|ZADOK CASEY, who came to Jefferson county in the spring of 1817,
and reared a cabin in Shiloh township, the place
known as Capt. J. R MOSES'S near Shiloh church. He was born in Georgia, in 1796, and at the early age of nineteen, was married to a daughter of Samuel KING. From the pioneer sketches of Mr. JOHNSON and others, we give some facts of his early life and labors in this, his adopted county. Soon after his marriage he began to preach, and best of all he kept it up through his long and useful life, even in the midst of his heated political campaigns, in which he engaged. He was as poor as poverty itself, and after his father died he had all the care of his mother as well as that of his own family. Arriving here in 1817, he went into camp beside a big log, with his mother and family until he could rear his cabin. There was no one near to help him raise a big log cabin, so he put up one of poles, made a floor of puncheons, a door of clapboards, beds of scaffolds, and boards, and with a dirt hearth, a stick chimney, and a skillet and shovel, and commenced living at home out in Shiloh. He was one of the men described in the first part of the chapter, and soon there was evidence of thrift and improvement about the plantation. He was a diamond in the rough. By the aid of his wife he soon learned to read, and his natural thirst for knowledge soon led him to accumulate a small library and he eventually became the best posted man in all the region round about. When things began to stir down at the seat of justice, Zadok would walk down and help the boys out, but he never forgot to preach on all proper occasions, and it is said of him that he invited every man, woman and child in the county to come to the grove standing on what is now BOND'S corner (and every one of them was there) to hear him preach what proved to be an excellent sermon.
But very few moments of idleness were spent by Mr. CASEY after arriving
in the county. As already stated he was one of the first Board of Commissioners,
and helped in organizing the town and county. In 1820, young as he was,
he was pitted against Doctor MCCLEAN, of White county, for the Legislature,
but was defeated by a few votes, but at the next election, in 1822-24,
he was elected to the State Senate for four years. So great was his popularity
that he carried every vote in the county but one. in 1830 he was elected
Lieutenant Governor of the state, and he again received every vote in the
county but one, and that was his own. Before his term expired he was elected
to congress over William ALLEN, of Clark county. He was re-elected in 1834,
and again in 1836, 1838 and 1840, but in 1842 John A. MCCLERNAND succeeded.
Undaunted, Governor CASEY immediately engaged in local domestic enterprises,
but the people in 1847, together with Walter B. SCATES, and F.S. CASEY,
elected him to the Constitutional Convention, and to him and Judge SCATES,
Mount Vernon is indebted for the location of the Supreme Court house. He
was elected to the Legislator again in 1852, and was a member of the state
Senate at the time of his death,
Such was Governor CASEY'S success in public life, but he shone even more brilliantly in private life, among those who knew him best. Many did not seem to realize the source of his strength, but had they witnessed him the first night of his residence in Jefferson county, when after building a fire beside the log for his wife to prepare their frugal meal, he stepped in to the forest close by and, leaning against a big tree with the silent stars looking down upon him as witnesses, he knelt in prayer to Almighty God, asking that his blessing might rest upon him in his new home and that health and happiness might dwell in his rude home, and above all, that he be a Christian and upright honorable citizen of this new county. That honest petition was granted all along the journey of the Governor's life, simply, no doubt, because it was oft repealed,---what a wonderful life! A grand old man, whose pure and exalted life is one of the most important in the history of Jefferson county, for the steady and contemplation of the youths of the county. He was glorious in his death, or rather departure-for to such spirits
"There is no death; these stars go down
His demise, coming in the meridian of manhood, was a national as well as a local calamity, for which a grateful posterity can only now have the consoling compensation that may come from the pen of the biographer, whom, we trust, may gather the hint and make a far better book than this, entitled "Life and Times of Governor CASEY." For almost half a century he served his God and his fellow men in Jefferson county, and at last laid down to sleep, with harness on--just as he desired--at post of duty. Calmly he sleeps where his active life was spent. He sleeps and the billows of restless humanity like a disturbed sea heave about his resting place; but they disturb not his calm repose, for his spirit--the real Zadok CASEY--is not there, but is dwelling in "mansions not made with hands.--eternal in the heavens."
Let every reader of this sketch feel the importance of emulating the virtues of Jefferson county's truly great man--Governor Zadok CASEY.
Source: Walls History Of Jefferson County, Il 1900
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