Do you remember John Casbon, the 10-year old boy who was sentenced to 7-years transportation for setting a brush pile on fire (see “The old cow got round it”)? Well, it seems that he got in trouble with the law once more, as reported in the June 12, 1869 South London Chronicle.
When we last heard of John, he was serving time at the Philanthropic Farm, Redhill, Surrey. He next appears on the 1861 census, living in his father William’s household in Meldreth, and working as a “Labourer.” He married Ann Barnes in Meldreth, 1863. Sadly, it was a short-lived marriage. A daughter, Eliza Ann, was born late in 1863. Then, Ann died, in April, 1864.
Evidently, John learned to read and write, probably during the time he was at the Philanthropic Farm. He signed his own name on his marriage records. He also adopted the spelling of Casban for his surname. This is the spelling that appears on official documents and in his signature from 1863 on. It’s interesting that the common variants of our surname in use today – Casban and Casben – both arose from John and his immediate siblings. His brother Samuel Clark also adopted the surname Casban, while brother Reuben adopted the name Casben.
He must have moved to London shortly after Ann’s death. He married Mary Hall in Lambeth, London, in October, 1866.
After his release from prison, John and Mary had three children: George William, born 1871; Kate, born 1874; and Edward James, born 1878.,, John’s daughter from his first marriage, Eliza Ann, died in 1873. Son Edward James died in 1879. His wife Mary died in 1880.
Apparently John learned his lesson after his second imprisonment There’s no evidence that he had any further troubles with the law. He married Sarah (Lawrence) Cave, a widow, in October, 1880. They did not have any children, and remained married until her death in 1913.
John’s stated occupation fluctuated after his release from prison. He was at times a gardener, carman, coachman, and labourer at a gasworks.,,, He died in 1927 at the age of 86. Some of today’s Casbans living in the U.K. are his descendants, through his son George. Hopefully one of them will read this & leave a comment!