Prospector’s wealth was her heart of gold – by Susanna McLeod (Kingston Whig Standard – December 31, 2020)

Adventure takes on many forms. It could be jungle escapes, ziplining or maybe sailing ocean waves. Ellen (Nellie) Cashman’s life was an adventure into gold rushes, establishing businesses, and grubstaking prospectors.

Her work included philanthropy, especially where miners were concerned. A single woman, she earned the respect of stampeders and adoration from the causes she supported.

Cashman took a circuitous route to Canada. When a teenager, Cashman (born circa 1845) immigrated to Boston in about 1860 with her sister and widowed mother. The women were part of a Catholic Irish migration wave searching for a better life.

Living in San Francisco by 1869, they heard about potential riches in silver mining and set out for Nevada. The Cashmans were practical, though. Mining was risky, but opening a business to support prospectors was a sure bet.

“In 1872 the Cashman women opened the Miner’s Boarding House in Pioche (Nevada), a venture that marked the beginning of Nellie’s lifelong pattern of operating a small business to support her mining ventures,” Charlene Porsild said in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 15, 2005.

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