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.

Cousins

Amos and Sina Casbon
Portrait of Amos James Casbon (1869–1956) and Sina Jane Casbon (1874–1952);
undated photo.

Thanks to Ron Casbon for contributing this portrait of Amos James and Sina Jane Casbon. Isn’t it lovely?

You would think from the photograph that they are either siblings or perhaps even engaged. Neither of these assumptions would be correct. They are first cousins, once removed. Amos was the son of James Casbon (about 1813–1884), while Sina Jane was the daughter of Charles Thomas Casbon (1840–1915). Their common ancestor was Isaac Casbon (about 1773–1825), who was the father of James and the grandfather of Charles Thomas. These relationships are illustrated in the diagram below.

Descendant Chart for Isaac Casbon

Although undated, based on their apparent ages, I would estimate that the photograph was taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s, when Amos would have been in his early twenties and Sina in her late teens. They are wearing their best clothing. It is clearly a studio portrait, and was probably photographed in Valparaiso, Indiana.

This portrait intrigues me because it suggests a certain level of friendship or intimacy between the two subjects. Aside from this photograph, there is no documentation that I know of that suggests any kind of relationship between them, other than their shared ancestry and location (Porter County). What is the significance of this portrait? Is it merely the commemoration of two cousins who were also friends? Might there have been an engagement? Perhaps I’m reading too much into this. If any of my readers know more, I hope they will comment.

These questions highlight a huge gap in the information available to me. The 1890 United States census records were destroyed in a fire. This means I have no information on Amos from the time he was 11 years old (1880) until he was 31 (1900). Likewise, I don’t know anything about Sina or her whereabouts between 1880 and 1910. I haven’t been able to locate an entry for her in the 1900 census; her parents are listed, but she is not with them. However, she was living with them in the 1910 census.[1]

Amos lost his father when he was 15 years old.[2] He and his stepmother probably received assistance from other family members, including Charles Thomas Casbon. Since he and Sina were fairly close in age, it’s not surprising that they would be friends. Amos went on to marry Carrie Belle Aylesworth in 1900, and they had a long and happy (as far as I know) marriage.[3] Sina Jane married Alfred Urbahns in 1915.[4]

So, what is a first cousin, once removed? I’ve always been confused by this terminology. Thankfully, my genealogy software (Family Tree Maker) tells me the relationships between any two people. Even so, it’s interesting to try to figure out.

Aside from siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, great grandparents or great aunts/uncles, etc., all of our other relatives are cousins of one kind or another. Therefore, many of the readers of this blog are my cousins, even if I’ve never met you.

Here are some definitions, from the Ancestor Search website:[5]

First Cousin. Your first cousin is a child of your aunt or uncle. You share one set of grandparents with your first cousin, but you do not have the same parents.

Second Cousin. Your second cousin is the grandchild of your great-aunt or great-uncle. You share one set of great-grandparents with your second cousin, but you do not have the same grandparents.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins. Your third cousin is the great-grandchild of your great-great-aunt or great-great-uncle. You share a set of great-great-grandparents with your third cousin, but do not have the same great-grandparents. Fourth cousins have one set of great-great-great-grandparents, but not the same great-great-grandparents. And so on.

Double Cousins. If two siblings in one family marry two siblings from another family and each couple has a child, the children are double first cousins. The word double in addition to the first cousin term is because they share the same four grandparents. Regular first cousins share only one set of common grandparents, while double first cousins share both sets of grandparents plus all lineal and collateral relatives.

Removed. The relationships of cousins of different generations are explained by using the word “removed”. Cousins who are “once removed” have a one-generation difference. For example, the first cousin of your father is your first cousin, once removed. In that case, your father’s first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents. This one-generation difference is explained by saying that you are cousins “once removed.”. Removed cousin relationships is never measured by age, but only by generation differences.

Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference between cousins. If you are two generations younger than the first cousin of your grandparent, then the relationship between you and your grandparent’s first cousin are first cousins, twice removed.

Cousin relationships can be any combination of first, second, third and so on, with once removed, twice removed, and so on.

Looking back at the diagram earlier in this post, you can see that Amos James and Sina’s father, Charles Thomas, were first cousins, i.e., they had a shared set of grandparents (Isaac and his wife Susanna [not shown]). Sina is one generation farther away from Isaac, hence she is Amos’ first cousin, once removed.

Incidentally, since I also share Isaac as a common ancestor with Amos and Sina, that makes me a first cousin, four times removed, to Amos; and first cousin, three times removed, to Sina.

[1] “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RJV-K?cc=1727033&wc=QZZ7-QBL%3A133640401%2C141400701%2C133664001%2C1589089119 : accessed 30 October 2016), entry for Sina Casbon (age 35) in household of Charles Casbon; citing enumeration district 141, sheet 10A, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
[2] “Murder! That is What is Made out of the Case of Old Man Casbon,” The Porter County (Indiana) Vidette, 28 August 1884; photocopy of newspaper clipping, privately held by Ron D Casbon [Address for private use].
[3] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDHQ-DK8 : accessed 21 January 2016), Amos J Casbon and Carrie B Aylesworth, 28 Nov 1900; citing Porter, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,686,211.
[4] “Michigan Marriages, 1822-1995,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FCJ9-383 : accessed 13 April 2017), Alfred W. Urbahns & Sina Casbon, 14 Oct 1915; citing reference it 1, p. 318, no. 9890; FHL microfilm 1,320,183.
[5] “Cousin Calculator, Relationship Chart & Relationship Definitions,” Ancestor Search (http://www.searchforancestors.com/utility/cousincalculator.html : accessed 13 April 2017).

Jane, William and Edith, Part 3

This is the third and final post in a series about the children of John Casbon (1779–1813) and his wife Martha (Wagstaff; 1775–1855). Today I’ll focus on Edith, the third child. Edith was born October 9, 1808, and baptized one month later in the tiny village of Whaddon, Cambridgeshire.[1] Whaddon is about 1.5 miles west of Meldreth.

Edith bp Whaddon 1808
Detail from Whaddon parish register, 1808: “Edith Daughter of John Casbourne and Martha his
wife late Mart Wagstaff baptized privately Novr 9th born Octr 9th.” (Click on image to enlarge)

It’s interesting to me that neither Jane, William nor Edith were born or baptized in Meldreth proper. There is no clue in the records as to what their father John was doing in Royston or Whaddon. By the time of his death in 1813, they were living in Meldreth.[2]

I know more about the man Edith married than I do about Edith herself. His name was Nehemiah Sell, of nearby Bassingbourn, and they were married in 1829.[3]

Nehemiah Sell Edith Casbon marriage 1829
Marriage record of Nehemiah Sell & Edith Casbourn, February 13, 1829, from Meldreth parish register.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Both Nehemiah and Edith signed with their marks, as did the two witnesses, one of whom was her brother William.

Nehemiah was a man who managed to get into the local news, and not in a good way. This article appeared in the September 12, 1835 Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette.[4]

Huntingdon Bedford PBoro Gazette 12Sep1835 N Sell arson
(Click on image to enlarge)

The Grand Jury returned a verdict of “No Bill,” meaning there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.[5] However, Nehemiah didn’t stay out of trouble for long. He was suspected of being an accomplice in the theft of a sheep in 1837.[6] In 1839 he was convicted to 3 months hard labor for stealing wheat.[7]

Meanwhile, Edith and Nehemiah had a growing family. By 1840 they had five children: Martha, Eliza, Ann Edith, John, and Mary Ann.[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] The 1841 census shows Edith and the surviving four children.[13] Where was Nehemiah? Another son, Nehemiah William, was born in 1843.[14]

Edith 1841 census Melbourne]
Detail from 1841 census, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Then, in 1845, Nehemiah was caught in the act of committing a vicious crime, as reported in the April 12, 1845 Ipswich Journal.[15]

N Sell attempted murder 1845
(Click on image to enlarge)

He was tried and convicted of assault with intent to murder, and sentenced to be transported for 15 years.[16]

Ipswich Journal 2Aug1845 N Sell trial conviction
Details of Nehemiah Sell’s trial and conviction,
from The Ipswich Journal. (Click on image to enlarge)

He was initially transported to Norfolk Island, a penal colony almost 900 miles east of the Australian mainland (and home of the Norfolk Pine!), and later moved to Tasmania, a large island south of Australia, then known as Van Diemand’s Land. [17],[18], He was eventually granted a conditional pardon, and married a woman named Ann Ferguson in 1854.[19],[20] Nehemiah stated truthfully (whether he realized it or not) to local officials that he was a widower when he married Ann. I don’t think he ever returned to England.

What happened to Edith after Nehemiah was convicted and sent away? Life could only have been difficult for a poor single mother with a large family. The 1851 census shows that she was listed as a “widow,” living on Dolphin Lane in Melbourn and working as a “hawker of fruit.”

Edith 1851 census Melbourne
Detail from 1851 census, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

The work probably brought in a little income, but I doubt that it was enough to support her large family. Maybe she got some help from her two siblings and her adult children.

The observant reader might have noticed something else in the 1851 census. Two of the children, Charles (“Chas”) and George, were born after Nehemiah’s transportation to Norfolk Island. Their baptisms were recorded along with those of Mary Ann and Nehemiah William in 1854. [21]

4 baptisms 1854
Detail from Melbourn parish register, showing baptisms of Mary Ann (age 13), Nehemiah
William (age 11), Charles (age 7), and George (age 4) in 1854. (Click on image to enlarge)

Nehemiah is listed as the father of Mary Ann and Nehemiah William in the baptismal register, while no father is listed for Chas or George.

The timing of this baptism is interesting as well. The four children were baptized together on February 21, 1854. This was the day after their mother Edith’s burial at Melbourn.[22] She was 46 years old when she died. Her five minor children, ranging in age from 4 to 15, were suddenly orphaned. Someone must have deemed it vital that their souls be saved in light of their mother’s death.

What became of the children? Eldest daughter Martha had already married in 1848.[23] Her younger brother (Nehemiah) William was living with her in 1861 and working as a railway porter.[24] Aside from these two, I haven’t been able to trace the other children. Maybe one of Edith and/or Nehemiah’s descendants will see this post someday and give me an update.

[1] Parish of Whaddon (Cambridgeshire, England), “Baptisms, 1692-1876; burials, 1691-1812; marriages, 1692-1713, 1746-1878; banns, 1754-1812,” no page #, Edith Casbourne (born Oct 9) baptism, 9 Nov 1808; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,04,0570, item 5.
[2] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” John Casbail burial, 3 Dec 1813; FHL microfilm 1,040,542.
[3] Parish of Meldreth, “Marriages 1813-37,” p. 20, Nehemiah Sell & Edith Casbourn, 13 Feb 1829; FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 8.
[4] “Town and County News … Commitments,” Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette, Cambridge and Hertford Independent Press, 12 Sep 1835, p. 2, col. 2; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000417%2F18350912%2F010%2F0002&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[5] “Cambridgeshire Assizes … Crown Court,” The Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette, etc., 19 Mar 1836, p. 2, col. 6; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000417%2f18360319%2f008 : accessed 9 April 2017).
[6] “Cambridgeshire Assizes … Prisoners – Thursday,” The Cambridge (England) Chronicle and Journal and Huntingdonshire Gazette, 27 Jul 1839, p. 2, col. 3; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000420%2F18390727%2F012%2F0002&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[7] “Cambridgeshire Sessions,” The Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette, etc., 23 Feb 1839, p. 2, col. 7; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000417%2F18390223%2F029%2F0002&browse=true : accessed 6 April 2017).
[8] Parish of Meldreth, “Baptisms 1813-67,” p. 35, Martha Sell, 15 May 1831; FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[9] Parish of Bassingbourn (Cambridgeshire), “Baptisms 1813-32,” p. 25, Eliza Sell, 9 Sep 1832; FHL microfilm 1,040,367, item 14.
[10] Parish of Bassingbourn, “Baptisms 1833-57,” p. 25, Ann Sell, 13 Nov 1834; FHL microfilm  1,040,367, item 15.
[11] Parish of Bassingbourn, “Baptisms 1833-57,” p. 25, John Casbon Sell, birth July 1837, baptism 21 January 1837; FHL microfilm 1,040,367, item 15.
[12] Parish of Melbourn, “Baptisms 1841-71,” p. 51, Mary Anne Sell (age 13), 21 Feb 1854; FHL microfilm 1,040,541, item 4.
[13] “1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” Melbourn, Royston & Buntingford, Cambridgeshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0000941292 : accessed 20 December 2016), entry for Edith Sell (age 33); citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 63, book 15, folio 14, p. 23.
[14] Parish of Melbourn, “Baptisms 1841-71,” p. 51, Nehemiah William Sell (age 11), 21 Feb 1854; FHL microfilm 1,040,541, item 4.
[15] “Miscellaneous … Attempted Murder and Robbery,” The Ipswich Journal, and Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire Advertiser, 12 Apr 1845, p. 3, col. 6; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710–1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000071%2F18450412%2F007%2F0003&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[16] “Suffolk Summer Assizes … Assault with Intent to Murder,” The Ipswich Journal, etc., 2 Aug 1845, p. 4, col. 4; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710–1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000071%2F18450802%2F012%2F0004&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[17] “Van Diemand’s Land,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Diemen%27s_Land : accessed 7 April 2017), rev. 30 Mar 17, 01:11.
[18] “Norfolk Island,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Island#19th_century : accessed 7 April 2017), rev. 6 Apr 17, 12:22.
[19] “Record Search,” database with images, Tasmanian Government (Australia) LiNC (https://www.linc.tas.gov.au/Pages/Home.aspx : accessed 7 April 2017), entry for Nehemiah Sell, 1846 convict records; citing Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office series CON33, item CON33/1/87.
[20] “Record Search,” database with images, Tasmanian Government (Australia) LiNC (accessed 7 April 2017), Nehemiah Sell & Ann Ferguson marriage, 8°May 1854; citing Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, resource RGD37/1/13, no. 108.
[21] Parish of Melbourn, “Baptisms 1841-71,” p. 51, Charles Sell (age 7) & George Sell (age 4), FHL microfilm 1,040,541, item 4.
[22] Cambridge Family History Society, “Melbourn Burials 1739–1950,” PDF transcription, p. 44, Edith Sell (age 47), 20 Feb 1854; citing Melbourn parish registers.
[23] “England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N2Q6-5TY : accessed 8 April 2017), William Camp and Martha Sell, 29 Dec 1848; citing Melbourn, Cambridge, England, FHL microfilm 990,296.
[24] Barrington Road, Foxton, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1861%2f0005023711 : accessed 9 April 2017), entry for William Sell (age 18) in household of William Camp; citing [The National Archives], enumeration district 7, RG 09, piece 814 folio 105, p. 15.

Jane, William and Edith, Part 2

This is the second post in a series about the three children of John Casbon (1779–1813) and his wife Martha (Wagstaff, 1775–1855). Their second child was William. His birth date is not recorded, but he was baptized in Royston, Hertfordshire on Christmas day, 1805, so he was probably born earlier that same year.[1] William is an important part of Our Casbon Journey because his children went on to have large families. William is the common ancestor of many of today’s living Casbans and Casbens.

Wm Casbon Bp 1805 Royston
Page from Royston, Hertfordshire parish register, Baptisms, 1805. (Click on image to enlarge)

As I mentioned in the previous post, William’s father died in 1813, and his mother remarried in 1815, leading to a larger blended family consisting of William, his two sisters, several half-brothers and a half-sister. With the high mortality rates of the time, such families were common, as there were generally quite a few young widows and widowers looking for new partners to provide financial and domestic support.

William became an Agricultural Labourer and lived in Meldreth his entire life. He married Ann Clark in Meldreth October, 1831.[2]

William C Ann Clark M Meld 1831
Detail from Meldreth parish register, 1831. (Click on image to enlarge)

Both William and Ann signed the marriage register with their marks, indicating they could not write proficiently. This is also true of the two witnesses, Nehemiah Sell and Jane Casbon. Nehemiah Sell was the husband of William’s younger sister Edith, and Jane was William’s older sister. Thus, the marriage record is a reminder of the importance of family ties. William and Ann had seven children, all of whom survived into adulthood. Here is a brief summary:

  • Mary Ann, born about 1831;[3] listed as servant, 1851 census;[4] married Joseph Sparrow 1875 in Middlesex, England;[5] probably died 1887.[6]

  • Edith, baptized 1835, Meldreth;[7] listed as servant, 1851 census;[8] married William Catley 1860 in Meldreth;[9] buried 1916 in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire.[10]

  • Jane, baptized 1840, Meldreth;[11] married John Camp 1881;[12] died 1904.[13]

  • Martha, baptized 1855, Meldreth;[17] never married; held various jobs in domestic service; buried 1947 in Melbourn.[18]

William’s wife Ann died in 1869 and was buried in Meldreth.[19] The 1871 census shows William as a widower, living with daughter Jane and son Samuel Clark.[20]

William C b1805 1871 census
Page from 1871 census, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. It’s tempting to think that the man boarding with them, William Clark, widower, is related to William Casbon’s deceased wife Ann, but there isn’t enough information to prove a connection. (Click on image to enlarge)

William died and was buried in Meldreth in either 1875 or 1877.[21],[22] The date is uncertain because there were two William Casbons, born a year apart, and I can’t be certain which one died when.

[1] “Hertfordshire Baptisms,” images and transcriptions, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fb%2f71142327%2f1 : accessed 29 March 2017), William Casburn, 25 Dec 1805; citing Hertfordshire Record Office, Royston Parish Register, Baptisms 1662—1812, Marriages 1662—1754, Burials 1662–1678.
[2] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” William Casbourn & Ann Clark marriage, 22 Oct 1831; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[3] “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” Church Lane, Melbourn, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1851%2f0006953665 : accessed 30 March 2017), entry for Mary Casbon (age 20) in household of John Campkin; citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 1708, folio 177, p. 3.
[4] “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” findmypast, entry for Mary Casbon.
[5] “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,” Parish of St Lukes, Middlesex, Joseph Sparrow & Mary Ann Casbon, 26 Dec 1865; images and transcriptions, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 August 2016); citing Church of England Parish Registers, 1754-1921, London Metropolitan Archives, London.
[6] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Camberwell, London, vol. 1D: 547; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1887%2f3%2faz%2f000312%2f293 : accessed 30 March 2017), Mary Ann Sparrow (age 56), 3d quarter, 1887.
[7] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Edith Casbon baptism, 29 Mar 1835; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[8] “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” High Street, Whaddon, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1851%2f0006949462 : accessed 30 March 2017), Edith Casbon in household of Elizabeth Bell; citing citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 1708, folio 34, p. 15.
[9] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” William Catley & Edith Casbon marriage, 13 October 1860; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[10] Cambridge Family History Society, “Melbourn Burials 1739–1950,” p. 64; transcription, 1916, May 22, Catley, Edith (age 84).
[11] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Jane Casbon baptism, 29 Nov 1840; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[12] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008,” Royston, Hertfordshire, vol. 3A: 323; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fm%2f1881%2f1%2faz%2f000038%2f142 : accessed 30 March 2017), John Camp [and Jane Casbon], 1st quarter, 1881.
[13] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007”, Royston, Hertfordshire, vol. 3A: 299; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1904%2f2%2faz%2f000053%2f347 : accessed 30 March 2017), Jane Camp (age 64), 2d quarter, 1904.
[14] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” John Casbon baptism, 16 Jul 1847 (born 2 Jun 1847); Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[15] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Reuben Casbon baptism, 25 Jul 1847 (born 2 Jun 1847); Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[16] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Samuel Clark Casbon baptism, 15 Feb 1852; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[17] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Martha Casbon baptism, 26 Aug 1855; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[18] Cambridge Family History Society, “Melbourn Burials 1739–1950,” p. 73; transcription, 1947, Jan 19, Casbon, Martha (age 91).
[19] “Cambridgeshire Burials,” Meldreth, Cambridgeshire; transcription (Cambridge Family History Society), findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fd%2f403420207%2f1 : accessed 31 March 2017), Ann Casbon (age 59), 3 Oct 1869.
[20] “1871 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” High Street, Meldreth, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1871%2f0016454370 : accessed 27 March 2017), William Casbon (age 65); citing [The National Archives], RG 10, piece 1363, folio 25, p. 21.
[21] “Cambridgeshire Burials,” Meldreth, Cambridgeshire; transcription (Cambridgeshire Family History Society), findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fd%2f403420272%2f1 : accessed 31 March 2017), William Casbon (age 69), 11 Oct 1875.
[22] “Cambridgeshire Burials,” Meldreth, Cambridgeshire; transcription (Cambridge Family History Society), findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fd%2f403420286%2f1 : accessed 31 March 2017), William Casbon (age 77), 8 May 1877.

Jane, William and Edith, Part 1

I would like to preface this post with these definitions:

Genealogy – a study of family ancestors with pertinent data such as birth, marriage and death dates.
Family History – an in-depth study of a family lineage with greater emphasis and clarification of each ancestor’s life story.[1]

Hopefully my readers will agree that this blog leans more towards the family history definition than that of genealogy. Not that I intend to demean genealogy in any way. Genealogy research is the tool I use to get the facts needed to write about our family history. The dates and events are important – and sometimes the only information I have. But what I really want to do is to understand and describe our ancestors’ lives and the world they lived in.

Which leads me to the discussion of siblings. A strict genealogical approach would emphasize direct ancestors – parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Siblings might be mentioned, but probably not explored in depth. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but I think it restricts the ability to understand our ancestors’ lives. If you think about your own relatives – brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – they all relate in some way to your concept of family and how you fit into that family. It must have been the same for our ancestors. For this reason, it’s important to me to look beyond my own direct ancestors and find out more about their extended families.

The late 18th century and early 19th century was an especially rich time when it comes to Casbon families in the Meldreth, Cambridgeshire area. My fifth great-grandfather Thomas Casbon (1843–1799) and his wife Jane (Wilson, 1741–1831) had seven children, four of whom survived into adulthood and had families of their own. These were: James (1772–1833), Isaac (1773–1825), Thomas (1775–1820), and John (1779–1813). Each of them had three or more children who lived beyond childhood, and each of them continued to live and work in the Meldreth area.

My point is this: by the early 1800s, Meldreth was teeming with Casbons. There were siblings and cousins galore. They must have had at least passing acquaintance with one another.

So, after this admittedly roundabout introduction, I’ll finally get to the real subject of today’s post. This is the first in a 3-part series about 3 siblings: Jane, William, and Edith Casbon, the children of John and Martha (Wagstaff) Casbon. John and Martha were each the subjects of earlier posts (“John Casbon of Meldreth & Royston (~1779-1813)” and “Martha = Patty”). Today I’m focusing on their first child, Jane.

Jane was born in Royston, Hertfordshire, probably in 1803, and was baptized November 27th of that year.[2]

Jane Casburn Bp Royston 1803
Detail from Royston parish registers, 1803. (Click on image to enlarge)

She was 10 years old and the oldest of the three children when her father died at Meldreth in 1813.[3] Given the social and economic conditions of the time, it probably would have been necessary for her to help support the family in some manner, but there is no record of this. Things would have improved when her mother married Samuel Barnes in 1815.[4] Jane and her siblings gained 4 half-brothers and one half-sister, ranging in age from 8 to 20 years old.

Jane never married. In the 1841 census, she was living with her mother, “Patty” Barns.[5]

Jane Casbon b 1803 Royston 1841 census Meld
Page from 1841 Census, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

Two entries above that for Patty and Jane is one for William Casbel and his two children. This was not her brother William, but her first cousin, son of Isaac. Her brother William appears a few pages later, farther down the same street.

In the 1851 census, she was still living with her mother, and was now right next door to her brother.[6]

1851 census Meldreth
Page from 1851 Census, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

This entry is interesting because it lists Janes mother as a “Pauper,” and Jane as a “Straw Platter.” What is a straw platter, you ask? The answer is that a straw plaiter was someone who braided straw to be used in the production of certain textiles, especially straw hats, which were fashionable at the time.[7],[8] The straw was braided into long strips and then sold by the score (20 yards) to either middlemen or manufacturers.[9] The straw plaits were sewn together in factories to make the finished product.[10] It was said that straw-plaiting women could earn more than their husbands.[11]

Happy Times
“Happy Times: Straw-Plaiting near St. Albans”[12] This engraving, based on a watercolor painting,
appeared in The Illustrated London News in May, 1853. (Click on image to enlarge)

Most straw plaiting in England was done in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire and Hertfordshire.[13] Meldreth, in Cambridgeshire, was only a few miles away from the county borders of both Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, so it was apparently close enough for Jane to get in on the business. It’s interesting that of the 776 entries in the 1851 Meldreth census, Jane’s is the only one given “straw platter” as the occupation.

In 1861, Jane was living alone, her mother having died in 1855.[14] Her occupation was listed as “Retired.”[15] This makes me curious whether she had a source of income or enough savings to live on.

The 1871 census makes a surprising revelation.[16]

Jane C b1803 Royston 1871 census Melbourn
Page from 1871 census, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

She was now living in Melbourn (just a mile from Meldreth). The word “Pauper” under Occupation has been crossed out. The surprise is in the column on the far right that says “Cripple from Birth.” I didn’t see that coming! I don’t know what kind of disability she had, but I would guess that it affected her ability to walk normally. She seemed to be able to use her hands, given her earlier work as a straw plaiter. How did this disability affect her life? I would like to think that she overcame the adversities in her life and ended up a stronger, more independent woman.

Jane’s death at the age of 69 was registered in Royston in the third quarter of 1872.[17] There is no record of her burial in either the Meldreth or Melbourn parish registers.

[1] “Think There Is No Difference in Genealogy vs. Family History?,”n.d., familytree.com (http://www.familytree.com/blog/think-there-is-no-difference-in-genealogy-vs-family-history/ : accessed 29 March 2017).
[2] “Hertfordshire Baptisms,” images and transcriptions, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fb%2f71142286%2f1 : accessed 29 March 2017), Jane Casburn, 27 Nov 1803; citing Hertfordshire Record Office, Royston Parish Register, Baptisms 1662—1812, Marriages 1662—1754, Burials 1662–1678.
[3] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” John Casbail burial, 3 Dec 1813; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[4] Parish of Meldreth, “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” marriage of Samuel Barnes & Martha Casbon, 24 Jul 1815; Family History Library microfilm 1,040,542.
[5] “1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” High Street, Meldreth, Royston & Buntingford, Cambridgeshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0000942497 : accessed 29 March 2017), entry for Jane Casbon (age 35) in household of Patty Barns; citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 63, book 19, folio 6, p. 6.
[6] “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” Meldreth, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1851%2f0006949839 : accessed 29 March 2017), entry for Jane Casbon (age 48) in household of Patty Barns; citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 1708, folio 49, p. 14.
[7] “Straw plaiting,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_plaiting : accessed 29 March 2017), rev. 5 Dec 16, 21:32.
[8] Eleanor Markland, “Teachers’ Notes,” Luton: Hat Industry 1750 to 2000 (Luton Borough Council [Museum Service], 2003), p. 5; online PDF book, Luton Culture (http://www.lutonculture.com/uploads/documents/1339774056_HatIndustry.pdf : accessed 29 March 2017).
[9] Markland, “Teachers’ Notes,” Luton: Hat Industry 1750 to 2000, p. 6.
[10] Markland, “Teachers’ Notes,” Luton: Hat Industry 1750 to 2000, p. 48.
[11] Straw Plaiting,” A History of Preston in Hertfordshire (http://www.prestonherts.co.uk/page222.html : accessed 29 March 2017)
[12] “Happy Times: Straw-Plaiting near St. Albans,” The Illustrated London News, 14 May 1853, supplement, vol. 22, p. 392; online images, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=chi.60765664;view=1up;seq=394 : accessed 29 March 2017).
[13] “Straw plaiting,” Wikipedia.
[14] “1861 Census of Engand, Wales & Scotland,” Meldreth, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1861%2f0005026890 : accessed 29 March 2017), Jane Carston (age 59); citing [The National Archives], enumeration district 15, RG 09, piece 815, folio 59, p. 13.
[15] “1861 Census of Engand, Wales & Scotland,” Meldreth; findmypast (accessed 29 March 2017).
[16] “1871 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” Meeting Lane, Melbourn, Royston, Hertfordshire, England; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1871%2f0016452824 : accessed 27 March 2017), entry for Jane Casbon (age 67)); citing [The National Archives], RG 10, piece 1362, folio 69, p. 14.
[17] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” Royston, Hertfordshire, vol. 3A: 195; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1872%2f3%2faz%2f000054%2f315 : accessed 29 March 2017), Jane Casbon (age 69), 3d quarter, 1872.

Sylvester on a Cart

This photograph is courtesy of Ron Casbon.

Sylvester V Casbon Rider - driver unknown0001 (Click on image to enlarge)

The older man is Sylvester V Casbon, my second great grandfather. The man sitting next to him is unidentified – does anybody recognize him? The photograph is undated and location unknown. I wonder if it was taken near his farm in Deep River.

Sylvester was born June 6, 1837 in Meldreth Cambridgeshire, England, the eldest living son of Thomas Casbon (1803-1888).[1] Sylvester was the first Casbon to settle in Indiana, after moving from Ohio.[2] He had three children with his first wife, Adaline Aylesworth (1842–1868) and three with his second, Harriet Emiline Perry (1842–1874).

After moving to Indiana, he initially settled in Boone Township, Porter County, but later moved to Deep River, in Ross Township, Lake County.[3] In 1892 he moved to Valparaiso, Porter County, where he remained the rest of his life.[4]

Although there is little detail in the photo, I’m guessing that Sylvester was in his 50s or 60s at the time. This would date the photo to the late 1880s or the 1890s. Compare to this photo, taken at a family reunion in October 1901.[5]

CASBON reunion 1901 labeled
Group photograph taken at Casbon family reunion, Valparaiso, Indiana, October 24, 1901. Sylvester is standing just to the left of the left-hand porch column. Names added by Jon Casbon. (Click on image to enlarge)

Or, compare to this photo of Sylvester and his living descendants, taken about 1905.[6]

OLD CASBON GROUP REPAIRED
Undated photo of Sylvester Casbon and extended family ca. 1905. Sylvester is sitting next to his third wife, Mary Mereness. Location is not indicated, but I believe this was Sylvester’s home on 501 Academy Street, Valparaiso. The home is still standing. (Click on image to enlarge)

Referring back to the original photo of Sylvester on the cart, I believe this kind of cart is known as a buckboard. It is a simple cart, with a seat place on a platform of planks. The platform is not suspended on springs. On some buckboards, the seat may be placed on springs.[7] That does not appear to be the case in the photograph.

[1] “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), vol. 2, p. 482; digital images, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011679885 : accessed 24 March 2017).
[2] “Sylvester Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana, p. 483.
[3] “Sylvester Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana, p. 483.
[4] “Sylvester Casbon,” History of Porter County, Indiana, p. 484.
[5] Casbon family reunion photograph, 24 Oct 1901; digital image ca. 2001, privately held by Jon Casbon [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Colorado Springs, Colorado. The location, condition, and characteristics of the original are not known.
[6] Sylvester Casbon family photograph ca. 1905; digital image ca. 2001, privately held by Jon Casbon [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Colorado Springs, Colorado. The location, condition, and characteristics of the original are not known.
[7] “Buckboard,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckboard : accessed 24 March 2017), rev. 27 Oct 16, 09:01.