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(by John F. Easley)      


Blasius Isele's signature at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday, September 9, 1751 Blasius Easly signed his name as:(Blasius Isele) in Old German script as he debarked at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday, September 9, 1751. He was one of 109 Males aged 16 and over, out of 255 total passengers (which included women and children) from the Ship Patience, captained by Hugh Steele, from Rotterdam and last from Cowes in England. About 33 of the 109 males signed with an "X" or similar mark between their given name and their surname written probably by the ship's captain in English script. Eight of the passengers were counted as being Roman Catholic.

Blasius likely knew very little English and he likely associated closely for a time after landing with others of the passenger list of whom about 80 percent appear to have German-type names. As of this writing, the names of Blasius's parents, the town of his birth and the year of his birth are not known. The name "Isele' has been connected to Swiss origin rather than German and is still extant in North Switzerland. The circumstance of being newly-wed and the known birth years of some of Blasius's children, would indicate a birth year for Blasius between 1711 and 1733 corresponding to an age bracket of 18 to 40 at the time of debarking.

According to an account by A. A. Lambing, Blasius married Mary Magdalen Rocker in Germany about 1750 or 1751 and the couple came together to America. The same account has Blasius spending about a year in Baltimore, Maryland area prior to his return to Germany to marry Mary Rooker. No recorded documentation has been found to date connecting Blasius to Baltimore, other than a Deed stating that his daughter Barbara and her husband John Black were Baltimore residents in 1791.

Tax lists from the Colonial period are somewhat sparse. Further, one must know the County and Township of residence to begin such a search. Based on the information that Blasius's oldest son, Casper, was born at York, Pa, such a listing was located for one "Plasius Isle" in Berwick Township, York County, Pa. for 1762. "Plasius's" rate was 3 - 0 and his tax assessment was 4 shillings and 6 pence. Also in 1771 the tax list for Berwick Township, York County includes one "Bloses Eseley" with a rate of 12 and a tax assessment of 2 (probably Pounds). Berwick Township was in that part of York County that later was formed into Adams County. Berwick Township is adjacent to the Township in which "Conewago Chapel" later "Basilica of the Sacred Heart" had been serving the Catholic settlers since 1740. Copies (one typed1 one microfilm) of the above tax lists are in the custody of the York County Historical Society at York, Pennsylvania.

The Estate Inventory document in its original form is stored in a basement room of the Carlisle, Pa Courthouse. The document is still legible to the extent that a legible copy was able to be made from it. Blasius's total possessions 33 years after his landing at Philadelphia were appraised at just under 200 pounds. His land was valued at 1 pound per acre or 78 pounds. His crop in the field (primarily wheat and rye) was also valued at 1 pound per acre or 32 pounds. His 4 horses were valued at 9 pounds each or 36 pounds.

The appraisement also lists; 5 cows, 5 sheep, 2 lambs and 5 hogs. BIasius had a "waggon and gears", a 'plough and plough irons", mattocks, hoes, axes, maul rings, wedges and logchain, 'sickles", saddles and saddle bags. These items relate closely to farm work. Blasius had The following carpentry tools; saws, 'drawing knives, augers and chizzles", a plane, crows and compass. Blasius also had unspecified tanners tools.

Blasius's house furnishings seem rather sparse. The appraisement lists; "a table, a bed and dresser, pails, tranchers and spoons, bed cloths, wearing apparel, pewter pots, a coffee mill and a "Loom and tacklings".

No record has been found of Blasius applying for British citizenship in the Colonial period. Maryland and Pennsylvania were considered the two States most likely to welcome Roman Catholic settlers; however, they did not overdo this welcome. Technically, only British citizens could be landowners during the Colonial period. However, there were some people who had acquired who tended to overlook this stipulation when they found a buyer with gold and silver money. One of the requirements for being granted British citizenship in Colonial Pennsylvania was the partaking of the "Lord's Supper in a Protestant Church".

To date, Blasius's gravesite is not known. There were burials at Conewago Chapel between 1750 and 1800 but most of the records have been lost and very few of the remaining gravestones pre-date 1800. St. Patrick's cemetary at Carlisle was not established until about. 1800. There is a general reference to some Easlys being buried at Stake cemetary in Fannett Township, now Franklin County. All three of these locations are a considerable distance from Newton Township where Blasius was living at the time of his death.

Blasius died Intestate (without a will). This necessitated several legal proceeding and the documents generated thereby likely provide more family history information than a simple will would have provided. Blasius's children as mentioned in various documents appear to be:


Thirty four years after her arrival at Philadelphia with her husband, Blasius, Mary Magdalen Easly was recognized in the tax list for Newton Township, Cumberland County, 1785 simply as "Widow Esley". She did not rate a given name. She signed her name with an "X'. She probably spoke better German than English. Despite all this, she was considerably involved in the settling of Blasius's estate over the next 7 years along with her oldest son, Casper.

Letters of Administration were issued to Mary Eastly Widow of Blassius Eastly and to Casber Eastly on May 18, 1784 by Cumberland County, Pa. for the Goods and Chattels of Blasius Eastly deceased as entered in Docket Book B page 46 at Carlisle, Pa.

A trust warrant of acceptance was issued on October 23, 1790 by which a patent was granted at Philadelphia to Mary Magdalen Eastley and Casper Eastley and their heirs on October 30, 1790 and recorded in Patent Book 15 page 379 for a certain tract of land called "Fairfield".

A Deed recorded in Book 1 P pages 255, 256 and 257 at Cumberland County Court House on March 17, 1803 but made and dated May 5, 1792 transferred Blasius's property to one Joseph Kelly. This Deed was signed by Mary Magdalen Easly by her mark and by Casper Easly by his signature. Joseph Kelley deeded the same property to one John Kelley and to Rebeckah Kelley his wife on August 8, 1795. The John Kelleys subsequently deeded the property to one James McCulloch during April of 1796.

A Reverend Mr. Theodore Browers on October 24, 1790 willed the property of "Sportsman's Hall" (later St Vincents at Latrobe, Pa) which he had purchased with his own funds to a Roman Catholic Priest who would succeed him. The will did not name a specific Catholic priest nor did it specify how such a successor might be appointed. Christain Ruffner and Henry Coons were named as Executors and a Christian Andris, a William McGee and a Reverend Mr. John Baptist Cause were witnesses to the will. The Reverend Mr Browers died on Oct 31, 1790.

A Reverend Francis Rogatus Fromm self-appointed himself as the successor to the Reverend Mr. Browers. Reverend Fromm. then wrote a will on December 16, 1795 specifying that the property in question was to pass in trust to a priest as appointed by the Archbishop of Mentz in Germany to succeed the Reverend Mr Fromm. Among other stipulations in the will, the Reverend Fromm recommends his housekeeper Magdalena Easly Widow for housekeeper to his successor. This places Blasius's widow in Westmoreland County, Pa. for some time prior to Dec. 1795. This is the latest known reference to Blasius's widow by name, Magdalena Easly. The date of her death and place of burial are unknown.

A book titled "The English Missions" by John Tracy Ellis provides further information on the Reverend Fromm. On page 441 it states that Father Francis Fromm departed for Philadelphia in 1798 leaving the Father Browers property in litigation and in defiance of Bishop Carroll's authority and that Father Fromm died in Philadelphia during a Yellow Fever epidemic. A notation on the Father Browers will states that the Case is at December Term of 1798, Common Pleas, captioned "the Lessee of the Executors of Theodore Browers, Dec'd vs Franciacus Fromm, Tenant". The 1800 Census for Philadelphia County, Pa. (Reel 377) lists a "Widow Easley". To date, there is no evidence that this widow is Mary Magdalen Easly.


Casper Easly, the oldest son of Blasius Easly was born in April 1760 in York County, Pa. according to published accounts. Tax lists referred to above place Blasius and his family in Berwick Township between 1762 and 1771 in the area which is now in Adams County.

Casper's name under many different spellings appears several times in the Pennsylvania Archives Lists of Revolutionary War soldiers or of those available to be soldiers. The book "American Revolutionary Soldiers of Franklin County Pennsylvania" lists on page 85 "Gasper Easley (Esly, Esley) Lived Amberson Valley, son of Blosius Esley, Capt. Noah Abraham, 1779." A card index file maintained at the Historical Section in the State Capitol at Harrisburg, Pa. has two listings for Casper Easly / Jasper Esley. The first is for 1779, the 1st County Battalion, Capt Thomas Askey. The second is for Apr 10, 1781, the 6th County Battalion, 8th Company. The file is referred to as "Militia List" and each card has the notation "The Basic Record Does hot Prove Active Duty". The reference source is "Records of the Comptroller General RG-4".

Some of the listings for Casper in the Pennsylvania Archives are: Page 25 of Series 5, Vol 6 Associators and Militia for County of Cumberland, First Battalion, Fourth Marching Company, Fourth Class, called October 23, 1777, Capt Alex. Peebles, First Class Casper Issley . Page 667 of Series 3, Vol 23, Capt. John Reed's Co., Cumberland County Militia, First Battalion - 1779 , a List of Men of the Fourth Class Of the First Battalion of Cumberland County Militia that was with Capt. Alex Peples at Sunberry Sept 1, 1779, First Company Capt Askey, Gasper Ealey

Casper Easly was about 17, 19 and 21 years old on the occasions of these Muster lists.

Casper Easley was a witness to the land deed dated January 16,1783 between John Carter and Jacob Freisch transferring 78 acres of land in Newton Township, Cumberland. County to Jacob Freisch and to the land deed dated January 17, 1783 between Jacob Freisch and Blasius Eastly transferring the same 78 acres of land to Blasius Eastly. Casper was almost 23 years old at the time.

Casper Easley, along with John Black, was a co-grantee of about 26 acres of land deeded by William Hodge to them on August 2, 1786. Casper was 26 years old at the time. They subsequently deeded this land to John Kelly on October 2, 1790.

Casper Eastly was co-grantee of the land patent issued on October 30, 1790 to Mary Magdalen Eastley and Casper Eastley for the tract of land called "Fairfield" in Newton Township, Cumberland County. Casper Easley was listed as Head of Family for the 1790 Cumberland county U S Census page 78 (page 323 on typed index for Hopewell, Newton, Tyborn and West Penaboro Townships). The family consisted of 2 males over 16 and 3 females. The males are probably Casper and Andrew. The females are probably Mary Magdalen the widow, and daughters Magdalen and Rebecca. Casper would be 30 years old at the time.

Although Mary Magdalen Easly was much involved in the settling of Blasius's estate, it is obvious from the legal documents involved that Casper Easly spearheaded much of the preliminary arrangements necessary for achieving the settlement. Casper Easly purchased by deed dated Dec 17,1791 Mary Easly Shields's share of Blasius's estate for 17 pounds. Mary and John Shields were living in Fannett Township of Franklin County at the time. Casper Easly similarly purchased by deed dated Dec 17, 1791 Barbara Easly Black's share of Blasius's estate for 17 pounds. John and Barbara Black were living in Baltimore Township, Baltimore County, Maryland at that time. Casper was 31 years old at that time. According to a deed dated April 2, 1792, Casper Easly purchased the shares of Blasius's estate from Ferdinand Easly, Andrew Easly, Christine Easly Murphy and Magdalen Easly for 17 pounds each. Christina Easly Murphy and James Murphy and Ferdinand, Andrew and Magdalen Easly were all living in Newton Township of Cumberland County, Pa. at that time.

Casper Easly was co-signer of the land deed recorded in Book 1P pages 255, 256 and 257 at Cumberland County Court House dated May 5, 1792 which transferred Blasius's land tract to one Joseph Kelly. The deed was witnessed by Andrew Easly and by John Kelly.

Casper Eastley is number 498 in the Muster and Pay Room of the Pennsylvania Militia, 1790—1800 (as recorded in Pennsylvania Archives Vol. V Sixth Series, page; 216—225) for the Sixth Battalion of Cumberland County, as reported on 4 February 1793 by Jno Alexander, Lieut. as being between ages of 18 and 45 years. This indicates residency in Cumberland County as of that date. Casper was in his 33rd year at that time.

The Will of the Rev Francis Rogatus Fromm. recorded at the Court House at Greensburg, Pa and dated Dec. 16, 1795 refers to a “…bargain made with my tenant Casper Easly the 15th day of August in the year 1793 for the space of seven years …” (to 1800). This implies that Casper was in the Greensburg Pa area in the summer of 1793 and was still there in December of 1795. The November 16, 1894 issue of the Johnstown Tribune indicates that Casper was born in York County Pa and was married at St Vincent’s (Latrobe Pa) and that he farmed the priest’s place for a time. Casper Easly married Elizabeth Rufner (or Ruffner) between 1793 and 1800. Elizabeth is very likely the daughter of Christian Ruffner (born c 1739) and of M Ottilia Kuhn (born c 1745) who was borh on 6 Dec 1780 according to the church records at Goshenboppen and whose parents were married at Goshenhopper on 1 July 1764.

Three Ruffner brothers, George Adam Ruffner, Christian Ruffner and Simon Ruffner settled in the Greensburg Pa area in 1787 with their families to help form the nucleus of the first Catholic settlement in Westmoreland County. The three other families forming this nucleus were those of John Probst, John Young and Patrick Archibald. One source states that the three Ruffner brothers were Revolutionary War veterans, which would entitle them to depreciation land in the new County. Henry Kuhn later joined these six families. All seven families came from the Goshenhoppen mission settlement, which is now Balty Pa in Berks County.

A listing of Warrantees of Land in the Pa Archives Third Series, Vol. 26, p 649 County of Armstrong (1801—1884): Casper Easly 400 acres, June 29, 1801 Date of Survey. The U S Census for 1800 lists a “Gasper Easley” on page 200:01 as living in Buffalo Township, Armstrong County Pa. “Gasper” is the head of a family which includes: one male between 26 and 45 (Casper was 40), one female between 16 and 26 (Elizabeth was 19), one male under 10, one female under 10 and two males between 10 and 26. If Elizabeth’s age is correct, the male and the female under 10 could be their children; perhaps the two males between 10 and 26 were nephews or hired hands.

Casper Easly is listed in the petition written by Conrad Rogers to Bishop Carroll on 24 May 1803 as one of the Catholic heads of families in Butler and Armstrong Counties requesting a priest be sent to serve them at what later became Sugar Creek mission. The petition and the list of petitioners appears in the “History of St Alphonsus Church” (Murrinsville, Pa). The petitioners formed the Sugar Creek congregation within three years and priests were assigned intermittently as available.

Casper Easly’s grave marker is in the Catholic section of the new Freeport, Pa. Cemetary. The marker is in the plot of the LeStrange-Stone families. Casper’s original burial spot was in the St Mary Church plot adjacent to the church. Sometime about the 1920’s, the entire cemetary was moved to the new cemetary outside the town and parochial school buildings now occupy the original cemetary site. The stone inscription reads: “In Memory of Casper W Easly who departed this life April 16th 1829 in the 69th Year of his Age”

Unlike his father, Blasius, Casper Easly did leave a will. The will is very religious document and was likely prepared by the Rev O’Neil who co-witnessed along with John C Easly the sealing and signing of it by Casper W Easly on the 13th of April 1829, just three days before the date of his death. The will is on file at the Armstrong County Court House at Kittanning, Pa. with Estate number 238. Casper’s estate included 200 acres of land. Basically Casper willed this estate to his son Casper on condition that Bon Casper provide for Elizabeth, his widow and for his eldest son John C Easly, who was in ill health, for their natural lives. Casper Easly appointed John C Eastly and William P Coyle as executors of his estate. Casper also bequeathed 50 dollar payments to his wife, his two daughters, and his three younger sons. To make these payments he ordered that his personal property and chattels be sold at public vandue.

The Vandue List of the estate of Casper W Easley of Buffalo Township was filed the 8th of June 1829 at Armstrong County Court House under Estate llumber 238. The sale was held on June 2, 1829.by James Foreman. The list includes for each item; the buyer the description of the item and the price paid (dollars, cents and half cents ). Farm animals included; 13 sheep, 1 ram, 2 lambs, 2 cows, 1 calf, 1 bull, 2 oxen, 1 mare, 1 colt. Farm tools included: 1 waggon, 2 axes, 1 broad ax, 3 sickles, 1 frow, 1 sithe, 1 mattock, 2 hoes, 1 tommahock, 1 crosscut saw, 1 harrow, 2 hand mill stones, 1 hoop damper, 2 chains, 1 ox yoke, 2 cow yokes and a set of shoemaker tools. Household equipment included: 2 spinning wheels, 1 reel, 1 smoothing iron, 4 chares, 2 bedsteads, 1 bed and bedding, 2 tables, 1 chest. Other items sold included: 26 pounds of wool, 9 barrels and 1 hogsed, 8 books, 1 spectikle, 3 bags.and 2 saddlebags.

Casper Easly’s children as mentioned in various documents including the above April 13, 1829 will appear to be:

The St Vincents baptismal records (Latrobe,Pa) list two children of Casper and Elizabeth Isly: John Christian born 30 Oct 1799 baptized 2 Nov 1800, Sponsors Christian and Magdalen Ruffner, William born no date given, baptized 26 Sept 1805, Sponsors William and Mary Schiltz.