The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1907 > February > 3

Berry Cassell's Crazy Move

Mr. Wood tells it was in 1849 that Berry Cassell got an 80 acres east of town, where his home stood for years. He paid $8 an acre for that, and it was mostly prairie. His friends went to him and told him he must be going crazy. He said he bought the 80 because he was afraid some one else would, and then he might have to drive his cow a half mile to get to pasture. Berry Cassell and William Martin were the only men in Decatur in 1849 who had any money. Mr. Martin got some land, but there was timber on a good part of his.

Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois)
February 14 1856
Berry H. Cassell, H. Stroh

Cassell House
South West Corner Public Square Decatur, Ills.

The proprietors take pleasure in stating that they have just opened and furnished in an excellent style the above named house, and feel confident from the attention they intend to bestow to guests to make it one of the best houses in the West.
Buss and baggage wagon will run in connection with cars, free of charge.

Dec. 6, 1855 -38-tf

Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois)
September 4 1856

More Improvements

Another fine block of business houses is to be added to those which have already been commenced. Messrs. Frank Priest, J. Patterson, Jos. Kaufman, Tanner & McClurg and Cassell & Stroh, will unite in erecting a brick three-story block on the west side of the old square, adjoining the Cassell House. The tow lower stories will be used for business purposes, and the third will be attached to the Cassell House, and arranged for sleeping apartments. The front wing of the Cassell House will also be extended westward, so as to unite with the new building. The whole will reflect credit upon the gentlemen interested.

Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois)
October 2 1856

The editor of the Peoria Transcript, in a letter to his paper, dated Decatur, Sept. 19th, pays the following compliment to one of our popular hotels.

Last night we staid at the Cassell House, Decatur. We have had some experience in traveling, and hence begin to feel a little uneasy as night comes on, about the place where we shall be compelled to lay our head. Accordingly on our arrival here, we bespoke a bed insured against bugs, fleas and moschetoes, and to our delight we got it. A good clean bed, unfested with vermin, is a thing worthy of making a note of and we have accordingly put it down that such we got at the Cassell House. We shall go there again when we go to Decatur.

Decatur Republican (Decatur, Illinois)
February 11 1869

B. H. Cassell will sell at his residence about four miles northeast of Decatur, on Thursday, Feb. 18th, a large collection of live stock, consisting of two-year old steers, milch cows, heifers, yearlings, extra work mules, horses, & c. Also a complete assortment of agricultural implements, grain and feed, and household and kitchen furniture. Farmers, keep in mind this extensive sale, as nearly everything you can possibly want will be offered you. Ten months' credit given on sums of ten dollars and upwards.

Daily Republican, Decatur IL
September 4, 1869

Mr. Berry H. Cassell sent us a pitcher of cider the other day, which was sampled by all hands and pronounced good.  The apples from which the cidar was made grew on a tree planted by old Jonathan Miller, in 1828 - before Macon county was organized  and when Decatur was not - probably the oldest fruit tree  in this section of the country.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois)
May 16 1872

We were shown some fine corn this morning. It was raised by B. H. Cassell, Esq., and was 20 inches high, and was a fine sample of the rest of the place. This is the best place of corn we have seen this year.

Decatur Republican (Decatur, Illinois)
August 8 1872

Louisa M. Cassell vs. B. H. Cassell. Motion for temporay allimony refused.

Daily Republican, Decatur IL
August 22, 1872

Berry H. Cassell was brought before Justice Baker, charged with selling intoxicating liquor without a license.  Berry, who has a reputation for being honest in his dealings, remarked to the Justice, "I know if I am guilty you will convict me, but if I am innocent I will be acquitted." Thirteen witnesses were sworn and testified that Berry H. Cassell had not sold them any liquor, and had not sold to any one to their knowledge.  Berry walked out of the Justice's office acquitted.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois)
July 8 1874

City Department

Berry Cassell is building a new fence and otherwise improving his homeplace.

Daily Republican, Decatur, IL

July 28, 1874

Henry C. Oakes to Geo. W. Stoy, Lot 2, block 5, B. H. Cassell's Fourth Addition to the city of Decatur; July 14, 1874, $1,000.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1874 > November > 23

Off for New Orleans

Tomorrow morning, Mr. J. G. Starr and wife, Mr. And Mrs. D. P. Elwood, B. H. Cassell and J. G. Willard leave by the 3:20 train for New Orleans, via Springfield and Shawneetown, taking boat at the latter place. They will be in New Orleans to attend the triennial meeting of the Grand Commandery of Knight Templars of the United States, which takes place in that city on December 3rd, on which occasion it is expected there will be ten thousand Sir Knights on parade in full uniform. The party gets the round trip from Springfield, including board on the steamboat for $46. They expect to be absent about three weeks. A party of about fifteen ladies and gentlemen from Boment passed through the city at noon to join the party from Decatur at Springfield tomorrow morning.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1874 > December > 14

Personal Mention

B. H. Cassell, Esq, presented the Republican Office this morning a half dozen delicious oranges, which he gathered in New Orleans during his last visit to that city. He says they can be bought there for from 50 cents to $1.50 per hundred.

Daily Republican, Decatur IL
December 12, 1874

Home Again - Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Elwood, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Starr, and B. H. Cassell, Esq., returned last evening from their trip to New Orleans, whither they went three weeks ago to attend the triennial conclave of the order  of Knight Templars. They speak in the highest terms of the pleasure of their trip, saying that the ride down the river was magnificent, the reception at the Crescent city hearty and cordial beyond expression, and the novelties of the excursion pleasant to a degree that cannot be expressed in words.  Mr. Cassell informs us that 5000 White Leaguers drill every night in New Orleans, and that trouble of the worst kind is bound to come.

Daily Republcian, Decatur, IL
February 20, 1875

We announce today the name of Mr. B. H. Cassell as a candidate for aldermanin the fifth ward. Mr. C. has seen service in this capacity in the former years, and if elected will look faithfully after the interests of his constituents.

Decatur Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1875 > September > 16

First District Primary Meeting

Pursuant to a call of the chairman of the Republican, district committee of Decatur township, the Republican voters of said district met at Carroll hall, on Monday, Sept. 13, 1875, at 2 o'clock. The meeting was called to order by the chairman, when on motion B. H. Cassell was appointed Secretary. On motion a committee of three, consisting of B. H. Cassell, D. L. Hughes and John McEvoy was appointed to nominated suitable persons as delegates and alternates.

Decatur Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1876 > March > 30

Died Monday morning, March 27, Mrs. Elizabeth Shultz, aged 80 years. The deceased was the mother of Mrs. B. H. Cassell and Mrs. J. L. Peake, and had resided in Decatur since 1835.

Decatur Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1877 > May > 10

The Opening of North Street

We understand that a petition is being circulated for the signatures of the residents and property owners on North street, in which the council is asked to open said streeet across the Illinois Central railroad and through the lands of B. H. Cassell. This is a move in the right direction. For a half mile east of the Ill. Central railroad, North street is thickly settled, and all of its residents are compelled to got out of their way to get up to the square. We understand that Mr. Cassell offers to donate the land, or very nearly so; and now that Eldorado street is to be graveled, is the time to make the fill at the North street railroad crossing.

Decatur Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1877 > July > 5

At the residence of Hilton Cassell, on the evening of Sunday, July 1st, by T. B. Albert, Esq., Mrs. William H. Baughen and Miss Eliza R. Harrison, all of Decatur township.

Decatur Daily Republican, August 11, 1877
Council Proceeding, Regular Meetings, Decatur, IL, Aug. 10, 1877

Berry H. Cassell presented a deed to the city of Decatur for extension of East North Street, from the Illinois Central railroad right of way to Berry H. Cassell's 4th Addition to the city of Decatur, which was accepted, and a warrant for one hundred and fifty dollars ordered issued payment for said land.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1880 > May > 15

Berry H. Cassell has an odd-looking watch in his possession, which he claims has the "Beecher" movement. It was formerly owned by the late John G. Encke, and was bought in Liverpool, England, in 1828, long befor the Beecher movements came in vogue. It was lately overhauled and cleaned up by Joe Peake.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1881 > May > 4

B. H. Cassell has built a one-story frame addition to his brick store on East Wood st., at a cost of $400. The size is 14 by 45 feet. It will be occupied by E. C. Linthicom as a shoe shop. The frame refreshemtn parlor which used to adorn the crown of Cassell's Hill, has been moved to the rear of the lot near the corner of East Wood street and Broadway, and will be fitted up by Mr. Cassell as a dwelling house at a cost of about $200.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1881 > May > 21

B H Cassell this week sold half a block of his pasture in the fifth ward, fronting on East William street for a good round sum in cash. The purchaser is a Swede who cannot speak a work of English, and who is said to possess $250,000. The land adjoins the Beaman property. The purchaser, we understand, will build a large house on two of the lots.

Decatur Weekly Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1881 > May > 26

Berry H. Cassell is erecting a two-story frame building, 22 ¼ by 30 feet in size, on the northeast corner of East Wood street and Broadway, near the Illinois Central Railroad. It will be occupied by Robert F. Brown, who will use the second floor as a dwelling and the first floor as a saloon. He has made application to the council for a license to sell liquor.

The Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1881 > November > 7

Friday evening between 7 and 8 o'clock, the reseidence of B. H. Cassell was entered and robbed of a sum of money and some very valuable jewelry belonging to his daughter.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1882 > February > 11

The Cassell brothers and Justice Albert returned home last evening from the north, after an absence of five days.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1882 > March > 27

That big-talking Norwegian, who claimed to have purchased half a block of residence property on East William street, from B. H. Cassell for $1700, is a fraud. He made partial arrangements to purchase the land, but failed to come down with the cash, so the sale if off.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1882 > April > 5

Mr. B. H. Cassell presented plats of His 5th and 6th additions to city of Decatur, which were approved.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) > 1882 > April > 22

New Additions to the city are the order of the day. D. W. Brenneman is laying off a new addtion on the west side of North Union street between Marietta street and the old Dr. King property. W. J. Quinlan will lay out an addition just west of his first addition on West Marietta street, and B. H. Cassell will open his sixth addition on East William street. The town is growing.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) > 1883 > March > 3

Berry Cassel contemplates enclosing ten acres for the convenience of circuses, base ball games, shooting matches and other sporting events.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1883 > March > 30

A marriage license was issued this afternoon to Mr. John J. Carroll, son of M. K. Carroll, and Clara O. Cassell, daughter of B. H. Cassell.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) > 1883 > April > 7

Married on Friday, March 30, 1883, at the residence of the officiating justice, John J. Carroll and Miss Clara O. Cassell, Thomas Albert, J. P., officiating. The bride is a daughter of Berry Cassell, and the groom is a well-known saloon keeper of Decatur.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1883 > August > 7

Licenses Issued

To John Carroll, for three months, with M. K. Carroll and B. H. Cassell as sureties.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois)
March 23 1887

Death of Clara Cassell

Clara O. Cassell, daughter of Berry H. Cassell, died this morning at 8:15 o'clock at No. 913 East North street, resulting from liver complaint. She has been in poor health for two years, but was confined to her bed only a week. Her age was 33 years. She was a sister of Hilton and Albert Cassell. It was the last wich of the deceased that her body be cremated and it will be taken to Buffalo for that purpose.

The funeral services will be held on Friday afternoon. The remains will be placed in a vault at Greenwood temporarily or taken direct to Buffalo, N.Y., for cremation.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1887 > March > 26

A large number of friends attended the funerla of the late Clara O. Cassell, which took place yesterday afternoon, Rev. Dr. Vosburgh officiating. The remains were placed in the Bullard vault at Greenwood, from when they may be removed to Buffalo for cremation.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1887 > April > 2

This morning Judge Nelson appointed Albert Casell administrator of the estate of his sister, Clara O. Cassell. He filed a bond in the sum of $600.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1887 > May > 5

Placed in the Vault.

The mortal remains of the late Clara O. Cassell will not be cremated. The father, Mr. B. H. Cassell, at an expense of nearly $500, has built a family vault near the entrance to Greenwood cemetery, and into this vault the remains of Miss Cassell were placed this week, on Monday, in the presence of Mr. Casell, Mr. and Mrs. Hilton Cassell and Mr. J. L. Peake and other friends. The deceased in her life had a great fear of being buried alive, hence her strange request that she should be cremated.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) > 1887 > May > 28

Thos. O. (A.) Cassell, administrator of the estate of Clara O. Cassell, deceased, was granted an order to sell real estate at private sale.

Decatur Daily Review,
October 24, 1887

James L. Peake and B. H. Cassell are the only charter members of Celestial Lodge of Odd Fellows residing in Decatur. There were 11 original members in 1855. Seven members have died.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1888 > April > 13

B. H. Cassell is confined to his home with an attack of typhoid fever.

Decatur Daily Republican, March 29, 1888
Sales of Real Estate

Berry H. Cassell to John F. Cassell, lot 8 in block 1, Cassell's 6th addition, $432

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1888 > August > 27

B. H. Cassell to Thomas A. Cassell, lot 5, block 2, Cassell's 6th addition - $100.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1888 > September > 3

Berry H. Cassell to Hilton Cassell, lot 3, block 2, Cassell's 6th addition $100.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1889 > April > 4

Berry H. Cassell to Thomas A. Cassell, lot 7, block 2, Cassell's 6th edition, $1, "love and affection".

Decatur Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1889 > November > 15

B. H. Cassell, who is a Mason of 40 years standing, left Wednesday evening for Peoria to attend the meeting of the Masonic Consitory.

The Decatur Daily Despatch (Decatur, Illinois) > 1889 > November > 19

B. H. Cassell arrived home from Peoria Sunday morning. He was attending the consistory of the Scottish Rite Masons.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1890 > July > 12

B. H. Cassell is quite dangerously ill at his home on Cassell Hill. He was overcome by the intense heat Thursday and suffered two congestive chills yesterday.

Decatur Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1890 > July > 12

Berry Cassell was prostrated by the heat Thursday afternoon and has been very seriously sick since.

Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1891 > January > 20

Sewer Right of Way

Atn instrument signed by B. H. Cassell was presented. It gives the city right of way to build the Jasper street sewer across the land of Mr. Cassell, in consideration of the payment to him of $250, and the further agreement on the part of the city to build a fence to protect Mr. Cassel's premises and keep stock both in and out; indemnify Mr. Cassell for any loss of rent that may arise from tiem used in constructing the sewer; the work shall be prosecuted will all dilligences, and it is once begun; the excavations shall all be refilled, if they settle, after being filled once; the surplus dirt shall be put in the water course, and the city will pay $10 a day for all failure to do so. The city also agrees to be responsible to Mr. Cassell and his heirs for all damage from breakage of the sewer or from poisonous gas arising therefrom. The instrument was accepted by the council.

Decatur Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1891 > May > 6

The Old St. Nicholas

It is Being Torn Down - Something About Its Early Days

The work of tearing down the old St. Nicholas began yesterday. Already the roof is off the south aisle and 12 or 14 rooms have been demolished. The work will be pushed right ahead now as fast as it can be.

The house has quite a history. It is one of the oldest building in the city, and in its early years saw a great many changes of management. The oldest part of the building is that in the corner, extending from the west side of the bar room around to the south side of the office. What a procession of people and events those old walls have witnessed! The history of a city like Decatur may not be exciting or thrilling in any of its particulars, but it certainly is extremely interesting, and the old house has seen as much of that as any other building in town.

The house was erected in 1854. John Harrell built it, and as the landlord welcomed the first guests. He named it the Harrell house. By 1855 the name had been changed to the Cassell house, when Berry H. Cassell was the head of a firm of proprietors. The full firm name was Cassell, Stroh and Henderson. The name changed to the Oglesby house along in 1857, when Warner Oglesby became "mine host." After that the hotel was known as the American house, the Tremont house, the Adams house, the Cloudas house, and the Varney house, each change of name marking a change of proprietors, till the Laux brothers took possession in September 1865. The firm included Nicholas, Peter and Charles Laux and they give the hotel its present name. In 1879 Charles Laux bought out his brothers, and has since then been alone in the management of the house. When the Laux brothers took the house in 1865 it had 38 rooms. The billiard room and part above it was added in 1876. In 1880 the new dining room was built and in 1885 the office was remodeled.

Decatur Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1891 > August > 6

Mrs. Berry Cassell is repainting her house on South Main street

Decatur Daily Republican, October 19, 1891
Special Rendezvous at Peoria

Elaborately printed invitations for the special rendezvous of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Peoria Sovereign Constistory, and Co-ordinate bodies of Masons, Vally of Peoria, at Peoria, Nov. 10, 11 and 12, have been received in Decatur. It will be a great occasion for Masons who stand high in the order. The members in Decatur are Dr. Wm. M. Catto, Berry H. Cassell, Robert W. Ferguson, Charles B. Hughes, H. M. Huff, Leo Heibrun, L. L. Haworth, Peter Loeb, A. T. Summers, and Winter P. Waggoner, all 32 degree Masons.

Decatur Daily Republican, April 2, 1893

The Wealthy Men

That Decatur is prosperous now and has been for years is not better shown than in the progress of many of our citizens on the road to wealth. … Now there is over fifty persons in the city and county worth over $100,000 and upwards, and quite a number of them are worth several times this amount. From careful enquiry our reporter finds the following citizens who are worth $100,000 and upwards: Orlando Powers, William H. Ennis, John Uhlrich, …….. Berry H. Cassell, ……….

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1893 > March > 8

Berry H. Cassell intends to shortly plat the ground he owns just east of the furniture factory and put it on the market.

The Weekly Herald Despatch (Decatur, Illinois) > 1893 > August > 12

Berry H. Cassell to Baron H. Cassell, lot 9 in block 1 in B. H. Cassell's sixth addition to Decatur; consideration $1.

Daily Review, July 31, 1894

For sale - One house and lot in Berry H. Cassell's First Addition on East Prairie st.  Cheap for cash if taken soon.  Enquire at 818 E. Prairie street.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1897 > May > 12

An Old Citizen

Berry H. Cassell, one of the pioneer residents of Decatur, is now past 75 years of age, and because of his blindness and other infirmities, is confined to his home, which is the large and imposing building on Cassell's hill, just beyond the Illinois Central railroad at the foot of East Main street. Mr. Cassell is a 32d degree Mason, as are also his two sons, Hilton and Thomas A. Cassell.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) > 1897 > June > 29

Berry H. Cassell called at the office of Assessor Foster this forenoon. He desired to appear before the board of review to make a statement. He is very feeble and was brought to the office by his son, T. A. Cassell.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1901 > July > 7

Berry H. Cassell is still quite seriously ill at his home on Cassell Hill. His condition has not improved during the past few days.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1901 > September > 1

B. Hilton and wife have rented their farm northeast of the city and moved to Cassell's Castle Cassell hill. Mr. Cassell moves to the city to take care of his father Berry H. Cassell who has been seriously ill for some time.

October 22, 1903 Page 2

The Death Record
Louisa Ann Cassell

Mrs. Louisa Ann Cassell, wife of Berry H. Cassell, died last night at 8:10 o’clock at the home of her son, T.A. Cassell, 905 East Main street. Mrs. Cassell was 80 years old. She was one of the oldest settlers in this county.  She was born in Hagerstown, Md., her maiden name being Louisa Ann Sholtz, and came west to Springfield about 1830, where she lived for four years and then came to Decatur, where she has since lived. For the past nine years she has made her home with her son, T.A. Cassell. Mrs. Cassell leaves two sons, Hilton Cassell and T.A. Cassell and five grandsons, Louis B., Fred R., Otto B., Berry H,. Jr., Gren and one grand-daughter, Ray. Mrs. Cassell was a sister of Mrs. J.L. Peake who died about two years ago. For the past two years Mrs. Cassell has been an invalid, having been afflicted with gangrene and dropsy.

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) > 1904 > February > 19

Berry H. Cassell to Louis B. Cassell lot 7 in block 2 of Berry H. Cassell's seventh addition to Decatur; $600.

Berry H. Cassell to Fred R. Cassell, lot 9 in block 1 of Berry H. Cassell's seventh addition to Decatur; $600.

Berry H. Cassell to Otto D. Cassell, lot 12 in block 1 of Berry H. Cassell's sixth addition to Decatur; $600.

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) > 1904 > May > 13

Berry H. Cassell to Berryhill Cassell, lot 3 in block 2 of B. H. Cassell's seventh addition to Decatur; $600.

Berry H. Cassell to Thomas A. Cassell, a tract in block 2 of B. H. Cassell's fifth addition to Decatur; also lots 1 and 2 in block 2 of Berry H. Cassell's seventh addition to Decatur; $1,000.

Berry H. Cassell to Ray Cassell, lot 14 in block 1 of B. H. Cassell's seventh addition to Decature, $600.

Berry H. Cassell to Thomas A. Cassell, lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in block 5 of B. H. Cassell's first addition to Decautr, alos a tract in block 3 of B. H. Cassell's fifth addition to Decatur; $4000.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1904 > May > 15

Berry Cassell deeded a number of lots to his children, but there was not a dollar in that for the real estate men.

Wednesday Evening, October 12, 1904 Page 5


Our City’s Most Interesting Old Settle Passes Away at Age of 82 -- His Life a Link With Early History of Town

Berry H. Cassell died at 4 o’clock on Wednesday morning at Cassell’s Castle at the head of South Webster street.  He was in the eighty-third year of his age.
The immediate cause of his death was gangrene of the left foot, which set in last Friday, though he had been in failing health for years. He had been blind for the past twelve years and his decline has been steady. Since last spring he had failed rapidly. He did not suffer much pain until last Friday, when gangrene set in, but from that time on he suffered greatly. In spite of his blindness and his physical decline. Mr. Cassell;s mind remained perfectly clear and bright and he loved to converse with friends who called to see him. Up to within a few hours of his death he was able to talk with those about him, and even when no longer able to talk he recognized those at his bedside. A singular circumstance connected with his death is that his wife, Louisa Ann Cassell, died a year ago this month, and her death was caused by gangrene which affected the same foot.

Mr. Cassell owned extensive property interests in and near Decatur. Two years ago, on his birthday anniversary, he gave considerable property to his children, and again when he was 82 years old he gave them some property.  Besides the home place on which Cassell’s Castle is situated, which contains 14 acres right in the residence district on the city, he has a farm of 400 acres, a short distance northeast of the city. He owned the building on East Main street, where Dan Higgins saloon is located. He was a member of Macon lodge No. 8, A.F. and A.M. and also a Beaumanoir commandery, No. 9, Knights Templars and was always prominent in the order until his health began to fail.

He is survived by two sons, B. Hilton Cassell and Thomas A. Cassell and the following grandchildren: L.B. Cassell, F.R. Cassell, O.D. Cassell, Berry H. Cassell, Ward Cassell and Miss Ray Cassell. He was a man of culture and refinement and was held in high esteem by all who knew him.

The funeral which will be in charge of the Masonic fraternity, will be held from the residence at 3 o’clock Friday afternoon. The interment will be at Greenwood.
Berry H. Cassell was born in Dauphin County, PA, May 23, 1822. The family was of old German stock and moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania early in the settlement of that state. At the age of 17, Mr. Cassell came to Illinois and being impressed with the appearance of the country about Putnam county returned home and induced his parents to move to this state.

The family started in the fall of 1839, going down the Ohio river from Pittsburg to Louisville. From the latter place they made the trip overland in two large wagons through an unbroken wilderness. Across the prairies of waving grass there was no trail to guide the travelers. The tall grass waved in front of them and on each side as far as the eye could reach. In the timber, however, they were able to follow a trail left by emigrants who had gone before.

The party arrived in Decatur in November, 1839, and as the snow was deep they decided to remain here during the winter. In the spring all except Berry Cassell went on to Putnam county, but the latter decided to remain here.  Decatur was then located in the center of thirty acres, the center of which was the old square. What is now Central park was then a timber and hazel brush patch and Mr. Cassell said, “It was the worst place for snakes in those days that I ever saw. I ran on to one big snake in there one day that caused me to run and it was the only snake I ever ran from”.

In 1840, Mr. Cassell opened a tinner’s shop. He had a dollar and a quarter at that time and called on Captain Allen to go into partnership with him. Mr. Allen furnished the capital for the enterprise and a shop was opened on Franklin street in the cellar of a building close the intersection of Park and Franklin streets. The business prospered so that in the next spring the firm took the room on the first floor. In about a year Mr. Cassell bought a lot at the corner of South Park and Franklin streets and erected a small building to be used as his shop. Shortly afterward he sold the lot and moved the building to the lot at the corner of Water and East Main streets, no occupied by Linn & Scruggs.

In the fall of 1852, he sold the Linn & Scruggs corner, 80 x 150 feet for $800. About that time Mr. Cassell started in business with William Prather, opening a hardware and furniture store in the Cantral building on East main street. In about a year the firm was compelled to seek larger quarters and moved to a building on the spot where the Morehouse & Wells Co. building now stands. At that time there was a great immigration to this part of the state and business was flourishing. Most of the immigrants located on farms and there was an urgent demand for farming implements which the firm handled. Money came fast and the firm prospered. Macon county at that time embraced part of Christian. Platt and Moultrie and Decatur drew trade from forty miles around. In 1855, the firm sold out to J.R. Gorin.

Mr. Cassell early began to buy land in the new country. In 1852, he purchased 240 acres of land, the first 160 acres beginning at what is now the intersection of Wood and Broadway streets and extending north to the Wabash railroad, thence east to Jasper street and south to Wood and west to Broadway. There was no railroad at that time and the Wabash later received its right of way from Mr. Cassell. Another piece of land was soon purchased lying southeast of the other and taking in that territory where the brickyards are located southeast of the city. For the first piece of land, Mr. Cassell paid $12.%) an acre. He has since sold forty-foot lots off of it at $1,000 each.

In 1856, Mr. Cassell purchased the Herald house, which stood on the lot now occupied by the St. Nicholas hotel and conducted the hotel for several years, changing its name to the Cassell house. Since giving it up he has devoted his time to looking after his real estate. During the time he was in the Herald house he had an opportunity to become intimately acquainted with Lincoln and Douglas. That was in the period of the exciting political campaigns in which both the men were taking such an active part. They spoke in the vicinity many times and always topped at the Herald house, Mr. Cassell could relate many of the stories told by Lincoln, many of which are not found in books. I was in the Cassell house that the convention of the editors of the state was held in February, 1856, and named the date of the convention which was held a few months later in the city of Bloomington when the Republican party was formed.

When the people of Decatur were especially anxious for the Illinois Central to build passenger station here, Mr. Cassell gave the company five acres of land for depot purposes. Mr. Cassell sold to henry Prather and William Martin thirty acres of land between Broadway and the railroad tracks and these two men with Mr. Cassell gave to the Wabash five acres of land for depot purposes. It was stipulated that a station should be erected but the Wabash did not build and a lawsuit to recover the property followed. There was a compromise and Mr. Cassell got back land where part of the buildings on Front street now stand and the Wabash got the land where the station is now located.

Mr. Cassell served as clerk of Decatur in 1850, as clerk and treasurer in 1851, and clerk until 1855 when the city was incorporated. He also served as assessor several times. He was the last recorder of Macon county. He was elected in 1846 and in 1848 the officer of recorder was merged into that of circuit clerk. The education he acquired was picked up after the time he began to work. He was a fine penman and says he learned to write by scratching the letters on tin with a scratch awl and in that way learned to write a good hand. Although having attended school but a short time he managed to obtain a good education. he was an extensive reader and was well informed on many subjects. in his earlier days Mr. Cassell was very fold of music and spent much of his spare time in that way. He played a clarinet in the first band of which Decatur ever boasted and also played several other musical instruments.

He had a wonderful memory for dates and events and could GE a clear description of the location of every building of what is known as the original town of Decatur. His close association with the business of the city and the active part he took in its growth probably made his recollection more distinct than most of the older settlers. During recent years, Mr. Cassell’s eyesight had been affected and he did not go about much.

His beautiful home on Cassell’s Hill was erected in 1887 and contains twenty-two rooms. The hill is twelve feet higher than the pavement on Lincoln square and fifty feet higher than the pavement at the corner of East Prairie and Broadway. It is only a few feet less in elevation than John’s Hill. The house is reached by a private approach that would be Webster street if that were extended. The interior of the house is finished in hard wood cut on Cassell’s Hill and seasoned and specially prepared for this purpose. The grounds about the building are platted in a circle and contain about four acres. Outside the circle and immediately surrounding it on the east and north are about fourteen acres of land retained by Mr. Cassell until his death. Governor Oglesby made his first public speech on the spot where the house now stands. It was on July 4th, 1842, when a big celebration took place. The platform stood on the grounds now covered by the west and of the front porch and from this form Mr. Oglesby made an old fashioned Fourth of July oration and Henry Elliott read the Declaration of Independence.


September 28, 1912
Page 8  - Deaths

Mrs. Otto Cassell
Mrs. Otto Cassell died at 5 o’clock on Friday afternoon at her home on Cassell Hill. Her death was caused by typhoid fever after an illness of nine weeks. She was twenty-four years old. She was born in Logan conty, Jan. 11, 1888. She is survived by her husband and two small children, Harold, aged two years, and Everett, aged four months. She is also survived by her father, W.H. Leimbach, and two broghers, W.H. Leimbach, JR., and Hubert E. Leimbach, all of Latham. She was a member of the Lutheran church in Mt. Pulaski. A short service will be held at Cassell’s hill at 7:45 a.m. The funeral party will go to Mt. Pulaski at the 9:05 train and the funeral services will be held at Mt. Pulaski. Interment will be in the Mt. Pulaski cemetery.

Saturday Evening, October 5, 1912
Page 8

Mrs. Fannie W. Cassell
Ill Only Short Time

The death of Mrs. Fannie W. Cassell, wife of B. Hilton Cassell, which occurred at 3:15 Friday afternoon at the family residence on Cassell hill, was the second death in the family within a week. Her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Otto Cassell, having died in the same house just a week ago Friday, and her funeral was held last Sunday. Mrs. Fannie W. Cassell was taken ill the day before the death of her daughter-in-law. The latter’s death was caused by typhoid fever, while that of Mrs. Fannie W. Cassell was caused by heart trouble.

Mrs. Cassell was sixty-nine years old. She was born in Ross county, O., Oct. 17, 1843. She was married to B. Hilton Cassell in 1872. The family home has been in Decatur for many years. She was a member of the First Methodist Church and of the Order of the Eastern Star. Besides her husband, she is survived by three sons, Louis B. Cassell, Fred R. Cassell, and Otto D. Cassell, all of Decatur. She also leaves two brothers and three sisters, Joseph Harrison of Muskogee, Okla., Matthew M. Harrison of Decatur, Mrs. Sarah Wilt of Warrensburg,Mrs. Mary Lintner of Chitwood, Mo.l, and Mrs. Eliza Mount of Decatur. The funeral will be held at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon at the family residence on Cassell Hill. The interment will be in Greenwood.

Daily Review
August  28, 1914

Mrs. Louis B. Cassell returned to her home in Decatur Saturday evening. Her father Joseph Deitrich, accompanied her home.

Monday Evening, December 8, 1919 Page 3

B. Hilton Cassell Dies At Age 74 Had Been in Ill Health Many Months
Born in Decatur, Home of Site of Linn & Scruggs Store

B. Hilton, one of Decatur’s most porminent citizens and real estate men, died at 3 o’clock Sunday afternoon at the residence of his son, Louise B. Cassell, 224 Park Place. He would have been seventy-four years old in March. His death was cuased by cancer, with which he had suffered for a long time. His condition had been serious since last Spring. At that time he was operated on at the Decatur and Macon County hospital, but only temporary relief was gained. Since then he had been able to go downtown at rare intervals and since the first of September, he had been confined to his bed.
Mr. Cassell was born in Decatur March 30, 1848 and had lived in or near Decatur all his life. His father, Berry H. Cassell, was a native of East Hanover, Pa., and his mother, formerly Miss Louise M. Schultz was a native of Maryland. They came to Decatur when it was but a small village. Berry H. Cassell had a tin shop in a long building that occupied the site of the present Linn & Scruggs store. The family lived in the rooms at the rear of the building and there B. Hilton Cassell was born. He attended the public schools and after finishing his schooling engaged in various forms of occupation until his marriage in 1872 to Miss Fannie W. Harrison of Ohio. Then they moved to a farm in Decatur township and remained there until 1901. For the last eighteen years Mr. Cassell had lived in Decatur. His wife died in 1912. He is survived by three sons, Louis B. Cassell, 224 Park Place; Fred R. Cassell, 1430 West Decatur Street and Otto D. Cassell, 125 South Hilton Street. He also leaves one brother, T.A. Cassell, 1066 West Main Street.
Mr. Cassell was prominent in real estate circles, in which business he was engaged for many years, and he assisted materially in the substantial growth of the city. Mr. Cassell was prominent in Masonic circles, being a thirty-second degree mason. He was a member of Macon Lodge No. 8A.F. and A.M., macon chapter No. 21, R.A.M., Decatur council No. 16, R. and S.M., Beaumanoir commandery No., 9, Knights Templar, Peoria consistory, Decatur chapter No. 21, O.E. S..........He was always interested in every movement that was for the best interests of Decatur and was held in high regard by all who knew him. The body was removed to the  Dawson & Wikoof undertaking establishment and prepared for burial.
The funeral will be held at 8:30 o’clock Tuesday afternoon in the residence of his son, 224 park Place. The interment will be in Greenwood.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1904 > October > 29

In the county court Saturday morning Thomas A. Cassell and Louis B. Cassell were appointed administrators of the estate of the late Berry H. Cassell and gave bond in the sum of $5,000, with B. Hilton Cassell and E. S. McDonald as sureties. Fred Harpstrite, Jacob Sine and James A. Reavis were appointed appraisers.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) > 1905 > March > 20

The appraisers in the Cassell estate reported in the county court that Thomas A. and B. Hilton Cassell should each pay as inheritance tax the sum of $275.48. The bequests to those two heirs of B. H. Cassell get something over $47,000 each, and each is entitled to $20,000 free from the inheritance tax. A tax of 1 per cent is levied on the remainder. The estate is valued at about $95,000.

The Decatur Review May 30, 1915

Cassell’s Castle Traded For Land

Consideration in Deal Put at $19,000.

173 Acres at $225.

Plan Is To Open Up Lots on The Hill

One of the most interesting deals in real estate made in a good many months was made last week, when B. Hilton Cassell traded his residence, the Cassell castle, on the hill just north of the intersection of Wood and Webster streets, to J. M. Wolfe, a Sullivan farmer, who will make his home there. The price placed on the Decatur residence was $19,000. Mr. Cassell takes in the trade, a farm of 173 acres, two miles west of Sullivan, valued at $225 an acres, or $79, 925. C. A. Burkes and R. E. Persinger made the deal.

BUILT IN 1886.

The Cassell house contains twenty-two rooms, in a three-story frame structure, modern, and was erected in 1886 by Mr. Cassell’s father, Berry H. Cassell. It is built of costly material and part of the interior in hardwood, cut from the timber that at one time stood around the house.


Eleven lots of regular city size go in with the property. This ground is not platted yet, but the amount of ground was figured out that way, as it is the plan of both sides to open up East Main street west and Webster street north, making the corner come right in front of the residence.

Four lost are on the west side of the house, four on the east and the other three will be and the southeast corner of Main and Webster, after those streets are opened through. This will mean opening Webster north about half a block and East (?)in street west about two blocks.


The Cassel house and grounds are quite well known. It was on the grounds that Governor Oglesby made his first political speech. Berry H. Cassell came here in Decatur earliest days and he made money and bought what was then a farm of 160 acres, bounded on the west by Broadway, the east by Jasper, the north by the Wabash railroad. Practically all of this now, with the exception of a few acres, has been sub-divided into city property and is built up.

The farm that Mr. Cassell gets is fine black land, one of the best farms in that vicinity, all in cultivation, well tiled and with a fair set of improvements on it. Mr. Cassell has not made any plans as to where he will move, but he will probably vacate the castle soon, as Mr. Wolfe gets it for a home.

Saturday Evening, January 1, 1916

Baffling Case, Say Marshalls

Only Circumstantial Evidence in Cassell Blaze.

Wolf Returns Home

After Conference With Officials – No Arrests Made

One of the most cleverly executed arson plots we have ever encountered was the statement of the State Fire Marshal Saturday after a twenty four hour investigation of the blaze which gutted the old Cassell home Thursday evening. Though the fire sleuths declare they were working upon some excellent clues it was generally admitted that the outlook for apprehending the guilty fire-bug is more or less uncertain.

Stage Well Set

That the fire was set by men who are experienced in the game is the opinion of the officials. The stage was well set and the old structure should have burned completely. The house was almost saturated with gasoline, but there was one flaw. A rope soaked with oil which was used as a fuse, burned too quickly. It was evidently the intention of the incendiaries to have the house destroyed at midnight or in the early morning before the blaze would be detected. But the fuse turned too quickly.

Wolf Returns Home

J. M. Wolf, owner of the property, returned to his home in Sullivan, Friday night. There is absolutely nothing which can throw any blame upon Mr. Wolf. He was at his home in Sullivan on the evening of the fire. After a conference held with him yesterday the duputy fire marshals saw plainly that they must turn their attention elsewhere.

No arrests have been made and the fire marshals do not promise that they will make any. They have nothing but circumstantial evidence. The identity of the man who, like a thief in the night slipped into the old house and set the fire which burned out its vitals, is still a mystery. It may always remain so. Notwithstanding that they have many suspicions the officials have as yet been unable to place their finger upon the arson fiend. There is nothing but circumstantial evidence.

Deputy Fire Marshals Bogardus, Barnes and Morgaridge are still on the (?o?). They examined the old house again Saturday in search of possible clews (clues).

Still After Proof

The investigation is going forward as rapidly as possible and we hope to have the case in shape to start official action within a week said Deputy Bogardus Saturday. Of course we have definite suspicions concerning the identity of the plotters but we must have proof before anything can be done. No crime can be completely covered up and we are looking for the loop hole which will lead to the identity of the men implicated.

Trace Oil Supply

Among the details of the search are the tracing of the oil supply which was used in the fire a close inquiry into the whereabouts of all suspects or persons thought to have had any hand in the fire the tracing of insurance and real estate deals in the past year the collecting of all evidence both that indicating incendiarism and the identity of criminals left by the only partially successful fire.

Wire Preparing

From unofficial conversations of people interested in the search it is plain that the fire marshal’s office has been looking for the fire to clear up for good and all the mystery surrounding many suspicious looking blazes in Decatur. The local fire department had the Cassell fire fought three weeks ago even the laying of the first lead of hose, and this careful planning for really what happened is credited for the efficient work which headed the dangerous blaze and left the tell-tale evidence of a plot. Firemen say that the plan did not include snow and mud nor that the fire should break out at the supper hour when stations were short handed. The general fight followed the lines laid down sometime ago by Chief Devore and his captains when the possibility of a blaze in the transferred Cassell property was tipped off to them.

In the meantime the closest watch is being kept in the ruins and nothing is allowed to be disturbed. Rumors coming from residents in the neighborhood concerning the sight of someone working in the house Thursday before the fire are being traced to their source. Several people are said to have heard pounding inside of the house Thursday and thinking that repairs were being made investigated no farther.

The officers expect to remain in Decatur for the next three or four days and will appreciate the aid of Decatur people who may have valuable information concerning the fire.

$10,000 Official Loss

The building lost in the Cassell house fire was officially placed at $10,000 on Saturday morning following the estimates of expert insurance men. Administers will be on hand the first of the week to make their decisions as to the amount of damage done to the old house.