Biography of Rev. J. F. Connelly
Cambria County, PA Biographies

Rev. J. F. Connelly, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Nanty Glo, is a representative citizen of Cambria County. He was born in Johnstown, Jan. 13, 1889, and is a son of Patrick and Mary (Ryan) Connelly.

Patrick Connelly, deceased, was for many years a leading and well known merchant of Johnstown. He was born in Limerick, Ireland, March 13, 1848, the son of Patrick and Ellen (O'NeiI) Connelly. He was about two years of age when he came to the United States. with his father, who settled in New England before locating in Pennsylvania. For a few years the family resided at Brady's Bend, Pa., before coming to Johnstown. At an early age Patrick Connelly went into the Cambria mines as a driver of mules, receiving 75 cents a day for this hard labor. He later secured employment in the coke yards but left here in May, 1869, for Pittston, Pa., and there worked in the mines until 1878, when he removed to Johnstown and accepted a position on the repair gang in the Cambria Iron Company. Sometime later he acted as. assistant to George Habercorn in the setting up of machinery for that concern. In 1881 Mr. Connelly resigned that position and engaged in the grocery business on the old Connelly homestead. He was thus successfully engaged until June, 1907, when he retired. He died May 9, 1908, and his wife died Oct. 16, 1923. They are buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Yoder Township, Cambria County.

Patrick Connelly was very active in educational matters in Johnstown and for six years before the Johnstown flood served as school director from the Second Ward of Miliville Borough, and had been identified with the board of controllers since the City of Johnstown was incorporated. He served as the first president of the city board, being succeeded in February, 1893, by Fred Krebs. Mr. Connelly was chairman of the text books and supplies committee and was a leading member of the teachers and salaries committees, two of the most important committees pertaining to school work. He was one of the organizers of St. Columba's Catholic Church and served as a member of church committees for many years. He was a Democrat and served as chairman of the County Democratic Committee in 1884. He was a charter member of the Johnstown Council Knights of Columbus, which was organized in December, 1901. He served as warden and grand knight and was the chancellor at the time of his death.

On Sept. 19, 1882, Mr. Connelly married Miss Mary Ryan, the daughter of Patrick Ryan. They had ten children, as follows: William, died in infancy; Rev. J. F., the subject of this sketch; May, a teacher, lives in Johnstown; Eleanor, deceased; Reginca, a teacher, lives in Johnstown; John Paul, deceased; Josephine, married John Harrington, Jr., a druggist, lives in Los Angeles, Cal.; Rayfield and Catherine, teachers, live in Johnstown; and Adrian, a student in the College of Dentistry, University of Pittsburgh.

Rev. J. F. Connelly received his early education in the public schools of Johnstown and was graduated from Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Md., in 1906. He was ordained March 17, 1910, and was located at Altoona, Pa., until July 5, 1912, when he was appointed pastor of St. Mary's Church, Snow Shoe, Pa. He has served as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Nanty Glo since May 15, 1924.

Rev. Connelly is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Bellefonte, Pa.; Knights of St. George, Nanty Glo, and is chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania
By: John E. Gable
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis, 1926

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