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05/10/2021 05:21 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

John Connelly


Session Position District Party
1809-1810 N/A Federalist
 Counties   Philadelphia


1755 - 1827

Born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1755, John Connelly succeeded John Dorsey of Philadelphia who resigned during recess, on December 5, 1809.  Senator Connelly served with distinction throughout the Revolutionary War; was commissioned Captain of the 8th Company, Pennsylvania Artillery, 1780; remaining so until 1795, with the same company; was again commissioned Major of the Artillery Battalion, 1800, re-commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel, and later as Colonel through 1808.  Senator Connelly was a philanthropist, providing service to the sick during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793.   From 1794 to 1799, he was appointed Prison Inspector and contributed significant time and financial aid to prison reform.  He was elected to the state Senate in October, 1809.  During legislative service, he fought for the abolition of capital punishment; for the removal of the state Capitol to Harrisburg; the extension of the charter of the "Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of the United Episcopal Churches of Christ Church and St. Peter's Church in the city of Philadelphia," to include the recently completed St. James' Church.  In 1812, he was elected and served as a member of the state House of Representatives; was a member of the Philadelphia Committee of Public Defense in 1813, in the war against Great Britain; and in 1814, served as a member of the War Committee of Correspondence.  In 1818, he became a member of the Committee of Correspondence to aid in preventing the extension of slavery into new States. In 1824, he was a candidate for Presidential Elector, casting support for William H. Crawford. Governor Snyder appointed and commissioned him the lucrative position of auctioneer for Philadelphia, a position he held for many years.  The Senator was also an inventor, and in 1823 he influenced the formation of the first railroad corporation in Pennsylvania – the Philadelphia and Columbia, a predecessor to the Pennsylvania Railroad.   There were nine incorporators: John Connelly (president), Michael Baker, Horace Binney, Stephen Girard and Samuel Humphreys, of Philadelphia; Emmor Bradley, of Chester County; Amos Ellmaker, of Lancaster City; and John Barbour and William Wright, of the borough of Columbia.  He married Ann Little in Burlington, New Jersey in 1780, the couple rearing two children.  The Hon. Col. John Connelly died at his residence, 208 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, on February 3, 1827; he was interred in the First Presbyterian Church on Pine Street, west of Fourth.