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1906 Biographies


This pioneer farmer and substantial citizen has been a resident of Pleasant township since boyhood, and during all these years has steadily gained the respect and confidence of his home community. It may be that it is because he does not claim to be a prophet that he has so much honor in his own country; but he is certainly a good farmer and a good citizen, as he evidently determined to be from the first.

Michael Casey was born in County Leitrim, Ireland, on the 24th of December, 1845, the son of John and Ann McKiernan Casey. His parents were natives of the same county, and his father, who was a farmer, died in the land of his birth. The mother, with seven of her thirteen children, emigrated to the United States and spent her last years in New Haven, Conn. All of the family are now dead except one sister and two brothers (including our subject). The other brother resides in Victoria township, and the sister in New Haven.

Michael Casey was but four years of age when his mother, with two brothers and four sisters came to the United States and fixed her home at New Haven. There he was educated, but inheriting a fondness for an agricultural life, as well as believing it to give promise of more independence than a trade, or an industrial pursuit, he determined to migrate to the farming lands of the West. In 1866, having gone to the Mississippi river by rail, he crossed to the mouth of the Missouri, which he ascended by boat to Omaha, and then traveled by stage to Lewis. By working industriously and saving persistently, he was able, in 1869, to purchase a portion of the homestead on which he still resides. At that time the locality was virtually an unbroken prairie, and neighbors were few and far between. His first purchase consisted of 120 acres, which, the following spring, he began to place under cultivation -- to "break out a farm," as the home expression is. The original tract has been doubled in size, orchards and groves have been planted and carefully tended, substantial buildings erected, and everything done calculated to make improved modern property out of the raw material as presented by nature.

On the 27th of October, 1870, our subject was united in marriage with Sarah Blake, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and a daughter of Patrick and Margaret (O'Brien) Blake, born respectively in Ireland and New York City. The ten children born to this union were as follows: Margaret A., now Mrs. Charles Hughes; Thomas F., who married Mary Murray; Catherine, the wife of John Lawson; Mary E., married to Ambrose Cullen; Sarah A., Mrs. M. Cullen; Cecilia, wife of Morgan Cullen; Elizabeth H., Mrs. L. G.Ellebrecht; and Francis L. and James P., both living at home. Mr. Casey has never sought political office, but as the father of a growing family and a firm believer in the inestimable value to individuals and the country at large, of a thorough primary education, he has done his part in the guidance and improvement of the township schools. Both himself, wife and family are firm members of the Catholic church.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 294-295.

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