Zachariah Connell, the founder of Connellsville, was one of the earliest settlers in the region. Born in 1741 near Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, he settled in present day Fayette County sometime after 1770. This area was known as the District of West Augusta and was claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania. Zachariah Connell served as a gentleman justice for Youghiogania County, District of West Augusta, as well as a justice of the peace. During the Revolution he was a captain of militia and a Ranger of the Frontier in William Perry's company, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Rangers of the Frontier, 1778-1783.
As a surveyor and land agent for Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, Howard of Maryland, and the Chew family of Philadelphia, Zachariah Connell was an able and highly respected judge of land.
He surveyed a tract of land on the east bank of the Youghiogheny River containing 147 acres, which he called "Mud Island." This piece of land became a natural stopping-place for emigrants & travelers to build rafts to float down the river. He decided that this important route to the west would be an excellent site for a city. Zachariah Connell surveyed a town of 180-quarter acre lots and secured a charter on March 21, 1793 for the town he called Connellsville.
His kindness and generosity were illustrated by the charter, which gave the town residents permission to make use of the stone quarry, coal bank, and adjacent timber & springs. He also donated land for a public building, churches, schools, and a graveyard.
Zachariah Connell, a son of James & Ann Williams Connell, married (1) Rebecca Rice and (2) Margaret Wallace. He died in 1813 and is buried on a hill overlooking Connellsville. Many of his descendants moved west, but there are still Connells in Connellsville.
Provided by the Connellsville Area Historical Society. Added to the site on February 2, 2000.