VALLEY OF HEART's DELIGHT
SURNAMES: THOMAS, PRICE, RATZ,
Noteworthy among the most thriving. able and progressive business men
of San Jose. is James Casley, general cement and sewer contractor.
Inheriting his industrious and energetic spirit and the sterling
virtues of a long line of sturdy English ancestry, he has met with
success in his active career, and has won the confidence and goodwill
of the community in which he resides. A native of England, he was born
October 17, 1860. in Cornwall, parish of St. Just, which was also the
birthplace of his father and mother. James and Elizabeth (Thomas)
Casley. The father, James Casley, followed the occupation of farming
during his entire lifetime. While he did not aspire to holding a public
office, he was progressive and public spirited and always interested in
the welfare of the community in which he resided. He retained his
interest in public affairs to the day of his death, which occurred at
the age of seventy-three.
During his early boyhood, James. Jr., attended school in his native
parish, receiving instruction from his father in farming and
agriculture, which served him well in future years. The youth of Mr.
Casley was not singled out for special favors on the part of good
fortune, and he is essentially a self-made man, depending always upon
the natural and acquired gifts which aided his ambition. He was reared
to habits of extreme thrift by his parents, and when he arrived at the
age of twenty-two, -with an inborn determination to succeed, he
embarked for America, and landed in Quebec. Canada, on July 6, 1882.
His first job was that of farmhand at the meager wage of twenty dollars
per month. This served to tide him over for a time, but not satisfied
with this, four months later he went to Michigan, where he obtained
employment in the iron and copper mines. During the next year, he went
to La Salle County, Ill., again taking up the work for which he was
best fitted, that of farming. He leased land near Marseilles, Ill.,
paying as high as four dollars per acre rent, and was successful in his
venture, his chief crop being corn. Still he was not satisfied with
farming as a vocation, and leaving the scene of his success, he came to
California in November. 1891. locating at San Jose. His early lessons
in thrift had caused him to accumulate some funds, and he very soon
invested in property in the Montgomery and Rea subdivisions, later
erecting a residence on North Seventeenth Street.
Before leaving Illinois. Mr. Casley was married to Miss Salina Price in
Marseilles on December 9, 1885. Mrs. Casley was also a native of
England. being born in Halsoen, September 16, 1855, and she came to
America in 1880. locating in Illinois. Six children were born to Mr.
and Mrs. Casley: Albert, deceased; William. deceased; Lizzie, deceased;
Mary married Walter H. Ratz, and they have one child, Gertrude, a
graduate of high school, resides with her parents; Alice, a graduate of
the State Normal School. is teaching in the public schools of San Jose.
Mrs. Casley passed away in October, 1915, and is buried in the
beautiful cemetery at Oak Hill, where
the children who are deceased are buried.
Soon after coming here. Mr. Casley chose his location for his business,
and with his usual energy, he has established himself as a general
cement and sewer contractor, making for himself an enviable reputation.
His one ambition. throughout his business career, has been to excel in
the quality of his work, and keeping this in mind at all times, he has
succeeded in establishing himself as the leading contractor in his line
of Santa Clara County. He has laid miles and miles of sewer and his
cement work has always been first class. Mr. Casley used a ditching
machine in his work and was the first man to own one in Santa Clara
County. This is a great labor-saving device, since before operating
this machine he regularly employed twenty-five men, and now the same
amount of work can be accomplished with the help of four men. Mr.
Casley has built many of the beautiful bridges which are the
pride of Santa Clara County, and he has been successful. far beyond his
expectations, in his chosen work.
Mr. Casley has taken an active interest in Republican politics ever
since coming to the West. serving as a delegate to the county
convention on the Republican ticket in 1910. Fraternally, he is a
member of the Woodmen of the World and an Odd Fellow. He is a
stockholder in the Don Jose Investment Company of San Jose and has
extensive real estate interests in that city. He is public spirited and
enterprising, and his example of -industry and sobriety may well be
followed by the seekers of success. Mr. Casley received his citizenship
papers while a resident of La Salle. Ill., during the year of 1888,
from the Superior Court. presided over by Judge Snyder.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 663
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