William Mackey Casey

William Mackey Casey was my great-grandfather. Born December 15, 1825 in Jefferson County, Illinois, and died at the age of 72 on March 7, 1898, in Centralia, Marion County, Illinois. His father was Rev. Thomas Mackey Casey (1801-1868), son of 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.

Grandma Glasscock told us (on tape made when she was 93) that after her mother died she and her brother Willie visited her grandfather Casey in Centralia. Her mother died in Jan 1896. Later, when her grandfather Casey died she received an inheritance.

I found the following biographical sketch in a large book of county history at the Dallas Public Library. To my surprise, the write-up included a full-page portrait, made from a copy of a photograph which my mother had just sent me. (Click on the picture to see a larger scan.)

“William M. Casey is a retired farmer of Centralia, and one of the honored early settlers and prominent citizens of Marion County.

William M. Casey portrait “William M. Casey was reared on the old homestead and was educated in a log schoolhouse with a puncheon floor, slab seats and greased paper windows. The history of pioneer life is familiar to him, not from hearsay, but from experience. March 9, 1852, he married Julia E., daughter of Dempsey Kennedy, a native of Tennessee, who later became a pioneer and a prominent farmer of Washington County, Illinois. Mrs. Casey was born in Washington County August 22, 1831, and died January 4, 1866. She had three children, two yet living. Dempsey is a painter and decorator of Centralia; Lillie C., a graduate of the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, was married in 1880, at the home of our subject, to Rev. J. T. Musgrove, also a graduate of the Northwestern University, and at present Dean of the University of Colorado, a Methodist school in Denver. Mary Harriet died October 18, 1875, at the age of seventeen.

“After his marriage Mr. Casey located in Jefferson, and four years later removed to Washington County, where for ten years he owned and operated a farm of 240 acres. He then sold the property and came to Centralia, where he has since lived in retirement from active labor.

“He was married April 28, 1872, to Mrs. Alice Hill, daughter of Thomas Ainsworth, a native of England, and the son of Thomas and Sarah (Townley) Ainsworth. He was born January 30, 1814, and in early life worked in a cotton factory, but after coming to America engaged in farming. Locating in Mason County, IL, in 1842, he purchased 600 acres of land and afterward became the owner of 1500 acres in Iroquois County. At present he makes his home in Chandlersville, Cass County, IL, and though now (1894) eighty years old, he is still one of the most prominent men in this community.

“In 1837, Mr. Ainsworth married Maria Abbott, who was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1814. They became the parents of ten children, seven of whom are yet living, namely: Nancy, wife of August Wait, a merchant of Decatur, IL; Alice, wife of William Casey; Thomas T., of Chandlersville; Sarah E., wife of George Ransom, of Havana, IL; Mary A., wife of Thomas Say, a painter of Chandlersville; and Joseph, who operates the old homestead. In religious belief Mr. Ainsworth and his wife belong to the Congregational Church. He is a stockholder in the Valley National Bank of St. Louis. Mrs. Casey, who was the fifth child, was born July 16, 1847. She first married William Hill, who died ten months after their wedding.

“Mr. Casey has been a member of the Methodist Church since the age of nine years, and his wife since twelve years old. He has been numbered among its officers for 38 years, and has ever been prominent in its work. He cast his first Presidential vote for Zachary Taylor, and was a Whig until 1856, since which time he has been a stanch Republican. For ten years he served as Township Treasurer of Washington, but has never been an office seeker. He is now (1894, almost 69 years old) practically living retired, but is still a Director of the Old National Bank, Centralia Mining and Manufacturing Company, and the Centralia Fair Association. He is a worthy representative of one of the prominent families of the state, and his honorable, upright life gives him a leading place among the best citizens of the community.”


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. Esp. pages 328-331, which include a full page engraving of William M. Casey, with his signature.

In 1860 the William Mackey family was living in Washington County, Illinois, as is evidenced by the following clipping from the federal census for that year.

household #1456
William M. Casey34MFarmer$4000$3000Illinois
Julia E. Casey28F   Illinois
Demsey Casey8M   Illinois
Mary H. Casey3F   Illinois
Lilla C. Casey1F   Illinois
Charles Bakeman21MLaborer  Germany
William Manning15MLaborer  Ireland
Hugh McNarry28MLaborer  Canada
H. W. Snake17MLaborer  Germany
Louise Marshall27FDomestic  Tennessee

1860 Census for Washington County, Illinois, Sept 22, 1860, pages 859 and 860

William's mother was Harriet Maxey (1801-1877). Her father was William M. Maxey (1770-1838), son of Jesse Maxey (1750-1808), son of Walter Maxey (1716-1791). As I understand it, Walter was born in Virginia, and his father Edward came to this country from Wales.

Since William's mother was a Maxey, the family was written up briefly in The Maxeys of Virginia:

“William Casey moved to Washington County, IL, in 1856 where he operated a 240-acre farm in Township 2 South, Range 1 West for about ten years. This farm was valued at $4000 when the 1860 census of that county was taken. After the death of his wife Julia he moved to Marion County, IL, where he was found living in the 1870 and 1880 censuses in the city of Centralia, Ward 2. His farm in that area was valued at $9000. William and Julia, who is buried in the Dempsey Kennedy Cemetery in Washington County, had three children: Dempsey, born Dec 1852; Mary Harriet, born ca. 1857, who died 18 Oct 1875; and Lillie C., born ca.1859, who married the Rev. J. T. Musgrove."


The Maxeys of Virginia -- A genealogical History of the Descendants of Edward and Susannah Maxey, by Edythe Maxey Clark, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1980. (Dallas Public Library)

William Mackey's Obituary, from the Mt. Vernon Register News, March 8, 1898:

“William M. Casey died at his home in Centralia shortly after 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, aged 72 years. He was, next to Clinton M. Casey, the oldest of four brothers and his death is the first that takes place of the four.

“Deceased was born at the parental home, four miles north of the city, on the place now owned by Sylvanus Foster and lived there until a young man. When about 30 years of age he went to Washington county and lived there ten or twelve years, removing thence to Centralia and has made his home in that city.

“He was never a strong man and for several years has been an invalid. The immediate cause of his death is believed to have been diabetes, from which he has been a sufferer for years.

“Yesterday morning Mr. Abraham Casey of Larned, Kan. who was visiting relatives in this place, received a telephone message from Centralia that his brother's condition was most critical and requesting him to come at once to his bedside. He left on Air Line train yesterday, and in a message from him later in the day informed the relatives here that there was but little hope of the invalid's recovery.

“The deceased leaves a wife and son, Dempsey Casey of Centralia, and three brothers, Clinton M. Casey of Pleasant Grove; Abraham M. Casey of Larned, Kan., and W. Barg Casey of this city. The latter, with other relatives from here, will attend the funeral at Centralia tomorrow afternoon at 1 o'clock.”


Mt. Vernon Register News, March 8, 1898