|Birth: ||Oct. 6, 1878|
|Death: ||Jan. 20, 1910|
Son of Patrick and Ann (Brennan) Cunniff (also spelled Conneffe and Conniff).
James' father, Patrick Cunniff (ca. 1844-1905), was the son of Patrick and Bridget (Reynolds) Cunniff. Ann Cunniff (ca. 1848-1897) was the daughter of James and Bridget (Fox) Brennan.
Ann Brennan and Patrick Cunniff emigrated from Ireland in the late 1850s or early 1860s. It is not clear whether they made passage on the same ship, but one romantic account claims they met during the journey to America.
The Brennan and Cunniff families settled in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, where Patrick joined the Union Army's 7th PA Cavalry and served as a Private in Company F during the Civil War.
On December 7, 1871, the couple married at the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption in Philadelphia, PA. They raised seven children to adulthood.
John Augustus (1876-1951)
James Francis (1878-1910)
Helen (Nell) (1880-1973)
Martin Joseph (1886-1942)
They were located in Swatara, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania during the 1880 US Census, at which time James was listed as a one-year-old member of their household.
According to the Directory of Deceased Physicians 1804-1929, James Francis, Patrick and Ann's fourth child, attended the Medico-Chirugical College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania Medical School), graduating as a general practitioner in 1908. After graduation, he accepted employment with the Columbus State Hospital (also known as the State Insane Asylum) in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Conneffe (the spelling used in Columbus medical records) was a staff physician for one of the hospital's "cottages," a misnomer, because the state hospital was actually a Kirkbride structure, a large, multi-winged building contained under one roof. There, he tended to the medical needs of mentally ill patients. He was undoubtedly kept busy, because one of the major drawbacks of institutional life is the ease with which serious diseases are spread due to inadequate ventilation and unsanitary, crowded living conditions.
On or around January 14, 1910, young Dr. Conneffe became ill and was diagnosed with typhoid fever, probably contracted from his patients. He was treated by another physician at the hospital for a week before succumbing to the disease on January 20, 1910.
According to local history, employees of the funeral home feared contracting typhus from Dr. Conneffe so much that they prepared his body for burial by wrapping it in many layers of sheets saturated with zinc chloride (hydrochloric acid and zinc), a solution used both for embalming and disinfecting in the late 19th- and early 20th centuries. He was then buried near the back fence of Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, where his lonely headstone bears the inscription "Gone but not forgotten."
From all appearances, Dr. Conneffe was a competent physician and a likeable person. It is an unfortunate footnote that we know more about his fate after death than his work in the community during life.
Rest in peace, Dr. Conneffe.
Mount Calvary Cemetery
Maintained by: nmhzen
Originally Created by: Zelda
Record added: Jan 15, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83491209