William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

. (page 18 of 76)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 18 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the Indian's rifle. But undismayed, they
went to work with a will, and the result
amply repaid them for the hardships and
dangers they endured.

The Casey family was and is the most
numerous, perhaps, as well as the most promi-
nent, of all the pioneer families of Jefferson
County. Abner Casey,* the progenitor of the
family in America, was born in the County
Tyrone, Ireland, and there, upon arriving at
the years of matm-ity, married a Welsh lady,
who, like himself, possessed great physical
and mental powers. They emigrated to
America somewhere about the middle of the
eighteenth century and settled in Virginia,
close neighbors to Edmund Randolph. Their
childi'en were all born while they lived on
the Roanoke, and were Levi, Randolph and
a daughter — Randolph being named for
their illustrious neighbor. The family moved
to South Carolina about the year 1760, lo-

♦Compiled from Johnson's iiioneer sketches.



eated near Spartansburg, where they lived
until after the close of the Revolutionary war.
They were stanch patriots and bore an act-
ive and honorable part in the war for lib-
erty and independence. Levi was a Colonel
of South Carolina troops during the Revolu-
tion; Moses was a Cajatain in the same serv-
ice and Randolph was a Sergeant under
Francis Marion — the " Swamp Fox of the
Santee." He was present on the memorable
occasion when Gen. Marion feasted the Brit-
ish officer on sweet potatoes, roasted in his
camp fire. He was' in many of the battles
fought in the Carolinas and in Georgia dur-
ing the war. His wife was Mary Jane Pen-
nington, and their children were Levi, Ran-
dolph, Isaac, Abraham, Charity, Hiram, Sam-
uel and Zadok. These were all born in South
Carolina except Zadok, who was bom in
Georgia, whither the family had removed
about the year 1795, and where they remained
until about 1800, when they removed into
Tennessee, locating in Smith County. Here
the father, Randolph Casey, died.

Of Randolph Casey's children, all eventu-
ally came to Illinois to reside except Hiram.
He was a minister of the Gospel and made a
visit here once, and while in the county
preached to the pioneers with marked effect
Samuel Casey was the last of the children
to remove West, and came in 1832, locating
in the edge of Grand Prairie, where he died
in 1850, his wife dying only a few years
ago. Zadok, the youngest, came in 1817.
Of him we shall have more to say hereafter.
Levi, the eldest son, came to Illinois in an
early day, but never lived in Jefferson Coun-
ty. He settled in what is now -Johnson
Coimty, where he died. Randolph, the sec-
ond son, located on the Centralia road, about
four miles from Mount Vernon. He after-
ward moved into Clinton County, and finally
to Iowa and died there. Isaac Casey, the

third Mon of Randolph Casey, came to Jeffer-
son County, as noticed^in a preceding chap-
ter, in the spring of 1817. He was born in
1765, and in 1788 was married to Elizabeth
Mackey. Soon after his marriage, he emi-
grated to Kentucky and settled in Barren
County, from whence he came to Illinois in
1803, locating on the Ohio River a short dis-
tance above Cave-in-Rock. His wife died
in 1834 and in the fall of 1836, he married
Jemima Oard. She died in 1846, and he
then made his home with his children until
his death. He was a man of the strictest
integrity, a true type of the old-time Chris-
tian. He helped the helpless, aided the weak,
fed the hungry, was a friend of peace and
always ready to work to promote the inter
ests of the church. Honest in business,
courteous and kind, he was a friend to all
mankind as were all men who knew him a
friend to him. His children were Rebecca,
William, Polly, Abraham T., Thomas M.,
Brunetta Catherine and Miranda. Rebecca
married Isaac Hicks; Polly married Clark
Casey: Brunetta married Carter Wilkey;
Catherine married Henry Tyler and Miranda
married George Bullock.

William Casey, the eldest son of Isaac
Casey, came to Jefferson County in 1817.
About 1?36 or 1837, he moved to the north
part of the State, but in a year or two, came
back to this county and resided here until
his death in 1854. His wife was Amy Bar-
ker; their children were Blackford, Maletna,
William "Buck," Abraham, Drury B.,
Thomas, Melissa and Zadok. Mr. Casey
was a compound of noble and generous qual-
ities, and passions dark and bitter when
aroused. He was enterprising and indus-
trious, and for a long time one of the richest
men in the county. A story is told of
him, that when he moved back from the
north part of the State, where he had lived



a short time, he had over a bushel of specie,

and there are those who believe that he had
large sums buried at the time of his death
that will never be found, unless by ac-
cident. With all his faults, and who of us
but has fanlts ? he ever maintained the dig-
nified bearing of a gentleman of the old

Abraham T. Casey, the nest oldest brother
of William, was a minister of the Gospel.
He married Vylinda Maxey in 1819, and lo-
cated on the Salem road, where he died in
1834. He was a faithful minister of the
Cross, and preached through all the surround-
ing coantr}'. His children were Harriet, who
married Dr. W. S. Van Cleve, of Centralia;
Catherine, who married M. Morrow; Belver-
etta, who married J. R. Walker; Lafayette,
an itinerant minister of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church: Sarah, who married John
Sproule; Elizabeth, who mai-ried Marion Gal-
braith; and Martha, who man-ied Dr. Shir-
ley, of Xenia.

Thomas M. Casey, the third son of Isaac
Casey, was born in 1801, while his father
lived in Barren County. Ky., and hence was
but sixteen when the family moved to this
county. He married Harriet Maxey in Oc-
tober, 1819. Though but eighteens years of
age, he was possessed with a spirit of inde-
pendence, and early in the following Janu-
ary went out and selected a place on his own
land to build a residence. He found a site,
raked away the snow, put up a rail pen. put
his roof on, using rails for " weight poles,"
moved in and set up housekeeping on his
own account. This was near where the two-
story dwelling stands in which his last years
were spent. He was a very religious man
and devoted Christian. He was licensed to
exhort in 1831, and to preach in 1843; ho
was ordained a Deacon in the Methodist
Episcopal Church by Bishop Morris, and an

Elder by Bishop Janes. He arranged all of
his business and said, "I am now ready
whenever God sees fit to call mo." His last
words were, " Peace, all is peace." He had
eleven children— Clinton M., Jane, William
M., Cynthia, Caroline, Mary W., Barger,
Rebecca, Nanny R., Abraham and Rhoda.

Abraham P. Casey, a son of Randolph,
younger brother of Isaac Casey, settled in
the county in 1818. In a few years, he
moved out into Grand Prairie, where he
built the first house in that part of the coun-
ty. He did not remain there long, however,
but came back to the neighborhood of his
first settlement. He was a kind of miarra-
tory character, and moved around considera-
bly, remaining but a short time in a place.
True to the proverb that "a rolling stone
gathers no moss," he did not accumulate as
much property as some of the other pioneers
of the county, though he was so fond of hard
money as to obtain the sobriquet of " Old
Silver." He despised a paper currency, and
if he lived to-day he would be perhaps a
tireless opponent of the Greenback party.
He finally moved to Missouri and died there
about 1841 or 1842; his wife died about
1866. Their children were JohnC, Green
P., Franklin S., Martin S., Isaac and two
daughters, Clarissa, who married Uriah
Hamblin, and Elizabeth A., who married
Burrell McConnell. John C. married Polly
Casey, and finally moved to Missouri, but
came back to Jefferson County, where, in
1862, he died. Green P. married Margaret
Watkins, a daughter of Lewis Watkins, and
died in 1858. at his home on the Carlyle
road. Franklin S. married Rhoda Taylor.
He was a man of industrj' and of business
enterprise, and his wife was an excellent and
faithful helpmeet. He was First Lieuten-
ant in Capt. Bowman's company in the
Black Hawk war; faithfully served his coun-



try during that short but vigorous campaign.
He was for many terms one of the Judges of
the county court, and in 1847 was a mem-
ber of the Constitutional Convention. He
died in 1871. Martin S. lived on the Rich-
view road, near Grand Prairie, and died

Charity Casey was the only daughter of Ran-
dolph and Mary Jane Casey. She was born in
South Carolina, and married William De-
priest in Tennessee, whither her faciily had
moved. They came to Illinois in 1819. She
was a very large woman, weighing some
316 pounds when she came to this county.
Illinois seemed to agree with her health, and
she weighed before she died nearly 350
pounds. Her sons were Green and Isaac,
who lived for awhile in the county, but af ter-
wai-d went to Missouri, and finally died there.
Lucinda, a daughter of William and Char-
ity Depriest, married Elijah Joliflf, who was
an early settler in the county.

This comprises a brief sketch of the Casey
family and their settlement in Jefferson
County, with the exception of Gov. Casey,
whom we reserve for a subsequent chapter.
The Caseys were a rather remarkable family,
and produced some rather remarkable men
and women. The old ones, the pioneers, are
dead and gone, some of them many years
ago, but this brief sketch will recall a type
and character of that early day. The family
was and is still a numerous one, as we have
said, and numbers among its members some
of the best and most distinguished citizens
of the county.

The Maxey family comes next in historical
importance in the early settlement of the
county. Edward Maxey, the first of the
name of whom we have any account, was a
native of Wales. He emigrated to America long
prior to the Revolutionary war, and settled in
Virginia. Of him or his family but little is

known, except that a son, Walter Maxej', waa
the father of Jesse, who was boru and reared
in Virginia, where he married, and after-
ward removed to Sumner County, Tenn. He
was once attacked by the Indians, who toma-
hawked and scalped him and left him for
dead. He recovered, however, and lived
twenty years after the event. His children
were William, Edward, Walter, John and
I Elizabeth. William Maxey, the eldest son
■ was born in Virginia in 1770, and married
Mary Emily Allen, a daughter of Rhoda
Allen. In 1818, they removed to Illinois,
and Maxey built a horse-mill in the fall of
1820, which proved a great blessing to
the people of the county. He was one
of the early Justices of the Peace, hav-
ing been appointed in 1821, and filled
that office for a number of years. Many
jokes and anecdotes were told of his of-
ficial life, of which the following will serve
as a sample: Being naturally difBdent. the
marriage ceremony was a cause of great
embarrassment, and its performance among
the most difficult acts he was called on to
execute. Cases of debt or assault and bat-
tery he could dispose of in short order, but
when it came to tying the nuptial knot, he
was, to quote a slang phrase of modern in-
vention, " all broke up." His first attempt
was in uniting in marriage Ransom Moss
and Anna Johnson. Their marriage took
place on the 6th of July, 1821, and he had
carefully prepared for it. He thought he
"knew his piece," but when the couple came
before him he lost his cue and broke down
completely. Some say he commenced to
recite the Declaration of Independence, in-
stead of the marriage ceremony, and discov-
ering his mistake, went back and started over
again, and this time drifted into the consti-
tution of the United States. Gov. Casey
used to accuse him of informing the happy



couple by way of prelude that the Lord in-
stituted matrimony in the days of man's igno-
rance instead of "innocence." Finally, with
the aid of a Methodist book of discipline and
Clark's Commentaries, he succeeded in get-
ting through the ceremony and concluded
with an invocation to the "Lord to have
mercy on their souls." Mr. Maxey has now
been dead for many years, but his influence
for good was long felt in the community.
His wife died in 1837 and he in 1838. They
are described as an honest, industrious,
pious old couple, full of kindness and sim-
plicity of heart, and great lovers of children.
Their whole lives were but the teaching of
the sublime lesson about the cup of cold
water to the little one, and their influence
upon their immediate circle is not yet ob-
literated. They had eleven children — Cla-
rissa, Henry B., Bennett N., Elihu, Harriet,
Vylinda A.. Charles H. , Joshua C, Hostil-
lina (who died in childhood), William M. A.
and Jehu.

Henry B., or Burchett Maxey, was born in
1795, in an old block-house erected during the
Indian troubles, soon after the Revolution.
He came to Illinois and settled on what was
called Maxey's Prairie. At the sale of lots
in Mount Vernon in September, 1819, he
bought one, on which he erected the first
house built in the town. He was a man of
considerable prominence, and hold numerous
offices; also built several houses at ditferent
times. Additional to his other accomplish-
ments, he was a great hunter, and oace
killed eight bears in half a mile of his own
house. He was shi-ewd, active, alert and
rich in animal life and vigor, with many of
his natural faculties cultivated almost to the
perfection of the Siberian bloodhound. He
once walked from Brownsville, a distance of
seventy or eighty miles, through an unbrok-
en wilderness full of wild animals. He

slept . at night in the woods, and when the
sun was clouded he had only the moss on the
trees to guide him in his course. He mar-
ried Peggy Taylor, and their children were
Eliza R., who married S. G. Hicks; Will-
iam P., who died in 1818 — the first death in
the county; Thomas B., now living at Xenia
Elizabeth A., who married John Breeze
Elihu K, who died in Missouri; John H
who died in 1846, on his way from St. Louis
James C, who married Nancy J. Moss; Ed
ward M. K., living in Missouri: Jehu J.
Henry B., who died in 1865; Franklin C,
who moved West, and Harvey M.

Bennett N. Maxey was a soldier in the war
of 1812, and was with Gen. Jackson at New
Orleans. He was one of Col. Coffee's
mounted men, and when those troops mistook
an order and retreated, he alone of the entire
command stood his ground until the men
rallied and retui-ned to their position. His
comrades called him " Broadhorns," on ac-
count of his broad shoulders and prodigious
strength. His wife, like many of the j^ioneer
women, was about as " good a man " as he
was himself, and did her full part in the bat-
tle of life. Their children were Emily,
William H. , James J., Charles H , Joshua C-,
Eliza and Thomas J. Their oldest dausfh-
ter, Emily, married Andrew Ray and died
in a few years. William and James were
preachers; Charles was a Captain in the
One Hundred and Tenth Regiment during
the late wai', and came home in 1863-64
and died; Joshua died of a wound in .Louis-
ville; Eliza married John N. White; Thomas
served through the late war, and now lives
near Ashley.

Elihu, the fourth son of William Maxey,
married Eveline Taylor in 1819. He owned
one of the early mills of the county, and
hence was a benefactor of the early settlers.
His first wife died, and he married Sarah



Guthrie. He met with death accidentally in
October, 1853. He rode out into the woods
one morning to " hunt the cows," but was
absent so long his family became uneasy, and,
his horse coming home without a rider, ex-
cited their serious apprehensions The
neighbors were notihed and search made.
His body was found two or three miles from
home, cold in death. It was supposed he
had been kicked by his horse. He had ten
children, five sons and tive daughters: Ta-
lina married Mervil Smith; Perigan T. died
on Puncheon Camp; Henry lives near Wal-
nut Hill; Parmelia married Samuel Walker;
William C. is dead; Elizabeth married a
man named Penix; Margaret married
Thomas Maddox, and Eliza married James
Maddox; Thomas married Eliza Smith, and
E. Phelps died at Nashville during the late

Charles H. Maxey married Sal lie Bruce in
1824 He was the fifth son of William
Maxey, and was a man of great physical
power. His children who lived to maturity
were Caroline, Mary, Martha, Susan and
Drucilla. The first married S. F. Parker;
Mary married Joseph Burke; Martha married
C. Frost; Susan married George A. Collins
and Druoilfa married James Swift.

Joshua C. Maxey, the sixth son of William,
was born in 1807, married Susan Criswell in
1881, and at present lives on the old Maxey
homestead. He is a Methodist preacher,
and several times has had charge of circuits
by special appointment. He is a truly
Christian man and an enthusiastic Sunday
school worker. He raised but two children,
two dying in childhood. William T. married
Mary A. Cummins, and Martha married
John C. Tyler.

Dr. William M. A. Maxey, the youngest
son but one of William Maxey, married
Edda Owens in 1830. He is a practicing

physician and a local preacher. His chil-
dren are Simeon W., who served in Stratton's
company in the late war; Samuel T., a
Methodist preacher, also served in the army;
Harriet J., who married Frank Satterfield;
William C, who married Gertrude Lane
and served three years in the late war; Sarah
C, married Sanford Hill; and Nelson, who
married Miss Berger.

Jehu G. D. Maxey is the youngest son of
William Maxey. He married Mary A.
Bruce, and their only child, James H. , died
when he was but two years old. Mr. Maxey
is an exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and an earnest worker in the Sunday

Edward Maxey, a brother to William
Maxey, and the second son of Jesse Maxey,
moved to Allen County, Ky., and from thence
to Jefferson County, 111. He mai'ried Eliza-
beth Pitner in Tennessee, but they never
had any children. They raised several
adopted children, among them Judge Satter-
field. He was a man of high honor and in-
tegrity; was Justice of the Peace for twenty
years. County Commissioner, a pioneer
school teacher, a preacher and a man in
whom there was no guile. He died about
1850, and his wife soon after.

John Maxey, the youngest son of Jesse
Maxey, came to Illinois in 1823, in company
with William and Jonathan Wells. He, too,
was a Methodist preacher, and after living
eight or ten years in the county, removed to
Wayne County, where he died. He raised
but one son, Stephen, who died many years
ago, and three daughters. Theodosia mar-
ried the Rev. Joseph Heliums: Elizabeth
married Greenbury Wells, and Katie married
Jesse Breeze, of Walnut Hill. Such, in
brief, is the record of the pioneer Maxeys,
who were among the early settlers of Jeffer-
son County, and who contributed largely to



its development and improvement. In
other chapters will be found sketches of the
younger generations of the name.

The Johnsons, perhaps, might nest be
mentioned in the catalogue of pioneer fami-
lies. Like the Caseys and JNIaseys, they are
a numerous family, and have been a promi-
nent one from the earliest settlement of the

Benjamin Johnson, the ancestor of the
Johnsons living here, was a native of Mary-
land, but removed to Hanover Coiinty, Va.,
where he died. John Johnson, a son of his,
was the father of the pioneer Johnsons who
came to Jefferson County. He married Han-
nah Medlock, who died early, leaving three
children. He afterward married Betse}'
Tyler, a widow, who had (rhree children by
her first husband. By this second marriage
Mr. Johnson had four children — Lewis,
James, Betsey and John. After his death
(about 1803), his widow and her family moved
to Sumner County, Tenn. The Tylers,
Mrs. Johnson's children by her first hus-
band, were also early pioneers in Illinois.

Lewis Johnson, the eldest son of John
Johnson by his second marriage, was among
the early settlers in Jefferson County. He
married Mrs. Winn, formerly Miss Stone, by
whom ho had nine children — Milly, Anna,
Lucy, James E., John T., Nicholas S.,
Elizabeth, Nancy and Susan. Mr. Johnson
was licensed to preach in Tennessee in 1812;
was ordained Deacon there by Bishop Rob-
erts in 1816, and Elder by the same Bishop
in Illinois in 1827. He was a pious man,
and lived a purely Christian life. It is said
that for a period of fifty years ho held prayers
in his family regularly three times a day.
He died in January, 1857, at the age of
eighty, and his wife in December following
at the age of eighty -three years. Of his chil-
dren, Milly married Asahel Bateraan in

Tennessee, but removed to Illinois in an
early day. Anna married Ransom Moss in
1821 and has numerous descendants fin the
county. Lucy married Launcelot Foster.
He died early from a peculiar disease
brought on from exposure while hunting.
Their house was burned a year or so after
their marriage and their month-old infant
burned to death in it James E. was the
oldest son of Lewis Johnson. He was con-
verted in 1821 and soon after began to ex-
hort. He went back to Tennessee, where he
attended school dui-ing the winter and then re-
turned to Illinois and commenced preaching.
He preached throughout Southern Illinois,
Missouri and Arkansas, as a minister of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. His health
gave way and he was forced to cease regular
j)reaching. He came here and improved a
farm where John T. Johnson now lives, or
recently lived. He died at the age of seven-
ty years. John T., the next oldest brother
to James, was also licensed to preach, when
but twenty-one years old. He joined the
Illinois Conference (Methodist Episcopal
Chm-ch) and for many years preached in
this State and Indiana. In 1843, he located
in this county on a farm, but still continued
preaching. He has always been considered a
lucid, interesting preacher, a successful farmer
and a useful man. The next brother, Nicholas
S., married Minerva HoUiday. He lived in
Grand Prairie some years, where he finally
died. Elizabeth married T. B. Afflack and
moved to Grand Prairie and then to Kich-
view. Nancy married James Bai-nes and also
lives in Richview. Susan married U. G.
Witherspoon, of Kentucky. They finally
removed back to Kentucky after living here
for a time, and now reside in Crittenden

James Johnson, the second son of the pio-
neer, John Johnson, was born in Louisa



County, Va., about the year 1778. He mar-
ried Clarissa Masey in Tennessee, and in
1818 came to Illinois with five children.
His wife died in 1847, and he afterward
married Mrs. Livingston. He was a man of
the most unswerving honesty, and was a re-
spected and upright citizen. He died in
1860 at the age of eighty-two years. Sii-
teen children were born to him, one of whom
died at the age of seventeen months, another
at nine years, while the rest lived to matur-
ity. His eldest son, John N. Johnson, mar-
rie Sarah Hobbs in 1834. He was a stir-
ring and enterprising man, and built several
houses in Mount Vernon, among them the
City Hotel, which was known as the Johnson
House. He was a physician, and graduated
in the healing art in Cincinnati, but did not
follow the profession through life. He died
in 1858, leaving a wife and five children.
James D. and A. Curtis, his sons, are among
the prominent citizens and business men of
Mount Vernon. Others of James Johnson's
children are mentioned elsewhere in this

John Johnson, the youngest brother of
Lewis and James Johnson, came to Illinois
in 1834, and hence can scarcely be reckoned
among the pioneers of Jefferson County. He
was a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and in discharge of his ministerial
duties traveled over a large portion of Ohio,
Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and Missis-
sippi for a period of twenty-five years. He
was a man of great power in debate and in
the pulpit, and his fervent piety and patient
endurance were unexcelled by any minister in
the conference to which he belonged. He
died in Mount Vernon in 1858, aged seventy-
five years. His children were Dr. T. B.
Johnson, who died in Kentucky in 1870;
the wife of Blackford Casey; J. Fletcher,
Washington S., G. Wesley, J. Benson, a

girl and boy who died in childhood, and
Adam C, the faithful historian of the pio-

Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 18 of 76)