Probate file 426 in Rock county, Wisconsin, gives this information about his origins:
This petition of Julia Doran and Simon Doran of the town of Albion County of Dane, and of Patrick Doran & Nancy Lunnegan of the town of Fulton in the county of Rock, all in the state of Wisconsin respectfully show that James Connery late deceased was the nephew of these petitioners: that his parents both died in Ireland when the said James was only about thirteen years old and that they had no other children than the said James Connery who never was married: that soon after the said James Connery's parents died this petitioner Simon Doran received the said James Connery into his family where the said James made his home till he reached manhood: that he worked out in this vicinity till the year 1860 when he went to the city of St Louis in the state of Missouri and soon after entered the military service of the United States That upon leaving this place (said Fulton) the said James Connery assumed the name of Gustavus Lightfoot under which he rose in the said military service to the rank of captain and then to Major in the 12th Regiment of Missouri volunteer Infantry. That these petitioners knowledge that the said James Connery entered the military service and rose to the rank of major as aforesaid is derived from the facts that a correspondence was kept up between this petitioner Simon Doran & the said James Connery while the latter was in said military service: that the said Connery directed that his letters should be directed to him by the name of Gustavus Lightfoot and that these petitioners wrote letters to him by that name and received from him answer to such letters: that the said James Connery after he reached the position of major in said 12th Missouri volunteer Infantry obtained a furlough & visited these petitioners; that at that time he wore the uniform belonging to the rank of major and represented himself as the major of the said Regiment: that they are informed and believe that the said James Connery was killed by being shot through the heart on the 22d day of May 1863 at the siege of Vicksburg in the state of Mississippi: that their knowledge of his said death is derived from letters written by Lieut. Col. Racher of the said Regiment to these petitioners stating the circumstances of his death as above set forth with the facts of his assumed name & enclosing his commissions of Captain and Major in said Regiment
And these petitioners further show on information & belief that the said James Connery died intestate no last will and testament having been found or being known to exist—that said deceased left no widow of child or children nor father nor mother: that his nearest of kin surviving him are these petitioners who are maternal uncles and aunts to said deceased.