Local History and Genealogy

Friday, August 3, 2012


Among the men who took an active and prominent part in the early history of Steuben County, few are more worthy of mention than Dr. James McConnell.  He was born in Morefield, VA., September 17, 1810, and was the second in the family of James and Elizabeth McConnell.  He received his education at Lovingston, New Glasgow and New London, VA., under his father's watchful care, and soon after, entered the office of Dr. Lamb, of  Brownsville, Fayette Co., Penn, completing his medical studies with Dr. Porter, formerly Professor of Anatomy in Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.He began practice at Brownsville, Penn, and about 1833, moved to McConnellsville, Ohio and in May, 1835 came to Lima, La Grange County Ind. The territory of which Steuben County, Ind., now consists, was then a part of La Grange County, and it will thus be seen that he was identified with Steuben County from the very commencement of his career in Indiana.  He remained at Lima until November 1, 1836, when he moved to the "Vermont settlement," now Orland, where he continued the extensive practice he had enjoyed in Lima.  He was the first physician of Steuben County, and a man of fine education and undoubted ability. In April, 1837, he was elected Clerk and Recorder of Steuben County for the term of seven years, and located his office int he log cabin of Jacob Stayner, on Jackson Prairie, removing to Angola in the fall of 1837, where the county seat had been located and a frame office erected for his occupancy.

He was married in Angola, in January, 1841, to Mrs Julia Whitaker, sister of Judge Thomas Gale, one of the pioneers of Angola.

In 1843, Dr McConnell resigned his office and began practice as an attorney, but death cut short his labors, he dying October 9, 1844.  Most of the old settlers remember him as a man of integrity and true worth; energetic, obliging and capable; possessed of the finer attributes of manhood and endowed with a strong, logical brain.  Although first settling in Lima, he was from the beginning, intimately associated with the early, sturdy pioneers of "Old Steuben," of whom their descendants may well feel proud.  De James McConnell, though dead nearly forty years, is still spoken of in words of kindness and honor.

Atlas of Steuben County 1880