A Visit to Ohio

aha moment
noun informal.
1. a point in time, event, or experience when one has a sudden insight or realization.[1]

Most of the time, genealogy research is fairly routine. You ask a question—“when was so-and-so born?”—and look for records that might answer the question. You either find the answer or you don’t, and then you move on. What can make it fun is when you have that “aha” moment—when the answer to a question pops up quite unexpectedly. Has this ever happened to you?

I had such a moment last year when I was browsing through old newspaper articles on microfilm in the Valparaiso (Porter County , Indiana) Public Library. I found this in the Porter County Vidette of 27 August 1891.

Untitled news item, Porter County Vidette, 27 August 1891

This single sentence answered not one but two questions that I had all but given up on finding the answers to. The questions were:

  1. Was Mary Payne, who married James Casbon in 1876, the same Mary Payne who arrived in Ohio from England with Mary Casbon in 1856?
  2. Was William Scruby who lived in Porter County, Indiana in the late 1800s, the son of James Scruby of Wooster, Ohio?

After finding this article, it was clear to me that the answer to both questions was yes!

Some background information will help you see how I came to these conclusions. Accordingly, let me introduce a brief cast of characters:

Emma Scruby (1811–1870): the wife of Thomas Casbon (1803–1888)

Emma or Rachel Payne (b. 1830): a niece of Emma (Scruby) Casbon; daughter of Emma’s sister Sarah (Scruby) Payne

Mary Payne (b. 1832 or 33): another niece of Emma (Scruby) Casbon; sister of Emma/Rachel Payne

William Scruby (b. abt. 1837): a nephew of Emma (Scruby) Casbon; son of Emma’s brother, James Scruby; also a first cousin of Emma/Rachel and Mary Payne

James Casbon (1813–1884), the brother of Thomas Casbon

The Scruby family plays an important role in the story of the Casbon family in the United States. When Thomas and Emma (Scruby) Casbon migrated from England to Ohio in 1846, they were greeted by Emma’s older brother James Scruby, who left England in 1832 and settled near Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio. Thomas and Emma lived and raised their family in Ohio, initially in Wayne County, and later, a few miles south in Holmes County. James undoubtedly influenced their decision to emigrate and helped them to get settled.

In addition to their own family, Thomas and Emma brought Emma’s niece “Rachell [sic] or Emma Payne” with them from England. Two names are given for this niece because she is referred to in various records by either of these names and is also recorded as “Emma R. Payne.”

Ten years after the arrival of Thomas and Emma Casbon, Emma/Rachel’s sister, Mary Payne migrated from England to Ohio, along with Thomas Casbon’s niece, Mary Casbon, who was the daughter of Thomas’s deceased brother, Joseph. This story is told in a handwritten family history.

Detail from an untitled manuscript, author unknown, ca. 1890-92, describing Isaac Casbon and the descendants of his son Thomas; note the term “Rachell or Emma Payne”

Mary Payne & Rachell or Emma Payne
came to America & They were the
daughters of Sarah Scruby sister to
Emma wife of Thomas Casbon
Mary Payne came to America in
the year 1856 Mary Casbon daughter of
Joseph Casbon who was a brother of
Thomas Casbon came to America with
Mary Payne Emma came with the
Family of Thomas Casbon to America

The story gets convoluted at this point. Mary Casbon, Thomas’s niece, married William Wallace Slocum in 1862.[2] Mary evidently died within a few years. Mr. Slocum next married Emma R. Payne on 23 March 1865.[3] In addition to the official marriage records, we find this part of the story published in a history of the Slocum family.

Detail from Charles Elihu Slocum, M.D., Ph.D., LL.D., History of the Slocums, Slocumbs and Slocombs of America (Defiance, Ohio: privately published, 1908), vol. 2:129; the peculiar spelling is due to the fact that the author was an adherent of a movement to simplify spellings in the English language.

We know from the description of her birthplace and voyage to America that Mr. Slocum’s third wife was same woman who emigrated to America with Thomas and Emma Casbon.

Through her marriage Emma/Rachel became the “Mrs. Rachel Slocum” referred to in the 1891 news brief. We can place Emma/Rachel in Shiloh, Ohio, because that is where her husband died in 1888.

But what of her sister Mary? Although she arrived in Ohio in 1856, Mary does not appear in the 1860 or 1870 censuses and I haven’t been able to find any trace of her during this time frame.

Enter, stage left, James Casbon. In 1870, James emigrated from England to Indiana, where his brother Thomas had been living since 1865. James married a woman named Mary Payne at Porter County, Indiana, in 1876, following the death of his wife Mary neé Jackson.

The marriage record of James Casbon and Mary Payne, Porter County, Indiana, 15 January 1876; “Indiana Marriages, 1811–2007” (FamilySearch); citing Porter County Marriage Records, vol. 4:348 (Click on image to enlarge)

Was James Casbon’s wife the sister of Emma/Rachel Slocum? I thought she might be but did not have enough evidence to prove the relationship. James and Mary appear together in the 1880 U.S. census in Porter County. Her age was reported as 53, which would give her a birth year of about 1827—about five years earlier than expected for Emma/Rachel’s sister. Her birthplace was reported as England, so at least that fact fit the theory.

The question remained unresolved for several years until my “aha” moment arrived last year. “Mrs. James Casborn [sic]” was going to visit her sister, “Mrs. Rachel Slocum,” in Shilo [sic] O[hio]. Quod Erat Demonstrandum! The missing link was found!

There is still a lot of missing information. Where was Mary Payne between 1856 and 1876? When did she move to Indiana? What circumstances led to her marriage to James Casbon? My guess is that she either followed her aunt Emma and uncle Thomas Casbon to Indiana, or that she came with William Scruby, who was her cousin. Although it is common for relatives to remain in proximity to one another, it is still intriguing to me that the paths of Emma and Thomas Casbon, James Casbon, William Scruby, and Mary Payne intersected in so many places and points in time.

But what of William Scruby? He has had only had a minor role in today’s story. His story will be next.

[1] “aha moment,” Dictionary.com (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/aha-moment )
[2] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 ” (FamilySearch) )>Huron >Marriage Records 1855-1866 vol 1 >image 220 of 306; citing Huron County.
[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 ” (FamilySearch) )>Huron >Marriage Records 1855-1866 vol 1 >image 277 of 306; citing Huron County.

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