John Connelly

JOHN CONNELLY, Veteran Plasterer

Submitted by Martha J. Kounse

SOURCE: Ironton Register, February 2, 1905

John Connelly, the veteran plasterer, who has been a resident of Hanging Rock for more than half a century, in conversation with a Register reporter, gave some interesting reminiscences of the early days of Ironton.

Mr. Connelly served an apprenticeship of three years in London, and came to New York in 1848. From there he went to New Orleans and hearing of the proposed town of Ironton, and the great mineral wealth of the Hanging Rock iron region, took passage on the old “United States” and landed at the Ironton wharf, December 23, 1849. He ate his first meal at the old Buckeye House that stands back of E. F. Moore’s cigar store, across from D. C. Davis’ dry goods store. It was the only boarding house in that place and all the men employed in and about the new town site boarded there. David Cochran, the painter, was proprietor of the boarding house. The Ironton Hotel had just begun and work was suspended on account of the cold weather.

The town was in name only as it was simply a corn field. Since that time, Mr. Connelly has watched the town rise out of the corn field and become a thriving city with furnaces, mills and factories and with a population of 15,000 souls. He is the only living representative of the class of men who helped lay the foundations of the city on the Ohio.

Being an expert workman, Mr. Connelly did practically all the work in this line for the leading men of the town. He plastered the residence of John and Hiram Campbell and the early churches of the city. Mr. Connelly said that while working on the house now occupied by Dr. Dunn in 1865, Mr. Wilson came by and he ordered the Register and has never missed a copy since.

On July 18, 1852, Mr. Connelly married Miss Mary Brooks, within one hundred yards of where he now lives. They have had almost 53 years of happy wedded life. He will be 83 years of age on May 10, but is active and vigorous both in mind and body. He is a ardent temperance advocate and his life has been a most honorable and upright one. He has accumulated some property and is spending the sunset of his life in comfort.