John Robert Connelly, editor and publisher, member of Congress from the Sixth Kansas district, was born at Mt. Sterling, Ill., February 27, 1870, a son of Arthur and Sarah J. (Manar) Connelly. His father was born near Greencastle, Ind., September 16, 1834, and his mother in Kentucky, March 4, 1844. Arthur Connelly farmed in Illinois from 1861 to 1883, when he went to Nebraska, remaining until 1887, and then came to Kansas, taking a homestead in Thomas county, near Colby. He died there January 2, 1912, and his wife died November 2, 1899. He was a Democrat, a member of the Methodist church, and of the Butler, Mo., Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. They had five children, all living at present: Dora A., wife of Thomas J. Upchurch, a farmer, of Meriden, Kan.; William E., a veterinary surgeon, of Medical Lake, Wash.; Laura B., wife of John Carden, a farmer, of Meriden, Kan.; John R., our subject, and James A., an employe of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad at Gem, Kan.
John R. Connelly was educated in the public schools of Nebraska and graduated from the Salina Normal University at Salina in 1894. In the fall of that year he was elected superintendent of schools of Thomas county, and was reëlected in 1896. Upon retiring from this office January 1, 1899, he bought the Colby "Free Press," which paper he has published and edited ever since. He has a good, modern brick building, first class equipment, a paying business, a subscription list of 1,200. The paper is Democratic. In 1908 he was a candidate for Congress from the Sixth district, but was defeated by Mr. Reeder, the Republican candidate. Again, in 1912, he was a candidate and defeated I. D. Young. He has been a delegate to numerous State and congressional conventions of his party, is a member of Colby Lodge, No. 306, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and of Colby Lodge, No. 29, Knights of Pythias, having gone through all the chairs of the latter, and is a member of the Christian church. While he was superintendent of public instruction Mr. Connelly secured the establishment of the Colby High School, which was the first one in the Sixth district. For the past twelve years he has been a member of the Colby board of education.
On June 17, 1896, Mr. Connelly married Miss Lilian Souders, daughter of Richard Souders, a farmer of Colby. She is a member of the Christian church, active and prominent in the social life of Thomas county. Mr. and Mrs. Connelly are the parents of six children: John Vernon, born April 18, 1897; Arthur Richard, born September 17, 1898; James Lloyd, born December 29, 1900; Inez Catherine, born January 25, 1904; Dorotha May, born February 23, 1907, and Annie Laurie, born April 15, 1912.Pages 108-109 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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