1824 - abt 1904

Uzel Haggerty Probasco was born on 19 Dec 1824 in Sussex County, NJ to Jacob Probasco, Jr. and Mary (Polly) Shay. He was probably named after Uzel Hagerty of Montague, Sussex County, NJ. Uzel Probasco’s step-grandmother was Phebe Youngs. Her father was acquainted with the Hagerty family, and signed as a witness to Hugh Hagerty’s will, Uzel Hagerty’s grandfather. Uzel Probasco’s cousin, William A. Ryerson, signed as a witness to James Hagerty’s will, Uzel Hagerty’s father.

He migrated with his family about 1833 to Huron County, OH. His father died there in 1840. His mother, Mary, raised the family there until her death in 1878. Mary and Jacob Jr. had 11 children. Several of these children moved to Michigan. Uzel had 3 wives and 12 children. His first wife, Phebe Beard, daughter of Elijah Beard and Lucy Horn, he married in 1846 in OH. They had one child, George, then she died shortly after. In 1851 in OH he married Ann McKenzie, the daughter of John McKenzie and Sarah Van Etten, and had 5 more children: Jay, Ida, Dora, Lee and Luella.

By 1860 Uzel and family moved to Missouri where his 1st cousin, Noah C. Probasco, lived. In the 1860 census for Macon County, MO Uzel and his family are living with Noah and his family. He fought in the Civil War as a Confederate guerilla or as they were called “Bushwhackers”. He is the only Probasco I have found so far that fought for the Confederacy.

Around 1865 while living in Missouri his family became sick with what they called the plague. Ann, his wife, and three of their children died. He brought back two boys, George and Jay, and a baby girl, Luella, to Ohio and left them with his wife’s parents. After Uzel left the children in Ohio, he went back out west. Luella never saw him again until he was seventy years old.

He married Corilla Tuley, daughter of Elias Tuley and Julia Ann Flynn, around 1866 and had 6 more children, Cora L. Elias M., Mary J., Margaret A., Paul H. and Grover C. Corilla was 18 years younger than Uzel. By 1900 they had moved to Wilbarger County, TX.

In the Sebewa Recollector, Bulletin of the Sebewa Center Association, Vol. 34, April 1999, No. 5, in a story titled “Things I Remember” by Ben Probasco, Uzel was described as follows:

“...Uncle Uzel was a tough old bugger. He was a bigger man than Granddad, because Granddad was kind of a runt, but Uncle Uzel was big. I’ve heard my Granddad tell about him when he was still in Ohio, before our folks came to Michigan. Jim Shay was Uzel’s brother-in-law and they were both big. They would go into a tavern, get in a scrap and just clean that tavern out. They were regular rough-necks. When we went to Texas Uncle Uzel had a big scar on his neck. Pa asked him how he got that. He said, “Oh, just a-fooling.” In 1860 Uzel moved from Ohio to Hannibal, Missouri, with his wife. That was the dividing line between the North and the South. You didn’t know who your neighbor was nor how you stood. You didn’t dare talk.

One day some men came to the house after Uncle Uzel. He asked if he couldn’t wait until after he got a little breakfast. They surrounded the house where they could. His wife pretended to get breakfast and probably did, a little. Pretty soon she said, “Breakfast is ready”. He came out in the kitchen and shut the door. His wife opened the back door, gave him a shove, and said, “Run.” He had about 100 feet to run to a cornfield. He said later, “When I got to that cornfield I pulled off my boots and I did run.” It was the Union sympathizers who were after him. A few days before that they had hung one of his neighbors. He did work for the South after that. He ran recruits into the Southern Army.

After the war Uncle Uzel went to Texas. While he was still in Missouri he went to town on a trail in oak grubs with just about room to drive a wagon and he met three Northern soldiers. One of them said, “S’pose I can make that old guy blink?” The soldier shot him and hit him on the cheek bone—the thing glanced off. Uzel had a team and wagon and he had a Sharp’s rifle laying down by his feet. He knew they would kill him if he reached for that. Another time he got a dose of buckshot in his side...”

Uzel died in jail. Not because he had done anything wrong, but because he had no one to take care of him. In those days they did not have county or old folks homes.


Dick Probasco, researcher, from information shared with him by Clyde Cover, son of Luella Probasco Cover who was Uzel’s daughter. Dick was kind enough to give me copies of all of his research.

Sebewa Recollector, Bulletin of the Sebewa Center Association, Vol. 34, April 1999, No. 5

Nancy Pascal's Genealogy Page, Abstracts of Wills

U.S. Federal Census Records


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