Nellie Cashman - Famous & Brave Cobh Woman & Famous Explorer
A famous and brave daughter of Ireland, Nellie Cashman threaded paths on foreign lands where men of mighty strength and physique would not dare to contemplate. She broke no rules but she did break tradition by her noble and daring stamina and her future prosperity was her driving force.
Born to a Cobh, Co. Cork couple in 1850 when the Irish famine had just made world headlines with people dying of starvation and millions exiling to foreign fields. Cobh in that era was known as ‘Queenstown’ and was the departure port for the coffin ships that traversed the Atlantic.
In her formative years Nellie would have seen at first hand the deprivation all around her and vowed to seek out her own destiny in a foreign land.
She made her way to Boston arriving in her mid teens with her mother, her siblings and just the clothes she stood in and hope in her heart.
As she laboured in a Boston hotel, a chance encounter with the U.S. President Ulysses Grant came her way. In friendly banter the president advised Nellie to go west to the silver and gold mining towns, but he could hardly have envisaged that not only would Nellie heed his wisdom, she would also become world famous as a historic mining explorer.
The President would later state that he instantly recognised a woman of great intellectual capacity who was destined to make history for women throughout the universe.
She arrived initially in San Francisco and took up many jobs to prepare herself for assaults on prospecting for silver and gold.
Her first exploration took her to the silver mines districts of Nevada and there she set up boarding houses for the miners. Not content with just this booming trade, she also went silver mining and also made it to Alaska and Arizona in search of Gold.
She often disguised herself in mens dress to avoid unwanted glances in a field dominated by men.
Amassing a great fortune from her exploits, Nellie began donating vast sums to the building of churches, schools and many hospitals until her fortune slowly dwindled.
At seventy years old she was still prospecting around the western states.
Nellie Cashman died in 1925, aged seventy five and is buried far from her native Cobh, Co. Cork, homeland.