James T. Conkin was born in 1826, in Clover Bottom, Sullivan county, Tennessee, a son of John Conkin (1776-1860) and Hannah (Jackson) Conkin.
James was a member of Company H, 8th Tennessee Calvary. He was taken prisoner during the American Civil War, and imprisoned at the Salisbury Prison in October 1861 on the site of an old cotton factory enclosing a portion of the grounds with a stockade fence in preparation for the first prisoners. 
Designed to hold about 2,500 persons, the prison was intended for Confederate soldiers who had committed military offenses and prisoners of state. However, the first Union soldiers arrived in December from Richmond, Virginia, in an effort to reduce the number of prisoners of war there. 
During the early years of the war, prisoners at Salisbury received adequate shelter, rations, water and sanitation. The situation changed rapidly on 5 October 1864, with the transfer of 5,000 prisoners of war to Salisbury. By the end of the month, more than 10,000 men were incarcerated in the prison.
James died December 1, 1864, and was buried in one of 18 trenches, with the bodies of 11,1700 soldiers of the United States Army, who perished during the years 1864 and 1865, while being held prisoners of war in a stockade. 
Jim may have died in a confederate prison in North Carolina
Note: Died in Confederate Prison (Civil War Death, Union Army). The story is told that Jim came home on leave and went to see his wife, Mary Steadman, who was at her parents home. Her Brother was a Confederate Soldier and he saw Jim and turned him in. He was a member of Mogan's Raiders. He was one of 11,700 Union Soldiers buried in 18 trenches in Salisbury, North Carolina. 
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