The William Connelly family lived for many years in the Island Cottage and Janes Road area. Connolly was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland in March 1818. At the age of eleven, he immigrated to the United States with his parents. Early on, they settled in the Greece area.
Connelly kept a diary starting in the 1830s until his death at the age of 78. The following extracts are from these diaries:
December 5, 1839: I was united in marriage to Miss Nancy Beaty. The ceremony took place at the “church in the woods” (Latta and Mount Read). Two Indians in tribal costumes attracted by the Gathering at the church stopped in their journey to look in up on the scene. Supper was served in Mullen’s Cooper Shop.
Learn More about why Mother of Sorrows is called the church in the woods in Bicentennial Snapshot # 39.
May 29, 1841: Alice, our first child is born.
February 10, 1853: Our house is darkened. Nancy Connelly, my beloved wife, departed this life today. May the Lord have mercy on her soul.
January 3, 1856: I was married today to Ellen Burns.
April 16, 1861: President Lincoln has called for an army of 75,000 men. The shooting on Fort Sumter a week ago makes war be tween the North and South of our country certain. The whole land is in turmoil
April 26, 1870: Jimmy Goodwin had a “bee” to lift the log house and put a foundation under it. The boys turned out well… (This is the first mention of the log house pictured in the photo.)
December 1, 1878: Walked across Buck Pond on the ice to Lewis’ to talk about a new house. The Connelly Farm was located at what was then the end of Island Cottage Road and Janes Road.
Valentine’s Day, 1879: Drove to Charlotte and left the horse to be shod, took the train to Rochester and bought valentines for the children.
June 17, 1879: Started to dig the cellar for the new house. Bought four chairs for the new house and paid $3 for all four. (The four chairs would cost you about 69.32 in today’s money)
October 27, 1879: Mr. Allen agreed to paint the new house with two coats of paint inside and out for $25.
December 11, 1879: The boys started to tear down the old log cabin. Wife paid Allen $2 for a rocking chair and all of $8 for an extension table.
Other interesting entries in Connelly’s diaries noted the end of the Civil War, election of presidents, the building of Mother of Sorrows church, the births of his children and the loss of two daughters in the 1860s.
His father dies at age 89 in 1869. He notes many marriages births and deaths of his neighbors. As a farmer, he constantly wrote about the weather in his orchards of apples and pears, his purchase of empty barrels to ship the apple and pear crop, plus fertiliz er for his land. The arrival of the railroad in 1875 south of his farm was given a special mention of several sentences. On July 2, 1889, at Charlotte, he sees the electric trolley, the first in the county running from Ridge Road to the lake.
Connelly continues to jot in his diary until the day of his passing, October 20, 1896. His last words to his wife were reported as, “The sun is setting Ellen. It is a beautiful sunset and the last I will ever see. Goodbye all.” The time was 5:30 p.m.