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Connell Family History & Tree
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Contributed and copyright by Marie Riley

The Connell Family of County Cork

Cork is in the province of Munster and is the largest county in Ireland.  It is bounded on the north by Limerick, on the east by Tipperary and Waterford, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Kerry.  The name of the county is derived from that of the city, being a shortened form of the Gaelic word Corcagh that signifies a marsh. The chief rivers are the Blackwater and the Lee, the Bandon and their tributaries.

Denis Connell was born in the latter part of 1700, probably about 1786.  In 1835 he was a labourer, the father of 5 children and living, with his wife, Julia Welton or Walton, in the townland of Mylane which covered an area of 598 acres.    Ballinhassig was a nearby town. This is still a small farming community, not far from Blarney and about 10 km west of the city of Cork, It was in the Barony of East Muckerry, parish of St Finbarr and in the Poor Law Union of 1857 was covered by Bandon.

In 1836 Denis was arrested and charged with 'tendering an oath'. He had no former convictions but he was found guilty and sentenced to transportation for life.

The parish priest of Ballinhassig John Halanan wrote the following memorial for him:

"Henry Earl Mulgrave Lord Lieutenant General of Ireland

The memorial of Denis Connell late of Mylane in the County of Cork, labourer, now a prisoner confined in the gaol of the County of Cork.

Humbily Sheweth,

That memorialist was tried and convicted before the Hon'ble Baron Foster at the late Afsizes for the County of Cork, for an assault on a person named John Herlihy and with having administered or attempted to administer to him an unlawful oath in order to prevent Herlihy from attending and giving evidence on the trial of a Replevin before the Sheriff of the County of Cork, and sentenced to be transported for life.

That memorialist is now aged over fifty years and has a wife and five children all young who are entirely dependant on his exertions for their support.

That memorialist was not at all present at the commisfion or perpetrating of the above offence and begs most respectfully to draw Your Excellency's attention to the certificate of innocence hereto annexed.

That memorialist humbly hopes Your Excellency will be pleased to discharge him entirely from said sentence of Transportation, or to mitigate same to any period of Imprisonment Your Excellency shall think fit, and memorialist will ever pray.

I hereby certify that as Parish Priest of Ballinhassig in the Diocese of Cork, adjoining which the offence in the annexed memorial mentioned took place, I made enquiries (as always was my practice even during the period of the Insurrection act, at which time I succeeded in getting in all the Fire Arms of the district and delivered same to the authorities) both publicly from the altar and privately, in order to
discover the perpetrators of that offence and prevent the occurrence of such acts for the future, and in my aforesaid capacity discovered the perpetrators, and that the memorialist was not at all concerned or connected therein, but on the contrary that he refused to join in its commifsion.  I after the trial of the Memorialist mentioned the circumstances to Mr Justice Perrin ( Baron Foster having left town) who directed me to make known the circumstances to his Excellency.

Dated this third day of August 1836.

John  Halaman

This apparently was to no avail as on August 5, 1836 he was detained on board a hulk in Cork Harbour and on September 13 he left Cork on board the 410 ton 'St Vincent' bound for Port Jackson, Sydney Cove.  The London built ship was under the command of Captain James Muddle and carried 190 prisoners with Andrew Henderson as surgeon. The guard consisted of Lieutenant Stewart, 3rd Regiment, Lieutenant Scully, 80th Regiment; 30 rank and file of the 28th and 80th Regiments; 6 women and 7 children; also 10 free boys. The voyage took 114 days and the ship arrived at Sydney Cove January 6, 1837.

Denis was described as follows:
'5'5" tall, ruddy complexion, hazel eyes, Roman nose.  Lost use of right side from paralytic affliction. '

In Sydney Dennis was assigned to Thomas Saunders at Parramatta and he was listed in the 1837 convict muster.  Thomas Saunders owned farmland in the Parramatta area so it is assumed that Dennis worked as a labourer on his property.

There seems to be no mention of any application for a ticket of leave or pardon or any other information about Dennis's life in Parramatta but on December 31, 1853 his name appeared as a depositor for a Dennis Connell.  He paid a total of 15, 4 for the passage cost and 11 for the emigrant's benefit before embarkation.   Dennis aged 18, from Mylane in Cork, arrived in Sydney on the Stamboul on October 21, 1854, as an assisted immigrant.  From these records it appears that Dennis was born the same year his father was sentenced to transportation to Australia.

On June 15, 1857 young Dennis married a widow, Anne Gleeson, in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.  Dennis' place of residence was given as Parramatta and Anne's as Riley Street, Woolloomooloo.  His father's occupation was listed as a farmer and Anne's father Edward Vaughan, as a boot maker.  The witnesses were Anne's brother in law, Edward Norris and her sister, Harriet Lynch.  Both Dennis and Anne signed with their marks (X).  Dennis was 21 and Anne about 31.

Anne had arrived in the colony with her 71-year-old father Edward and first husband Thomas Gleeson; on December 2, 1852, on board the Prince Alfred.  It had sailed from London on September 8, 1852 with 260 passengers and came via Plymouth and Melbourne.  Anne's brothers Patrick and Edward and sisters Bridget, Mary and Harriet were already in the colony. Bridget and Harriet having arrived in Melbourne on February 20, 1842 on the Himalaya, to work as domestic servants.  The family came from Broadford in County Clare. Edward had married Honorah Daley in County Mayo and it seems likely that she died before he came to Australia with Anne to join the rest of his children.  Edward was a boot maker and Thomas a stonemason.  The family lived in Riley Street, Woolloomooloo and on September 5, 1854 Anne gave birth to a daughter Maryanne.  On April 19, 1856 her father died and a month later her husband succumbed to tuberculosis.

Anne and Dennis's first child, John was born in Sydney in 1858 and baptised at St Mary's Cathedral. A year later, in 1859 Edward was born in Sydney also.  Some time after that the family moved to Gladstone on the mid north coast of New South Wales to farm and in 1863 Patrick, was born at Smithtown, Austral Eden, on the Macleay River.  The next child, Harriet was born at Fernmount on the Bellinger River.

The Bellinger River had been well advertised by the cedar getters who worked there in the 1840s and 1850s. Edward Myles, a stockman from Kempsey is reputed to be the first European to enter the Bellinger River district early in 1841 where he found a great wealth of cedar.  In 1842 the Northumberland was the first sailing ship to cross the bar at Bellinger Heads (later named Urunga.)  Soon logs were being floated down the river and loaded onto ships for transport to Sydney. The cedar getters reported that there was a rich, fertile valley that had great potential as farming land.  When the Free Selection Act was passed in 1861 there was an influx of land seekers and Surveyor Harborn came to the district and surveyed blocks on the Bellinger for a number of people including Dennis Connell and Francis McCristal whose daughter Margaret was later to marry Dennis's son Patrick.  Most of the settlers came from the Macleay River where recurring flooding had made farming difficult.  They made the journey mainly on foot, travelling along the beach and there is a story that they crossed the
Nambucca River in a hewn out cedar log that had to be polled along and could only carry two people at one time.    They settled in the Fernmount area, between the present Raleigh and Bellingen.
There were no roads, only rough bush tracks and the whole of the countryside was heavily bushed.  Cedar getting was still the main occupation with sugar cane and maize being grown and shipped to
Sydney. Getting the maize, 10 bags at a time, by rowing boat to Bellinger Heads, for shipment to Sydney was an arduous job. Fernmount became a well-established business centre.  As the settlement
progressed  paddle wheeled droghers with a shallow draft were used to transport timber and supplies along the river. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald, December 1, 1871 gave the district population
as approximately 500, while the main products were corn, sugar, timber, arrowroot, cedar, potatoes and cattle.

It seems that Dennis senior did not accompany the family when they travelled north.  On July 10.1861 a Dennis Connell was admitted to Liverpool Asylum, discharged September 4 and readmitted October 4.  In a list of patients, March 3, 1862 his name also appears.  The records are blurred but the admittance details were: age 62, arrived on the 'St Vincent', labourer, Roman Catholic

From this information it seems most likely that this was Dennis's father.  He was slightly paralysed when he came to Australia in 1837 and when his son moved to the north coast he would have been in his late sixties so he may not have been physically capable of accompanying the family.  Dennis died in Liverpool Asylum on January 3 1868 and was buried in Liverpool Cemetery.  His age was given as 78 on
his death certificate but there is no other details other than he was Roman catholic and died from jaundice.

Meanwhile Dennis and Anne had another son Dennis, born in 1869 , not far from Fernmount in the area now known as Connell's Creek.  They now had six children, including Anne's daughter Mary Anne, from her first marriage.  There are records of land purchases in 1863 to Dennis and in 1883 to Anne in the county of Raleigh, parish of South Bellingen.  In 1871 there was a mention of land grants of 171 acres to them also.

Anne died on May 26, 1911, aged 85. The cause of her death was listed as senile decay and cardiac failure. In her obituary published in the Raleigh Sun, June 1, 1911 it was noted that she was the first to be buried in the Catholic section of Fernmount Cemetery.   Dennis died on April 20, 1917, aged 81.

In  1901 their son Patrick applied for a conditional land purchase at Fernmount .  He had married Margaret McCristal daughter of Edward McCristal and Elizabeth Cook on November 3, 1897. Their first child was Ernest Edward was born on February 6, 1900.   His brother Francis Leonard was born on July 27, 1901, followed by Mary Eileen, July 29, 1903,  Winifred, September 20, 1905, Lorna Magdalene, October 18,1907, and Annie Rita, August 3, 1911  . The children attended Fernmount Public School where their father and his brothers had attended an 'evening school' in the 1880s. In a petition presented to the minister for Public Instruction, the parents, one of who was Dennis Connell, requested:

"There are a number of young men and women around the township of Fernmount above the age required for attendance at day schools and whose daily vocations prevent their attendance at day schools, who we believe will be glad to obtain a little more school instruction if an evening school was established in Fernmount" 15 parents signed the petition for 16 boys and 2 girls.

If you can contribute information about the Connell family, please email: Marie Riley or Kevin Connell

Family Tree

Descendants of Dennis CONNELL

 1   Dennis CONNELL Abt. 1836 - 1917 b: Abt. 1836 in Mylane, County Cork, Ireland. Parish of St Finbar 
......d: 20 April 1917 in Bellingen, NSW (1917 5970)
.  +Anne VAUGHAN Abt. 1826 - 1911 b: Abt. 1826 in Broadford, County Clare, Ireland 
......d: 26 May 1911 in Fernmount, Bellinger River, NSW (1911 4799) m: 15 June 1857 in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney (1857 487)
........ 2   John CONNELL 1858 - 1936 b: 1858 in Sydney (LA V1858 3188 142B) d: 31 May 1936 in Urunga, NSW
............  +Martha Deborah BOX  b: in Tasmania  m: 1888 in 1888/5738
................... 3   Harriet Ann CONNELL 1889 - b: 26 August 1889 in Boat Harbour, NSW (1889 25563) d: in Fernmount, NSW
.......................  +Arthur CORDWELL    m: 1911 in Bellingen (1911 12317)
................... 3   Agnes Emma CONNELL 1890 - b: 15 September 1890
................... 3   Arthur Dennis CONNELL 1891 - b: 22 September 1891
................... 3   Lionel Francis CONNELL 1892 - b: 31 October 1892
................... 3   Lauretta Maud CONNELL 1894 - 1894 b: 31 March 1894 d: 26 November 1894
................... 3   Harold Edwin CONNELL 1895 - b: 15 October 1895
................... 3   Rupert Patrick CONNELL 1897 - b: 16 July 1897
................... 3   Dorothy May CONNELL 1899 - b: 2 February 1899
................... 3   Norah Jean CONNELL 1905 - b: October 1905
................... 3   Walter Daniel CONNELL 1911 - b: 1911 in Fernmount, NSW
........ 2   Edward CONNELL 1859 - 1939 b: 1859 in Sydney d: 15 October 1939 in Bellingen, NSW
........ 2   Patrick CONNELL 1863 - 1942 b: 19 April 1863 in Smithtown, Austral Eden, NSW (1863/8968) d: 21 April 1942 in
..............Bellingen, NSW (1942/7674)
............  +Margaret Jane McCRISTAL 1870 - 1952 b: 1 January 1870 in Bellingen, NSW, 1870/11762 
.................d: 27 July 1952 in Fernmount, NSW m: 3 November 1897 in St Mary's Church, Bellingen, NSW (1897/7289)
................... 3   Ernest Edward CONNELL 1900 - 1967 b: 6 February 1900 in Fernmount, Bellinger River, NSW (1900/10712) 
.........................d: 29 June 1967 in Bellingen, NSW
.......................  +Catherine Agnes DAVIS 1900 - 1982 b: 15 June 1900 in Urunga, NSW d: 27 August 1982 in Macksville, NSW m: 28 January
.........................1929 in St  Mary's, Bellingen, NSW
................... 3   Francis Leonard CONNELL 1901 - 1970 b: 27 July
..........................1901 in Bellingen, NSW d: 19 July 1970 in Bellingen, NSW
................... 3   Mary Eileen CONNELL 1903 - 1995 b: 29 July
.........................1903 in Bellingen, NSW d: 2 February 1995 in Macksville, NSW
................... 3   Winifred CONNELL 1905 - 1987 b: 20 September
..........................1905 in Bellingen, NSW d: 23 August 1987 in Macksville, NSW
.......................  +John HUTCHINSON   d: in Brisbane m: 1941
................... 3   Lorna Magdalene CONNELL 1907 - 1977 b: 18 October 1907 in Fernmount, NSW d: 5 January 1977 in Kogarah, NSW
.......................  +William BREADEN 1915 - b: 12 October 1915 m: 6 October 1941 in Sydney, NSW
................... 3   Anne Rita CONNELL 1911 - 1995 b: 3 August 1911 in Fernmount, NSW d: 31 October 1995 in Wagga Wagga, NSW
.......................  +James DOYLE 1915 - b: 1915  m: 16 December 1942 in St Michael's, Wagga Wagga, NSW
........ 2   Harriet CONNELL 1865 - 1930 b: 1865 in Fernmount, Bellinger River, NSW d: 19 April 1930 in Fernmount
........ 2   Dennis CONNELL 1869 - b: 1869 in Fernmount, NSW 1869/12807
............  +Ivy GARLAND 1898 - b: 1898
................... 3   Dennis CONNELL
................... 3   Margaret Rose CONNELL
................... 3   John CONNELL
........  *1st Wife of Dennis CONNELL:
............  +Catherine O'CONNOR 1867 - 1969 b: 1867 in Bellingen d: 1969 in Urunga, NSW m: 1899 in Bellingen 1899 674

If you can contribute information about the Connell family, please email: Marie Riley or Kevin Connell


Extract from the Raleigh Sun, June 1st, 1911

Another Old Pioneer Gone.  Ann CONNELL (1826 - 26.05.1911)

In this issue it is our sad duty to record the death of one of the oldest pioneers of the district and one of its most highly respected residents.  We refer to Mrs Ann Connell, wife of Mr Denis Connell of Fernmount, who passed away on Friday morning, 26th May, her last moments being full of peace and resignation.  The deceased had attained the ripe old age of 85 years, but for some time she had been
in indifferent health, and her death was not unexpected.  During her illness she was constantly watched over and nursed by her daughter, Miss Harriet Connell, who was most devoted in her care and unremitting in her attention to the needs of her beloved mother.  The other members of the family residing in the district also paid frequent visits to their mother, whilst during the past month the eldest daughter, Mrs. P. McLeneghan, from Sydney, was constantly at her bedside.  The Rev. Father Durney was a regular visitor to the house during her last illness, and administered to her the last rites of the Church a few days prior to her death, and on the morning of the funeral celebrated Mass in the house, at which Mr Connell snr. and all members of the family were present.

The late Mrs. Connell was a woman of sterling character, an exemplary wife and a good Christian mother; one who was ever ready to assist those in trouble or difficulty, charitable and self-sacrificing, and she will be long-remembered for her many kindly actions. She was born at Broadford, County Clare, Ireland in 1826, and was first married to the late Thomas Gleeson in 1854, and in the same year sailed with her
husband for Australia in the ship Prince Alfred, making Sydney their destination.  After residing there about two years her husband died, leaving her with one child who afterwards became the wife of Mr. P.
McLenaghan.  In 1857 she married Mr. Dennis Connell in old St. Mary's Sydney, and soon after came to live on the Macleay River, where Mr. Connell engaged in farming operations for a number of years.   Meeting with great reverses of from floods and suffering great hardships like many others of the old pioneers, Mr. Connell sold out, and they came to settle on the Bellinger River in 1865, where deceased resident resided until death claimed her.  In the early days here also misfortunes through floods were experienced, besides meeting difficulties which faced all the hardy old pioneers of a district so remote from civilisation.

However, they lived to reap the reward of their labours, and acquired sufficient wealth to give their children a good start in life, besides having sufficient to enable themselves to live in comfort and independence during their declining years.  Mrs. Connell leaves a husband and family of four sons and two daughters, viz.: Mrs P. McLenaghan (Sydney), John, Edward, Patrick, Harriet, and Denis (Bellinger River), Also 17 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

The funeral took place on Saturday afternoon, and the very large concourse of people, who followed the remains to the Fernmount cemetery, was a testimony of the respect and esteem in which the deceased and her family were held.  The Rev. Father Durney officiated at the graveside, and the internment was the first made in the Catholic portion of the cemetery.

If you can contribute information about the Connell family, please email: Marie Riley or Kevin Connell

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