Anna Mae (Casbon) (Kitchel) (Fleming) was the second of four daughters born to Jesse and Emily (Price) Casbon. She was born at Porter County, Indiana, 22 December 1876 and died at Orlando, Florida, 16 December 1957.
Thanks to Anna’s great-granddaughter, Jan Hoffman, I have some new material to share with my readers.
Jan has been going through her mother’s (daughter of Anna’s son, Jesse II) papers and other possessions and has found several items that were passed down from Anna. One of those items is this cookbook.
We know this was Anna’s because of what is written inside.
Anna Mea [sic]Casbon Valparaiso, Porter Co., Indiana Box 924 Age 20 years 3 days Dec 25 1896 to Dec 25 1955 = 59 years old
The book must have been given to Anna as a Christmas, or perhaps a combined birthday and Christmas, present. She was still unmarried at the time. (She married Newton Kitchel in July 1898.) It’s interesting that she added the age of the book in 1955. I wonder if she presented it to her granddaughter as a Christmas present at that time.
Marion Harland is the penname of Mary Virginia Terhune (1830–1922). She was a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction. She achieved success with a genre known as “plantation fiction.” She later expanded her writing to include domestic matters, such as household management and cookbooks. Those interested in learning more can read a Wikipedia article about her here.
Christing Terhune Herrick (1859–1944) was Marion’s eldest daughter. She followed in her mother’s footsteps as the successful author of many cookbooks and other domestic guides. You can read more about her here.
Anna’s cookbook contained additional surprises. One was this handwritten recipe for “Chilli Sauce.”
Jan says she is going to give the recipe a try. I’m looking forward to her report.
As you can see in the recipe, spelling was not Anna’s strong point. I’ve noted poor spelling in several things written by her. She even misspelled her middle name in the inscription. I don’t know if this reflects an interrupted education or some form of learning disability. I’m glad it did not stop her from writing.
Another item found inside the cookbook was this list of expenses.
This appears to be a list of expenses for rent, food, supplies, and other services rendered to an unknown party. It references “carring [sic] them around,” “trip West Point,” “hauling their goods from Clay Bank,” “Rig to get there [sic] company at Hartleys Warf [sic].” I’ve identified some of these places as being in the Tidewater Region of Virginia. Because of this, I suspect that the list was written when Anna and her family were living at Newport News, Virginia (under the surname “Fleming”—Anna’s second husband), in the late nineteen-teens to early 1920s.
Family items such as Anna’s cookbook and the handwritten notes inside it help to connect us to the lives of our deceased ancestors. Thanks again to Jan for sharing these. I’m looking forward to more goodies from her!
This startling article appeared in the 30 June 1909 Porter County (Indiana) Vidette:
Farmer Narrowly Escapes Bullets Hiram Church, a well known farmer living about two miles southwest of town, came near being the victim of an assassin’s bullet at an early hour this morning. Mr. Church was awakened about two o’clock by noises outside the house. He arose from bed, lighted a lamp and went to the window to investigate. The moment he reached the window a pistol shot rang out in the night air, the bullet lodging in the ceiling of the room in which Mr. Church was standing. In an instant a second shot was fired, the leaden missile being flattened against the stove. Hastily donning his clothes, Mr. Church summoned his son and struck out after the would-be assailant. The man was traced as far as Sager’s woods where the trail was lost. Before going home Mr. Church went to the home of Jesse Casbon, a man with whom he has had more or less trouble, and found him just returning to his place of abode. Mr. Church came to Valparaiso and swore out a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Casbon, charging him with assault with attempt to commit murder. The two men have had trouble over the renting of the farm on which Mr. Church resides, and the case is now in court, having been taken to Lake county on a change of venue. Bad feeling has existed between the two men for a year or more. Mr. Church is positive that he recognized Mr. Casbon through the window. The bullet which struck the stove was from a 32 calibre revolver and would easily have caused death had it not went wide of its human target. Mr. Casbon was arrested this afternoon by Constable Bryarly. He gave bonds for $1,000 and was released.
The next day the Evening Messenger reported that the grand jury returned an indictment against “Jesse Casbon, charged with shooting at Hiram Church, felonious assault.”
For background, Jesse Casbon (1843–1934) was the third son of Thomas Casbon (1803–1888), who emigrated from England to Ohio in 1846 and then moved to Porter County, Indiana in 1865. Hiram Church (1866–1951) was the son-in-law of Jesse’s brother Charles Thomas Casbon and was married to Charles’s daughter Lodema. The Church family had been in northern Indiana since at least 1850. Hiram and Lodema hosted the 1901 Casbon family reunion at their home in Valparaiso.
As the article states, Jesse and Hiram Church were involved in a property dispute. The property involved was about 160 acres located mainly in sections 26 and 27 of township 35 north, range 6 west, located about 1 ½ miles southwest of downtown Valparaiso, the county seat, and directly west of the county (poor) farm. Deed records show that Jesse purchased this property in 1879. A plat map from 1895 shows this land in Jesse’s possession.
At some point Jesse rented the farm to Hiram Church. This contradicts the entry for Hiram in the 1910 census, where he is listed as the owner, not renter, of this property.
Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any court records, so the details of the legal case are unclear. A fragment of a letter from Emma (Casbon) Rigg, Jesse’s sister, who was visiting from Iowa at the time and staying with him, suggests that Church claimed he had a verbal agreement that Jesse “would & did sell him the farm for 11000 [dollars].”
Returning to the shooting, the odd thing is that I have not been able to find any evidence that Jesse was ever tried for the alleged assault. A few years ago, I searched the Valparaiso newspapers (on microfilm) at the Porter County Public Library, and I found no further mention of the shooting. Were the charges dropped?
Instead, the newspapers shift to the legal battle between Jesse and Hiram Church. An article in the 1 August 1909 (i.e., only one month after the shooting) Porter County Vidette quotes the Michigan City (LaPorte County, Indiana) Dispatch, stating that “Hiram Church filed an action against Jesse Casbon to quiet [sic: quit] title to a farm in Porter County owned by the former.” In other words, Hiram claimed that he was the rightful owner of the property. Even though it was only one month later, no mention was made of the assault charge against Jesse. The article also stated that the venue for the case was changed from Porter to LaPorte county.
A 6 July 1911 article in the Hammond Lake County Times stated that the case of “Jesse Cashon [sic] vs. Hiram Church; Possession” was filed in the superior court at Crown Point, Indiana.
What had happened with the case in LaPorte County? Why was a case now being filed in Lake County (immediately west of Porter County), where it had supposedly been filed once before in 1909? I don’t have answers.
The resolution of the case is found in this undated article I received from Ilaine Church (a granddaughter-in-law of Hiram Church).
Settled Out of Court The case of Church against Casbon for the possession of real estate has been settled out of court and dismissed. The suit has been a noted one and has been in the courts for about four years. It was tried at Crown Point and Church won the suit. A new trial was secured by Casbon and the case was venued to Laporte county, where it was dismissed after the court received notice of the agreement for a settlement. The plaintiff gets possession from the defendant of a farm located near the county house, which was the subject of contention for which he is to pay the defendant $12,000.
This summarizes the case in a nutshell, although I wish there were more details. Apparently, Hiram Church won the case in Lake County referred to in July 1911, but what had happened in the preceding two or three years? It seems to have bounced back and forth between Porter, LaPorte, and Lake counties.
Even though undated, the article must have been written in either late 1911 or early January 1912, because a deed recorded in Porter County shows the sale by Jesse Casbon to Hiram Church of a piece of property matching the description of that first purchased by Jesse in 1879, for the price of 12,000 dollars.
It is frustrating not having the details of either case—the alleged assault or the property dispute that might have triggered it. One thing that is clear is that there was a great deal of animosity between both parties in the dispute. It is unlikely that a 12,000-dollar payment did anything to ease the hard feelings.
In my previous post, I mentioned the possibility of bad blood between Jesse and his brother Charles. Given that Hiram Church was married to Charles’s daughter, is would be understandable if Charles took Hiram’s side in the argument and distanced himself from his brother.
 “Grand Jury Adjourns,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Evening Messenger, 1 Jul 1909, p. 1, col. 3; microfilm, Porter County Library.  Indiana Porter County, Deed Index 6, Grantee, Mar 1876—Dec 83, Casbon Jesse from John T Derrit x3, 20 Mar 1879, Parts S26, 35, 27 T35 R6, recorded 15 Apr 1879; in collection “Deed records, 1836-1901,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/609009 : accessed 12 Jan 17; citing FHL Film 1,703,896, Item 5.  1910 U.S. census, Porter County, Indiana, Center Township, ED 137, sheet 7B, dwelling 115, family 118; imaged as “1910 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/ : accessed 6 Sep 20) >Indiana >Porter >Center >District 0137 >image 14 of 26.  Fragment of letter from Emma Rigg to George Casbon, undated (ca. May 1910); image copy supplied by Claudia Vokoun, now in author’s collection.  “Change of Venue in Four Cases,” The Porter County (Indiana) Vidette, 4 Aug 1909, p. 2, col. 1; microfilm, Porter County Library.  “New Cases in Superior Court,” The Hammond Lake County (Indiana) Times, 6 Jul 1911, p. 5, col. 1; microfilm, Porter County Library.  Porter County, Indiana, deed records, book 11, page not recorded, [copy of] warranty deed dated 10 Jan 1912, Jesse Casbon to Hiram Church for $12,000, E 1/2 SE 1/4 S27 and part W1/2 SW 1/4 S26 and part of NW 1/4 S 35, T35 R6W; photocopy, author’s collection.
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. 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.He married Emily Price, almost twelve years his junior, in 1872, 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.
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! 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
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.
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. (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” and “a wealthy widower.”
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.
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.
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.
 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.  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).  “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.  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.  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.  “Church Makes Sensational Charge,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Evening Messenger, 30 Jun 1909, p. 1, col. 4; Porter County Public Library, unnumbered microfilm.  “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). 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.
I’ve had this photograph for so long that I don’t remember where or who it came from. I believe I was given a copy sometime in the 1990s when I was just starting my genealogy research. Many of today’s Casbons have seen a version of the photo because it serves as the cover image for the “Casbon Family” Facebook group. Although I’ve used it in a previous post and in my book, I have never written about the photograph in detail or given it the attention that it deserves.
The picture is a treasure. A lot of old photos don’t have names of the subjects written in. I was very lucky that my version of the photo came with a separate “key” that provided all the names. I used the key to add labels to the original photograph. It’s always nice to be able to put a face to a name, but how often can you put 36 faces to 36 names?
This is the only photograph I know of that shows all of Thomas Casbon’s (1803–1888) living children—Sylvester, Charles, Jesse, and Emma—together. Mary Ann, the oldest daughter, passed away in 1890. All of them, except for Emma, were born in England. Likewise, Amos, the son of Thomas’s brother James (~1813–1884), was born in England.
The picture gives us a glimpse into how people lived at the turn of the twentieth century. We can see how they dressed and what a typical house in the Midwest looked like. We can even see that bicycles haven’t changed that much in 120 years! (Woodie Marrell looks pretty proud of his bicycle!)
I’m especially lucky because the event captured in the photograph was reported in the local newspaper.
The Casbon family had a reunion at the home of Hida Church in this city Thursday. A sumptuous dinner and a pleasant social time marked the affair. The guests were: Sylvester Casbon and family; Charles Casbon and family; Jesse Casbon and family; Mrs. M. [Emma] Rigg, of Iowa; Lawrence Casbon and family, of South Bend; John Sands [Sams] and family, of Boone Grove; Lawrence Casbon and family, of Boone Grove; John [Thomas] Casbon, of Deep River; Charles Casbon, Jr. [son of Sylvester, therefore not Charles junior], of Valparaiso; Myron Dayton and wife; Mrs. Mary Casbon [widow of James] and John Merrill and family.
The attendees of the reunion included most of the living descendants of Thomas and James Casbon, who emigrated to the United States with their families in 1846 and 1870, respectively. To me, the photograph is a testimony to the brothers’ determination and a visual confirmation of the family’s growth and prosperity since coming to America.
I’ve created a diagram showing how most of the attendees were related. It is color coded by generation. Attendees are indicated by bold-face type. Several deceased individuals, including Thomas and James, as well as former wives, are listed in the diagram in order to make the lines of descent clear. Their names are printed in italics.
Also included in the photograph but not the descendants of Thomas or James Casbon are Woodie (or Woody) and Susie Marrell, the children of John Marrell, who is mentioned in the news article, the brother of Mary Marrell Casbon.
There are also several notable absences from the photograph. George W. Casbon, Sylvester’s youngest son, who was raised by his aunt Emma (Casbon) and uncle Robert N. Rigg, was living in Iowa. Note that Emma was present at the reunion. Charles Parkfield Casbon’s wife, Julia (Bidwell), is not in the photo, even though the news article says that Charles “Jr.” was there with his family. Julia would have been almost eight months pregnant with their first child, Herman, at the time. Three of Jesse Casbon’s daughters—Anna, Edna, and Lillian—were not there. Anna was married and living in Wisconsin; I don’t know why the other two were absent. Finally, Amos Casbon’s two sisters, Margaret (“Maggie”) and Alice, were not there. Maggie was married and living nearby but was possibly estranged from the others. Alice was also married and living nearby.
The reunion was held at the home of “Hida”—Thomas Hiram Church, Jr.—and his wife, Lodema (Casbon). The 1900 census tells us that Hida and Lodema lived at 5 East Elm Street in Valparaiso. The streets were later renumbered, and this house can now be seen at 105 Elm Street.
Aside from no longer having a covered front porch, the facade of the house has changed little since 1901.
As separate branches of the family grew and dispersed, the tradition of reunions dwindled. However, since both Sylvester and Amos married Aylesworth girls, their descendants continued to attend the annual Aylesworth reunions in Porter County, Indiana. My father remembers attending these. These reunions still occur the first weekend in August every year (except this one, thanks to COVID-19). In recent years, Casbon reunions were started up again, hosted by the late Michael J. Casbon. I was fortunate to attend the most recent one of these in 2017.
 1900 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, ED 81, sheet 9A; imaged as “”United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QNS-WRP?i=16 : accessed 12 Apr 2017) >Indiana >Porter >ED 81 Center Township Valparaiso city Ward 1 >image 17 of 31; citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 398.
(Updated 1 Apr 2020 based on comments made by Carol Cook—see below)
Personal letters can occasionally be a good source of genealogical information, but more often, they simply give us insights into the lives of the people who wrote and received them. If nothing else, they can help us to understand the everyday concerns of those who lived in a different era.
I’m indebted to John N. Casbon, who found this letter in the personal papers of his deceased grandmother, Anna Mae (Casbon) (Kitchel) Fleming.
Here is a transcription (I have marked where I believe sentences end):
(updated based on Carol Cook’s comments, below)
march 27 anna this is a good nice
moring no clouds | we had
a bout 6 inches of snow
last week | we are all
well | i think the banks
2 of them are geten beter
and times times will
get work | will be more
wen we ge beer more
work | I am like you i
don’t like it but lots do
so let them have it | thay
get my money | lill don’t
get not much money out
of her store building
and taxes high | if it
was not for me and
that wont last long so
we cant tell | Edna is
doen good | she as a big
teritory to draw from |
so good by Jesse Casbon
This letter was written by Jesse Casbon (1843–1934) to his daughter Anna (1876–1957). It also mentions his daughters Lillian (“lill,” 1880–1967) and Edna (1885–1957). Although we’re given the date of March 27, we don’t know the year. My best guess is that it was written sometime between 1911, when Anna, who was divorced and living with Jesse, remarried and moved to Michigan, and 1934, the year of Jesse’s death (possibly 1933 – see Carol Cook comments, below). Lillian and Edna, who never married, were apparently living nearby. Jesse was living with them during much of this interval. A fourth daughter, Maude, was married and living in Michigan. Jesse’s wife, Emily (Price) had died in 1893 (see “Last Words”—a very touching letter from her).
The fact that Jesse uses no punctuation and makes numerous spelling errors tells us that his education was rudimentary. In the 1850 census of Wayne County, Ohio, we are told that six-year-old Jesse “attended school within the year.” However, by 1860 his education was complete and he was listed as a farmhand. Jesse’s older brothers, Sylvester and Charles, probably had more years of education; Sylvester even worked as a teacher for a few years. Their younger sister, Emma, probably had about the same education as Jesse.
Jesse’s spelling is so bad that it is difficult to make out the meaning of everything he says. Other than the weather, his main concern seems to be the family’s finances. He has apparently been helping Lillian cover expenses for her unnamed business. Edna is doing better financially.
I wish I knew what Lillian and Edna were doing to support themselves when the letter was written. The descriptions in the letter don’t match the information I have about them from various points in time. In 1908 and 1910, they were both working as nurses in Kansas City, Kansas. In the early 1920s, they operated a grocery and delicatessen in Valparaiso, Indiana, together. In the 1930 census, Lillian was living in Valparaiso with Jesse, and Edna was working as a hotel housekeeper in Chicago. They ran a floral business together after 1934, but that was after Jesse’s death.
Why did Anna keep this letter decades after it was written? Did it have special meaning to her or was it casually set aside and then forgotten? (See Carol Cook’s comments, below)
In these days of email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (and now, Zoom!), it’s easy to forget that people used to keep in touch by writing letters. Getting a letter in the mail was an emotional experience because it brought news of loved ones. That’s probably the most important thing about this letter. It doesn’t really help to fill in any blanks in what we know about Jesse and his family; it simply tells us that staying connected was important to them.
 1850 U.S. census, Wayne County, Ohio, Clinton Township, dwelling & family 8 (FamilySearch).  1860 U.S. census, Holmes County, Ohio, Washington Township, dwelling 1534, family 1556 (FamilySearch). Gould’s Kansas City, Kansas Directory (St. Louis, Missouri: Gould Direcotory Co., 1908), p. 378; and 1910 Kansas City Directory (Kansas City: Gate City Directory Co., 1910), p. 81 of Kansas City, Kansas section; “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” (Ancestry). Bumstead’s Valparaiso City and Porter County Business Directory Including Rural Routes (Evanston, Ill.: Bumstead & Co., 1921), p. 71 (Ancestry).  1930 U.S. census, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana, enumeration district (ED) 4, sheet 4A, dwelling 89, family 94; and 1930 U.S. census, Chicago, Illinois, ED 1802, sheet 5A, dwelling 22, family 89, line 46 (FamilySearch).
At this moment, most if not all of my readers are practicing some form of “social distancing” because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. I hope you are all staying well and coping with the difficulties associated with this historic situation.
With today’s post, I have a suggestion that will hopefully lift your spirits and alleviate any boredom you might be experiencing. The suggestion comes courtesy of the MyHeritage genealogy website. Back in February (it seems so long ago!), MyHeritage introduced MyHeritage in Color™, a feature that automatically colorizes black and white photographs. As an introductory offer, users could upload and colorize up to ten photos. Once the limit was reached, a user would need a paid subscription to continue using the feature. I tried it out and was impressed with the results. However, I did not opt for the paid subscription.
A few days ago, I was surprised to receive this email message from MyHeritage.
Yes, they are offering “free and unlimited access” to this feature. I took them up on the offer and went through my collection and colorized about 200 photos. More importantly, if you have old photos stashed away, you might want to try it out yourself. It’s a good way to stay active if you’re stuck at home. This shows what a photo looks like before and after colorization.
The results are impressive. The process uses artificial intelligence (AI) to decide which colors to use and where to place them. The computer algorithms are very good, but not perfect. If you look carefully at the photo above, you’ll see that the right hand of the girl standing in the front row is still gray. The AI failed to identify it as a body part. You can see a more extreme version of this in this detail from a photograph of Amos and Carrie Casbon’s family.
The AI has missed two of the children altogether, making them look like clay sculptures.
On the other hand, some of the results are amazing. The AI seems particularly good at producing flesh tones, hair color, and vegetation. In most cases, it seems to do a good job with clothing as well. I would think that better quality scanned images are more likely to fare well, but I’ve had good results with poor quality originals.
You can also see that the MyHeritage logo gets added to the colorized image—a small price to pay, in my opinion.
Do you have old black and white family photos or snapshots? I encourage you to try this out. Visit https://www.myheritage.com/incolor, where you’ll need to sign up for a free account. You’ll need to scan your black and white photos to make digital copies so you can upload them to the web page. I suggest you use a scanning resolution of 300 dots per inch or better.
Here are some of the favorites from my collection.
This is my seventh post in the Guild of One-Name Studies blog challenge.
My last post was about the period in Amos Casbon’s life before his marriage. Today we read about his wedding to Carrie Belle Aylesworth on 28 November 1900. This is another newspaper discovery from my visit to the Valparaiso (Porter County, Indiana) public library in May 2019.
Here is the article from The Porter County Vidette of 6 December 1900.
Wedding Bells The Marriage of Amos J. Casbon and Miss Carrie Aylesworth
Mr. Amos J. Casbon and Miss Carrie B. Aylesworth were united in marriage Wednesday evening, Nov. 28, at the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Aylesworth, of Boone Grove. The bride was very tastefully attired in a beautiful cream cashmere, richly trimmed in silk lace. The young couple were attended by Mr. Clyde Aylesworth, a brother of the bride, and Miss Sadie Breyfogle. About seventy-five of their friends and relatives were present to witness the ceremony which was performed at 8 o’clock by Rev. Miller, of Indianapolis. After congratulations were extended a bountiful repast was served. Mr. and Mrs. Casbon expect to go to housekeeping in about six weeks and will reside on Mr. Casbon’s farm, two miles west of Boone Grove. They were the recipients of many useful and valuable presents, viz: Dinner set, Mr. and Mrs. John Aylesworth; clock, Clyde Aylesworth and Sadie Breyfogle; coffemill [sic], Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Aylesworth and family; butter knife and sugar shell, Glenn Aylesworth; set silver teaspoons, Wm. Sawyer and family; silver cracker jar, Misses Sina, Lillian and Maud Casbon; salad dish, Floyd Aylesworth and Jettty [sic] Carson; silver sugar shell, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Aylesworth and family; silver gravy ladle, Mr. and Mrs. L.H. Coplin; glass salt and pepper box, Bessie Shreve; half dozen napkins and bed spread, Emery Wickham; one pair linen towels, Mrs. J.W. Aylesworth; rug, Mr. and Mrs. [i.e., Cora Casbon] John Sams and Elmer Stulz; bed spread, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Massey; silver gravy ladle, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Skinkle; silver jelly spoon, Mr. and Mrs. L.L. Casbon and family; set silver teaspoons, Jesse Casbon; silver berry spoon, Mrs. Belle Aylesworth and daughter; bed spread, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Shreve; broom, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Aylesworth; pair linen towels, Mr. and Mrs. [i.e., Lodema Casbon] Hiram Church; glass salt and pepper boxes, Anna Aylesworth; glass vase, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Massey; silver gravy ladle, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Casbon; one dozen water glasses, Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Kenney; silver pickle castor, Mr. and Mrs. S.V. Casbon; glass tea set, Giles Aylesworth and family; cream ladle, Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Black and daughter; chamber set, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leeka, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Aylesworth and Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Aylesworth; pair white leghorn chickens, Mr. C. Wallace. The house was a piece of Mr. Wallace’s own work and showed his skill as a workman.
The article is full of interesting details, from the description of Carrie’s dress to the itemized list of wedding gifts.
I suspect this wedding was a bigger affair than many in the local community. Carrie’s father, John Aylesworth, was a prominent farmer. Members of the Aylesworth family first settled in Porter County in 1842. Their descendants owned several hundred acres of land in Boone Township.
Carrie Belle was not the first Aylesworth to marry a Casbon. Sylvester (“S.V.” in the article) Casbon’s first wife was Mary Adaline Aylesworth, who died in 1868. Consequently, the Aylesworth and Casbon families have always had close ties, and Casbons have been invited to the annual Aylesworth family reunions up to the present day.
I think it’s very interesting that the minister, Rev. Miller, was said to be from Indianapolis, which is about 140 miles away from Boone Grove. A search on FamilySearch.org shows that Rev. Melnotte Miller was the officiating minister for many weddings in various Indiana locales, although Indianapolis is not among them. He officiated at many Porter County weddings in 1899 and 1900, so perhaps he was temporarily assigned to the county at that time.
The list of gifts reveals a mix of practical items and valuable silverware. Have you ever heard of a pickle castor? I had not. This was apparently an ornate container for serving pickled condiments.
I especially like the gift of two leghorn chickens, apparently with their own henhouse, custom built by Mr. Wallace.
I wonder if any of these gifts have been handed down in the family?
From the standpoint of my one-name study, the guest list is chock full of Casbons, indicated in bold font in the transcript. This is not surprising, given that Porter County was ground zero for all the Casbons of English descent. Notably absent, however are any of Amos’s immediate family, which then consisted of his stepmother, Mary, and his sisters Margaret “Maggie,” and Alice. He was said to have been estranged from Mary and Maggie, but I don’t know why Alice wasn’t there. Or, perhaps they were in attendance, but just not listed as the givers of gifts.
There is one other item of interest in the article: the statement that the couple would “go to housekeeping in about six weeks and will reside on Mr. Casbon’s farm, two miles west of Boone Grove.” The location doesn’t make sense to me. In the previous post, I mentioned a January 1900 news item stating that Amos, then living in Chicago, was job hunting in the Boone Grove area. He apparently found a job, since we find him in the 1900 U.S. census, residing in Porter Township.
Amos is listed as a boarder on the farm of William Shreves. (Note that Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Shreve and their daughter Bessie were present at the wedding). Amos’s occupation is not given in the census listing, but presumably he was engaged in farming. The Shreve farm was located about 1 ½ miles west of Boone Grove, so perhaps that is the location referred to in the article. However, if that is the case, it could not be rightfully described as “Mr. Casbon’s farm.” Also, I doubt that Amos’s lodgings on the Shreve farm would have been suitable for a young newlywed couple.
The statement that Amos and Carrie would start housekeeping “in about six weeks” brings another explanation to mind. I have reviewed the Porter County deed records and note that Amos’s first land purchase closed on 14 January 1901, almost six weeks exactly after the wedding. On that date, Amos purchased 65 acres from Hattie Dye for the price of $3,250. That land is located about one-half mile southwest of Boone Grove. Although the location does not match what is written in the article, the timing and the description as “Mr. Casbon’s farm” make this the likely place.
At any rate, this is where Amos and Carrie spent their lives together. Over many subsequent years, Amos bought adjoining plots of land to increase his holdings and the value of his property. This land remains in the family today.
“Wedding Bells,” The Porter County (Indiana) Vidette, 6 December 1900. “Boone Grove Items,” The Porter County Vidette, 25 January 1900. Indiana, Porter County, Deed Records, vol. 59, 1899–1901.
In my previous post I described the enjoyment Emily (Price) Casbon derived from keeping bees and extracting their honey. Today’s post looks at what might have been Emily’s defining characteristic: her Christian faith.
Emily was the wife of Jesse Casbon (1843–1934), who with his father Thomas, mother Emma, two brothers and one sister (born after their arrival in America), emigrated in 1846 from Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, England, first to Wayne County, Ohio, and then in the 1860s to Porter County, Indiana. Jesse and Emily had four daughters: Maud Elma, Anna Mae, Lillian, and Edna.
On April 25, 1893, Emily wrote a letter to her sister Catherine “Kate” (Price) Winslow, who was possibly living in Kansas at the time. John Casbon found a handwritten copy of the letter when he recently sorted through mementos belonging to Anna Mae (Casbon) Fleming, Emily’s daughter and John’s grandmother.
The copied letter has two explanatory notes at the top. One says, “Copy of Ma’s last letter, written the day before she died.” The other says “She made a mistake in her date. It was Apr. 25, as May 1st her body was at rest in the cemetery.” I’m not sure who made the copy – I can’t tell if it’s Anna’s handwriting.
Here is my transcription of the letter.
Dear Sister Kate,-
You think I have forgotten you, but I have not. I just got around from another attack of Grippe, the Dr. called it Am very weak yet.
O! How hard it is to give up to die, and then be compelled to come back to the old life and gather up the broken and tangled mass of thread which our nerveliss hand so gladly let fall. I do not know how you feel, but I welcome death with a joyous heart and gladly lay all cares aside to welcome it. After all it is but a passing from darkness into light The transition may be blinding for our tired eyes for a time, but we shall rest, have sweet peace. What a blessed thought. Then shall we receive the new sight which failith not. Our tired eyes shall be bright, for shall we not see the great white throne and gather with the redeemed to sing the praise of the Lamb, and last, but not least, we shall
[p. 2] see the dear Redeemer of this wicked world and realize the depth of his love for us.
These are beautiful and restful thoughts, but how to intermingle them with every day life, every little trial which beset our sensitive hearts, for the human heart when compared with the golden harps we often hear played very much resemble each other when touched by the master hand, produces sweetest harmony. But let a rude or careless hand attempt to produce the simplest cords, and discord is the result.
Further more, the human heart will shut its self up so closely when a thoughtless or cruel hand may pierce its tender membranes that one would never dream of the beauties within.
But sister mine, I am not writing on this subject exclusively. So we will leave room for others and abler pens than mine.
Maud graduates next month. Annie is having the work to do, while I am sick. Maud, Jesse and Annie are going over to (line cut off) …
[p. 3] Maud will get her graduating dress and will feel so relieved when the whole thing is over.
I have not seen Mary for a long time. Netta was here to see me not long ago. And now, dear sister, how are you getting along. Has John sent Daisy to you yet. I have tried every avenue to help you. So far have failed. Do you hear from Uncle Henry? I have tried to interest him in your behalf.
Well, good night and God bless you.
Your loving sister
Besides her sister Kate, the addressee of the letter, Emily mentions several people. They are:
Maud – Emily’s eldest daughter, age 20, preparing to graduate from Valparaiso
Annie – Emily’s second daughter, age 16
Jesse – Emily’s husband
Mary – Emily and Kate’s sister, Mary Jane, married to Godfrey Nimon
Netta – Emily and Kate’s sister, Annette, married to John Arnold
John – unknown, unless this refers to John Arnold
Daisy – Kate’s daughter, apparently not living with her at the time
Uncle Henry – unknown
Emily’s letter tells us that she has been ill with Grippe – a lay term for influenza. She seems to be recovering but is still very weak. She must have suffered a serious relapse – perhaps pneumonia – to have died suddenly the next day.
Apparently, she had come close to death in the days preceding the letter, since she talks about giving up to die and then coming “back to the old life.”
Her letter is a testimonial of a deep and abiding faith. She has clearly accepted and even welcomes death “with a joyous heart” as a passage to a new life. Her language is filled with biblical metaphor. This tells us much about Emily and how she approached life. Although many might have shared her faith, I doubt that many could have expressed it with as much confidence.
After giving witness to her faith, she writes a little bit about her immediate family, and then inquires about Kate’s well-being. It’s apparent that Kate has been going through some kind of personal difficulty. The letter does not say what the difficulty is, but I suspect it is related to Kate’s marriage. Kate married Harrison Winslow when she was 16 years old. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Kansas, where they had (at least) three children, one of whom was Daisy, mentioned in the letter. Sometime between 1885 and 1900, Kate and Harrison were divorced and living in different states.
It’s amazing to me that Emily could have written such a profound and lengthy letter one day before her death. It must have been important to her to keep in touch with her distant sister. Having already been close to the brink, I don’t think she realized that her life would end so quickly.
We are lucky to have so much information about Emily. Clearly, she was a woman who loved life, but because of her faith did not fear death. This is also reflected in her obituary.
With that we’ll say farewell to Emily. It has been nice making her acquaintance!
 Emily Casbon (Valparaiso, Indiana), to “Dear Sister Kate,” photograph of handcopied letter, 1 May 1893 (with note stating correct date was 25 Apr 1893); privately held by Jon Casbon. Given to Jon by John N. Casbon, 2018.  George M. Gould, B.A., M.D., A New Medical Dictionary: Including All the Words and Phrases Used in Medicine, with their Proper Pronunciation and Definitions (Philadephia: P. Blakiston, Son & Co., 1890), p. 211, “Influenza”; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100140156 : accessed 13 September 2018).  “Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQWF-V93 : 15 May 2018), Harrison Winslow & Catharine Price, 30 Dec 1868, New Buffalo, Berrien County; citing Secretary of State. Department of Vital Records, Lansing.  1900 U.S. Census, Woods County, Oklahoma Territory, population schedule, Waynocka Twp., enumeration district 242, sheet 3A, p. 136 (stamped), dwelling 56, family 58, Harrison Winslow; imaged as “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DTKQ-VLX?i=4&cc=1325221 : accessed 13 September 2018), Oklahoma Territory > Woods > ED 242 Waynoka Township (east half) > image 5 of 14; citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1344.  “Death of Mrs. Jesse Casbon,” The (Valparaiso, Indiana) Porter County Vidette, 4 May 1893, page no. unknown; photocopy, privately held by Jon Casbon, 2018. Handwritten note gives publication and date.
It’s often difficult to learn more about our ancestors than the basic facts of their lives: when they were born and died, who they married, where they lived, and who were their children. I’m always happy when I find something that tells me more about what someone did with their life. Such is the case with Emily (Price) Casbon. Her story gives us insight into an activity that brought her joy and fulfillment.
Emily Price was born about 1855 in Benton County, Minnesota, the daughter of William and Mary (Rose) Price. In the 1860 census, she was living with her mother and siblings in her maternal grandparents’ home in Pleasant Township, Porter County, Indiana. Her father died in 1863. The date of her mother’s death is unknown, but it appears that Emily was an orphan by 1870, when she and two younger sisters were living with another family.
Emily’s life took a positive turn when she married Civil War veteran Jesse Casbon on April 23, 1872. Every indication is that their marriage was a happy one, blessed with the birth of four daughters: Maude, Anna, Lillian, and Edna. They lived on a farm of 160 acres, about one mile southwest of Valparaiso. She was active in her church and community.
Emily had a somewhat unusual hobby—beekeeping! I learned of her interest in bees when I found articles that she had written for The American Bee Journal. In the first article, she describes her early experiences with, and enjoyment of, beekeeping.
In her next report, written a little more than one year after the first, she writes with confidence about her success with the bees.
Besides being a contributor, it’s clear that Emily was an avid reader of the Journal. She must have eagerly awaited each week’s edition in the mail, and then savored the articles, with their expert advice, reports on new developments, letters from other readers, and advertisements for beekeeping supplies.
It’s refreshing to see that beekeeping was an acceptable avocation for women in Emily’s day. Although not as frequent as men, several women wrote articles and correspondence for the Journal. Miss Marcia A Douglass, speaking at a beekeepers’ convention held at Burlington, Vermont in January 1888, read an essay on the question: “Should Women Keep Bees and Join the Bee-Keepers’ Association?” A summary of the convention proceedings reported that:
She could speak from experience, that while there was much hard labor in connection with the business, she saw no reason why a woman could not keep bees, to a greater or less extent, as successfully as the sterner sex, provided that she was adapted to the calling, and in love with it. If men were benefited by associations and interchanging of ideas and methods of work, why not women?
Emily was obviously “adapted to the calling, and in love with” beekeeping. She sounds like a delightful person to me. Unfortunately, death took her at the age of thirty-eight, in April 1893. It’s too bad that her obituary makes no mention of her interest in bees, since it obviously made her life more fulfilling. I wonder what happened to the bees after she was gone?
I found this entertaining about bees and honey on YouTube: enjoy!
Here are a few more odds and ends from the treasure trove sent to me by John N Casbon, grandson of Anna (1876–1957) and son of Jesse (1898–1974) and Elizabeth (Ryan, 1906–2000) Casbon.
John Newton Kitchel Family, about 1902
The inscription on the photo reads “Dads father/mother” with arrows pointing to John Newton Kitchel and Anna Mae (Casbon) Kitchel. The two young boys are Steven (left) and Jesse II (right). The “Dad” referred to in the inscription probably refers to Jesse and would have been added at a later date by one of his children. The back of the photo has a handwritten label that reads: “John Newton – F (?? – possibly “am”); Jesse II & Steven; Hunting Lodge; Wisconsin.” I like the composition of this photo, with a large tree stump and possibly garden in the foreground, guns and flags on the front of the log house.
The photo is undated, but I’m guessing it was the summer or fall of 1902, based on the apparent ages of the boys. Jesse was born in December, 1898 and Steven in August, 1900. The identities of the other family members are not given; they are possibly other relatives on the Kitchel side.
This was obviously taken before Anna and John Newton Kitchel were divorced. After the divorce, he remained in Wisconsin, while she went first to Minnesota, and then later to stay with her father Jesse in Indiana. She had the boys’ last name changed back to Casbon.
Anna and family
The back of this photo (same handwriting as the previous photo) reads: “Betty – F(em?)– Mom – Jesse II – Steve.” John Casbon tells me that Betty was his sister Elizabeth Casbon (1924–2011). Second from left is Anna Mae (Casbon) Fleming. Given the labels on the two photos, I’m wondering if she had a nickname of “Fem” or something similar. “Mom” is Elizabeth (Ryan) Casbon (1906–2000). Next is Jesse II, and then Steven, Jesse’s brother (1900–1979).
The date of the photo is harder to determine. Betty was born in 1924. It’s hard to guess her age in the photo, but she looks like she could be in her early teens. Jesse and Elizabeth’s next child was born in December, 1937. I’m guessing the photo was taken before that, since the baby is not included in the picture. Elizabeth does not appear pregnant, so if the photo was taken in 1937, it would have been early in the year. The car looks like a 1930s design, but that doesn’t help. It’s possible the picture was taken in the late 1930s or possibly even early 1940s. The entire family was still living in Maryland at the time, so that’s probably where the photo was taken. I don’t have much else to say, except it appears that everyone in the family looks stylish and dapper!
Jesse’s Barber Shop, Glen Burnie, Maryland
The back of the photo is labeled “Barber Shop in Glen Burnie Md – our car 1938.” When we last heard about Jesse (in 1922), he was in the confectionary business with brother Steven. However, by the 1930 census, his occupation was listed as “Barber.” John Casbon tells me that Jesse had been in the painting business with Steve and learned the barber’s trade from an older man. “Dad later had 6 chairs and made a good living and during the depression men needed a job so getting a haircut was very important.”
Jesse’s Barber Shop, Cocoa Beach, Florida
According to John, his dad moved to Florida in 1947. “He moved to cocoa beach on a hunch that there was going to be a space program in a town of cocoa beach. … the barber shop was town hall and everyone came there to sit in AC and run the town.” Jesse was an astute businessman who bought and developed a lot of downtown property. With Cape Canaveral on one side and Patrick Air Force Base on the other, the town was in an ideal location. The fact that the shop was air conditioned (see the sign by the door!) probably enticed his customers to linger. John says the family lived in the door to the left of the barber ship. Many German scientists also lived there, and John recalls playing with the children of Wernher von Braun.
Elizabeth and Jesse
You can see that this photo was taken in front of the Cocoa Beach barber shop and residence. Once again, it’s obvious and Jesse and his lovely wife were stylish dressers. The photo is also undated, but appears to be late 1940s or early 1950s to me.
Thanks again to John for the photos and his reminiscences. Reader contributions are always welcome!