Contents: This book is a history of the Casad family that traces its movement from Ohio to New Mexico by way of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and California. The principal family members are Thomas Casad and his second wife, Sarah Van Winkle Casad, along with their numerous children. The book relates one family’s experience with agriculture, coal mining, and milling on the Illinois prairie, where Thomas founded the town of Summerfield in St. Clair County, and its migration west as far as Kansas. There, Thomas Casad killed a man and became a fugitive from justice fleeing with his family to southern California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. This rash act also cost him a considerable fortune. After settling near Santa Ana, Casad built the first two-story home in Orange County. As he had been everywhere he lived, Thomas Casad was a very active Mason in California. Trouble with a neighbor led to a precipitous flight to the southwest where a snowstorm halted the family in New Mexico. His hasty departure also resulted in the loss of another substantial fortune.
The Casads settled in Mesilla and, in short order, Thomas Casad was recognized as one of the leading agriculturalists in southern New Mexico. Casad is credited with the introduction of large-scale production of alfalfa in the region and improving local livestock. He was a newspaper editor and columnist specializing in spreading innovative agricultural techniques. He also was a noted miller in Doña Ana and Chamberino. His purchase of almost 10,000 acres of the Brazito made him one of the largest landowners in the Mesilla Valley. Because he died intestate, his estate became embroiled in a twenty-year struggle to settle title to this Spanish land grant.