The Connellys
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James Zachariah Connelly (1802-1865) was the son of John Connelly (1751-1805) and Anne Noble (1760-1805). He married Rachel Harmon (1810-1868). James and Rachel had 11 children. They were: John Atwood (1827-1889), Mary Melissa (1828-1923), James Zachariah Jr. (b1830), Martha (b1834), William Pearce Harmon (b1836), Amanda (b1837), Emily (b1839), McPherson (b1840), David (b1842), Casper (B1844), and Polk (b1846).


Photos believed to be John Atwood Connelly and Martha Lester.

John Atwood Connelly married Martha Lester (1821-1899). She was the daughter of Alan R. Lester (1791-1883) and Martha Dennis (1801-1859). Martha had 10 siblings. They were: William W. (1819-1886), James M. (1823-1904), Phoebe (b1825), Rebecca Jane (1832-1883), Charles Dennis (1833-1917), Alfred M. 1835-1863), George (1837-1914), Mary (b1844), Jane (1845-1874), and Fannie (b1846).

The story goes that Atwood really wanted to marry Rebecca Jane Lester. Times and traditions being what they were at the time, daughters had to marry in the order of birth. Alan wouldn't allow Rebecca to marry until Martha was married. Since there were no prospects, Atwood married Martha and they moved Rebecca into the house with them. Atwood had children by both of the sisters. There were 8 children born to Atwood and Martha and 9 to he and Rebecca.

Children of John Atwood and Martha Lester Connelly

Alan Pierce (1857), David D. (1862), Emma Alice (1854-1933), Frances (1849-1900) & her twin George (1849-?), James Luther (1848-1925), Rebecca Elizabeth (1851), and William L. (1845).

Children of John Atwood Connelly and Rebecca Lester

Mary (1853), John Burr (1854-1930), Ellen (1857), Bennett Alva (1857-1936), Amanda (1858), Carrie (1862), Pettis Fletcher (1865-1941), R. Lewis (1868-1944), and Maxey M. (1871-1875).

They were all living in the same household on all the census until about 1880. In 1880, Martha had moved to Edgefield County, South Carolina with oldest son Alan Pierce. 
Family stories say that at one point Atwood made Rebecca the offer to 'get rid' of Martha if she wanted him to. Her reply was to 'leave her be.'

Whether Atwood and Rebecca were ever anything other than lovers is unclear. They are buried side by side as man and wife at Zion United Methodist Church in Prosperity, South Carolina.

Martha, who outlived them both, is buried in Edgefield County, South Carolina.

Emma Alice Connelly.

William W. Lester.


George Connelly and Frances Connelly (I think)


William L. & James Luther Connelly (I think)

Possibly Rebecca Jane Lester


NOTE: All of these photos above are tintypes and none are labeled. I went by the ones who I KNEW they were and based on the age and resemblances to known people in photos, I have attempted to identify them by appearance of age, etc.


John Atwood Connelly Family

Number 9 is unknown by photo provider.

(Photo courtesy of Bruce Connelly)