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The Cambridge Chronicle of 26 April 1862 contained this brief report.

Cambridge Chronicle 26Apr1862 George C stole clothes
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks
to The British Newspaper Archive(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

Commitments to the Castle. … George Casbon, Meldreth, and John Reed, Whaddon, running away from the Bassingbourn union with the clothes,
21 days each.

What does this mean? The report gives quite a bit of information, providing you understand some of the terminology and context.

It’s clear from reading the paragraph that all the named individuals have been accused of various crimes or infractions. What does it mean that they were committed to the Castle?

In Cambridgeshire, i.e., Cambridge County, the Castle was the nickname for the county jail (gaol in the U.K.). Thus, being committed to the Castle means being sentenced to spend time in the jail.

The term Castle comes from the fact that the original county jail was a former Norman castle. The castle was demolished in 1807 and a new jail built a short distance away. The Castle nickname remained with the new building. The site of the old castle is now called Castle Mound.

g6888View of Cambridge Castle and Plan of Cambridge Castle engraved by Warren and published in
Picturesque Views of the Antiquities of England & Wales, 1786; Public Domain, courtesy of
ancestryimages.com (Click on image to enlarge)

I have posted about people being committed to the Castle before. Ten-year-old John Casbon was briefly committed (before spending the rest of his seven-year sentence at a reform school) after being convicted of arson in 1852. James Casbon was sentenced to two months in the Castle for child neglect in 1870.

Who were George Casbon and John Reed?

George is one of the most common Casbon forenames, but only two Georges were born before 1862, one in 1836 and one in 1846. We can eliminate the first, George S. Casbon, for a few reasons. Although born in Meldreth, by 1862 he was no longer living there. He was married and working as a Wheelwright at Barley, Hertfordshire. The profile of a working man doesn’t match that of someone who would be running away from the Bassingbourn union, as I will explain.

That leaves George Casbon, the son of James and Elizabeth (Waller) Casbon, born at Meldreth 28 November 1846 and baptized there 16 March 1847, as the only remaining candidate.[1] George’s mother, Elizabeth, died of consumption in 1852.[2]

As to John Reed, I have found only one person by that name from Whaddon. He appears in the 1851 census as John Read, age 6.[3] His sister Susanna Read, age 21, is listed as head of household and a pauper. The father, William Reed, died in 1847.[4] Mary Reed, the mother, died in 1849.[5] Thus, the household we see in the 1851 census consists of their orphaned children, with John being the youngest.

George Casbon and John Reed both would have been about 16 years old when they ran away from the Bassingbourn union; but what was the Bassingbourn union?

Bassingbourn union was another name for the Royston Union Workhouse. Royston is a large town located at the northern border of Hertfordshire. In 1862, the border between Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire ran through the middle of Royston. The Royston Union Workhouse was located on the north, or Cambridgeshire side, of Baldock Road. The workhouse was located within Bassingbourn Parish in Cambridgeshire, hence the term Bassingbourn union.

Cambs detail map 1834
Detail map showing locations of Meldreth, Whaddon, and Royston; adapted from Map of the County of Cambridge, from an Actual Survey made in the years 1832 & 1833 (London: Greenwood & Co., 1834); courtesy of David Rumsey Map Collection (https://www.davidrumsey.com/); image reproduction copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Royston workhous map
Detail from Ordnance Survey map, showing location of Royston Union Workhouse; Cambridgeshire LVIII.SW (Southampton: Ordnance Survey Office, 1886); Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland, Creative Commons License

Workhouses were institutions created to house and feed the poor and infirm. Each workhouse was administered by a poor law union consisting of several parishes. The Royston workhouse was built in 1836 and designed to accommodate 300 inmates.[6] In general, workhouses were segregated by sex and age: there were sections for the aged and infirm, children, able-bodied men, and able-bodied women.[7] Inmates were issued clothing, usually made from coarse materials.[8] Able-bodied inmates were expected to work, often at menial tasks; schooling and sometimes apprenticeships were provided to children.[9]

Why were the two boys in the workhouse? In the case of John Reed, we know that he was an orphan. With no means of financial support, the workhouse was probably his only option.

The situation with George Casbon is more complicated. We know that he lost his mother in 1852. His younger sister, Emma, died at the workhouse (my emphasis) in November 1853.[10] This suggests that after the death of George’s mother, either some or all of the children were sent to the workhouse.

My confusion is compounded by the fact that I haven’t been able to positively identify James Casbon or any of his children (except for daughter, Lydia, who was married) in the 1861 England census. I have speculated that James and his son Thomas were listed (in the 1861 census) in the village of Cottenham with the surname Randle. In addition, I think I’ve found James’s two youngest sons, George and John, at the Royston workhouse. The census uses initials for the inmates. Among these are the initials “C.G.” and “C.J.” (the first initial represents the surname), both from Meldreth.[11] Incidentally, the initials “R.J.,” which might stand for John Reed, from Whaddon, are also present on the same census page.

The final detail from the Cambridge Chronicle article is that the two boys were committed to the Castle for the offense of “running away from the Bassingbourn union with the clothes.” It’s unclear whether the offense was running away or taking the clothes, although I suspect it was the latter. I wish there was a little more detail. Which clothes did they take—their own or those belonging to other inmates? What did they intend to do with the clothes? Such is the way with family research—you never have all the answers.

What became of George and John? I’ll save most of George’s life for later posts but will say here that he eventually married and had a family of his own. He died at the village of Fowlmere, 18 October 1897.[12] He was 51 years old.

John Reed’s fate is unknown. I haven’t been able to identify him in any records after 1862.

[1] Meldreth (Cambridgeshire) Parish Records, baptisms [1813–1867], p. 63, no. 501; browsable images, FamilySearch ((https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 Apr 2017).
[2] England, General Register Office, death registration, Royston & Buntingford/Melbourn, 1852, vol. 3A/134, no. 117.
[3] 1851 England census, Whaddon (Cambridgeshire), enumeration district 11, p. 4, line 12; imaged at Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 24 Apr 2020) >Cambridgeshire >Whaddon >4 >image 5 of 23.
[4] “England, Cambridgeshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1599-1860,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1465708 : accessed 24 Apr 2020) >007681883 >image 704 of 733.
[5] “England, Cambridgeshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1599-1860,” accessed 24 Apr 2020 >007681883 > image 709 of 733.
[6] Peter Higginbotham,“Royston, Herfordshire,” in The Workhouse: The story of an institution … (http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Royston/ : accessed 24 Apr 2020).
[7] “Workhouse,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workhouse#1834_Act : accessed 24 Apr 2020), rev. 18 Mar 2020, 01:28.
[8] Higginbotham, “Workhouse Uniform,” in The Workhouse: The story of an institution … .
[9] Higginbotham, “Work” and “Children in the Workhouse,” in The Workhouse: The story of an institution … .
[10] England, General Register Office, death registration, Royston & Buntingford/Melbourn, 1853, vol. 3A/107, no. 319.
[11] 1861 England census, Bassingbourn (Cambridgeshire), enumeration district 5, p. 77 (stamped) verso (6th page of entries for Royston Union Workhouse), lines 4 & 5; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8767 : accessed 24 April 2020) >Cambridgeshire >Bassingbourn >District 5 >image 23 of 25; National Archives.
[12] “Deaths,” Saffron Walden (Essex) Weekly News, 22 Oct 1897, p. 8, col. 8; British Newspaper Archive (accessed 14 Sep 2017.

Five Families, Eleven Weddings

Slocum … I’ve heard that name before; I wonder if she’s related?

Today’s post is an outgrowth of the two previous posts, in which I explored the connections between the Casbon and Aylesworth family trees. While conducting my Aylesworth research, I came upon the name of Martha Slocum, who married Philip Aylesworth, a member of the fourth generation of his family in America and a direct ancestor of many living Casbons.

The name Slocum was not new to me. William Wallace Slocum married Mary Casbon in Ohio, 1862.[1] After Mary died, he married Emma Payne in 1865 (see “From England to America, Part 8”).[2] Mary Casbon was the niece of Thomas Casbon, the original immigrant from England, and Emma Payne was the niece of Thomas’s wife, Emma Scruby. Emma Payne’s mother, Sarah Scruby, was married to James Payne of Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, England.

A little digging showed that Martha and William Wallace Slocum were distantly related. They were both descended from Giles Slocum ( ? –1682), who immigrated from England to Rhode Island before 1648.[3] Martha was descended from Giles’s son Samuel and William Wallace from Giles’s son Eleazar. Martha was in the fifth generation of descendants and William Wallace in the seventh.

So now I knew that the Slocum, Aylesworth, and Casbon families were all related to one another.

Furthermore, with William Wallace Slocum’s marriage to Emma Payne, the Slocums became connected to the Scruby family, who were already related to the Casbons through the marriage of Emma Scruby to Thomas Casbon and later through the marriage of Mary Payne (Emma Payne’s sister) to James Casbon.

Are you confused yet?

I decided to plot out all the ways that the Slocum, Aylesworth, Scruby (including Payne), and Casbon families were related. I added a fifth family, Priest, because I was aware of multiple connections on their part as well. Here is the result of my efforts.

5 family connections cropped
Diagram depicting interconnected family trees of the Slocum (green), Aylesworth (orange), Scruby (pink), Casbon (blue) and Priest (yellow) families. Superscript numbers denote generations, with “1” depicting either the original immigrant (Slocum and Aylesworth) or the common ancestor (Scruby, Casbon, and Priest); colored lines indicate parent-child relationships and arrows depict direct descent through multiple generations; marriages are connected by black lines (Click on image to enlarge)

You’ll need to enlarge the diagram to see details.

As the title suggests, these five families are connected to each other through eleven marriages. Here is a summary of the connections for each family:

  • Slocum:
    – Connected to Aylesworth through the marriage of Martha5 Slocum to Philip4 Aylesworth, 1762[4]
    – Connected to Casbon through the marriage of William Wallace7 Slocum to Mary3 Casbon, 1862
    – Connected to Scruby through the marriage of William Wallace7 Slocum to Emma3 Payne, 1865
  • Aylesworth:
    – Connected to Slocum through the marriage of Philip4 Aylesworth to Martha5 Slocum, as above
    – Connected to Casbon through the marriages of Mary Adaline7 Aylesworth to Sylvester3 Casbon, 1860,[5] and Carrie Belle9 Aylesworth to Amos3 Casbon, 1900[6]
    – Connected to Scruby through the marriage of Louisa8 Aylesworth to George3 Scruby, 1872[7]
    – Connected to Priest through the marriage of Elliot7 Aylesworth to Caroline2 Priest, 1848[8]
  • Scruby:
    – Connected to Slocum through the marriage of Emma3 Payne to William Wallace7 Slocum, as above
    – Connected to Aylesworth through the marriage of George3 Scruby to Louisa8 Aylesworth, as above
    – Connected to Casbon through the marriages of Emma2 Scruby to Thomas2 Casbon, 1830,[9] and Mary3 Payne to James2 Casbon, 1876[10]
    – Connected to Priest through the marriage of James2 Scruby to Phebe2 Priest, 1824[11]
  • Casbon:
    – Connected to Slocum through the marriage of Mary3 Casbon to William Wallace7 Slocum, as above
    – Connected to Aylesworth through the marriages of Sylvester3 Casbon to Mary Adaline7 Aylesworth and Amos3 Casbon to Carrie Belle9 Aylesworth, as above
    – Connected to Scruby through the marriages of Thomas2 Casbon to Emma2 Scruby and James2 Casbon to Mary3 Payne, as above
    – Connected to Priest through the marriage of Mary Ann3 Casbon to Elijah2 Priest, 1853[12]
  • Priest:
    – Connected to Aylesworth through the marriage of Caroline2 Priest to Elliot7 Aylesworth, as above
    – Connected to Scruby through the marriage of Phebe2 Priest to James2 Scruby
    – Connected to Casbon through the marriage of Elijah2 Priest to Mary Ann3 Casbon, as above

Three of the families—Aylesworth, Scruby, and Casbon—are connected by marriage to all four of the remaining families. The remaining two families—Slocum and Priest—are connected to three of the other four families. Of the marriages, one took place in England, one in Rhode Island, six in Ohio, and three in Indiana.

The chart shows how entangled family trees can become. I’m going to coin a new term for this. Instead of a family tree, this is a family hedge! It’s an accurate description of what we see, with branches from several families intermingling and creating complex relationships.

I suspect this occurs more often than we might realize, but we might not see it because we’re not looking for it. Have you discovered any hedges in your family history?

[1] Ohio, Huron County, Marriage Records, vol. 1 [1855–1866], p. 350; imaged as “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789–2013,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ65-99 : accessed 21 Jul 2016) >Huron >Marriage Records 1855–1866 vol 1 >image 220 of 306.
[2] Ohio, Huron County, Marriage Records, vol. 1 [1855–1866], p. 465, no. 2779; imaged as “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789–2013,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ65-99 : accessed 22 May 2018) >Huron >Marriage Records 1855–1866 vol 1 >image 277 of 306.
[3] “Giles Slocum (abt. 1623 – aft. 1683),” article, WikiTree (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Slocum-10 : accessed 9 Apr 2020).
[4] James Newell Arnold, Rhode Island Vital Extracts, 1636–1850, volume 1 (Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891), p. 4; imaged at Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/3897/ : accessed 2 Apr 2020) >Vol· 01: Kent County: Births, Marriages, Deaths >image 432 of 637.
[5] Indiana, Porter County, Marriage Record Book 2 [Dec. 1850–Jun. 186], p. 458; Valparaiso (Indiana) Public Library.
[6] Indiana, Porter County, Marriage Record, vol. 12 [Nov. 1898–Oct. 1901], p. 326; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/005014498?cat=608739 : accessed 8 Apr 2020) > Film # 005014497 >image 548 of 922.
[7] Ohio, Holmes County, Marriage Record, vol. 5 [1868–1877], p. 217; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/004024929?cat=229343 : accessed 8 Apr 2020) > Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 >Holmes >Marriage records 1868-1877 vol 5 >image 491 of 649.
[8] Ohio, Wayne County, Marriage Record, vol. 4B [1843–1851], p. 377; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/004260649?cat=335541 : accessed 26 Aug 2016) >Film # 004260649 >image 550 of 644.
[9] Church of England, Melbourn (Cambridgeshire), Marriages, 1813–1837, p. 59, no. 175; browsable images, ” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007549343?cat=210722 : accessed 5 Feb. 2019) >image 318 of 710.
[10] Indiana, Porter County, Marriage Record, vol. 4 [Sep. 1871–Jan. 1875], p. 348; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/005014495?cat=608739 : accessed 8 Apr 2020) > Film # 005014494 >image 693 of 928.
[11] Ohio, Wayne County, Marriage Record, vol. 4A [1835–1843], p. 91; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/004260649?cat=335541 : accessed 8 Apr 2020) >Film # 004260649 >image 77 of 644.
[12] Ohio, Wayne County, Marriage Record, vol. 4 (1-2) [1844–1856], p. 140; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/004260672?cat=335541 : accessed 8 Apr 2020) > Film # 004260672 >image 97 of 720.

Digging into the Aylesworth Story

My last post introduced the Aylesworth family and described the two marriages that tied the Casbon and Aylesworth names together: Sylvester Casbon and Mary Adaline Aylesworth, married in 1860, and Amos Casbon and Carrie Belle Aylesworth, married in 1900. Today I delve more deeply into the history of the Aylesworth family and how their story converged with that of the Casbon family.

I refer once again to the diagram I introduced in the last post, showing how the Aylesworths of Porter County, Indiana, descended from Arthur1 Aylworth, the original immigrant from England. The superscript numbers in the chart (“Arthur1”) represent the respective generations of each person. In order to minimize confusion, I am using generation numbers corresponding to those in the diagram throughout the post.

Aylesworth tree Descendancy chart of the Aylesworth family, beginning with the original immigrant, Arthur1 Aylworth and ending with Carrie Belle9 and Mary Adaline7 Aylesworth in their respective branches (Click on image to enlarge)

First, let me say a few words about spelling. In the diagram, I’ve followed the spelling conventions used in the Aylesworth Family genealogy, using the Aylworth spelling for the first five generations and Aylesworth for later generations.[1] In fact, as was typical of the times, many different spellings are found in records, each spelling being determined arbitrarily by whomever made the entry in a given record. Thus, we see Aleworth, Aylsworth, Aulsworth, and Elsworth, among many others. Today’s Aylesworth spelling became fixed sometime in the 19th century. That said, the editors of History of Porter County spelled the name as Ellsworth when the book was published in 1912.[2]

It is unknown when Arthur1 Aylworth, the original immigrant from England, arrived in the New World. However, it must have been sometime before 29 July 1679, because on that date his name appears on a list of signatures in a petition from the inhabitants of Narragansett country [Rhode Island] to King Charles II of England.

narragansett petition 1679 p2
Arthur1 Aylesworth’s name, seen in this detail from “Copy of a Petition of the Inhabitants of Narragansett Country, King’s Province, to King Charles II,” 29 Jul 1679; Yale University Library, Digital Collections (http://findit.library.yale.edu/catalog/digcoll:1018481) (Click on image to enlarge)

Arthur1 settled in an area known as Quidnessett, now part of North Kingston Township in Washington County, Rhode Island.[3] His son Arthur2 lived in what is now West Greenwich Township.[4] Philip3, grandson of the first Arthur, moved to Coventry Township in about 1745.[5] His son, Philip4 Jr., left Coventry and lived in Pownal, Vermont, for several years before migrating to Milford, Otsego County, New York.[6] John5 Aylworth, the common ancestor of Mary Adaline7 and Carrie Belle9 Aylesworth, was born in Rhode Island. Like his father, he ended up in Milford, New York, where he died in about 1810.[7]

Elizabeth (Humphrey) Aylesworth, the widow of John5, and two of her adult sons, Ira6 and Philip6, moved from New York to Ohio, beginning in about 1815. We are told that Elizabeth, with her children, moved to “Ashland or Wayne Co., Ohio, or perhaps near the line dividing these two counties, where she died.”[8] Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any trace of Elizabeth in Ohio records. She does not appear in census, marriage, or death records. However, both Ira6 and Philip6 can be found in the 1820 Ohio census of Wayne County, living in Pike and Mohican Townships, respectively. Giles6, the younger brother of Ira and Philip, does not appear in the census until 1840, when he was living in Prairie Township, Holmes County (immediately south of Wayne County).[9]

Giles6 was the first member of the family to move to Indiana. We are told that in the autumn of 1842 he “moved here [Porter County, Indiana] with his wife and 5 children. He brought 2 wagons, household goods, various tools, grub hoe, axe and musket. Sealed in a false bottom of a dinner bucket was $2,000 in gold with which he bought the farm.”[10] His daughter Mary Adaline7, having been born in April 1842, must have been only a few months old when the family made the move. Giles’s6 brother Philip6 bought a 160-acre tract of land in Porter County in 1842, but he never moved to Indiana. Instead, he sold the land to his son Ira B.7 Aylesworth, who came to Porter County in 1845.[11]

NE US detail map numbered
Detail from a map of the northeastern United States, showing the locations associated with the Aylesworth
family, beginning with Arthur1and ending with Giles’s6 and Ira B.7; approximate locations: 1. Quidnessett,
Rhode Island; 2. Pownal, Vermont; 3. Milford, New York; 4. Wayne County, Ohio; 5. Porter County, Indiana;
adapted from A.K. Johnston, “Map of part of North America to illustrate the naval and military
events of 1812-13-14,” (London: William Blackwood & Son, 1852); David Rumsey Map Collection (https://www.davidrumsey.com/)

Thomas Casbon arrived in Wayne County, Ohio, from England in 1846, and later moved to Holmes County. Presumably, Thomas and his family met members of the Aylesworth family who were still living in Ohio. After Thomas’s son Sylvester completed his education, he “taught one term at Mt. Ollie [sic. Olive], Ohio. Then acting under the persuasion of a friend Mr. Ellsworth [my emphasis], who had settled in Porter County, Indiana, and also from his own wish to locate further west, Mr. Casbon came to this [Porter] county in 1859 and began teaching in what was known as the Ellsworth school, which he conducted successfully for three terms.”

The identity of “Mr. Ellsworth” is unknown to me. It seems unlikely that he would have been either Giles6 or Ira B.7 Aylesworth, since they had already been living in Indiana for many years. It seems more likely that he would have been a contemporary who grew up with Sylvester in Ohio and then later moved to Porter County. Two likely candidates are the brothers Elias8 and Sylvenus8 Aylesworth, who were nephews of Ira B.7 Aylesworth. They were born in 1834 and 1836, respectively,[12] and moved to Porter County from Wayne County, Ohio, sometime between the 1850 and 1860 censuses.

The exact identity and location of the “Ellsworth school” is also unknown to me, but my best guess is that it was located near the north line of Section 9 in Boone Township, near what is now the intersection of S 225 W and W 700 S. An 1875 plat map of the township (the oldest available to me) shows a school at that location on land owned by Ira B.7 Aylesworth.

school map
Detail from a plat map of Boone Township, Porter County, Indiana, 1875, showing location of the district 1 school (circled) and outline of lands owned by Giles and Ira B. Aylesworth at the time; from “Boone Township Maps,” Porter County Indiana (GenWeb), http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/BooneTownshipMaps.html (Click on image to enlarge)

Sylvester Casbon would have been teaching at this school when he met his bride-to-be, Mary Adaline7Aylesworth. It is even possible that he was living in one of the Aylesworth households at the time.

Amos Casbon was only two years old when arrived in Porter County directly from England (via New York City) in early 1871. I don’t know how or when Amos and Carrie Belle9 Aylesworth met and began their courtship. Amos had a hard life in his early years, especially after his father, James, died in 1884. He probably worked on several farms during this time and might have met Carrie Belle in the course of his work.

How does all of this pertain to Our Casbon Journey? Well, I guess the point is that family history doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Even though the emphasis of this blog is on the history of the Casbon family, that history is affected at every point by the histories of other families. Perhaps, in knowing how we are connected through our ancestors, we can achieve a greater sense of connection with our living, but more distant, relatives. The fact that descendants of both Sylvester and Amos Casbon—now third, fourth, and fifth cousins, once removed—share a connection through the Aylesworth family gives us one more thing in common and hopefully binds us more closely together.

[1] Howard Aylesworth, Aylesworth Family, 2d ed., updated and reprinted by Joyce Knauff, et al. (Privately printed, 1984).
[2] History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912).
[3] Homer Elhanan Aylsworth, Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendents in America (Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Co., 1887), p. 36; online image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/arthuraylsworthh00ayls : accessed 1 January 2019).
[4] Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants, p. 42.
[5] Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants, p. 50.
[6] Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants, p. 71.
[7] Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants, p. 112.
[8] Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants, p. 112.
[9] 1840 U.S. census. Holmes County, Ohio, Prairie Township, p. 228, line 10 (FamilySearch)
[10] “Transcribed Biography of Aylesworth,” Porter County, Indiana (GenWeb) (http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Biographies/Aylesworth45.html : accessed 1 January 2018); citing Mrs. John C Aylesworth, “Aylesworth Family of Porter County,” in American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana (Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc., 1976), p. 76.
[11] “Transcribed Biography of Aylesworth.”
[12] Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants, p. 431.


Aylesworth Connections

The Aylesworth name is well-known to many of the Casbons who trace their roots through Porter County, Indiana. One reason for this is that Carrie Belle Aylesworth (1873–1958) was the wife of Amos Casbon (1869–1956). Their wedding took place on 28 November 1900 at the home of Carrie’s parents (see “Wedding Bells”) in Boone Township. This loving couple had six sons and three daughters, all but one of whom lived into adulthood and had families of their own. Many of their grandchildren are living today and remember them well.

Before Amos or Carrie were even born, there had been another Casbon-Aylesworth wedding in Porter County. That was the marriage of my second great-grandfather Sylvester Casbon to Mary “Adaline” Aylesworth on 30 October 1860. Sylvester and Adaline had two surviving children—Cora Ann and Lawrence—before Adaline’s untimely death in 1868.

Because of these two marriages, the descendants of Amos, Carrie, Sylvester, and Adaline  are connected through both their Casbon and Aylesworth ancestries.

But what are those connections? How are the two branches related? The answer is fairly straightforward on the Casbon side. Their common ancestor was Isaac Casbon (~1773–1825) of Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, England, the grandfather of both Amos and Sylvester Casbon. Amos and Sylvester were first cousins, despite the fact that their ages were 37 years apart. Because of the age difference, their descendants of similar ages are mostly cousins “once-removed,” meaning their relationship to the common ancestor—Isaac Casbon—is one generation apart.

The connection on the Aylesworth side is more complicated. Carrie Aylesworth’s great-grandfather, Philip Aylesworth (~1793–1866) was the older brother of Adaline Aylesworth’s father, Giles (1807–1880). Their common ancestor was John Aylesworth (~1764–1810). Carrie was two generations farther away from John than Adaline; therefore, they were first cousins, twice removed.

The concept of cousins once or twice removed can be confusing, so I’ve created a diagram showing the lines of descent of the branches of the Aylesworth family to which Carrie and Adaline belonged.

Aylesworth tree Descendancy chart of the Aylesworth family, beginning with the original immigrant, Arthur1 Aylworth and ending with Carrie Belle9 and Mary Adaline7 Aylesworth in their respective branches; superscript numbers after names represent each generation, beginning with Arthur1 (Click on image to enlarge)

The diagram also demonstrates the places where the Aylesworth ancestors lived as they slowly migrated westward to Indiana. This is an interesting story in itself and will be the topic of the next post.

The Aylesworth genealogy has been well-documented. Many of today’s living descendants have a copy of the Aylesworth Family book, last published in 1984. This book traces the family back to Arthur (generation 1). Most of the information about the first seven generations comes from an earlier book, Arthur Aylesworth and His Descendants in America, written by Homer Elhanan Aylesworth and published in 1887.[1] A copy of this book has been scanned and can be viewed or downloaded at https://archive.org/details/arthuraylsworthh00ayls.

Because of the Casbon-Aylesworth connection, members of the Casbon family have always been invited to the Aylesworth family reunions, which still take place on a (mostly) annual basis.

Aylesworth reunion
Aylesworth family reunion ca. 1921; several Casbons are in the photo: Amos & Carrie and their children, Lawrence and Leslie Casbon; how many can you pick out? (Click on image to enlarge)

[1] (Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Co., 1887).

A Letter from Jesse Casbon

(Updated 1 Apr 2020 based on comments made by Carol Cook—see below)

Personal letters can occasionally be a good source of genealogical information, but more often, they simply give us insights into the lives of the people who wrote and received them. If nothing else, they can help us to understand the everyday concerns of those who lived in a different era.

I’m indebted to John N. Casbon, who found this letter in the personal papers of his deceased grandmother, Anna Mae (Casbon) (Kitchel) Fleming.

ltr from jesse to anna casbon
Letter from Jesse Casbon to Anna; courtesy of John N. Casbon (Click on image to enlarge)

Here is a transcription (I have marked where I believe sentences end):
(updated based on Carol Cook’s comments, below)

march 27
anna this is a good nice
moring no clouds | we had
a bout 6 inches of snow
last week | we are all
well | i think the banks
2 of them are geten beter
and times times will
get work | will be more
wen we ge beer more
work | I am like you i
don’t like it but lots do
so let them have it | thay
get my money | lill don’t
get not much money out
of her store building
and taxes high | if it
was not for me and
that wont last long so
we cant tell | Edna is
doen good | she as a big
teritory to draw from |
so good by Jesse Casbon

This letter was written by Jesse Casbon (1834–1934) to his daughter Anna (1876–1957). It also mentions his daughters Lillian (“lill,” 1880–1967) and Edna (1885–1957). Although we’re given the date of March 27, we don’t know the year. My best guess is that it was written sometime between 1911, when Anna, who was divorced and living with Jesse, remarried and moved to Michigan, and 1934, the year of Jesse’s death (possibly 1933 – see Carol Cook comments, below). Lillian and Edna, who never married, were apparently living nearby. Jesse was living with them during much of this interval. A fourth daughter, Maude, was married and living in Michigan. Jesse’s wife, Emily (Price) had died in 1893 (see “Last Words”—a very touching letter from her).

The fact that Jesse uses no punctuation and makes numerous spelling errors tells us that his education was rudimentary. In the 1850 census of Wayne County, Ohio, we are told that six-year-old Jesse “attended school within the year.”[1] However, by 1860 his education was complete and he was listed as a farmhand.[2] Jesse’s older brothers, Sylvester and Charles, probably had more years of education; Sylvester even worked as a teacher for a few years. Their younger sister, Emma, probably had about the same education as Jesse.

Jesse’s spelling is so bad that it is difficult to make out the meaning of everything he says. Other than the weather, his main concern seems to be the family’s finances. He has apparently been helping Lillian cover expenses for her unnamed business. Edna is doing better financially.

I wish I knew what Lillian and Edna were doing to support themselves when the letter was written. The descriptions in the letter don’t match the information I have about them from various points in time. In 1908 and 1910, they were both working as nurses in Kansas City, Kansas.[3] In the early 1920s, they operated a grocery and delicatessen in Valparaiso, Indiana, together.[4] In the 1930 census, Lillian was living in Valparaiso with Jesse, and Edna was working as a hotel housekeeper in Chicago.[5] They ran a floral business together after 1934, but that was after Jesse’s death.

Why did Anna keep this letter decades after it was written? Did it have special meaning to her or was it casually set aside and then forgotten? (See Carol Cook’s comments, below)

In these days of email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (and now, Zoom!), it’s easy to forget that people used to keep in touch by writing letters. Getting a letter in the mail was an emotional experience because it brought news of loved ones. That’s probably the most important thing about this letter. It doesn’t really help to fill in any blanks in what we know about Jesse and his family; it simply tells us that staying connected was important to them.

[1] 1850 U.S. census, Wayne County, Ohio, Clinton Township, dwelling & family 8 (FamilySearch).
[2] 1860 U.S. census, Holmes County, Ohio, Washington Township, dwelling 1534, family 1556 (FamilySearch).
[3] Gould’s Kansas City, Kansas Directory (St. Louis, Missouri: Gould Direcotory Co., 1908), p. 378; and 1910 Kansas City Directory (Kansas City: Gate City Directory Co., 1910), p. 81 of Kansas City, Kansas section; “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” (Ancestry).
[4] Bumstead’s Valparaiso City and Porter County Business Directory Including Rural Routes (Evanston, Ill.: Bumstead & Co., 1921), p. 71 (Ancestry).
[5] 1930 U.S. census, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana, enumeration district (ED) 4, sheet 4A, dwelling 89, family 94; and 1930 U.S. census, Chicago, Illinois, ED 1802, sheet 5A, dwelling 22, family 89, line 46 (FamilySearch).


At this moment, most if not all of my readers are practicing some form of “social distancing” because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. I hope you are all staying well and coping with the difficulties associated with this historic situation.

With today’s post, I have a suggestion that will hopefully lift your spirits and alleviate any boredom you might be experiencing. The suggestion comes courtesy of the MyHeritage genealogy website. Back in February (it seems so long ago!), MyHeritage introduced MyHeritage in Color™, a feature that automatically colorizes black and white photographs. As an introductory offer, users could upload and colorize up to ten photos. Once the limit was reached, a user would need a paid subscription to continue using the feature. I tried it out and was impressed with the results. However, I did not opt for the paid subscription.

A few days ago, I was surprised to receive this email message from MyHeritage.


Yes, they are offering “free and unlimited access” to this feature. I took them up on the offer and went through my collection and colorized about 200 photos. More importantly, if you have old photos stashed away, you might want to try it out yourself. It’s a good way to stay active if you’re stuck at home. This shows what a photo looks like before and after colorization.

Sylvester and Mary (Mereness) Casbon, with Sylvester’s descendants; about 1905,
Valparaiso, Indiana; author’s collection (Click on image to enlarge)

The results are impressive. The process uses artificial intelligence (AI) to decide which colors to use and where to place them. The computer algorithms are very good, but not perfect. If you look carefully at the photo above, you’ll see that the right hand of the girl standing in the front row is still gray. The AI failed to identify it as a body part. You can see a more extreme version of this in this detail from a photograph of Amos and Carrie Casbon’s family.

Amos kids
Detail from photograph of Amos and Carrie (Aylesworth) Casbon’s family and
home near
Boone Grove, Indiana, about 1911; courtesy of Ron Casbon

The AI has missed two of the children altogether, making them look like clay sculptures.

On the other hand, some of the results are amazing. The AI seems particularly good at producing flesh tones, hair color, and vegetation. In most cases, it seems to do a good job with clothing as well. I would think that better quality scanned images are more likely to fare well, but I’ve had good results with poor quality originals.

Casbon Jesse and Elizabeth Ryan Cocoa Beach undated-Colorized
Jesse John II and Elizabeth (Ryan) Casbon, Cocoa Beach, Florida; adapted
from an iphone photo of the original;
courtesy of John N. Casbon 

You can also see that the MyHeritage logo gets added to the colorized image—a small price to pay, in my opinion.

Do you have old black and white family photos or snapshots? I encourage you to try this out. Visit https://www.myheritage.com/incolor, where you’ll need to sign up for a free account. You’ll need to scan your black and white photos to make digital copies so you can upload them to the web page. I suggest you use a scanning resolution of 300 dots per inch or better.

Here are some of the favorites from my collection.

Sylvester & Mary Mereness Casbon 1889-ColorizedReuben Casban and Elizabeth Mary Neyland-Colorized
Left: Sylvester and Mary (Mereness) Casbon, courtesy of Ilaine Church;
Right: Reuben and Elizabeth (Neyland) Casben, courtesy of Phil Long

Lawrence Kate 3 boys and horse abt 1898-Colorized
Lawrence and Kate (Marquart) Casbon and family; seated on the horse, L to R, are Lynnet, Loring and Leslie; about 1898 near Hebron, Porter County, Indiana; courtesy of Don Casbon (Click on image to enlarge)

JamesC-ColorizedAmos C and Carrie wedding photo-Colorized
Left: James Casbon; Right: Amos and Carrie Belle (Aylesworth) Casbon; both courtesy of Ron Casbon

Donald and Herb Casbon-ColorizedCasbon Herman Floyd and Harriet-Colorized
Left: Donald Glen Casbon (L) and Herbert Aylesworth (R) Casbon, undated; courtesy of Michael J. Casbon;
Right: L to R—Herman, Harriet, and Floyd Casbon; courtesy of Claudia Vokoun (Click on images to enlarge)

Casbon Electric delivery truck ca 1940-Colorized
Lynnet Casbon and an unidentified man delivering a refrigerator in
Valparaiso, Indiana, a
bout 1940; courtesy of Dave Casbon

Casban Margaret and Ellen hops picking-Colorized
Margaret (Donovan) Casban (second from left), her daughter Nell (third from left),
and others, hops picking in Sussex, England, early 1930s; courtesy of Alice Casban


James Casbal of Therfield

Much of today’s post is based on supposition. I will try to distinguish between firm conclusions and those based on weaker evidence.

Our story begins with a marriage that took place 23 November 1778 in the village of Therfield, Hertfordshire. James Casbal, a cordwainer (shoemaker) and bachelor, married Sarah Crouch, a spinster (unmarried woman).[1]

James C of Therfield M Sarah Crouch 1778
Excerpt from Therfield parish records, showing marriage of James Casbal and Sarah Crouch,
23 November 1778 (Click on image to enlarge)

The marriage record tells us that both James and Sarah were from the parish of Therfield. We can also see that both signed with their mark, an indication of some degree of illiteracy. Therfield is a small village in Hertfordshire, located about 2 ½ miles southwest of Royston, and more importantly, about 6 miles from Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. Meldreth is the ancestral home of many of the today’s Casbons, Casbans and Casbens.

Counties around Meldreth
Detail of a map of England showing southern Cambridgeshire (green), northern Hertfordshire (red, bottom center), and adjacent counties; the relative locations of Meldreth, Therfield, and Litlington are indicated; adapted from John Cary, “A new map of England, from the latest authorities” (London: John Cary, 1809); downloaded from David Rumsey Map Collection (davidrumsey.com); Creative Commons License

The marriage of James and Sarah is the first instance where “Casbal” or related surnames appear in Therfield records, so we can make a safe assumption that James was not born there. Casb—l was an early variant of the Casbon surname and appears in various parish records during the late 1700s. Members of the Crouch family had been living in Therfield for several generations.

James and Sarah had a daughter, Ann, who was baptized at Therfield 24 January 1780.[2] However, the birth apparently caused Sarah’s death, since her burial was recorded on
21 January.[3]

James was soon remarried, this time to Martha Crouch, on 13 August 1780.[4] Sarah and Martha were probably cousins. James and Martha had a daughter, Lydia, who was buried on 24 October 1782, just 10 days after her baptism.[5]

Lydia’s burial marks the last record of this family in Therfield. This suggests that the family might have moved to a different location.

I believe that location was Litlingon, Cambridgeshire. Litlington is another small village, located about 3 ½ miles north of Therfield and 4 ½ miles from Meldreth (see map, above). Litlington parish records reveal that James Causbell, a shoemaker, was buried there on 31 August 1804.[6]

James Causbell burial 1804
Burial record of James Causbell; detail from Litlington parish registers, 1804 (Click on image to enlarge)

Although I can’t be certain, the fact that he was a shoemaker provides circumstantial evidence that James of Litlington was the same man who was married at Therfield in 1778. There just weren’t that many men with that surname or its variants and I have been able to account for most of the others.

Where did James come from? I believe he was the son of John (about 1721–1796) and Ann (Chamberlain) Casborn of Meldreth. We have met John before. Born in Orwell, he served his apprenticeship in Meldreth and presumably stayed there for the rest of his life. He was also appointed as the parish clerk in his later years. John is one of the earliest identified ancestors of many of today’s living Casbons (also Casbans and Casbens). John and Ann had two sons named James; the first died in infancy. The second was baptized at Meldreth
6 November 1848.[7]

James C bp Meldreth 1748
Detail from Meldreth parish registers showing the baptism of James Casbull in 1848 (Click on image to enlarge)

It is notable that John Casborn was also a cordwainer. This is part of the reason I believe James of Therfield to be his son. The other reason is that I can find no other records—no burial or marriage record—of James in Meldreth. My theory is that James learned the shoemaking trade from his father and then moved to Therfield, where he was married and started a family. He moved to nearby Litlington some time before his death in 1804. Unfortunately, his age is not given in the burial record, so this cannot be used as another point of comparison.

There is one other piece of evidence that supports the theory. It is the record of baptism for James Causbell at Litlington 29 March 1819.[8]

James bp Litlington 1819
Detail from Bishop’s Transcripts, Litlingon Parish, Cambridgeshire, 1819, showing
the baptism of James Causbell 29 March 1819 (Click on image to enlarge)

The record tells us that James was the “baseborn [illegitimate] son” of Ann Causbell. The father’s name is not given, but other records suggest that his name was Thomas Taylor, a labourer. Remember that James of Therfield had a daughter named Ann from his first marriage. The fact that the child’s name was James is also significant. Traditionally a first son would be named after the father’s father and the second son would be named after the mother’s father. But this was not a hard and fast rule, and in the case of illegitimacy, using the mother’s father’s name would be understandable.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any other records relating to Ann or her son James, so their story ends in 1819. Nor have I been able to find any other records of James’s (of Therfield) second wife, Martha.

It’s a circumstantial case, but I think it’s reasonable to believe that the men named James Casbal/Causbell of Therfield and Litlington, and the child baptized as James Casbull at Meldreth in 1748 are the same person. If so, he would have been the brother of Thomas Casbon (about 1743–1799), my fifth great-grandfather.

[1] Hertfordshire, Therfield Parish, Register of Marriages, 1778, p. 27, no. 112; imaged as “Hertfordshire Banns & Marriages,” Findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/hertfordshire-banns-and-marriages : accessed 15 Feb 2017).
[2] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1473014 : accessed 19 Mar 2020).
[3] Hertfordshire, Therfield Parish, general register, “Burials 1780”; imaged as “Hertfordshire Burials,” Findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/hertfordshire-burials : accessed 15 Feb 2017).
[4] “England Marriages, 1538-1973,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1473015 : accessed 19 Mar 2020).
[5] Hertfordshire, Therfield Parish, general register, “Burials 1782”; imaged as “Hertfordshire Burials,” Findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/hertfordshire-burials : accessed 15 Feb 2017).
[6] Cambridgeshire, Litlington, Bishop’s Transcripts, 1804; browsable images, “Bishop’s transcripts for Litlington, 1599-1864,” FamilySearch (catalog) (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007561135?cat=976865 : accessed 19 Mar 2020) >DGS Film no. 007561135 >image 186 of 460.
[7] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), General Register Volume P118/1/1 [1682–1782], n.p. (baptisms 1746-50), James Casbull, 6 Nov 1748; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 29 August 2017) >DGS film no. 007567609 >image 110 of 699.
[8] Cambridgeshire, Litlington, Bishop’s Transcripts, baptisms, 1819; browsable images, “Bishop’s transcripts for Litlington, 1599-1864,” FamilySearch (catalog) (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007561135?cat=976865 : accessed 19 Mar 2020) >DGS Film no. 007561135 >image 231 of 460.

Shoreditch—a Tale of Woe

Today’s post starts with a record I recently found on Ancestry. The record comes from a register of admissions and discharges from the Shoreditch workhouse in London.[1]

William Casbon London Workhouse register 1827
Detail from an alphabetical register of admissions and discharges, Shoreditch workhouse, 1827, showing entries for William and Sophia Casbon, admitted on 13 March and again on 11 April. (Click on image to enlarge)

The record shows that William Casbon, age 43, and Sophia Casbon, age 27, were admitted to the workhouse 13 March 1827 and discharged 9 April “with 3/ [shillings?].” They were admitted again from 11 to 30 April 1827, and this time discharged “with 25/ to redeem his Furniture [or Furnishing?].” They were admitted to wards 8 and 10, presumably men’s and women’s wards, respectively.

Who were William and Sophia Casbon and why were they in the Shoreditch workhouse? A marriage record from 1822 shows that William Casbon, a bachelor, married Sophia Phillips, a spinster, in the Parish of St. Matthew, Bethnal Green, London, on 1 December 1822.[2] Bethnal Green is a short distance east of Shoreditch. I know this is the correct couple because of another record presented later in this post.

Wm and Sophia marriage 1822
Detail from Register of Marriages, St. Matthew, Bethnal Green, 1822.
Note that William and Sophia each signed with their marks.

Based on the ages written in the workhouse register, William would have been born in about 1784 and Sophia in about 1800. I have an extensive database of baptismal records for Casbon and related surnames throughout England. Baptisms were recorded for William Caseburn in 1780 (Downham, Norfolk), William Casebourn in 1788 (Soham, Cambridgeshire), and William Casbolt in 1789 (Linton, Cambridgeshire), but there is nothing to connect them to William of Shoreditch. The marriage of John Casbon to Elizabeth Toon was recorded at St. Leonard’s Shoreditch in 1783, so it’s possible they were either William’s parents or related to him in some way.[3] There is no evidence that William comes from the Meldreth or Peterborough Casbon lines.

Sophia Phillips was a common name and there are many corresponding baptismal records. Without knowing the names of her parents, it is impossible to tell where or when she was born.

Shoreditch is an ancient suburb of London and is now part of inner London. By the early to mid 1800s, it was mainly a lower and working class area.

london 1827 detail
Detail of an 1827 map of London; approximate location of Shoreditch is circled; arrow points to St. Leonard’s Church; John & Christopher Greenwood, “Map of London, From an actual Survey made in the Years 1824, 1825 & 1826” (London: Greenwood, Pringle & Co., 1827); digital image, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection (https://davidrumsey.com : accessed 13 Mar 2020); Creative Commons License. (Click on image to enlarge)

Workhouses were institutions designed to support the poor with food, lodging and medical care. While charitable in nature, conditions in the workhouses were often so bad that only the truly desperate would seek admission. “Men, women, children, the infirm, and the able-bodied were housed separately and given very basic and monotonous food such as watery porridge called gruel, or bread and cheese. All inmates had to wear the rough workhouse uniform and sleep in communal dormitories.”[4] Thus, we can infer that William and Sophia were admitted to the workhouse because of difficult circumstances. They would have desired to get out as soon as their situation allowed.

The couple had at least three children. A daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized at the City of London Lying-in Hospital, St. Luke’s Parish, on 26 August 1829.[5] Elizabeth’s burial at St. Leonard Church, Shoreditch, was recorded on 29 July 1831.[6] A son named Joseph or John (both names are used in different records) was born in about December 1832 and died at Shoreditch workhouse one year later.[7] Finally, another son, James, was born at the Shoreditch workhouse on 30 May 1834.[8]

Seven weeks after James was born, Sophia was interviewed at the Shoreditch workhouse and revealed some startling news.[9]

Sophia Casben poor law removal record 21Jul1834
Statement of Sophia Casbon, Shoreditch Poor Law Union, 21 Jul 1834. (Click on image to enlarge)

                 July 21
Sophia Casben – No 5 New Court Webb Sqr
Saith that she is 33 years of age is the wife
of Wm Casben to whom she was married in
Bethnal Green Church on 1st Decr – 1821 and
by him hath one child named James aged
7 weeks –
She has been informed that when she was
married to him he had a wife then living.
So she was informed by a Mrs Thompson who
then lived in No [blank] Brick Lane above[?] a
silk winder –
That she hath not seen him for above
4 months – that she doth not know where
he resides or is to be found –

So, we learn the terrible news that Sophia has been abandoned by her husband and that he married her when he was already married to another woman.

There is a marriage record of William Casbourn to Margaret Black at St. James Church, Westminster in May 1817[10] and records of children born to this marriage, but there is insufficient evidence to prove that he is the man who later married Sophia. It is not possible to positively identify William through later census or death records. Thus, we lose track of him at Sophia’s last sighting in early 1834.

I’ve drawn up a chronology of this family’s story as far as I’ve been able to trace it.

  • About 1784: William Casbon is born, location unknown
  • About 1800: Sophia Phillips is born, location unknown
  • 1 December 1822: William and Sophia are married, St. Matthew Church, Bethnal Green
  • 13 March 1827: William and Sophia are admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; discharged
    9 April
  • 11 April 1827: William and Sophia are admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; discharged 30 April
  • 26 August 1829: Elizabeth Casbon, daughter of William & Sophia, is baptized, City of London Lying-in Hospital, St. Luke Parish, Westminster
  • 29 Jul 1831: Elizabeth is buried, St. Leonard Church, Shoreditch
  • About December 1832: Joseph/John Casbon is born (based on age given in subsequent records)
  • 26 September 1833: Sophia and Joseph/John Casbon are admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; discharged 5 October[11]
  • 10 October 1833: Sophia and Joseph/John Casbon are admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; Joseph/John dies there 7 December and is buried 17 December at St. Leonard Church, Shoreditch; Sophia is discharged 18 December[12]
  • 6 January 1834: Sophia is admitted, Shoreditch workhouse; discharged 10 January[13]
  • 15 February 1834: Sophia is admitted, Shoreditch workhouse; discharged
    24 February[14]
  • 24 February 1834: Sophia is readmitted, Shoreditch workhouse; discharged
    27 February[15]
  • 30 May 1834: James Casbon is born at Shoreditch workhouse (baptized at St. Leonard Church, Shoreditch, 19 June 1834)[16]
  • 21 July 1834: Sophia reports her husband missing for the previous four months
  • 15 August 1835: Sophia and James are admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; both are transferred to Enfield (poor house for infants) 20 August[17]
  • 18 March 1836: Sophia is admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; she dies there 8 July[18]
  • 11 July 1836: Sophia is buried, St. Leonard Church, Shoreditch[19]
  • 1841 census: James, age 7, is living at Enfield, District Workhouse for Shoreditch Poor Children[20]
  • 24 October 1843: James Casbon (age incorrectly listed as 11)—— is admitted to Shoreditch workhouse; unknown discharge date[21]

We can see that from September 1833 until her death on 8 July 1836, Sophia was admitted to the Shoreditch workhouse on multiple occasions. Although the circumstances are not described, we can assume that she must have been desperately poor, and possibly ill for much of this time. Her young son Joseph died at the workhouse in 1833 and her next son, James, was born there five months later. In August 1835, Sophia and James were transferred to the Shoreditch Infant Poor House located at Enfield, about 10 miles north of London. James probably remained there throughout his early childhood. Sophia was probably in the final stages of an illness (tuberculosis?) when she was admitted to the Shoreditch workhouse for the last time in March 1836 and remained there until her death in July.

James, now an orphan, was still in the Children’s workhouse at Enfield when the 1841 census was taken. The last record we have of him is his admission to the Shoreditch workhouse in October 1843. It is unknown what happened to him after that, but as an orphan in Victorian London, it is unlikely that his story had a happy ending.

James Casborn workhouse admission and death 1843
Detail from an alphabetical register of admissions and discharges, Shoreditch workhouse, 1843, showing admission of James Casborn on 24 October; the meaning of the “X” markings under “Discharged” and “Remarks” is unknown. (Click on image to enlarge).

The story of William and Sophia Casbon and their family is a sad addition to Our Casbon Journey. Their tragic tale would have been fitting for a Charles Dickens novel, minus the happy ending.

[1] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/60391/ : accessed 10 Mar 2020) >Hackney >Shoreditch >Alphabetical List Workhouse Admissions with Subsequent Discharges, 1823–1831 >image 51 of 190; citing London Metropolitan Archives; reference no. P91/LEN/1336.
[2] St. Matthews, Bethnal Green, Register of Marriages, vol 12 [1818–1823], p. 224, no. 672; imaged as “Parish registers for St. Matthew’s Church, Bethal Green, 1745–1900,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/008040614?cat=110313 : accessed 10 Mar 2020); Film DGS 8040614, item 4, image 774 of 838.
[3] Westminster, St. Leonard Parish, Register of Marriages [1883–1785], p. 49, no. 145; imaged as “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1932, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1623/ : accessed 12 March 2020) > Hackney >St Leonard, Shoreditch >1783–1875 >image 25 of 263; London Metropolitan Archives, P91/LEN/A/01/Ms 7498/13.
[4] Peter Higginbotham, “Introduction,” The Workhouse: story of an institution … (http://workhouses.org.uk/intro/ : accessed 13 Mar 2020).
[5] Middlesex, Saint Luke Parish, City of London Lying in Hospital, Register of baptisms, 1829, p. 25, no. 196; imaged as “London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813–1917,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1558/ : accessed 12 March 2020) > Islington >City of London Lying-In Hospital, City Road, Finsbury >1820–1837 >image 161 of 296; London Metropolitan Archives, DL/T/013/017.
[6] Middlesex, St. Leonard Shoreditch, Register of Burials [1829–1832], p. 237, no. 1893; imaged as “London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813–2003,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1559/ : accessed 12 Mar 2020) >Hackney >St Leonard, Shoreditch >1829–1832 >image 121 of 153; London Metropolitan Archives, P91/LEN/A/012/MS07499/019.
[7] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” >Hackney >Shoreditch >Alphabetical List Workhouse Admissions with Subsequent Discharges, 1832–1836 >image 34 of 173; London Metropolitan Archives, P91/LEN/1337.
[8] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above), image 36 of 173.
[9] Shoreditch, Westminster, England, Poor Law settlement papers, vol. “H” [Dec 1833–May 1838], p. 63, 21 Jul 1834; imaged as “London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2651/ : accessed 10 March 2020) >Shoreditch >Settlement Papers >1833 Dec–1838 May >image 74 of 309; citing London Metropolitan Archives, London; reference no. P91/LEN/1270.
[10] “England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/9852/ : accessed 12 Mar 2020), William Casbon & Sophia Phillips; citing FHL film no. 1042319.
[11] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” Ancestry, same as above, image 34 of 173.
[12] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above). Also, Middlesex, St. Leonard Shoreditch, Record of Burials [1832–1833], p. 241, no. 1921 (buried as “John Casburn); imaged as “London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813–2003,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1559/ : accessed 12 Mar 2020) >Hackney >St Leonard, Shoreditch >1831–1833 >image 59 of 61; citing London Metropolitan Archives, DL/T/069/049.
[13] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above) >image 35
of 173.
[14] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above).
[15] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above).
[16] “England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/9841/ : accessed 12 Mar 2020), entry for James Casben.
[17] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above), image 38 of 173.
[18] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” (same as above), image 40 of 173.
[19] Middlesex, St. Leonard Shoreditch, Record of Burials [1834–1837], p. 188, no. 1497; Ancestry > Hackney >St Leonard, Shoreditch >1834–1837 >image 95 of 151; citing London Metropolitan Archives, P91/LEN/A/012/MS07499/021.
[20] 1841 England census, Middlesex, Enfield Parish, schedule for public institutions, Workhouse for Shoreditch Poor Children, p.3, line 15 (James Casburn); Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8978/ : accessed 12 Mar 2020) >Middlesex Enfield District Workhouse For Shoreditch Poor Children >image 2 of 3; citing The National Archives, HO 107/653/8.
[21] “London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764–1930,” Ancestry >Hackney >Shoreditch >Alphabetical List Workhouse Admissions with Subsequent Discharges, 1837–1845 >image 72 of 387; London Metropolitan Archived, P91/LEN/1338.

William Scruby … or, “Aha,” Continued

In my last post I presented this news item from the Porter County (Indiana) Vidette of
27 August 1891.

Mary P Casbon visit Rachel Slocum PCV 27Aug1891
Untitled news item, Porter County Vidette, 27 August 1891

I explained how finding this article had been an “aha” moment for me because it proved that Mary (Payne) Casbon and Emma/Rachel (Payne) Slocum were sisters. With this post I want to show how the article confirmed my belief that William Scruby was the son of James Scruby of Wooster, Ohio and the cousin of Mary and Emma/Rachel.

I need to step back 45 years earlier, to 1846, when Thomas Casbon and his family arrived in Ohio after leaving England. They chose to come to Wayne County, Ohio, because that is where James Scruby, the brother of Thomas’s wife, Emma, lived with his family.

James Scruby also had another sister, Sarah, who had married James Payne in England. Mary (i.e., “Mrs. James”) Casbon and Emma/Rachel Slocum were Sarah’s daughters. Therefore, the two sisters were first cousins to both James Scruby’s and Thomas Casbon’s children. This explains how William Scruby was related to the two sisters in the news item. However, before finding this news item, I had not been able to positively link William to Porter County, Indiana.

James Scruby, who was born about 1807, came to America in 1832. He appears in a document I call the “Isaac Manuscript,” because it is a handwritten family history that begins with Thomas Casbon’s father, Isaac.

James Scruby
Detail from an untitled manuscript, author unknown, ca. 1890-92,
describing Isaac Casbon and the descendants of his son Thomas

James Scruby came to United States of
America settled in Wayne Co Ohio
Married Pheobe [sic] Priest to them was
born seven children
Joab William Charles Sam George
are all dead excep [sic] two first named
no heirs left but George’s two boys
Bennett and Olen

James, a farmer, appears in the 1850 U.S. census with his wife Phoebe (or Phebe) and the five sons mentioned in the manuscript.[1] (They also had a daughter who died in infancy. I haven’t been able to find evidence of a seventh child.)

James Scruby 1850 censusDetail from 1850 U.S. census. Plain Township, Wayne County, Ohio (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)

Phoebe died in November 1851 and James died 11 months later, leaving the boys orphans ranging in age from 4 to 17 years old. Guardians were appointed for the boys, and Thomas Casbon was appointed as the guardian for William Scruby. The guardianship was required until William reached the age of 21, in about 1858. Thus, it’s possible that William lived in Thomas’s household until that time.

William’s brother Charles died from diptheria in 1863 while serving in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Samuel also served in the Union Army. He died of an unknown cause just one month after mustering out in June 1865. Brother George, who became a farmer in Wayne County, died in 1882. These deaths account for the statement “all dead excep two first named” in the Isaac Manuscript, above.

Joab Scruby, the oldest brother, became a teacher. He remained in Wayne County for many years, but eventually moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he died in 1901. Contrary to what is said in the Isaac Manuscript, Joab had four sons, thus there were six heirs, including George’s two sons.

Returning to William, we find him listed in the 1860 census, in Wayne County, where he is reported as living alone in Plain Township, with the occupation of “Shoe Maker.”[2] In 1863 he registered for the draft in Wayne County.[3] However, there is no evidence that he ever served during the Civil War.

In the 1870 census, William Scruby, age 29, occupation “laborer,” and born in Ohio, was living in Boone Township, Porter County, Indiana.[4] Was this the same William? The reported age is about four years too young for our William. Before finding the news item above, I could not be sure he was the same man. However, with that new piece of information, I had proof, or at least strong circumstantial evidence that William Scruby—the son of James Scruby of Ohio—was living in Porter County in 1891. Therefore, I think it is likely that he was also the man reported on the 1870 census. Unfortunately, I have never found a listing for him in the 1880 census and the 1890 census was lost in a fire.

Assuming that William was living in Porter County, Indiana, in 1870, it is certainly possible that he arrived there at about the same time as Thomas Casbon, who moved there from Ohio in 1865. The fact that William came to Porter County at all suggests that he maintained a close relationship with Thomas and Emma Casbon. Perhaps the fact that Thomas had been his guardian created a strong and lasting bond.

William died on 9 May 1900.[5] His death was noted in the Porter County Vidette.

Death of Wm Scobey PCV 17May1900
“Here and There … Death of Wm. Scobey,” Porter County Vidette, 17 May 1900, p. 2, col. 1; microfilm image, Valparaiso Public Library; William’s age is misstated—he was actually 67 years old

The strength of his relationship with his two female cousins is evidenced by the terms of his Will, in which he bequeathed 500 dollars to Mary and 250 dollars to Emma.

Scruby Wm will PCV 24May1900
“Will of William Scruby,” Porter County Vidette, 24 May 1900, p. 1, col. 2;
microfilm image, Porter County Public Library

William’s death ended a chapter of the story that began when his father, James Scruby, came to America in 1832, followed by Thomas Casbon and Emma/Rachel Payne in 1846, Mary Payne in 1856, and James Casbon in 1870. The story shows how family ties formed a bridge between continents, how those ties played an important role in the immigration to America, and how they continued to influence lives over the course of several decades.

[1] 1850 U.S. census, Wayne County, Ohio, Plain Township, p. 382 (stamped), dwelling 397, family 407 (surname indexed as “Lemly”; FamilySearch.org.
[2] 1860 U.S. census, Wayne County, Ohio, Plain Township, p. 52, dwelling 401, family 400; FamilySearch.org.
[3] Records of the Provost Marshall General’s Bureau, Enrollment Lists and Corrections, 1863-1865, Ohio, 14th Congressional District, Class 1, (L-Z), p. 431; contained in “Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,” database with images, Ancestry.com > Ohio >14th > Vol 2 of 3 >image 318 of 549; citing NARA, RG 110.
[4] 1870 U.S. census, Porter County, Indiana, Boone Twp., page 17, dwelling & family 137, William Scruby (indexed as “Sernby”) in household of Henry Smity; FamilySearch.org.
[5] Indiana, State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, no. 189, Porter County, Boone Township, 9 May 1900, William Scruby; imaged as “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Ancestry.com >Certificate >1899 – 1900 >15 >image 24 of 3028.