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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1832

Vol. I

(Born O.)

George W. Cass

(Ap'd O.)


George Washington Cass: Born Mar. 12, 1810, near Dresden, OH.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1827, to July 1, 1832, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, July 1, 1832.

Served: on Topographical duty, Sep. 12 to Dec. 5, 1832; and on

(Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, Mar. 4, 1833)

(First Lieut., 7th Infantry, Dec. 3, 1835)

Engineer duty, Dec. 5, 1832, to Aug. 16, 1836.

Resigned, Oct. 26, 1836.

Civil History. — Civil Engineer, 1836‑41. Merchant, Brownsville, Pa., 1842‑52. President of Adams Express Company, 1854‑57; of Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad, 1856; of Pittsburg, Ft. Wayne, and Chicago Railroad, 1856‑58, and 1859‑81; and of Northern Pacific Railroad, 1872‑75. Member of the Board of Visitors to the Military Academy, 1859. Lay Delegate to the Protestant Episcopal Convention, New York city, 1874.

Died Mar. 21, 1888, at New York city: Aged 78.

Buried, Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburg, PA.

Biographical Sketch.

George W. Cass was born, Mar. 12, 1810, near Dresden, Muskingum County, O. His parents were from New England, his father being a brother of Lewis Cass, Secretary of War under Jackson's administration,  p500 and Secretary of State under Buchanan's. When fourteen years old, young Cass attended the Detroit Academy and lived with his uncle, General Cass, then Governor of Michigan Territory, who secured his nephew's appointment as a Cadet to West Point.

Upon young Cass's graduation at the Military Academy he was promoted, July 1, 1832, to the 7th Infantry, his first service being on topographical duty. A few months later he was detailed as an assistant to Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Delafield, Corps of Engineers, then superintending the construction of the Cumberland Road, east of the Ohio River. Becoming much interested in this work, Cass, when ordered to join his regiment, resigned his commission, Oct. 26, 1836, and continued as a civil engineer upon this same road till its completion in the States of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio. In the course of his service on this national turnpike he was charged with the immediate supervision of the erection of the first cast-iron tubular-arch bridge built in the United States, designed by Captain Delafield to span Dunlap's Creek, a tributary of Monongahela River.

In 1842 Cass became a merchant in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, but, his taste inclining him to his former profession, he became the engineer of the improvement of the Monongahela River, and the organizer of the first steamboat line upon it. Availing himself of this communication, and by relays of teams across the Alleghany Mountains, he built up a large carrying trade between the East and West. In 1849 Cass established the Adams Express from Baltimore to Pittsburg, and in 1854 effected the consolidation of all the company lines between Boston and St. Louis, and south to Richmond, and till 1857 was the President of the united companies.

Cass, in 1856, was elected President of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad Company, which subsequently became consolidated with the Ohio and Indiana and Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railroad Companies, under the name of the Pittsburg, Ft. Wayne, and Chicago Railroad Company, of which Cass was elected the first President. Except for a short interval, he continued at its head to May 25, 1881, when, the road being leased to the Pennsylvania Railway Company, he resigned, continuing, however, one of its directors till his death. Cass also took an active part in forwarding the construction of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. On May 16, 1867, he became a director in the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and was the President of this gigantic project from Aug. 20, 1872, to Apr. 22, 1875. For a few months subsequently, he was the Receiver of the company, till it was reorganized and the road restored to the control of its former stockholders.

Besides conducting his railroad operations with such financial ability and unceasing energy, Cass found time to take an active part in politics, and was such a favorite of his party that, in 1863, and again in 1868, he was the Democratic candidate for Governor of the State of Pennsylvania. In 1859 he was a Member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy; and for many years represented the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburg in the General Convention of the Church.

The character of Cass was not of an exceptional type, for no one of its traits preponderated in the admirable balance of his lofty manhood. Clear in judgment, firm of will, careful but prompt in action, he was the very ideal of a practical man of affairs. Simple in his own tastes, and perfectly ingenuous in all his methods, he looked with scorn upon pretense or indirection in others. He had no thought to hide, for his every act, word, and look was armed with honesty.

A firm believer in the Protestant Episcopal faith and devoted to its doctrines, he held for many years the office of Warden in Christ Church in New York city, in whose communion he died. His gifts to the church, and through it to a great variety of religious and charitable  p501 objects, were numerous and often very large, but not in the least degree ostentatious. The last letter he ever wrote, inclosing the last check he ever signed, was sent to a church in the distant West, which he had caused to be built, a few years before, at his own exclusive cost.

In his intercourse with others, Cass was as courteous as he was candid. Among strangers, indeed, he was not without a certain reserve; but in the circle of his friends, and especially of his own family, the more genial fountains of his nature were unsealed and overflowed in affection and kindness.

Though Cass did not achieve the very greatest things, he did most creditably whatever he attempted. There is nothing in his long career to be regretted. He served his generation faithfully; he bore a noble witness to the worth of manhood; and he has left a memory upon which there is no shadow of a stain.

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