THOMAS CONDELL. - Although Thomas Condell never sought to figure before the public in any political relation or desired the prominence of place or power, he gained for himself a reputation as an enviable man of business, and one whose strong traits of character were those that ever command respect and regard. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was a son of Thomas Condell, who became very prominent in business life in central Illinois at an early day. The father, severing the ties which bound him to his native land, came to America with his family, which numbered ten children. Of those only one is now living, John S. Condell, who resides on Fourth Street in Springfield. The family home was first established in Philadelphia and there the father engaged in business as a wholesale and retail dealer in queensware, continuing a resident of that city until his demise. The family afterward came west and established their home in Illinois.
Thomas Condell of this review after arriving in this state made his home for some time in Greene county at Carrollton. There he conducted a mercantile enterprise in the early days, becoming one of the pioneer merchants of that part of the state. He remained there until 1852, when he arrived in Springfield, and here he opened a dry goods store. The city at that time was a mere village, giving little promise of rapid future development. He began selling goods to his fellow townsmen and patrons from the surrounding country, and his progressive spirit was manifested in active co-operation in measures for the public good. He became very well known as a pioneer merchant, and for many years occupied the building known as the Condell corner. After some time, however, he withdrew from mercantile life and later became the first president of the Marine & Fire Insurance Association, which developed in the Marine Bank. He was thus connected with the financial interests for a number of years, and was instrumental in building up an enterprising business upon a safe conservative basis that secured a good patronage for the house. At length Mr. Condell retired from banking and enjoyed a well merited rest until his death, which occurred suddenly in October, 1880. Before entering the bank he purchased extended landed interests in Kansas, becoming the owner of six thousand acres. His sons afterward went to the west and lived upon that land. He became a warm personal friend of A. T. Stewart, the great merchant prince of New York. Mr. Condell was a man of excellent business discernment and unfaltering enterprise, and he carried forward to successful completion whatever he undertook. Readily noting opportunity he made the most of his advantages and in all his business transactions maintained a reputation for honorable dealing that won him unqualified confidence.
Mr. Condell was married in 1832 to Miss Elizabeth H. Bledsoe, who was born in Kentucky, and in her early girlhood days became a resident of Greene county, Illinois, where she grew to womanhood. She was a daughter of Moses O. and Sophia (Taylor) Bledsoe, who were also natives of the Blue Grass state. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Condell were born five children, of whom only two are now living: T. Edward, who resides in Moscow, Iowa, and Moses B., who is represented elsewhere in this volume.
Mr. Condell gave his political allegiance to the Republican party and kept well informed on the issues and questions of the day, but never sought or desired office. He belonged to the Christian Church, and his life was in harmony with his professions. As a pioneer merchant he well deserves to be numbered among the representative men who have had an important part in the development of Springfield. His business activity was exerted along progressive lines, and he co-operated in many measures that had for their object the welfare and progress of the city aside from any business consideration. Men who knew him respected him, and he is now numbered among Springfield's honored dead.