The Casey Family
The Casey family was the most numerous at the start, both in the south, and in the first settlement of Jefferson county. We have already given the life and services of Zadok Casey. His father was Randolph, a warrior under Gen. Francis Marion. Of his children Zadok, Samuel, Levi, Isaac, all came to Jefferson county, and have been noticed. We are just in receipt of a letter from Oakland, California, from Mrs. Mellie Casey Rockwell, in which she says: "My father, William B. (Buck) Casey, was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, in June, 1821, the second male child born in the county son of William and Amy (Barker) Casey. Uncle Blackford Casey, my father's oldest brother, was born in June, 1815, and was the very first male child born in what is now Jefferson county. My mother is still living at the age of eighty-three; my father died in 1884. Uncle Blackford Casey passed away in December, 1892. His oldest son, Greetham Casey, who was born in Jefferson county, seventy years ago, now lives in Covine, Los Angeles county, California. My mother taught school in Mount Vernon in 1850." This reminds us that there are fewer Casey in old Jefferson today than there were in those early days. They have moved on with civilization and become less prolific, perhaps. The same may be said of the Maxeys, and Johnsons, also, for they are fewer now than then.
William Casey, Jr., came here in 1836; he was the father of Blackford, Maletna, Buck, Abraham, Drury B., Thomas, Melissa and Zadok, Jr. He used to live northwest two miles on what is now the Centralia road. Abraham T., William's brother, married Valinda Maxey, located on Salem road and preached "around." His children were Harriet, who married Dr.W.S. Van Cleve; Catherine, who married Mont Morrow; Belveretta, who married J. R. Walker; Elizabeth, who married John Sproul; Martha, who married Dr. Shirley, and Lafayette, an itinerant preacher.
Thomas M. Casey, afterwards known as "Uncle Tommy," married Harriet Maxey. They had eleven children and we remember: Clinton M., Jane, William, Cynthia, Mary, Barger, Rebecca, Nanny, Abraham and Rhoda. Abraham P. died in Missouri, leaving his children; John C., Green P., Franklin S., Martin S., Isaac, Clarissa and Elizabeth, in this county. John C. married Polly Casey, Green P. married Margaret Watkins, Franklin S. married Rhoda Taylor. He lived on the Richview road, near Grand Prairie, and died there. Thomas J. and Robert were his sons. Mrs. Lew Beale was his daughter. Lewis F. Casey, in giving an account of his father's family, Green P. Casey, says: "My grandfather was Abraham P. My grandfather on my mother's side was Lewis Watkins. My parents were married in Mount Vernon in 1820, went to farming out in the woods, with nothing but bears, deer and coons to molest them. My brothers, Abraham and Hiram, died in childhood; my sisters married as follows: Harriet married George Seward; May A. married John T. Smith; Nancy A. married Henry Phillips; Sarah A. married John Willis; Mahala P. married Dr. John Murphy; Margaret married Capt. D. M. Short, of Texas, and Rhoda Ellen married Alfred Galbreath. Also two sisters, Arabella and Isabella, both of whom died young. Green P. died in 1857, and his wife in 1866, mourned by all who knew them."
Lewis F., the surviving son of this family, was made surveyor of Jefferson county at the age of twenty; was Commissioner to take the census of the county in 1845; was lieutenant of Company H Second Regiment, in Mexico; represented his native county (Jefferson) in the Legislature in 1847. He moved to Texas in 1852, was chosen Prosecuting Attorney; elected to the State Senate in 1861; was surrounded by secession sentiment and served the cause until it failed; then returned to Illinois; began to practice law at Centralia, and died there a few years ago. His wife was Mary J., daughter of Governor Z. Casey.
Samuel K. Casey eldest son of Governor Casey, bought the old homestead (now the Chance place) and lived and died there after serving in both houses of the Legislature, serving as warden of the penitentiary and being largely instrumental in securing Mount Vernon her first railroad. He is survived by Samuel Casey, a prominent real estate dealer of Mount Vernon.
Thomas S. Casey, son of Zadok, also served in both houses of the Legislature, as Circuit Judge, and for a while as colonel in the war, and for many years he was prominent in the law and at one time was on the Appellate Court bench.
Newton Casey, another son of Zadok, also served in the Legislature, and other public positions.
Mahala, his daughter, married a Mr. Dwight and Judge Samuel L. Dwight, of Centralia, is their surviving child. He married Capt. R. D. Noleman's daughter. The other Casey descendants in Jefferson county have proven themselves good useful citizens in the private walks of life, and none of them have ever wrought disgrace on the Casey name, and Jefferson county may consider herself fortunate in having the Casey for her first inhabitants. Suffice it to say that the Casey family have left their impress on Jefferson county, although the greater number of them have passed over the divide, where they await the grand Casey reunion on the other side.
[Source: History of Jefferson County, IL, By: John A. Wall, 1909 page 79-82 - Sub. by Cindy Ford]
Lewis F. Casey, deceased, for almost thirty years was prominently connected with the most important litigation that was heard in the courts of his section of the state. His high legal attainments won him eminence among his professional brethren and his upright life and kindly manner secured him the respect of all.
A native of Jefferson county, Illinois, Mr. Casey was born on the 23d o April, 1821, and died in Centralia on the 20th of May, 1891, his span of life covering the Psalmist's three-score years and ten. His parents were Green P. and Margaret P. Casey, the former a native of South Carolina, who emigrated to Illinois before the admission of the state into the Union. He was thus actively identified with its progress and development and is numbered among its honored pioneers. Born in Jefferson county at an early period in the history of Illinois, Lewis F. Casey watched the substantial growth of the commonwealth, and: as a public spirited citizen contributed to its advancement in all possible ways.
His literary education being completed, he resolved to devote his life to the practice of law and pursued his preparatory studies under the preceptorage of Hon W. B. Searls, of Mount Vernon, a celebrated jurist who ably directed his reading until his admission to the bar in 1848. Soon afterward Mr. Casey was elected county surveyor of Jefferson county and filled that office for eight years. In 1846 and 1847 ne was a member of the state legislature from that county, and from that time until his removal south ward was engaged in the practice of law, with moderate success. In 1852 he went to Texas, where he resided for fourteen years. In 1854 he was elected prosecuting attorney in that state, and was twice re-elected to that office for the third judicial district, which comprised seven counties. The number of criminal cases on the docket at that time was very large and he won considerable fame as a prosecutor. From 1860 until 1864 he served as state senator from Shelby. Sabine and Panola counties, Texas, and then continued in the private practice of law in the Lone Star state until 1866, when he returned to Illinois, locating in Centralia. Here he entered into partnership with Hon. S. L. Dwight, a grandson of Governor Casey, of Illinois, and at the Centralia bar his success was marked and immediate.
An extensive and important clientage rewarded his efforts. In his profession he was an untiring worker, preparing his cases with the utmost regard to the detail of fact and the law involved. He never lost sight of even the most minor point which might advance his client's interest, and at the same time gave full weight to the important point upon which the decision finally turns. His argument was incisive and logical, his enunciation clear and decided, and his delivery strong. He viewed his case from every possible standpoint and lost sight of no vantage ground or of any available point of attack in an opponent's argument. He stooped to no questionable methods, was fair and just to the opposition, and had the sincere respect of the members of the bar.
Mr. Casey was united in marriage to Miss Mary J., daughter of ex-Governor Casey, of Illinois. He was a man of domestic tastes, and the pleasures of home were more to him than the enticements of society. It must not be inferred, however, that he was a man of unsocial nature. On the other hand he was kind and generous and ready in appreciation of good qualities in any individual, no matter what his station in life. In manner he was ever courteous and genial, his deportment at all times bespeaking the character of the true gentleman.
[Source: The Bench and the Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent By John McAuley Palmer Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
Thomas Mackey Casey
"Thomas Casey and Harriett Maxey were married October 5, 1819. In fact, there was a triple wedding, which made the occasion one of more than ordinary interest. The other couples were Abraham T. Casey and Vylinda Maxey [Thomas's brother and Harriet's sister], and Bennet N. Maxey and Sallie Overby, the six participants standing at the altar at the same time."
"After his marriage, Mr. Casey began the development of a farm. His home was a little log cabin in the midst of an undeveloped tract of land. Deer could easily be shot and bears were frequently killed in the neighborhood. He entered about 250 acres of land from the Government,and bore all the hardships and trials of pioneer life while performing the arduous task of opening up a farm."
"He and his wife joined the Methodist Church in 1819, and he at once was made a Class-leader and soon became a local preacher. He was untiring in church work and the cause was greatly advanced by his earnest efforts. He gave the ground on which the Pleasant Grove Church was built, aided in the erection of the house of worship, and when it was destroyed by fire, helped to build the brick structure now  in use. The poor and needy found in him a friend, and his neighbors a wise counselor."
"He passed from this earthly life October 4, 1868, and was buried at Pleasant Grove. His wife, who shared with him in all religious work, and was a faithful member of the Methodist Chruch for 57 years, died March 15, 1877."
"Thomas M. Casey was a farmer and became an extensive breeder and buyer of hogs, cattle, and mules. He was a devout Christian and took much interest in church, the Pleasant Grove neighborhood (4 miles north of Mt. Vernon) having the first place of worship in Jefferson County, and becoming famed all over Southern Illinois as a religious rendezvous. Thomas M. Casey's home was headquarters for the pioneer circuit riders and the wandering evangelists who carried the Bible messages to the dangerous western wilderness."
["Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion, and Jefferson Counties, Illinois: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the Counties", published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago. Submitted By: Bob Sander-Cederlof]
"Thomas M. Casey held secret prayer in the timber back of his house, and fingerprints where he clasped a wild grape vine could be seen for years after he departed this world."
["History of Jefferson County Illinois 1810-1962", compiled by Continental Historical Bureau, Mt. Vernon, Illinois, 1962. Submitted By: Bob Sander-Cederlof ]
"Thomas Casey was converted in 1821, and appears as class leader on the records of Ebenezer [Methodist Episcopal] Church for 1830. Mt. Vernon circuit, at that time, 1830, was in Kaskaskia district, Samuel Thompson presiding elder and John O. Benson circuit preacher. Tommy was licensed to exhort in 1831, and licensed to preach in 1843. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Morris of the Methodist Episcopal church, and elder by Bishop Janes. Thus he filled every position in the church from private to see eleven children grown up to maturity around his hearthstone, and all converted and attached to the church. Three of his daughters, however, died before him. It was largely owing to his exertions that the first church was build at Pleasant Grove, as well as the excellent brick building that was erected there in 1860. He was a lover of public worship, and no less punctual in his private devotions. He kept a beaten path open to his place of secret prayer for thirty years, and his family altar never went down. He devoted much time to fruit growing in later years, and made the business quite a success. Death did not take him by surprise. He arranged all his business and said, "I am now ready whenever God sees fit to call me." His last words were "Peace! all is peace," and he passed away, October 4, 1868, aged 67, within one day of 49 years after his marriage."
"Casey Family History", by Alvin Harold Casey and Robert Brooks Casey, July 15, 1980. Published by Alvin Harold Casey - Sub By Bob Sander-Cederlof ]
Thomas M. Casey, afterwards known as "Uncle Tommy," married Harriet Maxey. They had eleven children and we remember: Clinton M., Jane, William, Cynthia, Mary, Barger, Rebecca, Nanny, Abraham and Rhoda.
["History of Jefferson County, IL", John A. Wall, 1909 page 79-82 - Submitted By: Bob Sander-Cederlof * email@example.com]
ZADOC CASEY'S father was an Irish emigrant before the Revolutionary war. He came to North Carolina and fought under Marion and Sumter in the conflict in the Southern States. Zadoc was born in 1796, married in 1815, came to Illinois in 1817, and settled at Mount Vernon in Jefferson County in that year. He is credited with the founding of that thriving city. He was the ancestor of a large number of people. He held many public offices and was highly esteemed by the people. He favored slavery. He was elected lieutenant-governor, in 1830, when John Reynolds came into office as governor. He was later elected to Congress and secured the gift of land to construct the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and also helped to secure the grant to build the Illinois Central Railroad. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1847. He was considered a public-spirited citizen and a man of considerable wealth for those days. [Source: "ILLINOIS, The Heart of the Nation" by Hon. Edward F. Dunne, Volume IV, 1933, Transcribed by Kim Torp]
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