John Connell, pioneer settler and merchant, son of an immigrant Irish blacksmith, was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Texas as a young man with Sterling C. Robertson in 1826. He established a mercantile business near Austin and soon acquired considerable property. In 1830 he married Matilda T. Roberts, daughter of Texas pioneer Elisha Roberts; they had two children. Connell was chosen as a delegate from Mill Creek, now in Austin County, to the Convention of 1832. He died at Viesca, Milam County, in 1834. In 1850 his wife donated a portion of the family estate, 120 acres of a one-league tract east of the Lampasas River on Noland Creek, once the site of the Connell home, to Bell County as a site for the new county seat, which soon became known as Belton. Matilda Connell was remarried in 1835 to Samuel T. Allen of New York. Connell's son, John H., Jr., became a prominent farmer and stock raiser in Bell and Williamson counties and served with the Confederate forces during the Civil War.