Ethen, Milton, Meyer, Mitchell, and Liston Family
A potential event in Michael
Condon's life, which I recently became aware of, was his possible
service in the U.S. Army in the Civil War. At first I
embraced the idea, because it came from a relative with whom I
have had no previous contact, but the more I've considered all the
facts, the less I'm inclined to believe that he served. I'll
lay out the facts below.
To summarize, according to information I received, Michael Condon
enlisted in the 11th Regiment Volunteer Cavalry of Illinois.
I believe the main evidence for military service is a scan of a
page from an enrollment
book that shows an entry for a 'Michael Condon' of Ireland,
and possibly information from an online database. The book
is apparently a list of men subject to military duty, i.e., those
subject to being drafted. It does not indicate actual
enlistment. Michael Condon's entry is the fourth from the
However, there are several
lines of evidence that lead me to believe that our ancestor was
not in the military.
- First, is the entry in the
enrollment book. The name is correct, 'Michael Condon', and
the place of birth is also correct, 'Ireland'. But the column
next to the name indicates that this Michael was 36 years old
at the time of enrollment. Michael's tombstone
indicates that he died on August 5, 1887 at the age of 66
years, putting his birth date at 1821. He would have
been 42 years old in June or July of 1863 (the dates of the enrollments), not 36 as the book indicates.
- Second, the Illinois
GenWeb website lists a Michael A. Condon (not
Michael Patrick Condon) who was enlisted in Company L, of the 11th Cavalry
Volunteer Regiment of Illinois on February 27, 1865 and was
mustered out on September 30, 1865 at Memphis, Tenn. The
different middle initial suggests that this is a different
Michael Condon. [This web page initially listed the
muster-in date as 1863; when I checked with the site
coordinator it was determined that the date should have
actually been 1865.]
- Third, another database search at the Illinois
State Archives turned up this same Michael A.
Condon. As indicated on this site, Michael A. Condon
was in Company L of the 11th Cavalry, Illinois, but he was
only 18 years of age. He was born in Ireland, was from
New Milford, IL, and was also a farmer, but was apparently
from a different Condon family. Here is a screen shot
of this database.
- Finally, my own oral family history. It
seemed strange to me that my grandfather (Michael's
grandson) or my father or uncles had never mentioned an
ancestor who had been in the Civil War. Memories fade,
but an event this important would probably have been part of
the oral tradition of the family after this short a time.
The lack of any mention of a grandfather or
great-grandfather being in the war suggests that he was not.
So, although it was an
interesting prospect to have discovered that Michael Condon was
a Civil War veteran, it appears that this was a case of mistaken
Steven M. Condon. All Rights Reserved.