William Scruby … or, “Aha,” Continued

In my last post I presented this news item from the Porter County (Indiana) Vidette of
27 August 1891.

Untitled news item, Porter County Vidette, 27 August 1891

I explained how finding this article had been an “aha” moment for me because it proved that Mary (Payne) Casbon and Emma/Rachel (Payne) Slocum were sisters. With this post I want to show how the article confirmed my belief that William Scruby was the son of James Scruby of Wooster, Ohio and the cousin of Mary and Emma/Rachel.

I need to step back 45 years earlier, to 1846, when Thomas Casbon and his family arrived in Ohio after leaving England. They chose to come to Wayne County, Ohio, because that is where James Scruby, the brother of Thomas’s wife, Emma, lived with his family.

James Scruby also had another sister, Sarah, who had married James Payne in England. Mary (i.e., “Mrs. James”) Casbon and Emma/Rachel Slocum were Sarah’s daughters. Therefore, the two sisters were first cousins to both James Scruby’s and Thomas Casbon’s children. This explains how William Scruby was related to the two sisters in the news item. However, before finding this news item, I had not been able to positively link William to Porter County, Indiana.

James Scruby, who was born about 1807, came to America in 1832. He appears in a document I call the “Isaac Manuscript,” because it is a handwritten family history that begins with Thomas Casbon’s father, Isaac.

Detail from an untitled manuscript, author unknown, ca. 1890-92, describing Isaac Casbon and the descendants of his son Thomas

James Scruby came to United States of
America settled in Wayne Co Ohio
Married Pheobe [sic] Priest to them was
born seven children
Joab William Charles Sam George
are all dead excep [sic] two first named
no heirs left but George’s two boys
Bennett and Olen

James, a farmer, appears in the 1850 U.S. census with his wife Phoebe (or Phebe) and the five sons mentioned in the manuscript.[1] (They also had a daughter who died in infancy. I haven’t been able to find evidence of a seventh child.)

Detail from 1850 U.S. census. Plain Township, Wayne County, Ohio (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)

Phoebe died in November 1851 and James died 11 months later, leaving the boys orphans ranging in age from 4 to 17 years old. Guardians were appointed for the boys, and Thomas Casbon was appointed as the guardian for William Scruby. The guardianship was required until William reached the age of 21, in about 1858. Thus, it’s possible that William lived in Thomas’s household until that time.

William’s brother Charles died from diptheria in 1863 while serving in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Samuel also served in the Union Army. He died of an unknown cause just one month after mustering out in June 1865. Brother George, who became a farmer in Wayne County, died in 1882. These deaths account for the statement “all dead excep two first named” in the Isaac Manuscript, above.

Joab Scruby, the oldest brother, became a teacher. He remained in Wayne County for many years, but eventually moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he died in 1901. Contrary to what is said in the Isaac Manuscript, Joab had four sons, thus there were six heirs, including George’s two sons.

Returning to William, we find him listed in the 1860 census, in Wayne County, where he is reported as living alone in Plain Township, with the occupation of “Shoe Maker.”[2] In 1863 he registered for the draft in Wayne County.[3] However, there is no evidence that he ever served during the Civil War.

In the 1870 census, William Scruby, age 29, occupation “laborer,” and born in Ohio, was living in Boone Township, Porter County, Indiana.[4] Was this the same William? The reported age is about four years too young for our William. Before finding the news item above, I could not be sure he was the same man. However, with that new piece of information, I had proof, or at least strong circumstantial evidence that William Scruby—the son of James Scruby of Ohio—was living in Porter County in 1891. Therefore, I think it is likely that he was also the man reported on the 1870 census. Unfortunately, I have never found a listing for him in the 1880 census and the 1890 census was lost in a fire.

Assuming that William was living in Porter County, Indiana, in 1870, it is certainly possible that he arrived there at about the same time as Thomas Casbon, who moved there from Ohio in 1865. The fact that William came to Porter County at all suggests that he maintained a close relationship with Thomas and Emma Casbon. Perhaps the fact that Thomas had been his guardian created a strong and lasting bond.

William died on 9 May 1900.[5] His death was noted in the Porter County Vidette.

“Here and There … Death of Wm. Scobey,” Porter County Vidette, 17 May 1900, p. 2, col. 1; microfilm image, Valparaiso Public Library; William’s age is misstated—he was actually 67 years old

The strength of his relationship with his two female cousins is evidenced by the terms of his Will, in which he bequeathed 500 dollars to Mary and 250 dollars to Emma.

“Will of William Scruby,” Porter County Vidette, 24 May 1900, p. 1, col. 2; microfilm image, Porter County Public Library

William’s death ended a chapter of the story that began when his father, James Scruby, came to America in 1832, followed by Thomas Casbon and Emma/Rachel Payne in 1846, Mary Payne in 1856, and James Casbon in 1870. The story shows how family ties formed a bridge between continents, how those ties played an important role in the immigration to America, and how they continued to influence lives over the course of several decades.

[1] 1850 U.S. census, Wayne County, Ohio, Plain Township, p. 382 (stamped), dwelling 397, family 407 (surname indexed as “Lemly”; FamilySearch.org.
[2] 1860 U.S. census, Wayne County, Ohio, Plain Township, p. 52, dwelling 401, family 400; FamilySearch.org.
[3] Records of the Provost Marshall General’s Bureau, Enrollment Lists and Corrections, 1863-1865, Ohio, 14th Congressional District, Class 1, (L-Z), p. 431; contained in “Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,” database with images, Ancestry.com > Ohio >14th > Vol 2 of 3 >image 318 of 549; citing NARA, RG 110.
[4] 1870 U.S. census, Porter County, Indiana, Boone Twp., page 17, dwelling & family 137, William Scruby (indexed as “Sernby”) in household of Henry Smity; FamilySearch.org.
[5] Indiana, State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, no. 189, Porter County, Boone Township, 9 May 1900, William Scruby; imaged as “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Ancestry.com >Certificate >1899 – 1900 >15 >image 24 of 3028.

3 thoughts on “William Scruby … or, “Aha,” Continued”

    1. His church and family were obviously important to him. I don’t recall seeing many news articles about Wills. Maybe his made the news because of his generosity. Thanks for your comment, Liz!

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