Digging into the Aylesworth Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Detail from a map of the northeastern United States, showing the locations associated with the Aylesworth
family, beginning with Arthur1 and ending with Giles’s6 and Ira B.7; approximate locations: 1. Quidnessett,
Rhode Island; 2. Pownal, Vermont; 3. Milford, New York; 4. Wayne County, Ohio; 5. Porter County, Indiana;
adapted from A.K. Johnston, “Map of part of North America to illustrate the naval and military
events of 1812-13-14,” (London: William Blackwood & Son, 1852); David Rumsey Map Collection (https://www.davidrumsey.com/)

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

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

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

Detail from a plat map of Boone Township, Porter County, Indiana, 1876, showing location of the district 1 school (circled) and outline of lands owned by Giles6 and Ira B.7 Aylesworth at the time; from “Boone Township Maps,” Porter County Indiana (GenWeb), (http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/BooneTownshipMaps.html) (Click on image to enlarge)

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

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

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

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

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