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 (;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 ( : accessed 28 April 2017), image 207; citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[3] Find A Grave, database and images ( : 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 (;view=1up;seq=116 : accessed 20 April 2017).
[5] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 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 ( : 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 ( : 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 ( : 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 ( : 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 ( : accessed 29 April 2017).
[13] Find A Grave, memorial page for Mary Aann[sic] Casbon Priest (1833–1890).
[14] Find A Grave ( : 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 ( : 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 ( : 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 ( : 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.

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