Biography - Walter Casper

WALTER J. CASPER, a successful farmer and stock-raiser of Burnside Township, Johnson County, was born near Anna, Union County, Ill., on the 23d of September, 1850, to Peter H. Casper, who was born on the same farm about the year 1831, and was a son of Peter Casper, a farmer of North Carolina, who removed from that State to Union County at a very early day. Peter Casper came with his own team and wagon, bringing his family with him, consisting of his wife, four sons and four daughters. Like most of the early pioneers, they were not wealthy people, but yet had some means, and soon owned considerable land, much of which had been entered from the government. He built a double hewed-log house, the remains of which still stand where built, a portion of the farm still remaining the property of the family, the old hewed-log house having long been superseded by a comfortable frame structure, in which the family now resides.
Grandfather Casper owned many farms at the time of his death, which occurred in 1856, his wife having died some time before. Peter H. was reared on the farm and was a life-long farmer, living during his entire life on the old homestead upon which he was born. He married Elizabeth A. Henderson, of Johnson County, a native of Tennessee, who was brought to Illinois when a child by her father, who was the Rev. Rollins Henderson, cousin of Hon. Tom Henderson. Peter H. Casper and his wife buried two infant children, one son and a daughter, and one son aged about three years, Columbus Bonaparte. Peter H. Casper himself died in 1878, aged fifty-seven years, and his widow, who still survives, is living with her children. She is a vigorous woman to-day, is fifty-nine years old, and the mother of seven children living, of whom Walter J. is the eldest; America J., wife of John T. Ussery, residing in Anna, Ill.; Stephen Douglas, of Nevada, Mo.; Lincoln L.; Addie L., wife of J. H. Appell, a farmer of Union County, who was for many years a surgeon in the army; John R., of Anna, this State; and Oscar H.
Walter J. Casper attended the district school until eleven years of age. Upon attaining his majority he went to the village of Anna and opened a store near the depot, which he conducted for three years and then returned to the farm. At the age of twenty-eight he was married to Marie C. Miles, a native of St. Lawrence County, N. Y., and a daughter of William T. and Lyla F. (Marshall) Miles, both of the same county, who came to Union County in 1867. Mr. Miles had been a farmer in New York, and came West partly for the benefit of his health. He died January 15, 1881, aged fifty-two years, and his widow is now the wife of Rev. James Lafferty, of Edwardsville, Ill. Mr. Casper has one brother, Arthur O. Miles, a resident of Burnside. She bore her husband three children: one infant son and one little boy, Norman Walter, five years of age, both deceased, and a daughter Iva, born January 4, 1893. Our subject sold his farm in Union County in the fall of 1888, and came to his present home, a farm of one hundred and twenty acres. For this farm he paid $4,000, the present fine house and barn having been erected before he made the purchase. It is a fine, rich farm on the table-lands near New Burnside, and Mr. Casper has been engaged in general farming for the most part, but is now working into horticulture. He is a fancier of sheep and has a fine flock of pure blood Southdowns and is selling them at about $10 per head for breeding purposes. He also keeps some good draught horses, as well as cattle and hogs. The father of Mr. Casper was a soldier in the Mexican War, but not being able to go into the War of the Rebellion he raised many volunteers for the army. He was a Douglas Democrat in 1860, but since that time has been a true and loyal Republican. His son, Walter J., was also a Republican up to 1888, when the People's party was formed, and since that lime he has been a member of this new party. He was a delegate to the General Assembly of this party, but sent his alternate. Mrs. Casper is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and has been an efficient aid to that denomination for a number of years.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 451-452.

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