Jesse Casbon in the News

Of Thomas Casbon’s (1803–1888) three sons, I know the least about Jesse. He was born at Meldreth, or possibly Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, in 1843.[1] He came to the United States (via Quebec) aboard the ship Parkfield in 1846. Jesse served in Company D, 148th Ohio Regiment, during the American Civil War and afterwards joined his family in Porter County, Indiana.[2] He married Emily Price, almost twelve years his junior, in 1872,[3] and had five children—a son who died in infancy and four daughters. Most of his adult years were spent farming in Porter County, Indiana. He died at the age of 90 in 1934.[4]

I have recently received some interesting newspaper articles about Jesse. They fill in a few blanks about his life, although they raise questions as well.

“Caution!”

The Porter County (Indiana) Vidette, 30 December 1875, p. 2, col. 6; courtesy of Steve Shook (Click on image to enlarge)

                                                               Caution!
Whereas my wife Emily has left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, I warn all persons not to harbor or trust her on my account, as I shall pay no debts of her contracting after this date.                                                                   JESSE CASBON.
    December 15th, 1875

I received this item from Steve Shook a few weeks ago. Steve is the unofficial Porter County historian as well as administrator of the excellent Porter County, Indiana, genealogy and history website. He also writes a blog titled Porter County’s Past: An Amateur Historian’s Perspective. I highly recommend both of these sites to anyone with family links in Porter County.

What does this brief newspaper item tell us? To put it in simple terms, Jesse and Emily’s marriage must have been going through a “rough patch.” We know nothing about the circumstances or who, if anyone, was at fault. We only know that Emily left Jesse and he was notifying the public that he would not be responsible for her continuing support.

The couple had been married two and a half years at this point. Their oldest daughter, Maude, was about 18 months old. Did Emily take Maude with her or leave her behind?
(It’s also possible also that a son, Ivan, had been born, but we don’t have birth or death dates for him.)

Apparently, advertisements such as this were quite common well into the twentieth century. It was usually husbands, but occasionally wives, who posted the ads. The intent of the ad might have been to shame and embarrass the spouse as well as to serve as a legal notice. I suspect that in this case, it was also an attempt to force Emily to return to Jesse’s “bed and board.” She apparently did so in short order because the next event I know of in their married life is the birth of their daughter Anna in December 1876, just a year after the ad was placed.

Was it a happy marriage? I can’t say. However, they remained married for 21 years until Emily’s death in 1893. I have written of Emily before, regarding her hobby of beekeeping and her deathbed testimony of Christian faith. It seems that their separation in 1875 was a temporary blip in their married life, whether it was happy or not.

“Public Sale, March 16th

Steve Shook also sent me this advertisement. It was placed about three months after the “Caution!” item.

The Porter County Vidette, 9 March 1876, p. 2, col. 4; courtesy of Steve Shook (Click on image to enlarge)

                                                     Public Sale, March 16th
I will offer for sale, three miles south of Gates’ corners, on
     Thursday, March 16th, 1876,
the following property: 3 work horses, 1 two-year-old colt, 6 head milch cows, 15 head of stock hogs, 4 brood sows, 200 bushels of corn, 6 or 8 tons of hay, 1 two-horse wagon, 1 set of double harness, 1 Furst & Bradley corn plow, 1 laporte corn sheller, Plows, Drags, and Household Furniture, consisting of Stove, Chairs, Bedstead, Cupboard, Table, Bureau, etc. …

I wonder what was going on in Jesse’s life at this time. It looks like he might have been liquidating as many of his possessions as possible. Perhaps he was just raising cash to buy land, since he purchased 40 acres of land at Gates Corner two months later.[5] (Per Steve Shook, “Gates’ Corners is located where present days Indiana state Road 2 and county roads 100 South and 300 West intersect one another … named after Moses Gates, who owned 160 acres directly north of this intersection.”) If Jesse was short on cash, it was only a temporary condition since he was described later in life as “a prominent farmer”[6] and “a wealthy widower.”[7]

“Animals Cremated”

The Porter County Vidette, 7 December 1900, p. 2, col. 1; microfilm image, Porter County Public Library (Click on image to enlarge)

     Valparaiso, Ind. Dec. 5.—Jesse Casbon’s barn, together with the contents, 14 cattle, three horses, the entire grain crop and farming implements, was destroyed by fire. Loss, $3,500; partially insured.

I’ve had this article for quite some time and posted it at an earlier date, but decided to re-post, since it fits in with today’s theme.

By this time (1900), Jesse was living in Center Township, just outside of Valparaiso, on about 160 acres of land adjacent to what was known as the Porter County Poor Farm. I don’t have any other information about the fire or its aftermath.

“A Birthday Party”

One day after Steve Shook sent me the “Public Sale” advertisement, I received the text of this article from Ilaine Church, a distant cousin-in-law and frequent genealogy correspondent. It describes a much happier episode in Jesse’s life.

The (Valparaiso) Evening Messenger, 25 Nov 1912; courtesy of Ilaine Church (Click on image to enlarge)

     Jesse Casbon, residing on the Laporte road, east of town, was the victim of a clever surprise Sunday, the occasion being his 69th birthday anniversary. The affair was secretly planned and carried out by his two daughters, the Misses Edna and Lily Casbon. Quite a number of relatives repaired to the home, but the disagreeable weather during the day kept many away who otherwise would have been in attendance. As a remembrance of the event Mr. Casbon received many valuable presents. At noon the guests were served with a dinner that made the tables groan and creak with its weight. Those present were S. V. Casbon and wife, Thos. Casbon and family, Lawrence Casbon and family, Charles P. Casbon, Jr. and family, and the Misses Iva and Mabel Priest. The afternoon was pleasantly spent in social intercourse and all departed with the wish that the Misses Lily and Edna would get on many more such happy affairs.

One thing I like about old newspapers is how much detail they go into describing local events. I also like this story because it names so many people. Of Jesse’s four daughters, only the two youngest, Lillian and Edna, were unmarried and living in Porter County in 1912. Of the guests mentioned, S.V. Casbon was Jesse’s oldest brother, Sylvester, and Thomas, Lawrence, and Charles P. (incorrectly referred to as “Jr.”) were Sylvester’s sons. Iva and Mabel Priest were the surviving grandchildren of Jesse’s oldest sister, Mary Ann (Casbon) Priest, deceased. By this time, Jesse’s sister Emma was also deceased.

Notably absent was the remaining brother, Charles Thomas Casbon. Was this because of the “disagreeable weather” or was their perhaps some bad blood between Jesse and Charles? I’ll describe the reason this might have been the case in my next post.

Of note is the fact that Jesse was now living east of Valparaiso on the “Laporte road.” LaPorte was the county seat of LaPorte County, directly east of Porter County. A 1911 directory tells us that Jesse lived on rural route 6, which included portions of the LaPorte road (now Indiana route 2).[8]

I have left out a series of news articles that were written between 1909 and early 1912. These will be the subject of my next post.


[1] Meldreth Parish (Cambridgeshire, England), register of baptisms [1813–67],” p. 59, no. 469; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681–1877,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 226; citing FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[2] Ohio, Roster Commission, Official roster of the soldiers of the state of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1866 (Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Press, 1889), vol. 9, p. 583; image copy, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000454243 : accessed 10 February 2019).
[3] “Indiana Marriages, 1811–2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1410397 : accessed 11 September 2018) >Porter > 1871–1875 Volume 4 > image 79 of 246.
[4] Indiana, State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, no. 2487; “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899–2011,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60716 : accessed 13 December 2016), >Certificate >1934 >01>image 2493 of 3006.
[5] Indiana, Porter County, Deed index 6, Grantee, Mar 1876–Dec 83, Jesse Casbon from Stephen William,
13 May 1876; imaged as “Indiana, Porter, Deed records, 1836–1901,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/008035253?cat=609009 : accessed 12 Jan 17); citing FHL Film 1,703,896, Item 5.
[6] “Church Makes Sensational Charge,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Evening Messenger, 30 Jun 1909, p. 1, col. 4; Porter County Public Library, unnumbered microfilm.
[7] “Escaped Bullets; Valparaiso Farmer was Victim of an Attempt at Assassination,” Bedford (Indiana) Daily Mail,
1 Jul 1909, p. 4; imaged at Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries: 12 Apr 2016).
[8] Bumstead’s Valparaiso City and Porter County Business Directory Including Rural Routes (Chicago: Bumstead & Co., 1911), p. 378; imaged as “U.S. City Directories, 1822–1995,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2469/ : accessed 31 Mar 20) >Indiana >Valparaiso >1911 >Valparaiso, Indiana, City Directory, 1911 >image 184 of 204.

2 thoughts on “Jesse Casbon in the News”

  1. I don’t remember them but I probably wasn’t reading that section of the newspapers either. I wonder if there is a modern-day equivalent with social networking or other online resources.

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