Updated: Feb 6
Prior to learning about my family's history, I had only heard of the name Jasper once. My daughter loved the Twilight saga series so I have watched it several times. One of the characters was named Jasper. When I began to research my Indiana ancestors I came across the name in a couple of branches of my Stoner family tree line. I wondered if it was an Indiana thing because it seemed the name was only of Indiana ancestors. The fact that it was in three different branches made me realize that it has some popularity within my branches.
I attended a genealogy conference a few years ago in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As I was driving into Fort Wayne I could not believe how everywhere I looked businesses had the name Jasper within the name. I had known from looking at maps that there was also a Jasper, Indiana. I was not even near Jasper, Indiana, so I was surprised to see the name everywhere. It definitely had to be an Indiana thing. I could not find a connection to the name and their area. I knew that there had been a Jasper Packard who was elected as a Republican to the forty-first, forty-second, and forty-third congress between 1869-1875. Due to the years, I do not believe that my ancestor would have been named after him. So I have no idea what made my ancestors choose the name, Jasper.
The name Jasper is known to be English and means Treasurer. Through my research of the name, I learned that it is a form of the name Casper. I could see how the name can be formed within America to Jasper. If you say Casper with an accent it could come across as Jasper. I do not think that the name was a family line that was carried to America. Especially since it did not come up until Indiana. The three branches all had been in America for several generations before settling in Indiana.
I have discovered several distant cousins with the name Jasper. My two direct connections to ancestors with the name are my 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers. Each of them came from a different branch of my tree. The became one though when my 3rd great grandfather's daughter, Perlina Killion married my 2nd great grandfather Jasper Newton Nicoson.
My 3rd great grandfather, William "Jasper" Killion was born on November 14, 1836, in Bowling Green, Indiana. He went by the name Jasper his entire life. He was the first that I could find in his family to be given the name Jasper. Even his Civil War records had him listed as Jasper. He was definitely a man of strength as I had learned that he had survived through his imprisonment in Andersonville prison until the end of the Civil War. He had become sick during his imprisonment and never fully recovered. Most likely between poor diet, unhealthy imprisonment conditions, and becoming ill he was destined to live a shortened life. He passed away in 1868, which at least gave him some time with his wife, Francis (Muncy) Killion, and three children.
My 2nd great grandfather, Jasper Newton Nicoson was born September 1857 in Clay, Indiana. He was also the first that I could find in his family line to be given the name Jasper. He had the nickname "Jape." He had married the daughter of my 3rd great grandfather Jasper Killion, Perlina Killion. They had six children. The photo below is of my 2nd great grandparents and their six children. One of which is my great grandmother Perlina "Etta" Nicoson.
Sometimes we are never able to really learn how a name became popular within our family. The name Jasper is going to be one of those names. I am hoping to one day have one of my children name their son, Jasper. I have not yet been successful after having three grandboys, but there is time. I have noticed that the name has been becoming popular within television shows.