History of Ava Rillar Durbin Casper
Written by herself
Peter Casper, the son of his father, (his name I do not know). My first acquaintance with Peter Casper was in 1809. As well as I can remember he was 82 years old at that time.
I have heard him say that he was in several battles and that he served through most of the Revolutionary War. He also said that he was the only son of his father, that the rest of his father’s children were girls.
Peter Casper and Mary (his wife) had five children, Polly, Catharine, Ann, William and Elizabeth. Polly married a man by the name of Thrailkill by whom she had two children, Benjamin and Margaret. He died, then she married a man by the name of Coons. Ann married a man by the name of Austin Smith. Catharine married a man by the name of Joel Smith. Elizabeth married a man by the name of Hedgeman Smith. William married a girl by the name of Avarilar Durbin. William Casper was born 30 July 1794 and was married 4 March 1809, and died 4 August 1846.
My grandfather, Daniel Durbin, was a resident of Maryland, Harford County. He married a girl by the name of Nancy Scott. They had five children, two boys and three girls. Two of them, a boy and a girl, were killed by the explosion of a powder horn. I do not know their names. The other names were Nancy, Ava Rillar, and Thomas, who was my father.
Thomas married a girl by the name of Clemency Litten. They moved to Pennsylvania about the close of the Revolutionary War. They had fifteen children, nine lived to be men and women, four boys and two girls, Samuel, Ava Rillar, Scott, Elizabeth, Thomas and John. Samule married Rebecca Collins. Ava Rillar married William Casper. Soctt married Margaret Davis. Elizabeth married James Walker. Thomas married Abi Collins. John married Sarah Fitting. Samuel’s wife had seven children. Ava Rillar had eleven children.
Ava Rillar Durbin was born 26 November 1790 in Washington County, Pennsylvania, moved with her father’s family to Ohio when eleven years old. Married when nineteen, went to Virginia to Father Casper’s, lived there three years, had two children in that time, Thomas D. and Scott L. We moved back to Ohio in 1812, about the time of Hill’s surrender in the last war with Britain.
In 1803 I joined the Methodists, lived a Methodist until 1825. Then I found they were not right. I left them and joined the Bible Christians.
In 1826 my father and mother died. Mother died 29 January and was buried the 31st. Father died March 29,ad was buried the 31st.
In 1833 I attached myself to the Campbellites. By this time I had begun to conclude the whole world lay in darkness, with one of the ancients I was ready to say “none right, no not one.” I began to read the Bible and examine it closely for myself. The more I read the plainer I saw the sectarian world was wrong, so I made it a matter of prayer to God to send someone along that had the truth, that would teach it to the people that I might hear the truth and be saved. So it was not long until we heard that there was a people that had found a Golden Bible.
We heard a great deal about these people, at length they came into our neighborhood a preaching. I went to hear the man preach and I knew it was the truth, from that time I went to hear them when I could but did not join them for two or three years. In 1836 Clemency joined. In a little time afterward my husband joined on Sunday, and on Tuesday following I joined.
We had then joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Then (1837) we moved or went to Missouri. Ten in family.
We purchased a home there and stayed until ’39 when Governor Bogg’s exterminating order came. We then had to leave and we went to Illinois, but previous to this time my husband went back on business to Ohio, he was taken sick and did not return until the 7th day of July following.
We left Missouri in March, went to Illinois and rented a farm in the neighborhood of Fairfield and stayed on year there, moved to Carthage, stayed one year there, then bought a home in Nauvoo. We moved there in ’41. We enjoyed ourselves first-rate till ’44 when they murdered our Prophet, Joseph Smith and Hyrum, our Patriarch.
Then there was confusion and trouble in Nauvoo and the land round about. In ’46 William Casper my husband died on August 14.
I left Nauvoo in October following and went to Missouri with my two youngest children, Lydia and Joshua.
Previous to this on the first of April our horses were stolen. I could not leave until I wrote my children, then in Missouri, to come after me. Thomas, John and Duncan and my son-in-law John Neel. They sent horses and wagon and Duncan came and I went to Missouri, stayed there until May 15, 1855. I left the States to come to the “Valley of the Mountains of Ephraim.”
The preceding is from the pen of Ava Rillar Casper, wife of William Casper and daughter of Thomas Durbin.
Ava Rillar Casper lived in Salt Lake County until September 1, 1890 when she made up her mind to go and visit her children for a year or two, who were in the States. She was in hopes her life would be spared to return to her “mountain home.” She did not live to return but died at the home of her daughter, Ann Bonar, 4 Sept 1862.
Previous to her departure to the States she was sealed to her husband, William Casper, her son William W. acting as proxy for his father. She received a blessing from President Young, and it was with his consent and blessing that she went. She had an idea that perhaps she might be the means of bringing some of her children or grandchildren to the knowledge of the truth.
She lived and died a saint.