John Casselberry


Carroll County Biography



This well-known farmer of Mt. Carroll Township is located on section 27, where he owns a farm of 197 acres. He was born in Montgomery County, Pa., Nov. 11, 1832, and is a son of William and Ann (Johnson) Casselberry, both of whom were born, lived, and died in the Keystone State. The father was a tanner by trade, working principally at that until after he was married, when he turned his attention entirely to farming. They had ten children, of whom four sons and two daughters are yet living.

The subject of our sketch spent his boyhood days in his native county, receiving there such education as was afforded by the common schools, and afterward attending an academy at Norristown, Pa. He worked at home on the farm, and taught school one winter, and in 1855, at the age of twenty-three, went to Carroll County, Md., where he taught school the ensuing winter. In the spring of 1856 he resolved to make a home for himself on the fertile prairies of Illinois, and emigrated to Carroll County, where he hired out to work by the month. He had no intention of remaining in that position long, however, and shortly after he took the place on shares, and so worked it for three years. In the winter of 1858 he went East, to try and get the funds with which to purchase his place, and was successful in his mission. Coming back, he purchased 140 acres, which made the nucleus of his present home. This place he at once commenced to cultivate and improve, working it in connection with his rented farm. On it the succeeding year, and in connection with the farm he operated, he raised 100 acres of wheat, which yielded him 3,000 bushels, for which he received an average price of thirty-five cents per bushel. He also raised some oats, but not much corn.

The marriage of our subject took place Feb. 24, 1859, his bride being Miss Emily P. Keech, daughter of John N. Keech. After a happy wedded life of ten years, the young wife was called to her last home, dying July 27, 1869, leaving four children – all of whom are still living. William N., born Dec. 3, 1859, was married to Miss Samantha E. Merchant, March 26, 1884, and has two children – Ada, now four years of age, and Walter N., aged one year. Annie J., second child of Mr. Casselberry, was born Sept. 2, 1861, and is the wife of Dr. L. H. Maloney, of Savanna, this county; they were married Sept. 19, 1884, and have had five children, three of whom are deceased. Those living are: John Howard, born Nov. 20, 1886, and Emily Frances, born Aug. 30, 1888. Mr. Casselberry’s third child was Lorena J, who was born Jan. 8, 1865, is unmarried, and resides with her sister, in Savanna. The youngest child, Charles S., born March 21, 1869, lives with his father.

Our subject has added to his original farm from time to time, as opportunity offered. In 1868 he bought forty acres of land from John L. Tomlinson, and in 1873 he bought forty from John N. Keech. When the railroad went through his farm, it took twenty-three acres, thus leaving him 197, all of which he has under cultivation. In addition to this, he has, since 1880, farmed the Keech place of 200 acres. All his outbuildings are convenient and numerous, and his residence is comfortable. He has for some years been paying considerable attention to raising graded stock, and has gone largely into the breeding and feeding of Short-horns, carrying, usually, from fifty to seventy-five head of the best grades. He is also largely interested in the raising of fine horses, both of standard trotting stock and draft horses – the latter being sired by imported Percherons. He has now on his place twenty-one head, including some very fine colts.

On Feb. 29, 1872, Mr. Casselberry contracted a second marriage, his wife being Miss M. Eleanor Barclay, daughter of John and Eleanor (McCracken) Barclay, of Franklin County, Pa. Her father, John Barclay, is a farmer, and is living in Tipton, Cedar County, Iowa. Her mother died when Mrs. Casselberry was five weeks old, and she was taken to be reared by her aunt, Mrs. Catherine Whitmore, of Burbank, Wayne Co., Ohio. Her father and his family removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1846. Mrs. Casselberry was the youngest of six children, and was born April 20, 1845. She was educated in the common schools of Ohio, and lived in Wayne County until she was eighteen years of age. She then went to live with her father, in Iowa, staying until she was twenty-one, and then, going back to Ohio, remained for four years, coming to Illinois in 1871.

The union of our subject and wife has been blessed by the birth of four children, all of whom are still under the parental roof. Emily C., born Nov. 26, 1872, is a student in the Mt. Carroll High School; Mary L. was born May 31, 1875; John N., May 28, 1879, and S. Edwin on Aug. 15, 1881. Both Mr. and Mrs. Casselberry are members of the Baptist Church at Mt. Carroll. He is now, and for the past nineteen years has been, School Director, and has always taken much interest in educational matters, believing that a good education is the best gift a parent can bestow upon his children. He has, from the first inception of the party, been an ardent Republican, and cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont. The history of the life of Mr. Casselberry is one full of encouragement to young men. He started out for himself without capital, other than that given by a strong will, a determination to succeed, and an invincible rectitude of character, which soon gained him the confidence of his fellow-men. In every position in which he has been placed he has exhibited those qualities which go to make up the honest man, the devoted husband and faithful parent, and the citizen without blemish.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical Album Jo Daviess & Carroll Counties, IL (1889) pg 873

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