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Champaign County, Illinois
Biography of Thomas E. Condon
SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887
SURNAMES: BARNES, CONDON, DICKERSON, DUBRE, HOLLAND
Our subject’s early years were spent in Carroll County, Md., where his birth took place Nov. 15, 1835. He was the ninth child of Thomas and Alvira (BARNES) CONDON, natives of the same State, where they spent their entire lives, both dying in middle life, when their son Thomas, of our sketch, was but six years old. The older children kept the family together for four years, and were then separated, Thomas going to the home of his grandparents, with whom he remained until nineteen years old. He then started out in the world for himself, casting his lot in Clay County, Ind., where he engaged first on a farm with an uncle, where he followed farming until he could secure means to fulfill the cherished hope of pursuing a course of study in the university at Greencastle. This he accomplished to his satisfaction, in the meantime fitting himself for a teacher, and thereafter taught and farmed alternately until 1857.
In June of the latter year there occurred one of the most important events in the life of our subject, namely, his marriage with Miss Sarah M., daughter of John and Rhoda (HOLLAND) DICKERSON. The parents of Mrs. C. were natives respectively of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and after their marriage located in Ohio before it had been admitted into the Union as a State. There also Mr. Condon followed teaching and farming until after the outbreak of the late war. In 1862 he enlisted in the 4th Indiana Cavalry, under command of Col. Gray, now the Governor of that State. The first winter was spent by his battalion in Kentucky in guarding the State, and in the spring they went to Murfreesboro, Tenn., by way of Nashville. There our subject, with his regiment, was placed under the command of Gen. Rosecrans, and not long afterward participated in the memorable battle of Chickamauga, after which they followed Wheeler, the raider, and for twenty-two days were seldom out of the saddle and never in camp. Upon this expedition they were upon half rations for five days, and realized in a forcible degree the hardships and privations of war.
After chasing Wheeler from the State of Tennessee, this regiment returned to Winchester, whence they were sent to Nashville and remounted soon afterward to relieve Burnside at Knoxville, where he was besieged by the rebel General, Longstreet. This portion of the Union army successfully raised the siege, but the entire winter was spent in continuous skirmishing with the enemy. In the meantime their Colonel had been killed, and Gen. Gray resigning, was succeeded by Schuyler, and he in turn by Leslie. The following spring Longstreet was driven out of East Tennessee, and the 4th Indiana was sent to another part of the State to form the left wing of Sherman’s command, our subject being detailed to remain at Chattanooga as Sergeant, where he spent his time until Sherman started out on his march to the sea. The 4th was then dismounted, and sent by rail to Louisville, Ky., where they were again provided with steeds and sent on a raid through the Blue Grass regions, following the enemy and fighting as they went. They finally drove him out of Kentucky, and in the meantime Hood had been chased from Tennessee by Thomas. Their next destination was Mississippi, where they remained in East Port during the following winter. In the meantime the Tennessee River, overflowing its banks, had swept the entire valley and created a malaria from which Mr. Condon, in common with many others, suffered greatly. He was finally sent to the hospital, and in a few brief months the war had practically closed.
Mr. Condon remained under treatment at Jeffersonville, Ind., until June 19, 1865, when he was mustered out of service and returned to his home. He remained in Indiana until August following, and then coming to this county located in Sidney, where he was occupied in such labor as his health would permit. After two years and a half he leased eighty acres of wild land, deciding to try the experiment of farming for the restoration of his health. The result proved satisfactory, and two years later Mr. C. purchased eighty acres in Crittenden Township, where he built a house and which he occupied for thirteen years.
In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. C. became the parents of four children, and in the fall of 1884, Mr. Condon, desirous of giving them better advantages of education, removed to the city of Champaign, at the same time availing himself of a much needed rest from labor and business cares. Not long afterward, however, in company with A. M. Coffeen, he commenced dealing in coal, and the year following, in connection with W. F. Hardy, added the trade in agricultural implements. He and his partners operated together in Champaign until February 1887, when Mr. C. disposed of his interests in that city, and coming to Pesotum engaged in the agricultural implement and lumber business, which he still continues.
The faithful wife and mother departed this life on the 23d of March, 1886. Since that time the daughters have kept house for their father. Agnes is teaching school not far from the homestead; Mary L. became the wife of Jonathan DUBRE, and died three years later, leaving one child, Artie L., now with his father in Indiana; Agnes and Edna preside over the affairs of the household. Mr. Condon has never been connected with any church organization. Socially he is a member of the G. A. R. and politically is liberal, although he usually votes with the Republican party.
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