McCaskey Family genealogy, Part 2.
McCaskeys start turning up again in the 1850 Pennsylvania Census. In Beaver
County, Franklin Township (which adjoins Butler County to the east), the family
matriarch, Nancy Little McCaskey, is still alive, living on the family farm at
age 90. I assume she died sometime thereafter, but there is no record.
In the North Sewickley Cemetery, where I would have expected her to be buried,
I found a detached stone, propped up precariously against the back of another
family marker. It contained only one word: NANCY. The cemetery records
have no mention of that stone, and it has now disappeared.
GAH! Family graves are beginning to seem very impermanent. In my more romantic
views, I think that Nancy was such a force of nature that everyone would have
known who was meant. No need for dates for this timeless pioneer
woman who came across the Atlantic in steerage with eight children in tow to
start a new life in the backwoods of western Pennsylvania. (But then, you may have heard this description of a pioneer: You can always recognize a pioneer. He the one lying face down in the dirt with an arrow in his back.)
But back to 1850. In the household with her were two of her sons -- Andrew, now 55, seems never
to have married and is listed as a farmhand. John, age 52, is married to Jane,
age 40, and is listed as head of household. He and Jane have four children:
Sarah Jane, age 17 and probably already hanging out in Fisher's barn;
James, 11; Eunice, 8; and John 3.
This map, hand-drawn in 1860 , is huge and detailed. In this fragment you can see the house belonging to John McCaskey, right on Conoquenessing Creek, and a short distance east, that of Conrad Fisher, whose son, I assume, married John's daughter.
In 1860, the family roster has changed. Both Nancy and Andrew are gone, and so is Sarah Jane, missing along with Simon P. Fisher, the oldest son of neighbor Conrad Fisher. I presume they are married but cannot find a record of that. Balancing out the missing persons, however, are James, 21; Eunice, 18: and John, 13; along with two new sons, Theodore, age 8 and Joseph, age 6.
And then the Civil War changed everything.