Star – Clipper Supplement
John Connell was born in Paisley, Scotland, March 16, 1823, and came to the United States with his parents in 1832. He was the oldest of nine children, three whom died in infancy. He early applied himself to earn money to assist his father. He was brought up in the carpet manufacture in Norwich, Connecticut. Quite early he was possessed of an inclination to visit the West, obtain land and call no man master. In 1848, with an intimate companion, he went west prospecting and stopped in Milwaukee for a few weeks. Not being satisfied they returned. In 1852, accompanied by his brother Joseph, he came west again, visited an acquaintance in south-western Wisconsin and reached Wolf creek, Tama county, Iowa, as detailed elsewhere herein. In 1854 he was elected to the General Assembly of Iowa from the district then composed Jasper, Poweshiek, Benton and Tama counties, as a Whig. That party did not survive the defeat of General Scott in 1852, its successor being the Republican party, to which he attached himself. Previous to his election he opened a farm, purchased other lands and was interested in other undertakings. On his return form his duties as legislator he settled in Toledo, still retaining his property here. At Toledo with John Zehrung opened the first store, and in partnership with Mr. Zehrung and T. J. Staley erected a steam flouring mill there which was destroyed by fire. After this he devoted his time to the real estate business. He was married in September, 1856. On September 16, 1862, he was commissioned by Governor Kirkwood as Lieutenant Colonel of the 28th regiment, Iowa volunteers, and in March, 1863, on the resignation of Judge Miller, his colonel, he was promoted to the position. He followed the fortunes of the army down the Mississippi, ran the batteries, was at Port Gibson, Jackson and the Black River; with his brigade was in the “jaws of hell” at Champion Hills, and rested before Vicksburg; then still down the river through Louisiana up the Red River to Pleasant Hill and Sabine Cross Roads, where he was wounded and captured and confined at Mansfield, Louisiana. His left arm was amputated above the elbow by a New York surgeon who followed the prisoners. In the newspaper reports of the battle his name was entered among the killed and it was many weeks before his friends knew it was not the case. He was liberated in June, when he returned home and resigned his commission, which closed his military career.
In November, 1865, he was appointed assessor of internal revenue. At this time there were two offices in connection with the internal revenue of the government. One was the assessor and the other the collector. In May, 1873, the office of assessor was abolished, the duties being merged with those of collector and Col. Connell was appointed collector of internal revenue for the Fourth district of Iowa.
In 1876 the First and Fourth districts were
consolidated, and he was retained in charge o the consolidated
district, and headquarters were removed to Burlington October 2. He
retained the office until the summer of 1883, rounding out a public
service of twenty-one years.
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