Origins: The Earliest Ancestors from Littleport

Reader be forewarned! This is one of those strict genealogy posts – all names & dates – no interesting stories. I won’t be offended if you decide to pass on this one. With this post, I intend to summarize my research into the origins of what I have called the “Peterborough Casbons”, so named because the family eventually settled in that area, and members of the family remain there today.

In an earlier post (see “How doth your garden grow? Part 1”) I described how Thomas Casborn (~1776–1855) left Littleport, Cambridgeshire, and how his son Thomas (~1807–1863) settled in Peterborough, where he had a gardening business. Working backwards, I traced “1776 Thomas” back one generation to his father Thomas (see “Stepping Back: Thomas Casborn of Littleport (~1732-1780)”). Here is a diagram of the sequence I just described.

Fullscreen capture 6202017 22416 PM
3 generations of Casbons, from Littleport & Peterborough. (Click on image to enlarge)

Now I’ll start with Thomas (~1732-1780)”) and work my way back. His baptismal record of October 15, 1832 shows that his parents were Thomas and Anne Caseborne.[1]

Thomas C bp 1732 Littleport
Detail from LIttleport (Cambridgeshire) parish register, Baptisms, 1732. “Thomas of
Thomas & Anne Caseborne _ _ (October) 15.” (Click on image to enlarge)

Who were Thomas & Anne? The Bishop’s Transcripts of 1720 show the marriage of Thomas Casebourne and Anne Kendale on October 6th.[2]

Thomas Casebourne M Anne Kendale 1720 Littleport
Detail from Bishop’s Transcripts, Littleport, Marriages 1820. “Thomas
Casebourne & Anne Kendale October 6.” (Click on image to enlarge)

Looking further back, there is a baptismal record for Thomas Casborne, son of William & Alice, May 29, 1695.[3] He is the most likely candidate for the Thomas who married Anne Kendale, and father of Thomas (b. ~1832). I have not found a baptismal record for Anne.

Besides Thomas, there are records of six other children born to Thomas and Anne: William (baptized 1721), Elizabeth (1722), Mary (1727), Abraham (1729, died 1734), another Mary (1734), and another Abraham (1739).[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] Anne’s death is recorded in 1750, and Thomas’ in 1751.[11],[12] You can also see that Thomas’ burial record gives his occupation as “Labourer”

Thomas C bp 1795 Bu 1751
Detail from Bishop’s Transcripts, Littleport, burials 1751. “Thomas Casborne, Labourer.—Sept:r 27.” Note that his son William’s burial is the next entry, on October 13th. (Click on image to enlarge)

Here is a family tree of Thomas and Anne (Kendale) Caseborne, showing their relationship to the Peterborough Casbons.

Thomas 1695 fam tree
(Click on image to enlarge)

I’m able to trace this family back one more generation. As mentioned above, Thomas (baptized 1695) was the son of William and Alice. There are baptismal records for three other children born to William and Alice: William (baptized 1687), Alice (1592), and John (1699).[13],[14],[15] There may have been a fourth child, Mary, for whom there is a burial record on the same day as John in 1699, but no baptismal record.[16]

Who were William and Alice? I don’t know. I cannot find a marriage record for them, nor can I find a baptismal record for William. There are no baptisms, marriages or burials with the Casb(*) surname recorded in Littleport between 1620 (burial of Robert Casborn, widower) and 1687 (baptism of William – see previous paragraph).[17]

Here is a family tree of William and Alice, the earliest generation I have been able to trace back from the Peterborough Casbons.

Wm d 1699 fam tree

Where did this family come from before William? It’s impossible for me to say. There are Casb(*) records in nearby Ely and Stuntney, but not enough information to make familial connections.

Littleport map
Detail of 1945 Ordnance Survey map showing Littleport and Ely (This work is based on data provided
through http://www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the
Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth). (Click on image to enlarge)

I’ve said before that there is no evidence that the Peterborough Casbons, hence the Littleport Casborns, are related to my branch, the “Meldreth Casbons.” It’s still fascinating to me that the many variants of our surname are concentrated so heavily in the part of England known as East Anglia. Perhaps there was a common ancestor many generations before, or maybe there was just a common reason for so many people to have the same name (see “a term of reproach …”). Would DNA be able to help sort this out?

[1] LIttleport Parish (Cambridgeshire, England), Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 271) showing baptisms, 1732, Thomas Caseborne, 15 October; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-HQHF?i=270&cat=976859 : accessed 15 September 2016); citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 2,206,070, (unnumbered) item 1.
[2] LIttleport Parish (Cambridgeshire), Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 253) showing marriages, 1720, Thomas Casebourne & Anne Kendale, 6 October.
[3] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 201), baptisms, 1695, Thomas Caseborn, 7 July.
[4] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 253), baptisms, 1720/21, William Casebourne, 9 March.
[5] LIttleport Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 256), baptisms, 1722, Elizabeth Casebourne, 16 December.
[6] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 263), baptisms, 1727, Mary Caseborne, 10 September.
[7] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 267), baptisms, 1729, Abraham Caseborne, 21 December.
[8] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 276), burials, 1734, Abraham Caseborne, 3 December.
[9] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 275), baptisms, 1734, Mary Caseborne, 2 August.
[10] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 281), baptisms, 1738/39, Abraham Caseborne, 14 February.
[11] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 305), burials, 1750, Ann Casborne, 20 May.
[12] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 307), burials, 1751, Thomas Casborne, 27 September.
[13] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 194), baptisms, 1687, William Casborne, 4 November.
[14] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 199), baptisms, 1692, Alice Casborne, 26 March.
[15] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 213), baptisms, 1699, John Casebourne, 14 May.
[16] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 213), burials, 1699, Mary Casebourne, 20 August.
[17] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 47), burials, 1619/20, Robert Casborne, 29 February.

Children of Thomas Casbon (1803–1888): Jesse

Jesse Casbon was the fourth surviving child of Thomas and Emma (Scruby, 1811–1870) Casbon, and the last one born before their departure for America. Jesse was born November 23, 1843 and baptized May 26, 1844 in Meldreth.[1],[2]

Casbon Jesse Bp Meld 1844
Detail of Meldreth Parish register, baptisms, 1844. (Click on image to enlarge)

Jesse would have been less than 3 years old when the family boarded the Parkfield, so he probably remembered little, if any, of the voyage. His earliest memories would be of the family homes in adjacent Wayne and Holmes counties, Ohio. The 1850 census shows 7-year old Jesse along with the rest of the family in Clinton Township, Wayne County.[3]

T Casbon 1850 Ohio census
Detail from 1850 U.S. Census, Clinton Township, Wayne County, Ohio. (Click on image to enlarge)

This small section of the census is a great example of how valuable information can be gleaned, and connections made, from limited census data. We see from the marks in column 11 that Jesse and his two older brothers attended school within the past year. Had they remained in England this might not have been possible. On line 2 of the census form we see the name Rachel Paine, age 20, living in the household of Emmett Eddy (he is listed on the previous page of the census). We met Rachel in “From England to Indiana, Part 8,” where we learned that she was Emma (Scruby) Casbon’s niece, who traveled from England to Ohio with Thomas Casbon and his family. Her story is interesting, and worth reading in the earlier post.

The name Eddy is also significant. The History of Porter County, Indiana tells us that Thomas Casbon, after arriving in Wayne County, “bought eighty acres of land near Wooster on the Columbus road at the village of Eddyville, where the stages between Cleveland and Columbus then changed horses.”[4] Eddyville cannot be found on maps today, but it may well be the site of “Eddy’s Inn,” established by Emmett Eddy’s father in 1830 along the Cincinnati to Cleveland stagecoach line.[5]

One final note about this page of the 1850 census: the last name shown is that of James Wing, misspelled as “Ying,” age 26. I used this same census entry in “From Labourer to Landowner” and explained how Thomas Casbon and James Wing jointly bought their first parcel of Ohio land in 1850. Who sold them the land? Emmett Eddy![6]

I’ve gotten off track from the subject of today’s post, so it’s time to get back to Jesse. After his older brothers Sylvester and Charles moved to Porter County, Indiana, Jesse remained at home with his parents and sister Emma. He was 17 years old when the American Civil War broke out in April 1861. Jesse enlisted for one year of service in September 1864.[7] He was assigned to the Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 178th Regiment, Company D.

Casbon Jesse b1843 civil war roster 178 OH Reg Detail of roster, Ohio Infantry, 178th Regiment, Company D. The roster gives Jesse’s age as 19. He would have really been 20 in September 1864. (Click on image to enlarge)

The 178th Regiment was sent to Tennessee, going first to Nashville, then Tullahoma, and then Murfreesboro.[8] They helped defend the town during the siege of Murfreesboro, and during that time participated in the Battle of Wilkerson’s Pike.[9] In March 1865, the regiment fought in the Battle of Wyse Fork.[10] Afterwards, they joined General Sherman’s advance towards Raleigh, N.C..[11] Following the surrender, the unit was assigned to garrison duty in Charlotte, N.C. until they mustered out June 29, 1865.[12] The regiment’s losses were relatively light: 2 killed in combat and 63 died of disease.[13]

Jesse’s father Thomas bought his first land in Porter County, Indiana, in January 1865 while Jesse was still serving in the Army.[14] Jesse must have joined him in Indiana shortly after the war. He bought 80 acres adjacent to his father’s farm in 1867.[15] Although a landowner and farmer in his own right, he was still single and living in his parents’ house when the 1870 census was taken.[16]

This situation changed when he married Emily Price in April 1872.[17] Jesse was 28 years old and Emily was 16 or 17. Emily probably became an orphan in her childhood or early teen years; her father died when she was about 8 years old, and I haven’t found any records of her mother after the 1860 census.[18],[19] In the 1870 census, 15-year old Emily was living with her married older sister in Pleasant Township, just east of Porter Township, where Jesse lived.[20]

Jesse and Emily had one son, who died in infancy, and four daughters: Maude Elma (1873–1962), Anna Mae (1876–1957), Lillian E. (1880–1967), and Edna (1885–1957).[21] In 1879, Jesse bought about 160 acres in Center Township, just southwest of Valparaiso, and relocated there with his family.[22]

Map Casbon Jesse Center twp 1895
Detail of 1895 plat map, Center Township, Porter County, Indiana, showing Jesse’s land.
(Click on image to enlarge)

He was widowed and left with daughters ranging from 8 to 20 years old after Emily died in 1893.[23] Daughter Anna Mae married (John) Newton Kitchel in 1898.[24] Maude married Myron Dayton in 1901.[25] Lillian and Edna remained spinsters and lived with Jesse until his death on January 24, 1934.[26]

Jesse’s obituary reflects his Civil War service and summarizes much of what I have described above.[27]

Casbon Jesse b1843 Obit 1934 Vidette
Jesse’s obituary – from The (Valparaiso) Vidette-Messenger, August 25, 1934.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Jesse and Emily are buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Valparaiso.[28] Even though they only had daughters, the Casbon surname lives on today in their branch of the family, owing to the fact that Anna Mae divorced Newton Kitchel, and had her name, and that of her two sons, legally changed to Casbon.

[1] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Jessie Casbon, 24 Jan 1934, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana; image copy, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 13 December 2016); citing Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–201, microfilm, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.
[2] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Meldreth in the County of Cambridge [1813–67],” p. 59, no. 469, Jesse Casbon, 26 May 1844; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017); citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[3] 1850 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Ohio, population schedule, Clinton Township, p. 2 (written), dwelling 8, family 8, Thos. Casban; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XHRS-K7M?i=1&cc=1401638 : accessed 4 July 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 739.
[4] “Sylvester Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), 2: p. 483; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89067919191;view=1up;seq=139 : accessed 13 June 2017).
[5] Ben Douglass, History of Wayne county, Ohio, from the days of the pioneers and the first settlers to the present time (Indianapolis, Indiana: Robert Douglass, Publisher, 1878), p. 787; online image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/cu31924028848765#page/n825 : accessed 13 Jun3 2017).
[6] Wayne County, Ohio, “Deed books, v. 34, 36 1850-1852,” v. 34, pp. 293-4, Emmett Eddy to Casbon & Wing entry, 2 November 1850; browsable images of FHL microfilm 420,933, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007900918?cat=295246 : accessed 26 November 2016), images 164-5.
[7] Ohio Roster Commission, Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866 (Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Press, 1889),” 9: 584; image copy, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/ohiowarroster09howerich#page/584 : accessed 28 October 2016).
[8] “178th Ohio Infantry,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/178th_Ohio_Infantry : accessed 14 Jun 2017), rev. 24 Sep 16, 19:52.
[9] “178th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry,” Ohio Civil War Central (http://ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=488 : accessed 14 June 2017).
[10] “178th Ohio Infantry,” Wikipedia.
[11] “178th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry,” Ohio Civil War Central.
[12] “178th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.”
[13] “178th Ohio Infantry.”
[14] Porter, Indiana, “Deed records, 1836-1901,” Deed Index Grantee, Casbon Thos from S.O.M Lee, 15 Jan 1865; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,703,895, item 4.
[15] Porter, Indiana, “Deed records, 1836-1901,” Deed Index Grantee, Casbon Jesse from David Jones, 1 Apr 1867; FHL microfilm 1,703,895, item 4.
[16] 1870 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, population schedule, Porter Township, p. 7 (written), dwelling 52, family 52, Jessie Casbin in household of Thomas Casbin; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D5GG-R5?i=6&cc=1438024 : accessed 14 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 351.
[17] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Porter, 1871–1875, p. 89 (stamped), no. 173, Jesse Casbon & Emma Price, 23 Apr 1872; online image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH3-54P : accessed 20 Jul 2016), image 78; citing Porter County Clerk’s office.
[18] Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=70625904 : accessed 17 June 2017), memorial page for William W. Price (1822–1863), memorial no. 70625904, created by “Jackie & Ralph”; citing Spencer Cemetery, Kouts, Porter, Indiana.
[19] 1860 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, population schedule, Pleasant Township, p. 110 (written), dwelling 838, family 818, Mary Price (age 36) in household of Henry M. Rose; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GB9J-S8M2?i=7&wc=7QK5-RG3%3A1589426070%2C1589426630%2C1589423641&cc=1473181 : accessed 14 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M653.
[20] 1870 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, population schedule, Pleasant Township, p. 14 (written), dwelling 103, family 102, Emely Price (age 15) in household of William Carr; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D5GG-RL?i=13&cc=1438024 : accessed 14 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 351.
[21] “Jesse Casbon, War Vet, Dies at Age of 90,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Vidette-Messenger, 25 Jan 1934, p. 1, col. 3; online archive, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 22 August 2016).
[22] Porter, Indiana, “Deed Index 6, Grantee, Mar 1876—Dec 83,” Casbon Jesse from John T Derrit, 20 Mar 1879; FHL microfilm 1,703,896; citing Recorder’s Office, Porter, Indiana.
[23] Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=109806539 : accessed 14 June 2017), memorial page for Emily Price Casbon (d. 26 Apr 1893), memorial no. 109806539, created by Alana Knochel Bauman; citing Maplewood Cemetery, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana.
[24] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Porter, 1895–1899, vol. 11, p. 430 (stamped), Newton Kitchell & Anna Casbon, 9 Jul 1898; online image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9R15-4M4?i=253&cc=1410397 : accessed 18 June 2017), image 24; citing Porter County Clerk’s office.
[25] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Porter, 1898–1901, vol. 12, p. 504 (stamped), Myron R. Dayton & Maud E. Casbon, 23 Oct 1901; online image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9R15-CL4?i=319&wc=Q83F-4HT%3A963055701%2C963108501&cc=1410397 : accessed 18 June 2017), image 320; citing Porter County Clerk’s office.
[26] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Jessie Casbon, 24 Jan 1934, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana; image copy, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 13 December 2016); citing Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–201, microfilm, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.
[27] “Jesse Casbon, War Vet, Dies at Age of 90.
[28] Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=109806484 : accessed 13 Jun 2017), memorial page for Jesse Casbon (1843–1934), memorial # 109806484, created by Alana Knochel Bauman; citing Maplewood Cemetery, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana

“Rags” to Riches

This article appeared in the October 19, 1951 edition of The (Melbourne, Australia) Argus.[1]

Casben Wilfred Rags to Riches
(Click on image to enlarge)

“Mr. W. A. Casben” is Wilfred Arthur Ackerman Casben, eldest son of Arthur Casben (1886–1961). We were briefly introduced to Wilfred in “Australia Bound,” an earlier post describing Arthur’s origins in England and his emigration to Australia. I’ve had little to say about this branch of the family, as there is relatively little information available online (and I don’t have any plans to make the trek “down under” anytime soon!), but I will continue to post as information becomes available to me. Wilfred is my fourth cousin, twice removed, based on our common ancestor, Thomas Casbon (1743–1799).

Here’s what I know about Wilfred Arthur.

He was born in England March 2, 1911 and baptized at Christ Church, Mitcham, Surrey on June 4th of that year.[2]

Wilfred baptism 1911
Detail from Christ Church, Mitcham, Surrey baptismal register. (Click on image to enlarge)

He was only 3 years old when he boarded the steam ship Themistocles in London, April, 1914, with his mother Leonora and 1-year old brother Noel, bound for Australia.[3] Wilfred’s father Arthur had preceded them six months earlier, working as a crew member aboard the ship Miltiades.[4]

In 1935, Wilfred was listed on electoral rolls, living in Bankstown North (a suburb of Sydney), and employed as a shop assistant.[5]  In 1939, about the time he decided to start his own sportswear company, he became engaged to Florence Still.[6] They were married a year later.[7]

Casben WA Florence Still engagement announcement 1939
The engagement announcement of Miss Florence (“Phipp”) Still.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Florence and Wilfred went by the nicknames “Phipp” and “Cas.” They had at least four children that I know of (names withheld out of respect for privacy), and have living grandchildren today. I have not located records of Wilfred’s or Florence’s deaths; however, they would be well over 100 years old if still living.

I don’t have much more information about Wilfred or the company that he founded. It’s clear that he had a vision, and was able to turn it into a highly successful venture. It must have taken a good deal of courage and a lot of hard work to make it happen.

Based on what’s available on Google, the clothing company’s heyday was from the late 1940s through at least the 1960s (see “Friday Fun: 1968 Casben Shorts Ad”). Here is another colorful advertisement, from 1954.[8]

Casben ad 19Nov1954 AusWomWkly
(Click on image to enlarge)

I have not made contact with any of the Australia Casbens. However, this blog gets occasional visits from Australia, so I suspect someone in the family is reading it. I welcome comments, either through the comments section below this post, or through the Contacts link.

[1] “’Rags’ to Riches,” The (Melbourne, Australia) Argus, 19 Oct 1951, p. 3, col. 1; image copy, Trove (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23086750 : accessed 5 October 2016).
[2] “Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912,” Christ Church Mitcham, Southwark diocese, Wilfred Arthur Ackerman Casben, b. 2 Mar 1911, baptized 4 Jun 1911; database with images, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 17 February 2017); citing parish registers, Surrey History Centre, Woking.
[3] “Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960,” images and transcriptions, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=tna%2fbt27%2f0846000031%2f00370 : accessed 6 October 2016), entry for Mrs Lenora Casben (age 26,) departing London, 2 Apr 1914 for Brisbane aboard Themistocles.
[4] “New South Wales unassisted passenger lists”, images and transcriptions, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=anz%2fnsw%2fpass%2funasst%2f06568718 : accessed 11 December 2016), entry for Arthur Casben, arrived at Sydney, New South Wales, 23 Oct 1913 aboard T S S Miltiades.
[5] “Australia Electoral Rolls,” images and transcriptions, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=au%2felectoralroll%2f323%2f001807930 : accessed 8 June 2017), Wilfred Arthur Ackerman Casben, 84 Waterloo Road, Bankstown North, New South Wales.
[6] “Engagement Announced,” The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, 15 Feb 1939, p. 8, col. 4; image copy, Trove (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17543390 : accessed 5 October 2016).
[7] “New South Wales Marriages 1788-1945,” Sydney, reg. no. 376, Wilfred Arthur Ackerman & Florence Amelia Still, 1940; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=anz%2fbmd%2fnsw%2fm%2f0002643832 : accessed 6 October 2016).
[8] Casben “Swim N’ Play” advertisement, Australian Women’s Weekly, 10 Nov 1954, p. 62; image copy, Trove (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5791063 : accessed 9 June 2017).

Children of Thomas Casbon (1803–1888): Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas Casbon was the third surviving child and second surviving son of Thomas and and Emma (Scruby) Casbon. He is the first Casbon family member in my records to bear the name Charles. Like his brother Sylvester, his life is relatively well documented, thanks both to his long life and his biography, published in History of Porter County, Indiana (1912).[1]

Here is an image of Charles’ baptismal record of December 20, 1840.[2]

Meldreth baptism 1840
Detail from Meldreth (Cambridgeshire) parish register, baptisms 1840. (Click on image to enlarge)

The biography says this about Charles’ earliest days:

Mr. Casbon was born November 6, 1840, in Cambridgeshire, England, twenty-two miles from London, the son of an English farmer, Thomas Casbon and wife, Emma (Scruby) Casbon. When the son was five years old his father determined to bring his family to America, which was then a land of opportunities and almost undeveloped resources.[3]

To my modern eyes the description of Charles’ father Thomas as “an English farmer” overstates Thomas’ social standing in England, and diminishes the social and economic conditions that must have influenced his decision to leave England. In fact, Thomas was described in the census as an Agricultural Labourer.[4] As such, he would have been a wage earner and low in the social order; he did not own land and did not have the right to vote.[5],[6]

Being only 5 years old when he left England, Charles probably had only dim memories of his life there. He came of age while the family was living in Ohio. The History of Porter County, with a mix of fact and fabrication, tells us,

Throughout the years of his boyhood Charles Casbon was familiar with that old and trusted periodical journal, the New York Tribune, which regularly found its way to the home and was read more or less by all members of the household. Its great editor of the time, Horace Greeley, the author of the exhortation, “Go west, young man, and grow up with the country,” frequently wrote and edited the news with that sentence as his text.

It was partly with the inspiration derived from the Tribune, and also from the spirit of pioneering which had possessed his father before him, that caused Charles Casbon on arriving at his majority to start for the west. In company with a friend, George Bittner, in March, 1862, he arrived at Valparaiso, a small place at that time, where he paused in his journey and in this vicinity has remained ever since, to his own profit and to the benefit of the community.[7]

In this rosy description, the facts that are most likely accurate are the name of his travel companion and the approximate date of his travel to Indiana (see “Why Indiana?”). The author/editor of the biography likely embellished the story to make it more interesting for readers.

We are told that “on December 31, 1868, he returned to his Ohio home and there married Miss Mary E. [Mc]Marrell, who has been his companion on the road of life for nearly forty-five years.”[8]

Charles C Mary McMarrell marriage
Marriage record of Charles and Mary McMarrell, Holmes County, Ohio, 30 December, 1868.[9]
(Click on image to enlarge)

Mary was 4 years Charles’ junior. They grew up on nearby farms, both being listed in Washington Township, Holmes County, Ohio, in the 1860 census.[10],[11] Were they sweethearts before he left for Indiana in 1862, Charles age 21 and Mary 17, or did they become close on subsequent family visits to Ohio? Before his marriage, Charles “worked among the farmers, then rented a farm and cultivated it on shares.”[12] After returning to Indiana with his bride,

Mr. Casbon bought a little farm of forty acres, paying a hundred and fifty dollars in cash and going in debt for the remainder. A little log cabin and a pole stable constituted the chief improvements, and in this humble home the young people, with willing industry and the hope and enthusiasm characteristic of youth, began their career in Porter county.[13]

This land purchase was probably the one recorded January 13, 1871, in which Charles bought the SW ¼ of the SW ¼ of Section 13, Township 34, range 6 from his father Thomas for $1,000.[14] Charles’ small farm can be seen in this 1876 plat map of Porter township.[15]

1876 Casbon land closeup Porter twp
Detail from 1876 plat map of Porter township, Porter county, Indiana,
showing property belonging to Thomas, Charles, and Jesse Casbon.
(Click on image to enlarge)

“Four children were born to them: Lillie, who died at the age of one year, Lodema, Sina and Lawrence.”[16] We have met Lawrence and Sina previously in this blog (see “Lawrence J Goes Transcontinental” and “Cousins”). Lillie May was born in 1870 and died September 9, 1871. [17] Lodema Evaline was born October 24, 1871; Sina Jane, March 27, 1873; and Lawrence John August 26, 1875.[18],[19],[20]

Charles T Casbon Mary Elizabeth Marrell Casbon Sin
Family portrait, probably taken mid- to late 1890s. Front, L to R: Charles & Mary;
Back, L to R: Lodema, Lawrence, and Sina. Photo courtesy of Ron Casbon.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Charles continued to expand his landholdings, apparently doing well enough at farming that he was able to retire and move into town (Valparaiso) in 1903.[21]

The History of Porter County includes this lovely detail about Mary’s travels:

From August to October [year not given] Mrs. Casbon visited the beautiful scenery of Yellowstone Park, also San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Catalina Island, then Camp Meeker, Seattle, Washington, Spokane Falls, Salt Lake City (where she visited the great Mormon Temple) and finally Denver, Colorado.[22]

One wonders why Charles did not accompany her. Perhaps his health did not allow it at this point in his life. Charles biography also gives us this photograph of Charles and Mary (and probably Sina) in front of their Valparaiso home at 203 Monroe Street.[23]

Charles T Casbon House Valpraiso Indiana
L to R: Mary, Charles, and (probably) Sina, about 1912. The original home is no longer standing.
(Click on image to enlarge)

The final words about Charles in the Porter County history are these:

Though always a busy man during his residence in the country, he had the welfare of the community at heart, and for a number of years filled the office of supervisor of his township. In politics he is a Democrat, and takes a broad-minded view of the social and political problems both at home and at the nation at large. He and his wife are members and liberal supporters of the Christian church of Valparaiso.[24]

Charles passed away in Valparaiso October 26, 1915 at the age of 74.[25] Mary survived him by another 12 years, passing away February 26, 1928 at the age of 83.[26] Both are buried at Maplewood Cemetery, in Valparaiso. Their only living descendants are through their daughter Lodema, who married Hiram Church in 1890.[27]

[1] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), 2: pp. 459–61; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89067919191;view=1up;seq=115 : accessed 6 June 2017).
[2] “Parish registers for Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), 1681-1877,” Baptisms 1813-67, p. 54, Thomas Charles Casbon, 20 Dec 1840; digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/210742?availability=Family%20History%20Library : accessed 28 April 2017); citing Family HIstory Library (FHL) microfilm 1,040,542, item 5. (image viewable when using the site at a family history center)
[3] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 459.
[4] “England and Wales Census, 1841,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0063%2f0285&parentid=gbc%2f1841%2f0000942060&highlights=%22%22 : accessed 13 May 2016), entry for Thomas Casbon (age 35), Meldreth, Cambridgeshire; citing The National Archives, HO 107, piece 63, book 18, folio 4, p. 3, lines 21-5.
[5] “Agriculture and the Labourer,” Cambridgeshire History (http://www.cambridgeshirehistory.com/People/agriculturallabourers.html : accessed 5 January 2017).
[6] “Elections in the United Kingdom,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_United_Kingdom#History : accessed 6 June 2017), rev. 20 May 17, 23:15.
[7] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 460.
[8] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 460.
[9] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BJ95-ZK?i=34&cc=1614804 : accessed 21 July 2016), Charles Casbon & Mary E. McMarrell, 30 Dec 1868; citing Holmes County Courthouse, “Marriage Record No. 5, p. 5.
[10] 1860 U.S. census, Holmes County, Ohio, population schedule, Washington township, p. 223, dwelling 1524, family 1526, Thomas Casbon; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9BSH-967D?cc=1473181&wc=7QGH-1SP%3A1589432777%2C1589423732%2C1589422406 : accessed 23 October 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
[11] 1860 U.S. census, Holmes County, Ohio, population schedule, Washington township, pp. 225–6, dwelling 1569, family 1571, Laurence McMurrell; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9BSH-9DR5?cc=1473181&wc=7QGH-1SP%3A1589432777%2C1589423732%2C1589422406 : accessed 22 August 2016).
[12] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 460.
[13] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 460.
[14] Porter, Indiana “Deed Index 5 Grantor, Jul 1868–Feb 1876” Casbon Thos to Casbon Chas., 13 Jan 1871; FHL microfilm 1,703,896; citing Recorder’s Office, Porter, Indiana.
[15] “Porter,” Illustrated historical atlas of Porter County, Indiana (Valparaiso, Ind. : A.G. Hardesty, 1876), p. 39; online image, Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4093pm.gla00036/?sp=28 : accessed 19 August 2016).
[16] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 460.
[17] “Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVVV-2HRN : accessed 22 August 2016), Lillie May Casbon, 1871; Burial, , Porter, Indiana, United States of America, Merriman Cemetery; citing record ID 19252732, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.
[18] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Valparaiso, Porter, reg. 24673, Lodema E Church (b. 24 Oct 1871); database with images, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 24 August 2016); citing Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900–2011, microfilm, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.
[19] “To Hold Rites for Mrs. Sina Smith Saturday Afternoon,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Vidette-Messenger, 10 Apr 1952, p. 6, col. 4; database and images, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 12 April 2016).
[20] “World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards,” Lawrence John Casbon, 1917-1918; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZ2T-BTH : accessed 22 August 2016),; citing St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,653,193.
[21] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 461.
[22] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 461.
[23] “Residence of Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana, 2: p. 458; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89067919191;view=1up;seq=114 : accessed 6 June 2017).
[24] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” 2: p. 461.
[25] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Valparaiso, Porter, reg. 215, Charles T. Casbon (b. 6 Nov 1840); database with images, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed 24 August 2016).
[26] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Valparaiso, Porter, reg. 6509, Mary E. Casbon (b. 10 Dec 1844 database with images, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed 24 August 2016).
[27] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GTML-57?i=111&cc=1410397 : accesed 22 August 2016), Hiram Church & Lodema Casbon, 26 Feb 1890; citing Porter County Circuit Court Clerk, “Marriage Record 9, May 1889–Oct 1892,” p. 149.

A Family Outing

I am grateful to Tony Casbon of Peterborough for sharing some of his old family photos. Photographs help to connect us to the past and give glimpses into the lives of our ancestors. They also provide evidence of significant events, dates, places and relationships. Sometimes old photos can present challenges – where and when were they taken? Who are the people in the photo?

CA Casbon family outing
Charles Arthur Casbon and family, date and location unknown. Photo courtesy of Tony Casbon.
Labels added by Jon Casbon. (Click on image to enlarge)

This is a nice casual snapshot of a family outing. It looks like they didn’t even stop walking to pose while the photo was taken. The location is not identified, but there is obviously a wide paved public walkway with some kind of embankment on the right side. Is it a public park? The beach? What time of year is it? Even though the boys are wearing shorts, they also have on pullovers. The couple on the right are wearing heavy overcoats, so I suspect it is a fairly cool day.

Madge is carrying a bucket with what looks like the makings of a picnic, and the boy on the right is carrying a kite and a toy sailboat. Wherever they are headed, it looks like they will have a good time.

I really like the facial expressions. Madge and Charles Arthur are clearly enjoying themselves. Eliza appears to be smiling. The boy on the right looks uncertain.

The email that came with this photo identifies the people as follows: “back left: Eliza Kate Harvey; back right: Charles Arthur Casbon holding Reg Casbon; front right: Joseph Arthur Casbon; middle: Marjorie (known as Madge) Casbon; front left: Bill Casbon.”

This cannot be entirely correct, based on the birth order and the apparent ages of the children. The genealogical records can help us to more accurately identify the family members and attach an approximate date to the photo. So, let’s take a closer look at this family, beginning with father Charles.

Charles Arthur Casbon, was born December, 1880, the son of Thomas (1854–­1910) and Elizabeth (Pettifor) (1856–1906) Casbon.[1],[2] His father was the fourth generation of gardeners from the Peterborough area, whom we met previously in “How doth your garden grow, Part 3.”

Unlike his father, Charles took up the profession of baking. He placed this advertisement in July, 1911.[3]

CA Casbon Bakery Add 1911
Advertisement from The Peterborough Advertiser, 1 July 1911. (Click on image to enlarge)

Charles married Grace Parker in 1903, and they had a son, Frank Dennis in 1908.[4],[5] Grace died in 1912.[6]

Charles remarried in September, 1915, this time to Eliza Kate Harvey.[7] Charles and Eliza had the following children:

John William (“Bill”), b. 2 Nov 1916.[8]
Marjorie Elizabeth (“Madge”), b. 11 Nov 1919.[9]
Joseph Arthur (“Arthur”), b. 24 Jul 1921.[10]
Leslie David, b. 28 Apr 1923.[11]
Joyce Gwenneth, b. 31 Oct 1927 and died 11 Aug 1928.[12],[13]
Ronald Eric (“Reg”), b. 4 Jul 1929.[14]

Eliza died in 1932; Charles then married Ethel Wright in December, 1933.[15],[16] Charles and Ethel did not have children. Charles died 1945 and Ethel in 1976, both in Sheffield.[17],[18]

Returning to the photo, the only child I can identify with certainty is Madge, since the other daughter, Joyce, died before she was 10 months old. The baby and the boy on the left are clearly younger than Joyce.

Of the six children born to Charles and Eliza, four were younger than Madge. Based on birth order alone, this leaves three possibilities for the identities of the two youngest children in the photo (from oldest to youngest): Leslie and Reg (because Joyce would have been deceased by the time Reg was born), Leslie and Joyce (if the photo was taken before she died), and Arthur and Leslie.

We can narrow it down more by estimating the ages of the children. I’m guessing that the baby is between 6 and 15 months old; the boy on the left about 3–4 years old. I’m less sure of the others – maybe Madge is 6–8. The boy on the right looks a little older than Madge, maybe 10, but I’m not sure. If older, he would be Bill; if younger, Arthur. What do you think?

If the baby is Reg, then the boy on the left would be Leslie – 6 years and 2 months older than Reg. That means he have to be close to 7 years old. That doesn’t look possible to me, so I think we can exclude Reg as the youngest child in the picture.

What about Joyce? If she is the baby, she would have to be less than 10 months old. Based on apparent age, this could be Joyce. She would have died soon after the photo was taken. If it is Joyce, then the boy on the left would be Leslie, about 4 years and 6 months older. This would make him about 5 years old in the photo. Madge would be about 8 ½years old. The boy on the right could be either Arthur, age 7, or Bill, about 11 ½ years old. These ages don’t quite seem to match the apparent ages either.

The only other possibility is that the baby is Leslie. If so, Arthur, about 3 years old, is on the left. Madge would be about 4 ½, and Bill about 7 ½. Madge and the boy on the right look a little older than this to me, but this still seems like the best “fit” to me?

So, based on apparent ages, my best guess is that the baby is Leslie, and the boy on the left is Arthur. This would mean the boy on the right is Bill. What do you think?

If I’m correct, then the photo would have been taken in late 1923 or early 1924. If I’m wrong and the baby is Joyce, the date of the photo would be summer, 1928.

Tony Casbon also sent this photo, in which the children are easier to identify.

Madge, Arthur, Leslie, Reg 2x cropped
Photo courtesy of Tony Casbon. Labels added by Jon Casbon. (Click on image to enlarge)

The email with this photo identified the children as follows: “Left Side: Joseph Arthur Casbon (known as Arthur); Back Middle: Margaret Casbon (known as Madge); Right Side: Leslie Casbon; Front Middle: Eric Casbon (known as Reg).”

I think the names for the right and left are reversed (or is the scanned photo reversed?), since the boy on the right is clearly older than the boy on the left. Madge is clearly older than in the previous photo. Assuming the baby is Reg, he looks to be about 2 years old. This would make Leslie about 8; Arthur about 10; and Madge almost 12. The date of the photo must be about 1931. I think this photo also supports my guess of the children’s identities in the earlier photograph. Arthur looks about the same age in this photo as the older boy in the earlier photo, so they can’t be the same person.

I’m fortunate to also have a photo of Madge and Reg taken in the early 1990s when my parents met them on a visit to England.

Harry Field LC Madge C Reggie C
Standing: left, Harry Field; right, Lew Casbon. Sitting: left, Madge (Casbon) Field; right, Reg Casbon.
Photo courtesy of Lewis Casbon. (Click on image to enlarge)

All of Charles’ and Eliza’s children are deceased now. Bill passed in 1983, Madge in 2002, Arthur in 1996, Leslie in 1987, and Reg in 2016.[19],[20],[21],[22],[23] Charles’ son Frank, from his first marriage to Grace, died in 1966.[24] Many of today’s living Casbons can claim their ancestry from Charles Arthur Casbon and his children. Are you one of them? Feel free to leave a comment!

Update June 6, 2017

Tony Casbon has clarified that in the photo at the top, the boy on Madge’s left is his father (Joseph) Arthur. That would make the baby Reg and the boy on the left Leslie. Apparently my ability to guess children’s ages needs a little work!

[1] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008,” Peterborough, Northamptonshire, vol. 3B: 246, line 206; database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2XV7-CM1 : accessed 28 September 2015), Charles Arthur Casbon, 1st quarter, 1881. (The birth was registered in early 1881, but weight of evidence suggests he was born in December of 1880)
[2] 1939 Register, Sheffield C.B., Yorkshire (West Riding); online database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=tna%2fr39%2f3533%2f3533c%2f002%2f33 : accessed 10 March 2017), entry for entry for Arthur Casbon (born 14 Dec 1881); citing [The National Archives], ref. RG101/3533C/002/33 Letter Code: KILE.
[3] “Public Notices … The Bakery, Eastgate, Peterborough,” The Peterborough (Northamptonshire, England) Advertiser and Midland Times, 1 Jul 1911, p. 5, col. 3; online archive and images, “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0001629%2F19110701%2F183%2F0005&browse=true : accessed 26 November 2015).
[4] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008,” Peterborough, Northamptonshire, vol. 3B: 568; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fm%2f1903%2f3%2faz%2f000066%2f033 : accessed 23 May 2017), Charles Arthur Casbon, 3d quarter, 1903; citing Marriage, Peterborough, General Register Office, Southport.
[5] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Peterborough, Northamptonshire, vol. 3B: 223; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1908%2f1%2faz%2f000103%2f358 : accessed 23 May 2017), Frank Dennis Casbon, 1st quarter, 1908; citing Birth Registration, Peterborough, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[6] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Peterborough, Northamptonshire, vol. 3B: 259; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1912%2f4%2faz%2f000131%2f040 : accessed 23 May 2017), Grace Casbon (age 35), 4th quarter, 1912; citing Death, Peterborough, General Register Office, Southport.
[7] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008,” Bourne, Lincolnshire, vol. 7A: 1098; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fm%2f1915%2f3%2faz%2f000238%2f011 : accessed 23 May 2017), Charles A Casbon & Eliza Kate Harvey, 3d quarter, 1915.
[8] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Peterborough, vol. 3B: 350; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1916%2f4%2faz%2f000212%2f050 : accessed 23 May 2017), John W. Casbon, 4th quarter 1916, (mother’s maiden name Harvey).
[9] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Spalding, Lincolnshire, vol. 7A: 700; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1919%2f4%2faz%2f000252%2f016 : accessed 23 May 2017), Marjorie E Casbon, 4th quarter, 1919; citing Birth Registration, Spalding, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[10] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Wortley, Yorkshire, England, vol. 9C, p. 679; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1921%2f3%2faz%2f000243%2f009 : accessed 9 March 2017), Joseph A Casbon, 3d quarter 1921; citing Birth Registration, Wortley, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[11] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Sheffield, Yorkshire, vol. 9C: 1071; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1923%2f2%2faz%2f000229%2f006 : accessed 23 May 2017), Leslie D Casbon, 2d quarter, 1923; citing Birth Registration, Sheffield, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[12] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Sheffield, Yorkshire, vol. 9C: 876; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1927%2f4%2faz%2f000182%2f135 : accessed 23 May 2017), Joyce G Casbon, 4th quarter, 1927; citing Birth Registration, Sheffield, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[13] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorkshire, vol. 9C: 307; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1928%2f3%2faz%2f000122%2f027 : accessed 23 May 2017), Joyce G Casbon (age 0), 3d quarter, 1928; citing Death, Ecclesall Bierlow, General Register Office, Southport.
[14] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Sheffield, Yorkshire, vol. 9C, p. 919; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1929%2f2%2faz%2f000201%2f013 : accessed 10 March 2017), Ronald E Casbon, 2d quarter, 1929; citing Birth Registration, Sheffield, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[15] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Sheffield, Yorkshire, vol. 9C: 626; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1932%2f2%2faz%2f000144%2f094 : accessed 24 May 2017), Eliza K Casbon (age 43), 2d quarter, 1932; citing Death, Sheffield, General Register Office, Southport.
[16] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008,” Wortley, Yorkshire, vol. 9C: 751; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fm%2f1933%2f4%2faz%2f000198%2f138 : accessed 24 May 2017), Charles A Casbon & Ethel Wright; citing Marriage Registration, Wortley, General Register Office, Southport.
[17] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Sheffield, Yorkshire, vol. 9C: 292; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1945%2f3%2faz%2f000125%2f008 : accessed 24 May 2017), Charles A Casbon (age 64), 3d quarter, 1945; citing Death, Sheffield, General Register Office, Southport.
[18] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Sheffield, Yorkshire, vol. 3: 1807; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1976%2f1%2faz%2f000214%2f145 : accessed 24 May 2017), Ethel Casbon (born 13 Oct 1887); citing Death, Sheffield, General Record Office, Southport, England.
[19] “England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995”; database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 February 2017), Casbon, John William, 19 Jul 1983; citing Principal Probate Registry, “Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England.”
[20] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Barnsley, Yorkshire, district 0411C, register C38B, entry 162; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f2002%2f5%2f84910159 : accessed 30 May 2017), Marjorie Elizabeth Field (b. 11 Nov 1919), 2d quarter, 2002; citing Death, Yorkshire, citing General Register Office, Southport.
[21] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, district 6871C, register C12D, entry 263; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1996%2f6%2f81234501 : accessed 9 March 2017), Joseph Arthur Casbon (b. 24 Jul 1921), 2d quarter, 1996. citing Deaths, Yorkshire, General Register Office, Southport.
[22] “England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995”; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 February 2017), Casbon, Leslie David, 16 Mar 1987; citing Principal Probate Registry.
[23] “Casbon” [obituary], n.d.; online archive, Grimsby (Lincolnshire, England) Telegraph (http://www.family-announcements.co.uk/grimsby/view/4012501/casbon : accessed 20 September 2016). (Originally printed on February 25, 2016 in the Grimsby and Scunthorpe Telegraph)
[24] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Peterborough, Northamptonshire, vol. 4B: 541; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1966%2f1%2faz%2f000184%2f042 : accessed 30 May 2017), Frank D Casbon (age 58), 1st quarter, 1966; citing Death, Peterborough, citing General Register Office, Southport.

Children of Thomas Casbon (1803–1888): Sylvester V

After the birth of Mary Ann Casbon in 1833, Thomas and Emma (Scruby) Casbon named their second child, a son, “Sell.” He was born about August, 1835, baptized July 1st, 1836, and buried July 24, 1836 at the age of 11 months. [1],[2] Their third child was also a son, and as was common at the time, Thomas and Emma also named him Sell – a nickname for Sylvester, which is how he came to be known as an adult. He is my second great grandfather.

Sylvester V Casbon was born in Meldreth (Cambridgeshire) June 6, 1837 and baptized August 6th of the same year.[3] His life has been well-documented, thanks to two books describing the early history of Porter (and Lake) counties, along with biographies of many of its citizens. The first of these books is titled Counties of Porter and Lake Indiana: Historical and Biographical, Illustrated, published in 1882.[4] The second is History of Porter County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests, published in 1912.[5] Sylvester’s biography from the latter reference has been transcribed and posted on the Porter County, Indiana INGenWeb site and can be found here. I am quoting many excerpts from the 1912 biography in this post. Sylvester was also the subject of two previous posts: “From England to Indiana, Part 5,” and “Sylvester on a Cart.”

Regarding the family’s voyage from England to America in 1846, we are told the following:

At that date one of the few passenger railroads in England was the line from London to Southampton, and many other remarkable changes have occurred in England since then. The streets of London which they passed over were paved with cobblestones, and the modern pavements and subways were undreamed of…. Sylvester was then eight years old and retains many vivid recollections of the eventful journey. At Niagara the family made the transfer in the horse cars then in use, and all had time to enjoy the spectacle of the mighty falls. From Buffalo they took another boat to Cleveland, where they arrived in the month of May.[6]

Like his sister Mary Ann, the long voyage must have made a profound impression on young Sylvester. He was the oldest son, but probably too young to engage in the hardest work while his father established a household and started farming in the new land. Of his childhood and early adulthood, the following is written:

The Casbon children obtained their education in an old stone schoolhouse near Nashville, Ohio, and by diligent study Sylvester fitted himself for teaching, and taught one term at Mt. Ollie, Ohio. Then acting under the persuasion of a friend Mr. Ellsworth, who had settled in Porter county, Indiana, and also from his own wish to locate further west, Mr. Casbon came to this county in 1859 and began teaching in what was then known as the Ellsworth school, which he conducted successfully for three terms. He also taught one term in Boone Grove and one term in the House school, as it was called then, but later known as Boone Grove school.[7]

“Ellsworth” is a misspelling of the name “Aylesworth,” a family strongly associated with the Casbon family both in Ohio and Porter County, Indiana. The identity of “Mr. Ellsworth,” mentioned above, is unknown. Presumably he was close in age to Sylvester. He might have been one of the sons of Ira or Philip Aylesworth, who lived in Wayne County, Ohio. Or perhaps he was a son of Sylvester’s future father in law, Giles Aylesworth, who moved to Porter County in 1842. If the latter, Sylvester might have met “Mr Ellsworth” when he came back to Ohio to visit relatives.

Although not university-educated, Sylvester was apparently schooled well enough to teach others, and was probably better educated than many of his contemporaries.

I’ve tried to identify the locations of the schools mentioned in the biography. Unfortunately, there is insufficient detail to know exactly where they were located. The one exception might be the so-called Ellsworth school. An 1876 plat map of Boone township, Porter County, shows a school located on one corner of a large tract of land owned by Ira Aylesworth in section 9, township 33 north, range 7 west.[8] Since this was located on Aylesworth land, it might well have been called the Aylesworth (or “Ellsworth”) school.

In 1860 Mr. Casbon established his own home by his marriage to Miss Mary A. Ellsworth, a daughter of Giles Ellsworth, of Boone township. Their wedded life was begun on a farm of eighty acres in Boone township, which he had purchased. There was a small house, but few other improvements, and on this place their youthful enthusiasm and industry soon were rewarded with substantial prosperity. The three children born of their marriage were Cora A., Bertha (deceased) and Lawrence A. In 1868 Mr. Casbon lost his wife by death, she being only twenty-six years of age at the time.[9]

Sylvester’s bride’s full name was Mary “Adaline” Aylesworth (1842­–1868), daughter of Giles and Mary (Jones) Aylesworth.[10] I’ve speculated in an earlier post that Mary Adaline might have had a daughter out of wedlock at a very young age. If so, the marriage to Sylvester would have helped her and her parents out of an awkward situation.

With his marriage, Sylvester gave up teaching and took up farming. Perhaps his earnings as a teacher helped him to make his first land purchase. This was recorded in 1861, when he bought portions of land in sections 9 and 16, township 33 north, range 6 west (Boone Township) from his father in law, Giles.[11]

Sylvester and Adaline’s marriage was marred first by the loss of their child, Bertha, who lived only 6 months, and then by the tragic death of Adaline herself.[12] The cause of Adaline’s death is not recorded, but it does not appear to be related to childbirth, unless the birth of the child is also unrecorded. Their third child and first son, Lawrence, was my great-grandfather.

Sylvester married Emmeline “Harriet” Perry in October 1869, one and one-half years after Adaline’s death.[13] A fellow blogger has described Harriet’s earlier divorce from Henry Chester, something unusual for the times.[14] The 1870 census shows Sylvester living in Ross township, Lake County, Indiana with his new wife Harriet, his two surviving children, and Harriet’s daughter Henrietta Chester.[15]

Sylvester Casbon 1870 census Detail from 1870 United States Census, Ross township, Lake County, Indiana. (Click on image to enlarge)

Sylvester’s biography tells us that he had traded farms with his brother in law, Porter Aylesworth, which explains why he was now living in Lake County.[16] After this move,

“by his thrifty industry he became the owner of a fine estate of two hundred and sixty acres. On this he erected a brick house which at the time was considered one of the finest country homes in this region.”[17]

Sadly, his marriage to Harriet was also shortened by her death.

There were three sons by this marriage, Thomas S., Charles P. and George W., who were still in childhood and infancy when deprived of the care of their mother, whose lamented death occurred in 1874. After this loss Mr. Casbon kept his home and children and was both father and mother to them for several years.[18]

What the biography does not tell us is that Harriet’s death occurred less than 3 months after the birth of their son George. This was another terrible tragedy for the family. The cause of her death is also unrecorded.

An important consequence of her death is also not mentioned in the biography. Faced with the responsibility for six motherless children ranging in age from 3 months to 14 years, Sylvester gave up his youngest son George to be raised by his sister Emma and her husband Robert Noel Rigg. Emma and Robert had been married in 1869 and were childless.[19] During the 1870s, they moved from Porter County, Indiana to Tama County, Iowa, where George was raised. George either retained, or took back the Casbon surname. His story will be the subject of a future post, but for now suffice it to say that the Casbon name was established in Iowa by George and his descendants.

Sylvester married Mary M Mereness, 14 years his junior, in December 1877.[20] According to Sylvester’s biography, “Mrs. Casbon became a loyal mother to her husband’s children, and to her they owe much of the training which helped them attain worthy positions in life.”[21] Despite her young age, Mary never had children of her own.

Sylvester Casbon 1880 Census Ross twp
Detail of 1880 United States Census, Ross Township, Lake County, Indiana. Only sons Lawrence, Thomas and Charles were still at home. Cora married John Sams that year, and George was living in Iowa with his adoptive parents. The family entry immediately below Sylvester’s is that of John Mereness, Mary’s father. Apparently Sylvester did not have to look far for his bride!
(Click on image to enlarge)

In 1892, Sylvester and Mary sold their fine brick house in Lake County, and moved to Valparaiso.[22] He was only 55 years old. Had he prospered so much that he was able to retire at this early age? The record does not say. However, his biography does say this:

Mr. Casbon is one of the fortunate men upon whom age sits lightly, and he lives with the interests and activities of a man much younger. Daily his genial figure is seen on the streets, and from nothing does he derive more pleasure than his associations with old friends. He has been known and esteemed in this county for more than half a century, and he has a large circle of firm friends.[23]

This photo, taken at a family gathering about 1905, shows Sylvester and Mary with their children (except George, in Iowa) and grandchildren.[24]

OLD CASBON GROUP labels (Click on image to enlarge)

Sylvester lived a long, and it would seem, fulfilled life, finally passing on at the age of 90 in 1927.[25] Mary died at the age of 81 in 1932.[26]

Sylvester V Casbon death Vidette Messenger 1927Mary Mereness Casbon death Vidette Messenger 1932
Sylvester and Mary Casbon’s obituaries in
The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Vidette-Messenger.[27],[28]
(Click on individual images to enlarge)

Sylvester’s obituary mentions his recollections of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate in Chicago. His lifetime encompassed momentous changes in history, technology, and transportation. I wonder how much he recalled of his early years in England. What a contrast that must have been!

By the way, I have no idea of what the “V” of his middle name stands for.

[1] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Meldreth in the County of Cambridge [1813–67],” p. 46, no. 366, Sell Carsbon, 1 Jul 1836; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 220; citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[2] Church of England, Meldreth Parish (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Burials, Sell Carsbon (age 11 months), 24 Jul 1836, FHL microfilm 1,040,542.
[3] Parish of Meldreth, “Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Meldreth in the County of Cambridge [1813–67],” p. 49, no. 388, Sell Casbon, 6 Aug 1837; FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 221.
[4] Weston A. Goodspeed & Charles Blanchard. Counties of Porter and Lake Indiana: Historical and Biographical, Illustrated. Chicago: F.A. Battey & Co., 1882. Online image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/countiesofporter00good : accessed 12 May 2017).
[5] History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912. 2 volumes. Online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011679885 : accessed 12 May 2017).
[6] History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), 2: 483; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89067919191;view=1up;seq=139 : accessed 12 May 2017).
[7] History of Porter County, 2: 483.
[8] Map, “Boone” [township] ; imaged as “1876 Plat map” on “Boone Township maps,” Porter County, Indiana (http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/1876Plats/Boone-1876.jpg : accessed 12 May 2017).
[9] History of Porter County, 2: 483.
[10] “The Aylesworth Family of Porter County Indiana: Seventh Generation – Adaline Aylesworth Casbon,” Aylesworth.Net (http://www.aylesworth.net/Confidence_family_DWT_CSS/Porter/porter_7.html : accessed 12 May 2017).
[11] “Deed Index Grantee, Jan 1860¬Oct 1868, entry for “Casbon Sylv from Aylesworth Giles;” imaged as “Indiana, Porter, Deed records, 1836-1901,” FHL microfilm 1,703,895, Item 4.
[12] “Cornell Cemetery, Boone Township,” Porter County, Indiana (http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Cemeteries/CornellCemetery.html : accessed 12 May 2017), entry for Casbon, Bertha (d. 22 Jun 1861; “aged 6m, 6d”).
[13] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Porter, Indiana, Sylvester Casborn & Emeline H Perry, 11 Oct 1869; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH3-PGM : accessed 21 Jan 2016).
[14] “The Mystery of Harriet,” 12 Dec 2014, Ainsworth, Indiana (http://ainsworthindiana.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-mystery-of-harriet.html : accessed 12 May 2017).
[15] Unites States Census, 1870, Ross, Lake [mislabeled as “LaGrange”], Indiana; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-64PS-5W7?mode=g&i=10&cc=1438024 : accessed 4 Jul 2016), entry for Sylvester Casbon (age 31); citing p. 11, family 71, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); Family History Library microfilm 545,832.
[16] History of Porter County, 2: 483.
[17] History of Porter County, 2: 483.
[18] History of Porter County, 2: 483.
[19] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH3-Y6X : accessed 20 July 2016), R N Rigg and Emma E Casbon, 15 Apr 1869; citing Porter, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,686,156.
[20] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNTD-TQS : accessed 4 July 2016), Sylvester Casbon and Mary Mereness, 13 Dec 1877; citing Lake, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 2,414,589.
[21] History of Porter County, 2: 483­–4.
[22] History of Porter County, 2: 484.
[23] History of Porter County, 2: 484.
[24] Scanned image, personal collection of Jon Casbon.
[25] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011”, database and images, Ancestry Library Edition (accessed at participating libraries : accessed 10 August 2016), entry for Sylvester Casbon (age 90), 10 Dec 1927, Porter, Indiana; citing Indiana State Board of Health.
[26] “Death Claims Mary Casbon,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Vidette Messenger, 29 Feb 1932, p. 3, col. 8; online image, Newspaper Archive (accessed at participating libraries : accessed 16 Jun 2016).
[27] “Death Calls S.V. Casbon; Reached 90,” The Vidette Messenger, 19 Dec 1927, p. 1, col. 1; Newspaper Archive: accessed 16 Jun 2016.
[28] “Death Claims Mary Casbon,” The Vidette Messenger.

Serial Offender

I’m constantly amazed at how many people are descended from my 4th great uncle James Casbon (about 1813–1884). He was the brother of my 3d great grandfather Thomas (1808–1888). James had multiple wives – I haven’t been able to identify all of them – who bore him many children. Although he only brought two children with him when he emigrated to the United States, by my estimates, he has just about as many descendants in the US as in the UK (thanks to son Amos!). Not only was James a poor hardworking man, he must have also been a passionate man.

One of those descendants was Walter Leslie Casbon (1913–1991), the subject of today’s post. Walter appears in this May 11, 1940 Buckingham Advertiser.[1]

Buckingham advertiser 11 May 1940 Walter Casbon fined
(Click on image to enlarge)

Walter Leslie Casbon was the great grandson of James Casbon, mentioned above. His grandfather was James’ son Thomas (1844–1924), his father was Walter Casbon (1893–unknown) and his mother was Beatrice Lily (Convine) Casbon (1893–1965). Walter Leslie was born on December 21, 1913 in the vicinity of Ely, Cambridgeshire.[2],[3]

This was Walter’s first documented run-in with the law, but not the last. He and his motorcycle received three more mentions within a 2-1/2 year period.

Buckingham advertiser 13Jul1940 Walter Casbon motorcycle accident  Buckingham advertiser 10Jan1942 Walter Casbon fined  Bucks Herald 12Jun1942 Walter L Casbon motoring offense
(Click on each image to enlarge) [4],[5],[6]

Apparently Walter was quite the menace.

I hope my readers will take the time to read the entire articles. Not only do they reveal the minor offenses of the time, but they also give a glimpse into life in wartime England, where blackouts were the norm and fuel was rationed. Walter was probably lucky to have a motorcycle to move about with. The articles are also infused with good will and humor, such as the magistrate who paid a man’s fine, and the farmer who ate three of his “unfit” chickens and “enjoyed them very much.”

The last article mentions that Walter was a soldier at the time. Perhaps that is why he was said to be living in Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk, instead of Buckinhamshire. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any World War II military records for Walter.

For that matter, I haven’t been able to find many records at all concerning Walter. His marriage to Ottilie Francesca Leipholz was registered in 1949.[7]  This is a German name, and I haven’t been able to find a birth record for her in England. Might this have something to do with his military service? Was he stationed in Germany?

I also have not been able to find any records of children born to Walter and Ottilie. The only records I have been able to find are of Walter and Ottilie’s deaths. Ottilie died in 1986, and Walter followed her in 1991.[8],[9]

[1] “Straying Sheep: Winslow Magistrate’s Comments,” Buckingham (Buckinghamshire, England) Advertiser and North Bucks Free Press, 11 May 1940, p. 5, col. 5; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0001082%2f19400511%2f045 : accessed 24 September 2016).
[2] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Ely, Cambridgeshire, vol. 3B: 848; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1914%2f1%2faz%2f000246%2f106 : accessed 4 May 2017), Walter L Casbon, 1st quarter, 1914. (mother’s last name Convine).
[3] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Downham, Norfolk, register 391, vol. 10: 1275; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1991%2f3%2f78323744 : accessed 3 May 2017), Walter Leslie Casbon (b. 21 Dec 1914), 1st quarter 1991.
[4] “Winslow Week by Week,” Buckingham Advertiser, 13 Jul 1940, p. 4, col. 1; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0001082%2f19400713%2f048 : accessed 24 September 2016).
[5] “’Not as Loud as the Band’: Soldier’s Reply to Singing Charge,” Buckingham Advertiser, 10 Jan 1942, p. 4, col. 5; findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0001082%2f19420110%2f058 : accessed 24 September 2016).
[6] “Aylesbury Petty Sessions … Motoring Offences,” The Bucks (Buckinghamshire, England) Herald, 12 Jun 1942, p. 8, col. 5; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000270%2f19420612%2f152 : accessed 24 September 2016).
[7] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008,” North Bucks, Buckinghamshire, vol. 6A: 911; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fm%2f1949%2f4%2faz%2f000200%2f110 : accessed 3 May 2017), Walter L Casbon, 4th quarter 1949 (married Ottilie Leipholz).
[8] ” England & Wales deaths 1837-2007,” Kings Lynn, Norfolk, vol. 10: 1364; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1986%2f10%2f75414671 : accessed 4 May 2017), Ottilie Francesca Casbon (b. 28 Aug 1912), 4th quarter, 1986.
[9] “Find a Will: Wills and Probate 1858–1996;” database and images, Gov.UK (https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Calendar?surname=casbon&yearOfDeath=1991&page=1#calendar : accessed 4 May 2017), Casbon, Walter Leslie, 16 March 1991.

Children of Thomas Casbon (1803–1888): Mary Anne

My third great grandfather Thomas Casbon and his wife Emma (Scruby) had five children who survived into adulthood. Four were born in England and the fifth was born in Ohio, less than a year after their arrival in the United States. Their oldest child was Mary Ann, born in about 1833.

What did thirteen-year old Mary Ann think when the family boarded the Parkfield in April 1846 to start their voyage to America? One account says “The sailing vessel on which they all embarked encountered adverse winds that after several weeks drove it back within sight of the starting point, and it was a long voyage before the western continent appeared.”[1] By the time the ship arrived in Quebec, she was probably grateful to have survived the voyage, amazed by the varied landscapes and new experiences, and both apprehensive and excited about starting a new life in Ohio.

Mary Ann is said to have been born on January 7th, 1833, but there are no reliable records supporting this date. The earliest record I have is her baptism in Meldreth on October 13th, 1833.[2]

Mary Anne Casbon BP Meld 1833 PR detail
Detail of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England) parish register, Baptisms in 1833. (Click on image to enlarge)

As the oldest child and daughter, she was probably given a lot of responsibility in their new home, helping with chores and caring for the younger children, especially baby sister Emma, who was born in 1847.[3] She probably received a basic education as well, since Thomas’ children were said to have “attended a neighboring schoolhouse of the type which has been described so often, with slab benches for seats and the other furnishings of a similar crude character.”[4]

In October 1853, Mary Ann married Elijah Priest, son of Samuel and Sarah (Sands) Priest.[5]

Elijah Priest Mary Ann Casbon M OH 1853
Marriage record of Elijah Priest and Mary Anne Casbon, October 23, 1853, Wayne County, Ohio.
(Click on image to enlarge)

In the 1850 census, Mary Ann and Elijah lived in adjacent townships of Wayne County, Ohio with their parents.[6],[7] I don’t know how young men and women met in those days – church? school? in “town”? social gatherings? By whatever means, their paths crossed and a connection was made.

Mary Ann and Elijah had their only child, a son named Willis, in about 1856.[8] By 1860, the family was living in Richland township in Holmes County, Ohio, some 10-15 miles south of Mary Anne’s father Thomas.[9]

In the mid-1860s (during, or immediately after the Civil War), Mary Ann and Elijah moved to Porter County, Indiana. Sylvester and Charles Thomas Casbon were the first to move to Indiana. Thomas Casbon and the young Elijah Priest family followed a few years later. Thomas made his first land purchase in Porter County in January, 1865, while Elijah bought land in March, 1866.[10],[11] By 1876, Elijah and Mary Ann were living adjacent to Thomas, as well as Mary Ann’s brothers Charles and Jesse, as seen in this plat map.[12]

1876 Casbon_Priest land Porter twp
Detail from map of Porter township, Porter County,
Indiana, ca. 1876. (Click on image to enlarge)

They continued to live in Porter township until their deaths: Mary Ann’s on February 9, 1890; and Elijah’s 5 years later on March 17, 1895.[13],[14]

Their son Willis married Emma C. Allenbrand on Christmas Day, 1882.[15] Although they had four children, only two daughters survived beyond childhood, and neither married or had children. Willis died in 1896, and Emma in 1946.[16],[17] With the death of Willis and Emma’s daughter Iva in 1970, the line of Elijah and Mary Ann (Casbon) Priest’s descendants came to an end.[18]

[1] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), vol. 2, p. 459; online images, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89067919191;view=1up;seq=115 : accessed 29 April 2017).
[2] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Meldreth in the County of Cambridge [1813–67],” p. 40, no. 318, Mary Anne Casbon, 13 Oct 1833; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 207; citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[3] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=18208125 : accessed 18 August 2016), memorial page for Emma Rigg (1847–1910), memorial no. 18208125, created by “Deb”; citing Westview Cemetery, La Porte City, Black Hawk, Iowa.
[4] “Charles Thomas Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana, vol. 2, p. 460; Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89067919191;view=1up;seq=116 : accessed 20 April 2017).
[5] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZNC-9QT : accessed 29 April 2017), Elijah Priest and Mary Ann Cashbon, 23 Oct 1853; citing Wayne, Ohio, United States, reference 140; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 425,755.
[6] 1850 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Ohio, population schedule, Clinton township, p. 2, dwelling 8, family 8, Thos. Casban; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XHRS-K7M?i=1&cc=1401638 : accessed 4 July 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 739.
[7] 1850 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Ohio, population schedule, Plain township, p. 379 (stamped), dwelling 39, famiy 359, Samuel Priest; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DZHS-636?mode=g&i=48&cc=1401638 : accessed 29 April 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 740.
[8] 1870 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, population schedule, Porter township, p. 8, dwelling 55, family 55, Willis Priest; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D5GG-5V?mode=g&i=7&cc=1438024 : accessed 20 August 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 351.
[9] 1860 U.S. Census, Holmes County, Ohio, population schedule, Richland township, p. 26, dwelling 175, family 175, Elijah Priest; image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GBSH-9ZVJ?mode=g&i=22&cc=1473181 : accessed 20 August 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, Roll 989.
[10] Porter County, Indiana, “Deed Index Grantee, Jan 1860—Oct 1868,” Book Q p. 403, Casbon Thos, 15 Jan 1865; FHL microfilm 1,703,895, Item 4.
[11] Porter County, Indiana, “Deed Index Grantee, Jan 1860—Oct 1868,” Book T p.106 or 166, Priest, Elijah, 20 Mar 1866.
[12] A.G. Hardesty, “Porter [township],” Illustrated historical atlas of Porter County, Indiana, (Valparaiso, Ind.: A.G. Hardesty, 1876), p. 39; digital image, Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/item/2007626934/ : accessed 29 April 2017).
[13] Find A Grave, memorial page for Mary Aann[sic] Casbon Priest (1833–1890).
[14] Find A Grave (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=19478951 : accessed 29 April 2017), memorial page for Elijah Priest (1829–1895), memorial no. 19478951, created by Linda Parnell, citing Fleming Cemetery, Porter County, Indiana.
[15] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH3-188 : 21 January 2016), Willis L Priest and Emma C Allenbrand, 25 Dec 1882; citing Porter, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,686,157.
[16] “Indiana News,” Jasper (Indiana) Weekly Courier, 10 Apr 1896, p. 6, col. 4; online image, “Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers,” Library of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023963/1896-04-10/ed-1/seq-6/ : accessed 29 April 2017).
[17] “Emma Priest Dies Aged 85,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Vidette-Messenger, 7 Mar 1946, p. 1, col. 8; online archive, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries : accessed 29 April 2017).
[18] Find A Grave (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=177086959 : accessed 29 April 2017), memorial page for Iva Elizabeth Priest (1885–1970), memorial no. 177086959, created by “BethM1130”; citing Graceland Memorial Park, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana.

“a term of reproach …”

I was pleased when I got an email from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) yesterday, informing me that they had purchased the online version of The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. This book was published in 2016 and is the result of the FaNBI project (Family Names in Britain and Ireland), an ongoing research endeavor “building on foundations laid by previous scholars but using new methods, new principles, and new resources.”[1] The book has more than 45,000 entries, listing every name with more than 100 occurrences in the most recent (2011) UK census, and those with more than 20 occurrences in 1881.[2],[3] The print version of the book costs $600, so I was especially happy to have access to it though my NEHGS membership.

The first thing I did was look up Casbon (sorry, there were no entries for Casban or Casben). This is what it says:[4]

  • Current frequencies: GB 71, Ireland 0
  • GB frequency 1881: 44
  • Main GB location 1881: Cambs, Herts, and Northants [Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire]

(English) : see Casbolt.

In other words, there were 71 people with the Casbon name in Great Britain in 2011, and 44 in 1881. The 1881 geographic distribution matches my data, in which the main concentrations are Meldreth/Melbourn (Cambridgeshire), Barley (Hertfordshire), and Peterborough (Northamptonshire). I assume they used the 1881 geographic distribution because people were less likely to have migrated from their places of origin at that time.

Next, I looked at the entry for Casbolt, since the first entry directed me there. Here is a synopsis:[5]

Variants: Casburn, Casebourne, Casbon

  • Current frequencies: GB 133, Ireland 0
  • GB frequency 1881: 149
  • Main GB location 1881: Cambs

English: nickname from Middle English casbalde ‘bald head’, apparently a term of reproach: ‘Go home, casbalde with þi clowte’ [thy cloth] (about 1440 York Plays). [bold print for emphasis]

Well, what do you think of that? The geniuses at Oxford think our name comes from a nickname, a “term of reproach”! Actually, I think it’s pretty interesting – a great conversation starter.

The entry gives the following additional information:

This surname became highly variable in its second syllable, despite being strongly localized to E Cambs. The variants with -n- seem to have arisen in the SE of the Isle of Ely. There is no evidence that the modern name is ever from the place-name surviving in Casebourne Wood in Hythe (Kent), exemplified by John de Caseburn, 1275 in Hundred Rolls (Kent).[6]

I’m curious why the editors chose Casbolt as the principal spelling. It’s probably because it is/was the most common variant, edging out Casburn only slightly. In my research, Casbolt is strongly associated with the village of Linton, 11.5 miles due east of Meldreth. Casburn is strongly associated with the village of Burwell, about 18 miles northeast of Meldreth and 12.5 miles north of Linton. See my map of births & christenings in the UK at https://www.easymapmaker.com/map/casbon_uk_genealogy.

So, was there once a bald man in Linton, whose descendants kept his nickname as their surname, and gradually migrated to surrounding villages? We’ll never know, but I find the concept appealing.

There are other theories about the origin of the name. One is the idea mentioned above, that our name is related to the place name of Casebourne Wood in Kent. This theory is expressed on The Internet Surname Database.[7] I agree that this explanation is unlikely. The geographic clustering in Cambridgeshire is too strong to support an origin in Kent. Ancestry says that Casbon is “French: probably a reduced form of Casabon, a topographic name meaning ‘house in good condition’.” This explanation might apply to the Louisiana Casbons (see The French Connection), but I don’t think we can apply it to those of us whose origins were in England.

I’ll stick with the bald man theory for now. After all, I have Oxford University to back me up.
bald_head

[1] “The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland: Introduction,” Oxford Reference (http://www.oxfordreference.com.nehgs.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/acref/9780199677764.001.0001/acref-9780199677764-miscMatter-7 : accessed 27 April 2017).
[2] “The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland: Introduction.”
[3] “The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland,” Oxford Reference (http://www.oxfordreference.com.nehgs.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/acref/9780199677764.001.0001/acref-9780199677764 : accessed 27 April 2017).
[4] “The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names … Casbon,” Oxford Reference (http://www.oxfordreference.com.nehgs.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/acref/9780199677764.001.0001/acref-9780199677764-e-06875?rskey=S2GZgr&result=1 : accessed 27 April 2017).
[5] “The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names … Casbolt,” Oxford Reference (http://www.oxfordreference.com.nehgs.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/acref/9780199677764.001.0001/acref-9780199677764-e-06874# : accessed 27 April 2017).
[6] “The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names … Casbolt.”
[7] “Last name: Casbon,” The Internet Surname Database (http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Casbon : accessed 27 April 2017).

George Casbon – A Canadian Mystery

One day, while doing research, I came upon this passenger’s manifest of a ship bound for Quebec, Canada, from Liverpool, England.[1]

George Casbon b 1914 Canada passenger list 1929
Detail from passenger list of the Duchess of Atholl, departing Liverpool, England 20 September 1929.
(Click on image to enlarge)

I’ve underlined information pertaining to George Casbon, age 15. His last address in the United Kingdom is listed as “c/o Dr. Barnardo’s Homes, Myrtle St,L’pool.” Note also that many of the names above his come from “c/o Catholic Emigration, Coleshill,B’ham.” Under column 6, George’s occupation is listed as “farming.”

My curiosity aroused, I consulted my old friend Google, to see what I could find out about Dr Barnardo’s Homes. This search revealed a very interesting and troubling chapter in England’s social history.

Barnardo’s is a charitable organization founded by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866.[2] Barnardo initially started a home for destitute boys in London.[3] Over time, he opened residential homes throughout the United Kingdom.[4] Children were taken in for variety of reasons; they might be orphans, victims of abuse, illegitimate, or just the children of families who could not afford to care for them.[5] The charity is still in operation, and reputed to be the UK’s largest children’s charity.[6]

The controversial and troubling part of Barnardo’s history is its role in the emigration of children to other British Commonwealth countries. A law was passed in 1850 allowing children in workhouses to be sent to Canada.[7] Eventually, 130,000 children were sent to Commonwealth countries, the majority going to Canada.[8] These children are now known as British Home Children. One website claims that more than 10 percent of Canada’s population today is descended from British Home Children.[9]

Barnardo’s was only one of many organizations – including the Salvation Army and the Church of England (and “Catholic Emigration,” as noted in the passenger list above)—that participated in the child migration program.[10] Although based largely on good intentions, i.e., to give the children “a better life,” the program was also a convenient solution to the strain on resources caused by vast numbers of children receiving support from these charitable organizations.[11] From a social policy standpoint, it was similar to the practice of transporting convicted criminals to Commonwealth lands.

Children were sent to households and farms throughout Canada.[12] While many of the children developed lasting relationships with their new families, others were treated as cheap labor, or were subject to abuse.[13] They were often stigmatized by the local communities.[14] Sometimes children were sent from the UK without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and upon arrival siblings were often separated.[15]

After being told fanciful tales of travel to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’, where children ride to school on horseback, child migrants were sent abroad without passports, social histories or even basic documents such as a full birth certificate. Brothers and sisters were frequently separated for most of their childhood; some were loaded onto trucks for long journeys to remote institutions, only to be put to work as labourers the next day. Many felt an extreme sense of rejection by their family and country of origin. Others felt like characters from Kafka’s novels; their punishment was obvious—exile from their family and homeland—but the nature of their crime was a complete mystery.[16]

The emigration program began to taper off in Canada after the Second World War, but continued in Australia into the 1970s.[17] Many of the participating agencies and countries now recognize the suffering and negative consequences endured by large numbers of children, and have expressed regret or offered official apologies to the victims.[18]

What was George Casbon’s experience? There really isn’t enough information to know. I have very few records to go by. Perhaps it’s appropriate that he is “unconnected” in my family tree, meaning I don’t know who his parents are or how he is related to the other Casbon branches.

George Casbon b 1914 Canada immigration list 1929
Detail from list of passengers arriving in Quebec on the Duchess of Atholl 28 September 1929.[19]
(Click on image to enlarge)

This is the Canadian immigration record of George’s arrival. Under the title for column 7, Country and Place of Birth, is typed “Dr. Barnardos Party.” In George’s entry for the same column, “London” has been lined through and replaced with “Penge.” Penge is a suburb of south-east London.[20] Using George’s age, I was able to find an entry for George Casbon’s birth during the second quarter (April-June) of 1914, registered in Croydon, Surrey.[21] Penge was included in the Croydon Registration District at that time, so this is almost certainly the same George Casbon.[22]

The birth index lists his mother’s last name as “Casbon,” suggesting that she was unwed at the time of his birth.[23] This might explain the reason George came to be one of “Dr. Barnardo’s children.” I don’t know the mother’s first name, although I have located at least one candidate in my records who was unmarried, of childbearing age, and who lived in Croydon her entire life. I would need to obtain the actual birth record (not the index) to (possibly) confirm her name.

Column 19 of the immigration record tells us that George intended to follow the occupation of “Farming” in Canada. In Column 21 the words “Mother, (address unknown)” are lined through and replaced with what looks like “Myrtle Liverpool.” At first I thought this meant George’s mother’s name was Myrtle and that she lived in Liverpool. However, I remembered that this is simply his last address in the UK, noted in the ship’s manifest at the top of this post. There was a Barnardo’s Home on Myrtle Street in Liverpool.[24] Here is an image of the building as it looks today, from Google Street View.


The Canadian offices of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes used to publish a quarterly magazine titled Ups and Downs.[25] The magazine sometimes highlighted children who had recently arrived from the UK. George was mentioned in the January, 1930 edition.

“George Casbon records his first impression of his farm life:—

I was met at the station when I arrived by the farmer, and another Barnardo boy. He took me to a fowl supper, then he took me to his house. The following Sunday he took me to a duck roast. He is giving me good education on farming. I like this place very much and I should like to stay here. [26]

After his arrival, George’s workplaces were visited periodically by Immigration officials, who kept a “report card” of his status.[27] Here is George’s card.

George Casbon b1914 Canada Juv Insp rep card
(Click on image to enlarge)

This card gives a lot of useful information. His birthdate is given as “11/6/14.” In British English, this means June 11th, 1914 (not November 6th, as we would read it in the U.S.). This date gives further confirmation that he is the same George Casbon whose birth was registered at Croydon in 1914. The report card gives the dates of inspections; grades for “Character of Home”, “Health”, “Satisfaction Given” and “Child’s Character”; “Terms” (what George was being paid); and the name and address of his employer. The record goes from February, 1930 to September, 1933. On the latter date, he was listed as “not here … address unknown … completed … presumed to have left for Toronto.” It is evident that he had a number of different employers who were generally satisfied with his character and performance.

This is the last record that I can link to George with certainty. I’ve been able to find later entries for George Casbon listed at one point as a farmer and at another as a lorry driver. I’ve also found a cemetery record for George William Casbon, born in England, date unknown, and died September 24, 1966 in Toronto.[28] I think it’s very likely these are all the same person, but don’t have the records to confirm it. It would be great if I could link him up to the family tree at some point. If any of his descendants should happen to read this, please contact me.

[1] “Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=tna%2fbt27%2f1239000082%2f00534 : accessed 6 October 2016), George Casbon, age 15, departed Liverpool 22 Sep 1929 aboard the Duchess of Atholl; citing The National Archives, BT 27.
[2] “Barnardo’s,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnardo%27s : accessed 17 April 2017), rev. 10 Apr 17, 11:41.
[3] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 3, PDF download, Barnardo’s (http://www.barnardos.org.uk/barnardo_s_children_v2.pdf : accessed 17 April 2017).
[4] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 6.
[5] “Barnardo’s Children,” pp. 6-7.
[6] “Barnardo’s,” Wikipedia.
[7] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 8.
[8] “Child Migration History,” Child Migrants Trust (http://www.childmigrantstrust.com/our-work/child-migration-history/ : accessed 17 April 2017).
[9] “Who Are the British Home Children,” 2017, para. 16, British Home Child Group International (http://britishhomechild.com/history/ : accessed 17 April 2017).
[10] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 5.
[11] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 6.
[12] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 8.
[13] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 9.
[14] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 11.
[15] “Who Are the British Home Children,” paras. 7, 9.
[16] “Child Migration History,” Child Migrants Trust.
[17] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 15.
[18] “Martin Narey’s response to Gordon Brown’s apology to child migrants,” Barnardo’s (http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_history/working_with_former_barnardos_children/child_migration/childmigration_response.htm : accessed 17 April 2017).
[19] “Passenger Lists: Quebec City (1925-1935),” page 566 of 628, digital images, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-119.01-e.php?PHPSESSID=pgu74hjaupu9qmj7ao9j21gtb3&sqn=566&q2=12&q3=911&tt=628 : accessed 7 October 2016), entry for George Casbon, age 15, aboard the Duchess of Atholl, arriving at Quebec 28 Sep 1929; citing LAC microfilm T-14760.
[20] “Penge,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penge : accessed 18 April 2017), rev. 9 Apr 17, 18:12.
[21] “England & Wales Births 1837-2006”, Croydon, Surrey, vol. 2A: 618, entry for George Casbon, 2d quarter, 1914; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1914%2f2%2faz%2f000255%2f096 : accessed 18 April 2017); citing General Register Office.
[22] “Croydon Registration District,” UK BMD Births, Marriages, Deaths and Censuses on the Internet (https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/reg/districts/croydon.html : accessed 17 April 2017).
[23] “England & Wales Births 1837-2006”, Croydon, Surrey, entry for George Casbon.
[24] “Sheltering Home for Destitute Children, Liverpool, Lancashire,” Children’s Homes (http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/LiverpoolSheltering/ : accessed 18 April 2017).
[25] “The Dr. Barnardo Magazine Ups and Downs,” British Home Children in Canada (http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/ups-and-downs-magazine.html : accessed 18 April 2017).
[26] Ups & Downs, vol. 32: 1, 5 Jan 1930, pp. 14-5; scanned image files received 11 Dec 2016 in email from John Sayers [email address for private use] (volunteer researcher for British Isles Family History Society of Ottawa, Canada) to Jon Casbon.
[27] “Department of Immigration: Juvenile Inspection Report Cards (ca. 1913–1932),” “About” tab, Héritage (http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_161388 : accessed 18 April 2017).
[28] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=82809107 : accessed 7 October 2016), memorial page for George William Casbon (unknown–1966), memorial no. 82809107, created by Mary Ireland; citing Sanctuary Park Cemetery, Etobicoke, Toronto Municipality, Ontario.