washington (Pa.) and Uniontown, before graduating from Madison College.  He pursued business in Pittsburgh in 1836; moved to Philadelphia in 1843; developed an extensive real estate business; read law in the office of Henry Wallace; and was a founder, with his brother Horatio P., Sr., of national landmark Mount Moriah Cemetery (1855).  Originally a Democrat, the senator was an avowed abolitionist and joined the Free Soil Party in 1844, campaigning for the Van Buren ticket, campaigned for the Buffalo Free Soil Convention nominees in 1848, and aligned with the Republican Party by 1856.  In 1852 and 1853, he travelled throughout the Southwest as a statesman representing European bondholders, charged with collecting debts from southern interests who refused to pay.  He was elected to the state Senate as a Lincoln Republican in 1860, serving twelve years.  Senator Connell wrote the 1861 “Stay Law,” providing debtor protection during the Civil War, served as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee for seven years, and played an active role in passage of the 1861 militia bill.  Stricken with paralysis early in his senate service, Connell was often unable to stand or speak, yet became one of the Commonwealth’s highly praised legislators.  He nevertheless, could muster enough energy to eloquently deliver periodic oratories; his last, two years before his death, at Concert Hall, Philadelphia.  He passed away at his home at Sixtieth and Darby on October 26, 1871, after election to his fourth consecutive term as senator. He was interred in Mount Moriah Cemetery.  The Senator was survived by his wife Elizabeth (Pennock) Connell and eleven children, including future Sheriff of Philadelphia County and member of the state House of Representatives, Horatio P. Connell.
“He lived long enough to see the flag he loved wave over not a single
slave – to see the Declaration mean all that its words implied”

Obit: Philadelphia Inquirer, October 27, 1871.