McConnelsville is the county seat of Morgan County, Ohio. Residents named the town after Robert McConnel, one of the community’s earliest residents. The first settlers originally called the village Old Town, which was inhabited in 1817.
McConnelsville grew relatively quickly, having a population of 957 people in 1840. The community’s location on the Muskingum River helped spur this growth. By 1846, the town contained five churches, fifteen stores, two newspaper offices, one iron foundry, two flourmills, and one woolen factory. In 1880, McConnelsville had 1,473 residents, with nearly one-third of the people being school-aged children. In 1886, the town boasted eight churches, two newspaper offices, and one bank. Several manufacturing businesses existed in the community, with most of them providing services or products to farmers in the surrounding countryside. The town’s largest manufacturer was George P. Hann, who employed sixteen residents in the making of cigars.
McConnelsville remained relatively small throughout the twentieth century. In 2000, with a population of 1,676 people, McConnelsville was Morgan County’s largest community. Most businesses continued to provide services and goods for local farmers, as farming was Morgan County’s primary employer. No other single type of business employed more than 750 people in the entire county in 2000. American Electric Power also employed many McConnelsville residents.