Rev. Thomas M. Casey

Rev. Thomas M. Casey was my great-great-grandfather. Born March 12, 1801 in Barren County, Kentucky, and died at the age of 67 on October 4, 1867, in Jefferson County, Illinois. His father was Isaac Casey (1770-1851), son of Randolph Casey (1737-1814), son of Abner Casey (ca. 1700-1790). Abner came to America from Ireland. See the tree.

Thomas M. Casey portrait “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 [1894] in use. The poor and needy found in him a friend, and his neighbors a wise counselor.

“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.

“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 Church for 57 years, died March 15, 1877.”

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.

Thanks to Susan Deininger for the picture of Thomas M. Casey. A copy of a copy of an old print in her mother's collection.

“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, 1002 Westwood Drive, Stillwater, OK 74074. This book is in the Genealogy department at the Dallas Public Library, R929.20973 - C338YC. Also available at

Here is a picture of what is left of Thomas M. Casey's gravestone, in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery, next to the church he helped to build, and where he preached for many years. It says,

Rev. Thomas M. Casey
Mar 12, A. D.1801.
Oct 4, 1867.
67 Ys, 5 Ms, 22 Ds.

Thomas M. Casey's Will is listed in JEFFERSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS WILL RECORD BOOK INDEX - A 1886 - 1898, pages 13-16.

Thomas M. Casey gravestone

“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.


Thomas and Harriet had 12 children:
  1. 1 Unnamed Infant Casey (9 Jul 1820 - 9 Jul 1820)
  2. Clinton McKendree Casey (14 Dec 1821 - 5 Jan 1907)
    m. Artemissa Harrel (5 Nov 1824 - 22 Oct 1911) 16 Nov 1845, Franklin County, IL
  3. Malyntha Jane Casey (28 Sep 1823 - 19 Mar 1877)
  4. William Mackey Casey (15 Dec 1825 - 7 Mar 1898)
    m1. Julia Ethel Kennedy (22 Aug 1831 - 4 Jan 1866) 9 Mar 1852
    m2. Alice Ainsworth (16 Jul 1847 - ? ) 28 Apr 1872, Marion County, IL
  5. Cynthia E. Casey (1828 - 14 Jul 1908)
    m1. Steven Harvey Gaston (30 Nov 1818 - 7 Jul 1851) 3 Mar 1847, Jefferson County, IL
    m2. Isaac H. Erisman (abt 1830 - ) 2 Aug 1856, Jefferson County, IL
    m3. Mr._____ Fowler aft 1860
  6. Parmelia Caroline Casey (15 Apr 1830 - 8 Nov 1924)
    m. Capt. Benjamin T. Woods (abt 1814 - 18 Mar 1890) 16 Sep 1846, Jefferson County, IL
  7. Mary Sophronia Casey (19 Apr 1832 - 29 May 1856)
  8. Wesley Barger Casey (4 Jun 1834 - 26 Apr 1909)
    m1. Lucy Alice Mills ( - 20 Jan 1857) 5 Aug 1855, Jefferson County, IL
    m2. Amanda A. "Ann" Allison (abt 1833 - 29 Dec 1867) 2 May 1858, Marion County, IL
    m3. Mary Isabella Thompson (10 Jun 1830 - 23 Jan 1917) 3 Feb 1869, Edwards County, IL
  9. Rebecca Valinda Casey (1836 - bef 1894)
    m. Edward B. Wood 6 Oct 1852, Jefferson County, IL
  10. Nancy Robinson Casey (22 Jun 1838 - 1862)
  11. Abraham Twyman Casey (21 Mar 1840 - 31 Mar 1928)
    m. Laura Estelle Mosser (abt 1841 - 26 Nov 1914) 24 Nov 1864, Salem, Marion County, IL
  12. Rhoda Mabel Casey (14 Feb 1842 - 24 Mar 1873)
    m. Capt. John Henry Dukes (11 Aug 1836 - 6 Jul 1913) 7 Apr 1864, Jefferson County, IL

Census Data

The 1820 Census for Jefferson County, Illinois shows Thomas M. Casey next to Edward Maxey and Henry B. Maxey. Thomas's household has 2 members, white, under 21. That must be Thomas and Harriet, who were both 19, and had been married less than a year.

1830 Census for Jefferson County, IL
Casey, Thos. M. 1100100000000 2100100000000
Those long numbers indicate the number of males and females in different age ranges living in the home.
Males: one under 5, one 5-9, one 20-29
Females: two under 5, one 5-9, one 20-29

1840 Census for Jefferson County, IL
Casey, Thomas M. 1111110000000 2121010000000
Males: one under 5, one 5-9, one 10-14, one 15-19, one 20-29, one 30-39
Females: two under 5, one 5-9, two 10-14, one 15-19, one 30-39

1850 Census for Jefferson County, IL, household 14/14
CASEY,Thomas M. 49 M   KY
Harriet         49 F   TN
M. J.           25 F   IL        [Malyntha Jane]
William M.      23 M   IL        [William Mackey]
Mary S.         18 F   IL        [Mary Sophronia]
W.B.            17 M   IL        [Wesley Barger]
W.V.R.          14 F   IL        [Rebecca Valinda]
Nancy R.        12 F   IL        [Nancy Robinson]
S.T.            11 M   IL        [Abraham Twyman]
R.M.             9 F   IL        [Rhoda Mabel]

1860 Census Jefferson County IL
[Page 204 P.O. Mt. Vernon 6 JULY 1860 Shiloh Twp. ] taken June, 1860, on pages 992, household #1482/1416
CASEY, Thomas M. 59 M Farmer $7800 $2000 KY
Harriet 60 F TN
Malinda 37 F IL
ERRISMAN, Cynthia E.  32 F IL  [apparently widowed]
CASEY, Nancy R. 22 F IL
Abraham T  20 M IL Teacher
Rhoda M 18 F IL
GASTON, Laura S. 12 F IL   [Cynthia's daughter]
Malintha U.  10 F IL   [Cynthia's daughter]
MIDDLETON, William 10 M IL
ERRISMAN, Isaac N.  1 M IL  [Cynthia's son]
Van CLEVE, Horris  13 M IL  [Possibly son of Dr. W. S. and Harriet (Casey) VanCleve]
WEAVER, Nathaniel  22 M IL Farmhand