Introducing the Iowa Casbons! Part 2

Part 1 of this series brought us through the early years of George and Maud (Carpenter) Casbon’s marriage, and culminated with two major events: a fire that destroyed their home, and the death of George’s aunt, Emma (Casbon) Rigg.[1] Through the inheritance of Emma’s estate, George now owned his own farm in Geneseo Township, Tama County, Iowa.

The next decade in their lives saw the continued growth of their family and the rebuilding of their home. The children were born in this order: Robert Newell, August 16, 1911; Vilah, July 29, 1913; Josephine Esther (“Jo”), July 11, 1915; Genevieve Ruth (“Jen”), October 15, 1917; and their last child, Catherine Cleo (“Kate”), September 12, 1920.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] With the three older children, Sylvester, Ira Raymond (“Buddy”) and Emma Elizabeth, there were eight children, ranging in age from newborn to fourteen years old.

George with children, left to right: Sylvester, Emma, Robert, Buddy; photo was probably taken summer 1912; this must be the temporary home George built after Emma (Casbon) Rigg’s home burned down January 1, 2010; courtesy of Claudia Vokoun

As to the new home, this article appeared in the Waterloo Evening Courier of November 11, 1915.[7]

(Click on image to enlarge)

George’s aunt Emma (Casbon) Riggs had a lot to say about how the new house should be built before she died in 1910. I might have more to say about this in a future post. The house is still standing. Here are current views of the house, from the Tama County Assessor’s office.[8]

(Click on photo to enlarge)

And here is a photograph of George, Maud and family, in front of the house, probably taken in the summer of 1918.

L to R: Sylvester, George, Robert, Emma, Genevieve, Maud, Vilah, Josephine; courtesy of Claudia Vokoun

Absent from the photo is their second son, Ira Raymond (“Buddy”). Buddy died in December, 1918. He had a congenital heart condition, and succumbed to influenza, most likely the deadly flu pandemic that ravaged the world in 1918.[9] Given that he died in December, I can’t explain his absence from the photo; but I’m pretty sure I’ve dated the photo correctly based on the apparent age of the youngest child (Genevieve).

Tragedy struck the family once more when George and Maud’s third son, Robert Newell (named for George’s uncle Robert Rigg), was killed in a motorcycle accident October 2, 1936. He was on a cross-country motorcycle trip to the west coast when the fatal accident occurred in Nebraska.[10]

According to Claudia Vokoun, the economic depression of the 1930s was hard on the family, and they were forced to leave the farm.[11] By the mid-1930s most of the children were grown and/or married. George retired and sold the farm in 1935.[12]

(Click on image to enlarge)

Although George was reported to have spent the last 10 years of his life in Waterloo (see obituary, below), this is contradicted by the 1940 census, where we find him in Bremer County, Iowa, with Maud and youngest daughter Catherine.[13]

Detail of 1940 U.S. Census, Franklin Township, Bremer County, Iowa (Click on image to enlarge)

The census also says that George was residing at the same place in 1935 (column 17). This must be where they relocated after selling the farm. The “U” in column 24 indicates that he was unable to work. According to the enumerators’ instructions, this code is only supposed to be used “for persons unable to work because of permanent disability, old age, or chronic illness.”[14] George was 65 at this point, so the reason was likely old age. The “H” in this column for Maud and Catherine indicate that they were engaged in housework.[15]

George died on February 24, 1944 in Waterloo, Iowa.[16]

Obituary from the Waterloo Daily Courier, 25 Feb 1944 (Click on image to enlarge)

We learn from the obituary that he died from complications of a fall, and that he had been weakened previously by influenza. We also learn that George and Maud had been living at the home of their married daughter Josephine (Casbon) Kraft, along with daughters Genevieve and Catherine. Was this an indication of fiscal belt-tightening during World War 2?

After Genevieve was married in 1951, Catherine and Maud “became roommates in a little house over by Byrnes Park, Waterloo.”[17] Catherine later bought a small house on the outskirts of Waterloo, where she and Maud lived, and where Maud died on June 3, 1972.[18],[19]

Obituary from the Waterloo Daily Courier, 5 Jun 1972[20] (Click on image to enlarge)

Claudia Vokoun has many fond memories of Maud, and states, “I loved my Grandma. She was the only one that got excited with on Christmas mornings to see what Santa brought me.”[21]

Undated photo (late 1930s or early 1940s) of a family gathering; Maud & George are sitting; standing, left to right: Katie, Josephine, Vilah, Emma, Genevieve, Sylvester; courtesy of Claudia Vokoun

We will hear more about the Iowa Casbons in future posts. Thanks again to Claudia for a wealth of information!

[1] Jon Casbon, “Introducing the Iowa Casbons! Part 1,” 5 Oct 17, Our Casbon Journey (https://casbonjourney.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/introducing-the-iowa-casbons-part-1/ : accessed 10 October 2017).
[2] “One Killed One Injured: Robert Casbon Meets Death in Motorcycle Accident and Glenn Clark Suffers Crushed Leg Last Friday,” (La Porte City, Iowa) Progress Review, 8 Oct 1936, p. 1, col. 6; online image, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries: 17 August 2017).
[3] “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J1PD-NP6 : 20 May 2014), Vilah Casbon, 18 Mar 1996; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, National Technical Information Service.
[4] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VS4X-TTL : 19 May 2014), Josephine E Gray, 05 Aug 2010.
[5] “Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRZB-VWW : 20 May 2016), Genevieve Casbon, 15 Oct 1917; citing Geneseo Township, Tama, Iowa, United States; county district courts, Iowa; FHL microfilm 1,763,983.
[6] “Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4XH-YP4 : 20 May 2016), Catherine Cleo Casbon, 12 Sep 1920; citing Waterloo, Iowa, United States; county district courts, Iowa; FHL microfilm 1,561,083.
[7] “News and Notes of La Porte City,” Waterloo (Iowa) Evening Courier, 11 Nov 1915, p. 10, col. 1; online archive, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries: 4 October 2017).
[8] “Parcel no. 04.01.100.006,” Tama County Assessor (http://tama.iowaassessors.com/parcel.php?gid=177932 : accessed 10 October 2017).
[9] Tama County, Iowa, death certificate no. 86-01683, Ira R. Casbon, 18 Dec 1918; imaged as “Iowa, Tama County, death records, 1904-1929,” online images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS6V-LSMY-9?i=2874&cat=2558535 : accessed 10 October 2017), image 2875 of 3354; citing FHL microfilm 102,902,999; citing Iowa, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
[10] “One Killed One Injured: Robert Casbon Meets Death in Motorcycle Accident and Glenn Clark Suffers Crushed Leg Last Friday.”
[11] Claudia Vokoun, “Notes: Bertha Maude Carpenter,” scanned page from a scrapbook compiled by Claudia Vokoun, August 2017; copy privately held by Jon Casbon.
[12] “14 Iowa Farms Change Hands,” Creston (iowa) News Advertiser, 2 Sep 1935, p. 6, col. 1; online image, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries: 10 October 2017).
[13] 1940 U.S. Census, Bremer County, population schedule, Franklin Township, p. 21 (stamped), enumeration district 9-3, sheet 1-A, household 3, Carbon George; imaged as “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89M1-XNSZ?cc=2000219 : accessed 2 October 2017), image 1 of 19; NARA digital publication T627, RG 29, roll 1142.
[14] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Abridged Instructions to Enumerators: Population (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940); PDF download at “1940 Census Records,” National Archives (https://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/instructions-to-enumerators.pdf : accessed 12 October 2017).
[15] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Abridged Instructions to Enumerators.
[16] “Deaths – George W. Casbon.”
[17] Vokoun, Claudia, “Notes: Bertha Maude Carpenter.”
[18] Vokoun, Claudia, “Notes: Bertha Maude Carpenter.”
[19] “Metropolitan Deaths … Mrs. Maude B. Casbon,” Waterloo (Iowa) Daily Courier, 5 Jun 1972, p. 5, col. 1; online image, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating newspapers: 16 August 2017).
[20] “Metropolitan Deaths … Mrs. Maude B. Casbon.”
[21] Vokoun, Claudia, “Notes: Bertha Maude Carpenter.”

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