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Yuma County Pioneer Photographs:

Byron E and Mattie (Vaughn) Condon, Wray/Vernon.
Photograph is from the front page of the February 4, 1909, Nodaway Democrat, Maryville, Missouri.
Click to read text of Byron Condon obit published with the photo.

Byron E Condon

     In 1885, Byron E Condon (1850-1909), who was then part owner of a newspaper in Maryville, Missouri, decided to move to Colorado and claim some of the free goverment land he had been advertising in his newspaper. He sold out his interest in the paper and arrived in the brand new town of Wray in 1885 with his wife Mattie, their children and an extended family including his father and mother, Harrison and Ann Condon, and his wife's parents, Mr. and Mrs. George B. Vaughn, sister, Emma Vaughn, and uncle, Enos Vaughn.

     Byron Condon came to Wray with the intent of starting a newspaper and brought with him a printing press he had purchased from a Missouri paper that had gone out of business. He set up his press and editorial office in Wray and the Condon and Vaughn families took up homesteads on open land northeast of present day Vernon. Mr. Condon later related that he named his new newspaper the Wray Rattler because he had killed a rattlesnake almost every day as he made the ten mile trip from his homestead near Vernon to Wray and the ten miles back with his sister-in-law, Emma Vaughn, who worked with him on the paper.

     Mr. Condon published the Rattler for just over a year before he sold it to devote more time to his family. In 1888 he received an offer that he couldn't pass up from his former partner in Maryville and returned to Missouri with his wife and children where he continued in the newspaper business until he died in 1909.

     His father-in-law, George Vaughn, who had owned a dry goods store in Maryville before he came to Colorado, established a store on the northwest corner of Byron Condon's homestead that was known as Condon. The Condon post office operated out of the store from 1888 to 1892 with George Vaughn as postmaster. The George Vaughns later left Colorado and settled in California.

     Horace A. Condon died in 1887. His was one of the first graves in the Wray Grandview Cemetery. His wife, Ann, returned to Missouri and was brought back to Wray to be buried after she died in Marysville.

     Enos Vaughn remained in the community and became a major real estate operator.

The February 4, 1909 Nodaway Democrat newspaper scanned for the photograph is in the holdings of the Yuma Museum.

I would welcome photographs of the Byron Condon, Harrison A. Condon, and George B. Vaughn families to publish here.

In 1885, Byron E Condon (known as Barney), his wife Mattie (Vaughn) and family homesteaded one mile east and two miles north of the present site of Vernon, Colorado, in what was then Arapaho County. His homestead was in the NW quarter of Section 15, Township 1 South, Range 44 West. He built a store in the northwest corner of his homestead which attracted other businesses to the intersection and lead to a community called Condon's Corner.

There Barney established and published the first issue of the paper he called "The Rattler" in 1885 or early 1886. Soon after that, he set up business in Wray and renamed his paper the "Wray Rattler." Volume 1, Number 1, was published June 6, 1886.

Barney's father-in-law, George B. Vaughn, and family claimed homesteads joining the Condons. George Vaughn was appointed the first Condon Postmaster in 1888 and served until 1892 when the Post Office was closed and postal service was moved to the new community of Vernon (est 1892). Most of the other businesses followed the postal service lead and also moved to Vernon in the following few years.

Barney left Colorado and returned to Missouri in 1888. Condon's Corner became a ghost town and eventually disappeared. Nothing from the original community is left on the townsite today.

Harrison A. Condon's grave is in Grandview Cemetery, Wray, Colorado (Range 1, Block 7, Lot 26). It is marked, "Sgt H.A. Condon Co F 4th MO SM Cav". No date of birth or death is given on the headstone. The gravesite also has a marker placed by the G.A.R. Ann Elizabeth Shaw Condon's grave is assumed to be in the same lot but is not marked.


Summary of Obit/Marriage Info

Condon, Harrison A. 64, father of Byron, died in Arapaho Co, Colo from abscess of liver. Buried at Wray Colorado ("Nodaway Democrat" ("ND") issue 6 Oct 1887)

Condon, Ann Elizabeth Shaw, born Oct 1827 Hartford Conn, Wed H.A. Condon 11 Jun 1847

died 26 July 1896 lung trouble and heart disease at Maryville MO; Buried at Wray Colorado.

10 children: Survived by: Alice Nunn, Eliza (Mrs J.H.) Fellow, Lillie (Mrs Jacob) Fredrick, W.E. Condon, B.E. Condon Maryville, MO. ("ND" issue 30 July 1896)

Byron E. Condon wed Mattie Vaughn, daughter of George B. Vaughn and Margaret McGee Vaughn in Maryville, Nodaway Co, MO. ("ND" issue 7 Feb 1879)

Daughter born Dec 1879

Daughter born Mar 1883

Son born in Wray Colorado 1888

Moved from Colorado back to Maryville MO in 1888.


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