|Birth: ||Aug. 14, 1816|
|Death: ||Feb. 26, 1853|
B: August 14, 1816, Canada
D: February 26, 1853, Clinton, DeKalb, Illinois
Castina Near/Neers was born on August 14, 1816 in Canada. We are unsure of the spelling of her maiden name because one of her children’s death certificates lists it as Neers and another as Near (which one listed it as Near? I couldn’t find it.) In the Fisher Family Bible her maiden name is spelled alternately as Near and Nearr. From this point on I will spell it Near.
According to copies of typed pages from the Fisher Family Bible, Castina married Jeremiah Fisher on March 19, 1837 when she was 20 years old. We do not know where they were married, but we suspect it was Vermont where Jeremiah lived with his parents, Jeremiah and Sabra (Tubbs) Fisher. Jeremiah and Castina possibly lived in Berkshire, Vermont (very near the border with Canada) which is where Charles Justin, their first child, was born. However, sometime in 1838 or 1839 they moved to Willsboro, New York where their children Elizabeth and Henry were born. By 1845 the family lived in Plattsburg, New York because daughter Mary Jane was born there. In the 1850 US Census the Jeremiah Fisher family lives in Saranac, New York. All of these towns are within a 100-mile radius. This census is the first documented record of Castina as this was the first US census to list family members individually by name.
The 1850 census lists Jeremiah Fisher as Castina’s husband. He was 35 years old and worked as a laborer. Castina was 34 years old. The census indicates she was born in Canada. The census also indicates that Jeremiah and Castina “cannot read or write.” Jeremiah and Castina had five children living with them during this census period.
Charles Fisher, 13 years old
Elizabeth Fisher, 11 years old
Henry Fisher, 9 years old
Mary J. Fisher, 6 years old
James A. Fisher, 3 years old
The census indicated that the four oldest children attended school.
Castina and Jeremiah had another daughter born on May 10, 1850 while living in Saranac, New York. They named her Sabra, probably after Jeremiah’s mother. Sabra lived only eight months. She died seven days after contracting infant cholera. Cholera was prevalent in the U.S. in the 1800s.
Castina and Jeremiah had a son born in April 1852. They named him Benjaman (spelling per Bible record). Benjaman lived only seven months; he died in October 1852. We do not know where or how he died.
Sometime in 1851-1853 the Jeremiah Fisher family moved from Saranac, New York to Clinton, Illinois, a distance of almost 1000 miles! We do not know where their youngest child Benjaman was born but he died at the age of 7 months in October 1852 and Castina died 6 months later in Clinton, Illinois on February 26, 1853 at the age of 36. She is buried in the Johnson Grove Cemetery. My speculation is that they moved from New York either after Sabra’s death, arriving in Clinton sometime in 1851 or after Benjaman’s death, arriving in Clinton just prior to Castina’s death in 1853. It is unknown why the Jeremiah Fisher family made this move. As far as we know, there were no other family members living in this area. Jeremiah’s father died in 1846 in Vermont but his mother was still alive at this time. She died in 1856.
Jeremiah purchased ten burial plots together at the Johnson Grove Cemetery in Clinton, DeKalb, Illinois when his wife died. Castina is buried in one of the plots. The other nine burial plots are unused. I am sure that Jeremiah planned for this to be a family plot. Jeremiah married again in September of 1853, just 7 months after Castina’s death and eventually moved from the area. I believe it was common at that time for men to marry quickly when they had young children that needed care.
Castina’s daughter Elizabeth (Fisher) Shannon named one of her daughters Castinah after her mother.
Although I cannot prove the connection, in my search for a birth record for Castina Near in Canada I have come across a possibility. In the Quebec Vital and Church records, Drouin Collection, I came across a baptismal record for Christiana Near. “On this 15th day of September eighteen hundred and sixteen, Christiana, daughter of Charles Near of Stanbridge, Farmer, and Elisabeth his wife, born on the thirteenth day of August eighteen hundred and sixteen, was baptized.” United States census records give further indication that this could be our Castina. In the 1840 US census Charles Near lives in Willsboro, Essex, New York which is where Jeremiah and Castina live and in the 1850 US census Charles Near lives in Franklin, Vermont with his son Jacob (proven brother to Christiana). Castina and Jeremiah Fisher are living in Berkshire, Vermont which is only 9 miles away.
Another clue that could indicate the connection is the naming of Castina and Jeremiah’s children. At that time in history it was very common to name your children after family members, especially parents or grandparents. Of course this was not strictly adhered to. However, it is interesting to note that Castina and Jeremiah’s children are:
• Charles, possibly Castina’s father’s name
• Elizabeth, possibly Castina’s mother’s name. Also interesting is the fact that Castina’s daughter, Elizabeth has a middle initial of “F” which could stand for Freniah which is the name of one of Castina’s possible aunts.
• Henry, possibly Jeremiah’s grandfather (that’s another story!)
• Sabra, Jeremiah’s mother
Of course, Castina and Jeremiah seemingly did not continue this pattern with the rest of their children, so this is pure speculation on my part. However, it does provide an interesting possibility. I can find no further record in Quebec province of Christiana Near. There is a Christiana Near in Ontario, however, who could be the same person. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out for sure!
What we do know about Castina Near Fisher is that she had a hard life and died young. She moved almost 1000 miles across the country with young children at a time when travel was not easy and three of her eight children died before she did.
Jeremiah Fisher (1815 - 1900)
Charles Justin Fisher (1837 - 1901)*
Elisabeth Fisher Shannon (1839 - 1894)*
Henry Harrison Fisher (1841 - 1921)*
Mary Jane Fisher Ray (1844 - 1934)*
James A Fisher (1847 - 1893)*
Johnson Grove Cemetery
Created by: Sue Chenoweth
Record added: Aug 09, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95083642