Among the representative men of western Texas is Judge McConnell, who has long been a resident of this portion of the state and has been closely identified with its history. He is a native Texan, having been born in Crockett on the 26th of November, 1865. His father, John McConnell, was a native of Ireland, and when a youth of about fourteen years came to America, arriving in Texas in 1845. He was the only member of his father’s family that came to the new world and a number of his children are now living in this state. He settled in Crockett and in the early period of the state’s development he began business as a blacksmith, which trade he followed until 1870. He afterward turned his attention to the hardware business and built up an excellent trade in Crockett, conducting the store with good success throughout his remaining days. He accumulated considerable property also and his business career was crowned with a gratifying measure of prosperity. He was twice married, first to a Miss Clark, by whom he had three children who reached mature years, while several died in infancy. His second marriage occurred in February, 1865, Miss Martha Ann Lovelady becoming his wife. The town of Lovelady in Houston county was located on her father’s property. By the second marriage there were five children, of whom four are still living, three sons and one daughter. The two brothers of our subject are merchants and are conducting the hardware business in Crockett founded by their father.
Henry Grattan McConnell, whose name introduces this record, was reared in the place of his nativity and passed through successive grades in the public schools until he had completed the high school course by graduation when eighteen years of age. Subsequently, in the fall of 1884, he entered the law department of the state university at Austin and was graduated with the class of 1886. He obtained a license to practice from the supreme court of Texas before he was twenty-one years of age. This was according to the state law, which compelled all university graduates at that time to pass an examination before the courts in order to obtain their license but in recent years this custom has been changed, and now a diploma from the state university is a certificate licensing one to practice in the Texas courts. Immediately after the completion of his law course Judge McConnell came to Haskell county and locating in the town of Haskell entered upon the active practice of law, in which he has since been engaged, being connected with the most important litigation tried in the courts of his district either as counsel for the defense or prosecution. He is strong in argument, logical in his deductioans, clear in his reasoning and forceful in his presentation of a case before court or jury. In 1890 he was elected county judge of Haskell county and filled the position for two years, during which period the present court house wasa erected, Judge McConnell taking the most active interest in its building.
In 1887 in Austin, Texas, Judge McConnell was married to Miss Nola Hill of Austin, Texas, a native of this state. They have five children, two sons and three daughters, who are yet living and lost one child in infancy. The judge has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1890, and has taken thae various degrees (including the Knight Templar) and is likewise a member of the Mystic Shrine. For three years he has been affiliated with the Knights of Pythias. His attention, however, is chiefly given to his chosen profession and he is well versed in law and recognized as one of the best known and most competent lawyers of this part of the state. His legal practice embraces both civil and criminal cases and extends not only in his own but also into adjacent counties. He is a man of pleasing personality and a fine speaker, displaying special oratorical powers when addressing a jury. His law library is considered one of the best in western Texas and represents an investment of more than two thousand dollars.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 548-549.