Overview

Title: George W. Cassidy Papers
Creator(s): Cassidy, George W.
Collection Number: 98-06
Dates (inclusive): 1851-1908; 1962-1968
Physical Extent: 4.5 cubic feet (8 Boxes)
Preferred Citation: George W. Cassidy papers, 98-06. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.
Repository: University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department
Permanent Link: http://dewey.library.unr.edu/xtf/view?docId=ead/98-06-ead.xml

Biographical Note

George Williams Cassidy was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky on April 25, 1838 and moved with his parents to Missouri when he was five years old. His parents, John Connally Cassidy and Nancy L. Long Cassidy, had eleven children. Nancy Cassidy died in 1851 and John married Nancy Wisdom with whom he had three children.

George's oldest brother, Christopher Columbus (called C. C.) journeyed overland to California in 1850 with a troop of Missouri gold seekers. C. C. settled in Dutch Flat where he mined and farmed, sending letters back to his family in Missouri. George moved to California in 1857 and although he did some mining, he concentrated on a career in journalism, published a daily paper at Meadow Lake, California, and entered politics as a member of the California Democratic State Central Committee.

George moved to Hamilton, White Pine County, Nevada, in 1869 where he briefly owned and operated the Daily Inland Empire newspaper. By 1870 George had relocated to Eureka, Nevada, where he co-founded and co-owned the Eureka Sentinel with A. Skilman.

George married Mary Delaney of Carson City in 1872 and their only child, daughter Mamie, was born a year later. Unfortunately she died suddenly in 1878, leaving both parents devastated and her mother ill. Thereafter, Mary Cassidy spent many months of each year in San Francisco where her family lived.

Cassidy continued his interest in politics and successfully ran for the Nevada Senate, serving from 1872-1879 and as president during the 1879 session. He was elected to the United States Congress from 1881-1885, then was appointed to serve as a national bank examiner for Nevada, Utah, California, and Colorado from 1886-1890. He ran again for Congress but died in Reno on June 24, 1892 before the election. He was buried at Hillside Cemetery in Reno.* Mary lived in Oakland, California, until her death in 1934. She was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California.

* Gravestone still intact.

Top

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials received or created by the Cassidy Family and research materials collected by Ruth McPheeters of Stockton, California. The original Cassidy items date from 1852-1908, the McPheeters research notes date from 1962-1968, and transcript materials date from 1851-1892.

Original correspondence in the collection dates from 1852-1883. Central to this portion of the collection is Christopher Columbus Cassidy. C. C. lived in Dutch Flat, California, from 1850 until about 1882 when he returned for the first time in thirty-two years to visit his family in Missouri. There he contracted typhoid fever in St. Louis and died on June 10, 1883. He was buried in the Cassidy family plot in the Lockridge Cemetery, Mexico, Missouri. It's possible to speculate that George traveled to Dutch Flat to arrange his brother's affairs and dispose of C. C.'s possessions, keeping for himself the correspondence from George, Cassidy family members, friends, and associates that C. C. had saved over the years.

Included among the letters are 133 letters from George to C. C., 1860-1883 which document George's early business career, his family, and early Nevada politics. George and his family were all highly literate people and their correspondence is very informative. George's letters often pass along news of family members which he'd received in letters, mostly from his sisters. He discussed his ventures into publishing and politics, including clippings of interesting topics and some of his own speeches.

Also included among the original Cassidy Family materials are 76 letters, 1852-1880, sent to C. C. from residents in western states, including Washington Territory, California, Oregon, and Nevada. C. C. was a farmer and a miner and these letters are from his friends and business acquaintances.

The collection contains 44 letters, 1852-1878, from eastern relatives to George and C. C. Written mostly from Missouri and Texas the letters describe life during the Civil War, the railroad boom following the war, and family successes and failures in farming and livestock.

George Cassidy's business ventures are further documented by 5 financial ledgers, dating from 1875-1908. They include records of newspaper subscriptions, cash received daily (presumably related to the printing business), and printing job work done for businesses and individuals.

In addition to careers in journalism and politics, George Cassidy served as a bank examiner for four western states: Nevada, Utah, California, and Colorado. His official appointment was from 1886-1890 but his records indicate he functioned in that position from 1885-1889. The collection contains reports of examinations conducted of banks throughout his territory. The reports are informative about the financial status of those banks and provide information about many 19th century banking practices. Ruth McPheeters compiled a list of those banks to serve as an index to the banking volumes.

Ruth McPheeters was a secretary with the Audio-Visual Services Department of the San Joaquin County (Calif.) School District when she and her husband, J. L., acquired a group of Cassidy letters. They hoped to use their research into the Cassidy Family for a biography about George Cassidy and began searching for other materials. Correspondence in the collection indicates that they purchased a group of 13 envelopes from a stamp and coin dealer in Berkeley in 1963. They located some letters in the Bancroft Library, as well as copies of the newspapers which Cassidy had either reported for, edited, or owned. In September, 1963, Ruth placed an ad in the Mexico, Missouri, newspaper The Mexico Ledger, asking for information on a number of specific Cassidy family members. Replies came from several descendants and lead to the discovery of additional letters and a few photographs, which Ruth was allowed to copy and transcribe.

Ruth transcribed all the letters in her possession and those which she was allowed to borrow. She searched several 19th century California newspapers and most Nevada newspapers for articles by and about George Cassidy and the Congressional Record for Cassidy's speeches and bills, which she then transcribed. She also obtained microfilm copies of newspapers published by Cassidy from originals at the Bancroft Library.

McPheeters made extensive notes about her research, including her sources, and kept carbon copies of her letters of inquiry. She also retained all the correspondence she received about her project, including letters from Cassidy family descendants. She compiled extensive genealogical information about primary Cassidy family members and several lines of descendants. All of this material is part of the Cassidy collection and is invaluable in fleshing out the information from the original Cassidy materials. Unfortunately, Mr. McPheeters' lengthy final illness prevented Ruth from publishing any of her material.

The Cassidy Papers are a important addition to the primary source materials about Nevada, forming a cohesive group of letters centered on Nevada. Cassidy was literate and knowledgeable and most importantly, communicated relatively frequently with his family. He was involved with his local community and active in Nevada politics. His papers join those of fellow contemporary journalists Alfred Doten and C. C. Goodwin and form a significant body of knowledge about 19th century Nevada. Although the Goodwin and Doten papers are important, neither provide such a large body of correspondence for this time period. The Cassidy letters provide primary information about the early settlement period of both California and Nevada, about the effects such migrations had on family and individual lives, about business practices in Nevada which were nonmining in nature, and about early Nevada politics.

George W. Cassidy was an important figure in 19th century Nevada; his papers ensure that his importance continues into the following century.

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by the Special Collections Department in 1998.

Separated Materials

Photographs have been transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archive as collection number UNRS-P1998-09

Top

Arrangment

  • The George W. Cassidy papers are arranged into the following series:
  • Series 1: Cassidy Family Letters
  • Series 2: Financial Materials
  • Series 3: Bank Examiner's Records
  • Series 4: Typescripts of Letters
  • Series 5: Newspapers and Clippings
  • Series 6: Ruth McPheeters' Research Materials
  • Series 7: Photographs

Top

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of the University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno. Researchers wishing to find related materials are encouraged to use the following index terms:

People:

Subjects:

Geographic Locations:



Top

Administrative Information

Collection processed by Susan Searcy, May 1998. Finding aid prepared by Susan Searcy, May 1998. Finding aid revised by Jacquelyn Sundstrand and Jessica Maddox, August 2008. This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 15, 2016.

Top


Detailed Description of the Records

Series 1: Letters of the Cassidy Family, 1852-1883 3.0 cubic feet (13 folders, 133 letters)

This series contains 133 original letters to Christopher C. Cassidy from George, 1860-1883, which document the latter's early business career, family, and early Nevada politics; 76 letters, 1852-1880, sent to C. C. from residents in western states, including Washington Territory, California, Oregon, and Nevada; and 44 letters, 1852-1878, from eastern relatives to George and C. C., written mostly from Missouri and Texas. Also included with the letters were a few clippings and speeches (George's), and several photographs.

Some letters contain pencil notations in the upper left corners; these were added by Ruth McPheeters from original envelopes or extrapolated knowledge. This series is arranged in chronological order.

box
folder
Contents
1/S1
1
Correspondence, 1852-June 1858
1/S1
2
Correspondence, July 1858-1862
1/S1
3
Correspondence, 1863
1/S1
4
Correspondence, January-June 1864
1/S1
5
Correspondence, July 1864-1865
1/S1
6
Correspondence, 1866-1867
1/S1
7
Correspondence, 1868-1869
1/S1
8
Correspondence, 1870
1/S1
9
Correspondence, 1871
1/S1
10
Correspondence, 1872
1/S1
11
Correspondence, 1873-1874
1/S1
12
Correspondence (no letters for 1879), 1875-1878
1/S1
13
Correspondence, 1880-1884; undated

Series 2: Financial Materials, 1875-1908 (5 volumes)

This series includes ledgers and cash books for George Cassidy's newspaper and job printing businesses in Eureka and include transactions which occurred after his death in 1892. "Ledgers" include a record of payment for newspaper subscriptions, 1875-1908, and for other printing job work, 1877-1878. They are organized by name of customer; Box 6, Volume 1 is indexed. The "cash books" provide a daily record of income and for each business day include names of customers, description of work, and fees paid.

box
Volume
Contents
6/S2
1
"Ledger" Record of payment for subscriptions (Indexed, arranged by name of subscriber in chronological order), August 1875-1908
6/S2
2
Ledger for printing jobs (Arranged by customer's name and includes date, description of work, and fee), January 1877-November 1878
box
Volume
Contents
7/S2
3
Cash book, August 1878-April 1883
7/S2
4
Cash book, April 1883-December 1885
box
Volume
Contents
8/S2
5
Cash journal, February 1890-January 1895

Series 3: Bank Examiner's Records, 1885-1889 (6 volumes)

George Cassidy was appointed bank examiner for the western United States by President Grover Cleveland and held the post from 1886-1890. Cassidy's reports were recorded in small volumes printed specifically for this purpose. Final reports went to the Controller of the Currency.

Information recorded included name of institution; location; date of audit; value of various types of resources (notes and bills counted, U.S. bonds on hand, furniture and fixtures, specie, etc); list of liabilities (capital stock paid in, surplus fund, interest, premiums, time certificates of deposit, cashiers' checks outstanding, etc); statement of condition of records; names of president, officers, and principal employees; type of safe; specifics of dividends and surpluses; and general remarks. General remarks include names of larger commercial customers, names of mortgages, and remarks about the general condition of the bank.

Arranged in chronological order. The order of the entries follows Cassidy's route as he traveled from one bank to the next. Two volumes seem to be missing from the series: those for the period August 1887-April 1888 and September 1888-May 1889. McPheeters compiled a list of banks which were examined; a copy of that list is included in this series.

box
Volume
Contents
1/S3
1a
List of banks examined (compiled by Ruth McPheeters), undated
1/S3
1b
Ledger, September 8, 1885-February 12, 1886
1/S3
2
Ledger (includes loose sheets of rough drafts of first few entries in this volume), February 13, 1886-April 8, 1887
1/S3
3
Ledger, April 12,1887-August 1, 1887
1/S3
4
Ledger, April 21-June 1, 1888
1/S3
5
Ledger, June 4-September 4, 1888
1/S3
6
Ledger (includes printed report of condition for the National Bank of D. O. Mills and Company of Sacramento, July 1, 1888), May 7-June 15, 1889

Series 4: Typescripts of Letters, 1851-1883; undated 0.25 cubic feet

Ruth McPheeters transcribed and typed all the original Cassidy letters in her possession as well as those she was able to locate in other hands, private and public. She noted the source of letters she did not own, residence of the owner, and the date on which she made the transcription. Words or phrases which were indecipherable were noted in red typewriter ribbon.

This series appears to contain McPheeters' final, polished version of her transcription. Rough drafts are also part of this collection and comprise Series 6. There may be material in Series 6 which does not have a final version in Series 4 - the two series were not cross-checked by the Special Collections staff.

The typescripts begin with a letter of December 27, 1851 written by Fanny E. Clark to her sister, Mary E. Mudrows, describing the death of their mother. The original letter was borrowed by McPheeters and is not part of this collection.

These materials are in chronological order.

box
folder
Contents
1/S4
1
Transcripts, 1851-1859
1/S4
2
Transcripts, 1860-1864
1/S4
3
Transcripts, 1865-1867
1/S4
4
Transcripts, 1868-1870
1/S4
5
Transcripts, 1871-1873
1/S4
6
Transcripts, 1874-1883; undated

Series 5: Newspapers and Clippings, 1868-1892 0.5 cubic feet

McPheeters made a careful search through Nevada and California newspapers and the Congressional Record for articles by and about George Cassidy and his family. She prepared typescripts of each, including the name of the research institution where she'd located the article and the date of her visit. McPheeters obtained microfilm copies of The Daily Safeguard (Virginia City, Nev.), The Inland Empire (Hamilton, Nev.), and The Virginia Evening Chronicle (Virginia City) for dates which coincided with George's involvement with those papers.

Also included are speeches made by Cassidy, a campaign poster, and a segment of a published history of Audrain County, Missouri (where George migrated from) which lists early California immigrants to the California gold fields (including C. C. Cassidy). The Congressional Record contains Cassidy's bills, amendments, petitions, remarks, and Congressional voting record.

The arrangement for this series follows McPheeters' original order. Unless otherwise noted, the following materials are all typescripts of originals

box
folder
Contents
2/S5
1
Articles from The Virginia Evening Chronicle, Virginia City, 1880-1883
2/S5
2
Articles from The Virginia Evening Chronicle, Virginia City, 1884-1887
2/S5
3
Articles from The Virginia Evening Chronicle, Virginia City, 1890-1892; Articles from The Eureka Daily Ledger, 1889; Articles from The Morning Appeal, 1878
2/S5
4
Typescripts from The Daily Nevada State Journal, Reno, 1878-1895; List of Cassidy's Senate bills, 1879-1883; Selected Eureka County, Nevada, deeds (of Cassidy), 1864-1871
2/S5
5
The Daily Independent, Elko, 1892; The Belmont Courier, 1892; The Goldhill Daily News, 1868-1879
2/S5
6
The New Daily Appeal, Carson City, 1872-1875; The Daily Safeguard, Virginia City, 1868-1869; The White Pine News, 1869; The Eureka Weekly Sentinel 1888-1897. The Ward Reflex, Ward, Nev. 1877-1884. The White Pine Reflex. 1884-1885. The White Pine News. 1885-1888.
2/S5
7
Daily State Register, Carson City, 1872; White Pine News, 1890; The Reno Evening Gazette, 1884-1892; Miscellaneous articles and excerpts from various published works and newspapers, including the Alfred Doten journals, and Audrain County vital records
2/S5
8
The White Pine News, 1888-1896
2/S5
9-11
The Congressional Record excerpts
2/S5
12
Speech of George Cassidy in the House of Representatives. "Nevada, the Land of Silver - Various Topics of General and Local Interest Discussed", August 5, 1882
2/S5
13
List of newspaper articles with information about the Cassidy Family
box
Reel
Contents
4/S5
14
Microfilm of newspapers: The Daily Safeguard, Virginia City, October 5-December 31, 1868; January 2-February 1, 1869
4/S5
15
Microfilm of Newspapers: The Inland Empire, Hamilton, Nevada, March 27-September 30, 1869
4/S5
16
Microfilm of Newspapers: The Inland Empire, October 1, 1869-April 10, 1870
4/S5
17
Microfilm of Newspapers: The Inland Empire, October 4-November 9, 1870
box
Reel
Contents
5/S5
18
Microfilm of Newspapers: Virginia Evening Chronicle, Virginia City, July-December 1882
5/S5
19
Microfilm of Newspapers: Virginia Evening Chronicle., July-December 1886
Item
Contents
20
Campaign poster: "Grand Rally! Political Speaking. Hon. Geo. W. Cassidy, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senator!" Eureka Opera House (very fragile), October 30, 1886
Item
Contents
21
Newspaper photocopies: The Weekly Sales, A Journal for Farmers, Breeders and Drovers, St. Louis, Missouri, April 30, 1869; St. Louis Daily Globe Democrat, August 6, 1900

Series 6: McPheeters Research Materials, 1962-1968 0.75 cubic feet

There is no information on exactly how Ruth and J. L. McPheeters acquired the Cassidy collection but by 1962 Ruth was actively engaged in transcribing the letters and searching for additional materials with the intention of writing a biography of George W. Cassidy.

In September, 1963, Ruth placed an advertisement in the Mexico, Missouri newspaper, The Mexico Ledger, asking for information on a number of Cassidy family members whom she'd identified from her collection of letters. Replies came from several descendants and provided both vital statistics and leads to other family members.

Ruth compiled a complete genealogy of the Cassidy Family. One of her chief sources of information was Mrs. Clara Nesbett Cunningham Duffy, daughter of George's younger sister, Annie Cassidy Cunningham (1847-1930). Mrs. Duffy was the source for some of the typescript letters, copies of photographs, and other miscellaneous information. Mrs. Duffy, a resident of New London, Connecticut, died in 1969 at the age of 91. Another source was Miss Julia Cunningham of Mexico, MO, niece of Mrs. Duffy.

This series includes letters sent by Ruth to potential sources of information, their responses, and vital statistic documents (death certificates). The earliest materials include a copy of Ruth's ad in the Mexico Ledger and letters she received as a result. Ruth's letters of inquiry often contained genealogical information to encourage memories of the recipients.

Other materials in this series include genealogical charts and notes, notes on sources to be investigated, and photocopies of letters (most or all of which were type scripted). Two small black notebooks contain Ruth's extensive notes gathered from her visits to the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley; the California State Library; the Nevada Historical Society; and the Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno. One volume is organized by the name of individual Cassidy family members and other people. Each section contains biographical notes of people who were either authors of letters or who were mentioned in letters. Also included are Ruth's notes related to her search for Eureka, Nevada, deeds of George Cassidy (typescripts of those deeds are contained in 98-06/V/4).

box
folder
Contents
2/S6
1
McPheeters' biographical notes on Cassidy, undated
2/S6
2
Cassidy Family genealogy, undated
2/S6
3
McPheeters' correspondence regarding Cassidy research (includes copies of vital statistics records), 1966-1968
2/S6
4
McPheeters' correspondence, January-October, 1963
2/S6
5
McPheeters' correspondence, October 1963-1965
2/S6
6
Research notes, undated
2/S6
7
Research notebooks, undated
2/S6
8-12
Typescripts "not checked" or corrected (includes Diary of Pilsbury Hodgskin, source unknown), 1852
2/S6
13-15
Photocopies of letters and articles
box
folder
Contents
3/S6
16-17
"Drafts of newspaper typescripts - not checked against binders" [Arranger's note: the original Cassidy letters and their typescripts were stored by McPheeters in binders. This note refers to the typescripts in what is now Series 4]
3/S6
18-25
Drafts of typescripts, undated