Anyone growing up in Woodstock has a certain familiarity with the Connell family. The municipal park bears the name as does a street. Also, one of Woodstock's many large colonial houses has been made a national historic site : the Connell House on Connell Street.
Carleton Sentinel 19 July 1873.
"Died at his residence 28th June, Hon.
Charles Connell, MP. "
The subject of the above obituary was born in Northampton, Carleton County, N. B., in the year 1810. His father, Charles Connell, emigrated from Connecticut to New Brunswick, and was one of the first settlers on the Upper River St. John. He was of the number of those united empire loyalists, who, during the ten or fifteen years succeeding the close of the revolutionary war, left the United States and sought new homes on lands which still acknowledged allegiance to the British Crown.
Having such an ancestry, it was not strange that the subject of this sketch should have been through life a most loyal adherent of that government under the protection of which his father sacrificed so much to live.
When comparatively a young man he entered political life, in which he continued to act in various capacities with eminence and honor, till the time of his death. He occupied many of the high and official positions in the gift of his native province.
In 1846 Mr. Connell was elected to the vacancy in the House of Assembly occasioned by the death of his brother J. M. Connell, Esq., and remained a member of that body until 1849 when he accepted a seat in the Legislative Council of the Province from 1849 to 1861, but two years thereafter, on a vacancy occurring in the lower branch, he resigned his place in the Council and became again a member of the Assembly, for which position he was a successful candidate, with one exception, after which he remained out of politics for a short period, down to 1867, when he was returned without opposition to the first Dominion Parliament, and that in the last general election in 1872 he was returned by acclamation. In politics, he was a liberal, and one of the foremost in giving to the county a responsible government. It was largely owing to his influence that the government of King's College was so changed as to make it an University for the people, extending equal privileges to all. He was a prime mover in introducing the form of government known as municipal, and rendered efficient aid in working it out in his own County. Like most statesmen of these Provinces, he dreamed of their union some day, and gave to the project his able advocacy. With him originated the scheme for building the Riviere du Loup Railway; he was also a director of the Quebec and N. B. R. R.
In 1859 Mr. Connell was Postmaster General, which office he held for one year, surrendering it on account of that difference with the Government of which he was a member over the Postage Stamp question--"The Connell Stamp". To his administration we are indebted for the stopping of the Sabbath mail, which has been productive of good results. In 1866-67 he was Surveyor General of the Province, and for many years member of the Board of Works. In both these offices he was a most diligent worker and showed himself possessed of no inconsiderable administrative ability, and in both the departments he inaugurated substantial reforms, making them, especially the Post Office, more largely conserve the public convenience and welfare, while in the Crown Land Office his efforts were earnestly directed to the work of providing and preserving lands for new settlers, in the prosperity of which class of our people he always professed a lively interest.
We should not close this notice without remarking that its subject was a firm believer in, and ardent worker for the initiation of, Confederation, and, as will be remembered, in a speech delivered at Florenceville during the agitation previous to our Confederation election, he adduced very conclusive and comprehensive arguments to show its importance and claims upon our acceptance, and probably largely influenced the popular mind in this county in its favor.
Mr. Connell has for so great a period occupied a prominent position as a representative of this County, that some special notice in connection with the record of his death is called for; and still the very fact that claims the notice relieves us of the necessity of making more than a brief résumé of his public life.
Carleton Sentinel 5 July 1873.
On Wednesday forenoon the mortal remains of Hon. Mr. Connell were conveyed to their last resting place, in the Grave Yard here, followed by a very large number of people representing all classes and sections of the County. The flags from the town staff and at the Orange Hall were lowered to half-mast, many of the stores along the line of the funeral march were closed, and on every hand might be seen evidences of respect being paid to the memory of the departed.
References: Carleton Sentinel 5 July, 19 July and 2 August 1873
His gravestone in the old Methodist Cemetery, off Broadway, in Woodstock bears the inscription:
Hon. Charles, M.P., for ten years a member of the executive and legislative councils of New Brunswick and for twenty five years a representative of Carleton County in the Provincial and Dominion Parliaments died 28 June 1878 age 63 yrs
The Connell family plot is quite close to the Shea plot, the original Connell was brought to this area by his mother, Lydia, and her second husband, William Elihu Shea.
George Heber Connell, M.P., Representative of the County of Carleton in the Dominion Parliament at Ottawa died 18 February 1881 44 yrs.
C. P. Connell, MD 1838 - 1892 Eliza S. 1828 - 1906
Anne Fisher, wife of Hon. Charles Connell 23 Oct. 1809 - 5 Oct. 1895
Eloise Ida dau. of George H. Connell & wife of Dr. Fred S. Kinsman 1860 - 1957
Connell, George H. Grandparents re-moved to this locality from the U.S.at the times of the American Rev. Son of the late Hon. Charles Connell, representative of this county from the time of Confederation up to the time of his death. B. at Woodstock in the County of Carleton. Ed. at the St John Grammer school. M. in 1857 at Digby, NS. to Isabel dau. of John Barnaby, Esq. Digby NS. First return to parliament in the last General election. Independent in regards to parties but favouring a moderate protection.
Source: The Canadian parliamentary companion and annual register, 1879 (Ottawa : Citizen Print. and Pub. Co., 1879.)