Wesley Barger CASEY

No name is more familiar in Jefferson county than that of CASEY and no other family was earlier or more largely identified with its growth and development. The founder was Isaac CASEY, a native of Carolina, who came to Illinois at an early day and became identified with the government survey of the southern part of the territory. Previously he had held official positions in Kentucky and was in the government employ many years. He died in 1851 after a long and useful life, at the home of his son. Thomas Mackley CASEY, son of the foregoing, was born in Kentucky March 12, 1809, but went with his father to Tennessee and from that state removed to the territory of Illinois in 1817. The trip was made on horseback, the party as usual with pioneers, carrying the frying-pans and rifles and other personal effects. After looking the country over and staking out their claims they returned to Tennessee but in the following spring came back with their families and belongings, the former being more numerous than the latter. Thomas M. CASEY'S claim included what is now known as the Pleasant Grove neighborhood, four miles north of Mount Vernon. His brother, Abram CASEY, selected an adjoining claim and three of the MAXEYS who afterwards assumed the relationship of brothers-in-law, also selected claims nearby, the entire holdings being later known as the CASEY-MAXEY settlement. Thomas M. 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 work, the Pleasant Grove neighborhood 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. He died October 4, 1868, at the age of sixty-four, much respected beth as a man and citizen. He married Harriet, daughter of William MAXEY, who settled on government land three miles northwest of Mount Vernon, where his grand and great-grand- children still reside. The MAXEYS were among the earliest arrivals in this section and have long been one of the influential families of Jefferson county. Mrs. Thomas (MAXEY) CASEY was born January 18, 1801, and died at the old homestead March 15 1877, at the age of seventy-six years. 

Wesley Barger CASEU, a son of this couple, was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, June 4, 1834. He remained on his father's farm until he reached the age of sixteen years, when he began work as apprentice to a coach-maker at Lebanon, St. Clair county and later at Troy. He mastered this trade completely and worked at it for many years mostly in Mount Vernon, but eventually became a carpenter and painter. This eventuated into the business of contracting and building which employed his time until recent years. He has superintended the erection of some of the best buildings of Mount Vernon, including the present court-house, and many of the substantial residences. He has lived to see four court-houses built in Jefferson county, the first a log cabin which stood at the present site on the public square. The second was a brick building. with a log jail standing beside it, the third a modern brick structure. was destroyed by the cyclone in 1888, which practically wiped out the city. The present handsome building was begun in 1888 and fi1iished a year later. Mr. CASEY has literary tastes and has done some note-worthy work in that line. When still a boy he wrote and published a serial story and later in life corresponded for Colman's Rural World and other well known agricultural papers. He was instrumental in organizing the Illinois State Grange during the seventies and wrote for the press in behalf of the Patrons of Husbandry. He was the first town Constable of Mount Vernon and later became Justice of the Peace. Reared in the lap of the Methodist church, as he expresses it, he has affiliated all his life with churches and church work. In 1861 Mr. CASEY organized at Xenia a company, which subsequently became a part of General GRANT'S old regiment. He was elected captain but fearing he would not be able to stand infantry service, did not receive the
commission. Soon afterward, however, he assisted in organizing at Centralia a company of cavalry known after-wards as NOLEMAN'S Cavalry. Eventually it became Company H, First Illinois Cavalry, the first in that branch of the service from the state with the exception of Captain BARKER'S Chicago Dragoons. Mr. CASEU was acting lieutenant on detached duty until the command was mustered out at Corinth, Mississippi, after a service of thirteen months. Afterward Mr. CASEY became first lieutenant and adjutant of the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry organized at Mon-mouth, with which he went immediately into service, at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He was acting assistant adjutant- general at Fort Donelson and Clarksville, Tennessee. He served gallantly and bravely as the record of his command will attest. At the third battle of Fort Donelson he was shot through the arm and during the same engagement a horse fell on him and crushed his leg. He preserved some interesting relics of the war including a written statement of Confederate Generals WHEELER, FORREST and WHARTON, concerning the surrender. Mr. CASEY made the official report of the battle of Fort Donelson. 

After the war Mr. CASEY returned to his native county and engaged in building and contracting. In 1873 he embarked in the breeding of fine cattle in partnership with George E. WARING, of Newport, Rhode Island, and established what was known as the Grove Farm branch of the Ogden Farm herd of Jersey cattle. This was the first importation of Jersey cattle into Jefferson county or Southern Illinois and all the Jersey cattle in this part of the state sprang from the herd introduced by Mr. CASEY. The Ogden Farm Herd founded by Mr. WARING was the first Jersey herd established in the United States. Mr. CASEYaccomplished much in raising the standard of thoroughbred stock in Jefferson county. For a number of years he was also engaged in raising fine poultry and hogs. 

In 1855 Mr. CASEY married Lucy A. MILLS, of Mount Vernon, who died without issue, in January, 1857. In May. 1858, Mr. CASEY contracted a second matrimonial alliance with Mrs. Ann A. M. ALLISON, of Marion county, by whom he had four children, Mrs. J. Eva STEPHENS, of St. Louis, Missouri; Elmer A., who died at the age of twenty-six; and two who died in infancy. The mother departed this life in 1867. Mr. CASEY married Mary Isabella THOMSON, of Albion, Edwards county) who still graces his household. She was born in England and came with her parents to Illinois when three years old and this family with other English immigrants who settled in Albion gave it the name of "Little Britian." Mary A. CASEY is the only child by the last marriage.  Source: Walls History Of Jefferson County, Il 1909 pg 500-503 Submitted by: Submitted by Misty Flannigan Dec 15, 1997

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