Ethen, Milton, Meyer, Mitchell, and Liston Family
I haven't discovered many details concerning the immigration of
Michael Condon or Catherine Dwyer from Ireland in the mid-1800s.
From a conversation I had with William Condon, of Illinois, I
found that Michael entered the country at Wallingford , Connecticut
in 1852. He would have been about 30 years old then. He may have
immigrated with his parents, a sister, Bridget, and a brother,
David. Catherine Dwyer was supposedly a maid or other type of
domestic, working in Philadelphia, but I don't have any definite
information on her.
More direct information on the
family is contained in a letter
from sister Bridget to Michael dated July, 1867. Bridget was
living in Wallingford in 1867, in "Care of Mr. Ellis". She
may have been working as a domestic and living at the Ellis
home. In closing the letter, Bridget mentions Father,
mother, brothers, and sisters sending their love to Michael--proof
that many, if not all, family members had emigrated to
Wallingford. See the page containing the letter for more
details about the family.
Michael applied for a marriage license in Winnebago County
(Rockford, Ill.) on June 1, 1859, suggesting that both he and
Catherine Dwyer had moved to the Rockford area at some time
before 1859. Michael bought a farm there in the New
Milford/Stillman Valley area, still in the family, and the first
child, Mary, was born in Illinois, as were the rest of the
children. After Michael's death in 1887, Catherine moved to
Rockford, where she lived until her death in 1917 at the age of
An interesting note concerning
the marriage license is that Michael signed with 'his mark',
presumably indicating illiteracy.
It has been suggested that Michael served in the Civil
War. After investigating the supporting documents I feel
that this is in error, and that another Michael Condon was
actually mistaken for our ancestor by others doing genealogy
research. I've gone into the details on another page.
From the County records of Mitchell County, Iowa, I found that
Michael bought the farm near David
and McIntire from Evalina W. Bradley in 1883. He sold it to
Patrick Lynch in 1884, and Lynch sold it back to Michael in 1886.
I don't know what was going on with those series of land
transfers. Michael transferred the land to his son Edwin Thomas
(E.T.) Condon December of 1886. Referring back to Bridget's
letter of 1867, she mentions a "Mrs. Linch and her husband", who
were apparently friends of the family. Perhaps the names are
just a coincidence, but the possibility remains that the Lynch and
Linch families were the same. The cause of the land
transfers remains unknown.
Click here to see a
table of land transfers for this property and some more
A daughter of E.T., Nina Condon Burke, recounted the story
of the Condon and Doran families moving to Iowa in a letter. The Dorans apparently
moved to Iowa first while the Condon land sat empty. Eventually
Michael turned the land over to whichever son, E.T. or his twin
Edward, would go live on the land. E.T. took up the offer
and moved to Iowa.
The chronology of this move is a little difficult to
understand. Nina's letter states that E.T. moved to Iowa,
stayed with the Dorans--where he met his future wife Margaret
Doran, built a house, and after a year were married. I
don't know just when E.T. moved to the farm in Jenkins township,
but he would have been about 25 years old in 1887. Michael
died in August of 1887, at the age of 66, so maybe he was in poor
health and that is why E.T. got the farm. However, E.T. and
Margaret weren't married until September
25, 1893, when E.T. was 31 and Margaret was 22. In
Nina's chronology E.T. would have only moved to Iowa in about 1891
or 1892, several years after Michael's death.
Margaret was the daughter of Thomas
G. Doran, an Irish immigrant (emigrated with parents Andrew
and Margaret in 1853), and Katie Conley, from the Belvidere, Illinois area.
[Note: from other sources, her name was Catherine Connelly; their
marriage license records her as
Katie E. Conley.] Thomas Doran had lived in Utica, New York until
1854, then moved to Rockford, Illinois, and then to Mitchell
County in 1869. He and Katie married in 1870, in Belvidere.
Margaret (Maggie) was the eldest child of the Doran family and was
born on a 326 acre farm in sections 9 and 10, Jenkins township.
This farm was just northeast of the Condon farm in section 17.
Margaret was 22 when she was married in 1893. The picture of Margaret in
the Gallery was taken in Rockford, so they must have traveled back
there occasionally. E.T. and Margaret's first child, Helen, died
as an infant , and is buried in the family plot at Riceville. The
rest of the children, through Mary (Ackerman), were born on the
farm, and many are buried south of Riceville in the Immaculate
Conception (a.k.a. Calvary) cemetery. The children all attended a
schoolhouse, still standing 1 mile south of the farm.
An interesting story was related by Nina in her letter, however,
some of the facts are in question. In 1893 Katie Conley
Doran--Thomas's wife--gave birth to a child Bernice. At
about the same time, Katie's eldest daughter, Margaret--E.T.'s
wife--gave birth to her first child, Helen. According to
Nina, Katie died in childbirth or shortly thereafter, and the
infant Helen also died. Since Thomas was already caring for
a number of other of his young children, the baby Bernice,
youngest sister of Margaret, was taken in by Margaret and E.T. and
raised as their daughter. Nina mentioned that she was not aware
that Bernice wasn't her older sister until Nina was a grown girl.
In checking out this story I have run into one probable error. On
the Find A Grave website, Katie
Conley Doran's death date is given as 1903, not 1893 or
1894. The date appears to be valid, because the U.S. census of
1900 shows Katie still living as Thomas's wife. According to Nina,
Thomas Doran remained single for a number of years and then
married a young McIntire woman, Lena Frank. He married her
in 1905. Thomas and Lena also had children, the oldest of
whom, Laura, was born in 1906. The photo of the Thomas Doran
family on the Find A Grave site appears to be Thomas and Lena and
their three children, Alice (on Thomas's lap), Laura (standing)
and James (on Lena's lap). So it appears that Bernice was about 10
years old when her mother, Katie, died, and Bernice then went to
live with her older sister Margaret and E.T. Condon.
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