A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


James Shackelford Condiff, a foremost citizen of Mulberry, has lived in Crawford county for the past twenty years. He has made a prosperous and efficient record in his trade and in business affairs, he has supported and worked for the causes of religion, education and morality in his community, has an unblemished record as a soldier and citizen in upholding the institutions of his country, and in all the relations of a busy life of sixty odd years has proved himself a man of unusual force and strength of character, being esteemed as such wherever known.

Mr. Condiff had just attained to maturity when the Civil war broke out. He was born in Casey county, Kentucky, September 28, 1841, and was reared under the influence of anti-slavery Whig beliefs, so that it was but natural that he should be an ardent supporter of the Union and abolition when the crisis came. He enlisted in his native county August 5, 1862, and served with credit until receiving his honorable discharge in September, 1863. He was a member of Company F, Eighth Kentucky Cavalry, J. B. Carson and William Hunter successively commanding the company, and the regiment being under the command of Colonel Shackelford (a cousin of Mr. Condiff's mother). After being in camp a few weeks they were sent to Russellville, where they had a skirmish with the enemy, and they often had encounters with roving bands of bushwhackers and guerrillas. Their operations were conducted throughout the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, and they took part in the pursuit of General Morgan's troopers on his famous raid north of the Ohio river. That leader and most of his troops were captured at Portsmouth, Ohio. After that the regiment returned to Clarksville, Tennessee, and thence to Lebanon, Kentucky, and after a year's faithful service Mr. Condiff was discharged, being corporal of his company.

Mr. Condiff was a son of W. B. and Louisa (Shackelford) Condiff, both natives of Kentucky. Grandfather John Condiff was born in Virginia and was of an old family of that state, of Irish descent. James M. Shackelford, the maternal grandfather, also of Virginia, served as a soldier and captain in the war of 1812. Mr. Condiff's parents both died at the old Kentucky home in Casey county, the mother at seventy-five and the father at eighty-three. The latter successfully combined the occupations of farming and minister of the gospel, being a devoted worker for the Baptist church. Politically the father was an inti-slavery[sic] Whig, and in the election of 1860 cast his vote for Bell. There were six children in the family: Adaline A., Elizabeth, Sarah, John, who was a soldier in the Thirteenth Kentucky, James S., and W. C.

Reared on the home farm, where he learned lessons of honest industry, and gaining his education in the neighboring schools, Mr. Condiff spent the early years of his life in his native state and early learned the trade of painter, to which pursuit he has devoted his efforts so energetically that he has raised it from the level of a trade to a profession, and he has made a successful and prosperous career based on this life occupation. Before beginning his army career, in March, 1861, he was married to Miss Ellen C. Chilton, a daughter of Charles and Polly (Bernard) Chilton, the former a Baptist minister in Kentucky, and both her parents died in Kentucky. In 1882 Mr. and Mrs. Condiff moved to Vandalia, Fayette county, Illinois, and two years later came to Mulberry, where they have since resided. During their long and happy married life of over forty years, eleven children have been born into their household, and the following are living: Laura A., Amanda, Bersheba, Mary, Eliza, John Harlan, Lucy E., James Garfield, Lewis Vergillis, Charles W. was killed by a train when twenty-four years old, and Lorenzo Dow died at the age of seventeen in Illinois.

Mr. Condiff is a stanch Republican in his political sentiments. He has been active in public affairs of his township and town. He served as constable for a number of years, for years was on the school board, and has filled the office of township trustee. He is an honored member of Mulberry Post No. 183, G. A. R., Department of Kansas, and has held most of the offices from commander down. He and his wife are members of the Church of God, and he is one of the church trustees.