Who was Jennie Hodgers aka Albert D. J. Cashire or Cashier?
Not only did Jennie fight in the American Civil War, from 1862 to 1865, as a male soldier in the Union Army but she continued to masquerade as a man until she was found out a couple of years before her death in October 1915. She assumed the name of Albert D. J. Cashire or Cashier.
As genealogy increases in interest a number of articles etc. appear online many of which are repeating the same information, applying changes etc., until what is fact becomes unclear. However as the actual official records become available online the information unfolding on Jeannie is still conflicting.
Working on original records and sources available online Jeannie, as Albert D. J Cashire, first appears on the enlistment roll for the 95th Illinois Infantry.
She enlisted in Belvidere, a town north-west of Chicago, on 6 August 1862 (or according to some records 8 June 1862), as Private Albert D. J. Cashire. On 4 September 1862 she was mustered into Company G, 95th Illinois Infantry Regiment. At that time she stated she was 19 years old so born about 1842-3, single and was born in New York, New York State, USA. She was discharged or mustered out on 17 August 1865 having spent her full term, during the Civil War, as a soldier.
She would have seen some of the worst fighting in the war. Starting from Camp Fuller, Rockford, near Chicago City in the north, her regiment would have moved south into enemy territory, through various States along the Mississippi River, to New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico. At one point, in the Battle of Guntown, the whole regiment was nearly annihilated. Further recruiting took place at Memphis. In all the Regiment marched 1,800 miles, and moved, by rail and water, another 8,160 miles.
(Source: Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database, http://www.ilsos.gov/isaveterans/civilMusterSearch.do?key=41902)
1860 Federal Census.
So far not located in 1860 census but some reports say she arrived in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois State, shortly before the Civil War started.
1865 Illinois State Census
Again not located in this census although she was only mustered out of the military on 17 August 1865.
According to various reports, after the war she returned to Belvidere and worked for four years with a Samuel Pepper. This may have been the Samuel Pepper who also enlisted, in Belvidere, in the same 95th Infantry as Jennie, on 28 July 1862 and also mustered out 17 August 1865. On the 1860 Federal Census a Samuel Pepper, age 40, a gardener, born in England, lived with his wife and family in Belvidere Village, Boone County.
By the late 1860s she moved out of Belvidere, going south, to the rural town of Saunemin, south-west of Chicago.
1870 Federal Census.
In the Village of Saunemin, Saunemin Township, County of Livingston, Illinois, in house of J. G. Cheesbro is Albert Cashier, age 19, a male, farm labourer, stated born in Iowa with both parents of foreign birth and able to read but unable to write.
Seems strange her age was given as 19 considering she served in the Civil War that ended five years previously.
Click to see entry.
1880 Federal Census.
Not located. She is not listed in the Cheesbro household.
1890 Federal Census
1890. Claim made for a pension.
It is stated she made a claim for a Civil War pension in 1890. By that time she was in her late forties if born about 1842 to 1843. However she did not complete the process as it required a medical examination. It appears that she claimed again in 1907.
The index card stated claim filed 17 February 1890. The name was spelt as Albert D. J. Cashier yet on her enlistment the surname was 'Cashire'.
Source: NARA, Organisation Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900, T289, http://www.fold3.com/amafge/#86956
1900 Federal Census.
Taken on 2 June 1900, Village of Saunemin, Saunemin Township, County of Livingston, Illinois (Enumeration District 117, sheet 3).
Albert Cashier, head of house, white, male, born December 1842, age 57, born in Ireland with both parents also born in Ireland, worked as a janitor, cannot read or write, owned house.
Click to see entry.
Next door was the proprietor of a grocery Ira M Lish and family including a servant girl Emily Evans, aged 30 years, whose father was born in Ireland.
Nearby was the family of a Patsey Lannon, stated to be born February 1851 in Illinois but both parents born in Ireland. He was a bank cashier. His wife was Bridget Lannon listed as born in June 1851 in Illinois again with both parents born in Ireland. This Patrick Lannon died in 18 June 1942 in Saunemin, age 91 years, a banker, and parents were Dennis and Ellen Lannon possibly from County Roscommon. (A descendant of this family is stated to have wrote a thesis on Jennie while a student in Illinois State University in the 1960s).
1910 US Federal Census.
Taken 18 April 1910, Village of Saunemin, Saunemin Township, County of Livingston, Illinois (Enumeration District 46, sheet 3).
At 58 Center Street, Albert Cashier, head, male, white, age 68 so born about 1841 to 1842, single, born in Ireland with both parents also born in Ireland, immigrated in 1842, nationalized, unable to read or write, and lived on her own income. Click to see entry.
Listed before her at 57 North Street, was Ida M Lish? and her son.
At 67 Center Street was still Patrick H. Lannon, age 59 and his wife Bridget and family. Again Patrick was listed as a bank cashier with both parents born in Ireland.
In US censuses no information is sought on religious affiliation. But if Jeannie made known that she was Irish and a Roman Catholic it is strange no one queried her forenames.
In 1910 it is stated that her secret became known, first when she became ill by the nurse sent by Mrs Patrick Lannon and again in November 1910 when hit by a car and her leg was broken. A physician discovered her secret but agreed to remain quite for a while.
On 5 May 1911 she was moved to the Soldier and Sailor's home in Quincy, Illinois. She lived there until her mind deteriorated and was moved to the Watertown State Hospital for the insane in March 1913. An attendant there found that she was female and forced her to wear a dress. It appears it was around this time that it became generally known that Albert D. J. Cashier was a woman.
In the Syracuse Herald of 6 May 1913, archives.com, it stated:
'FIND CIVIL WAR VETERAN IS WOMAN
"Albert D. J. Cashier" Masquerades Fifty Years.
WAS A FEARLESS SOLDIER
Reveals Life Secret to Nurse When Male Attendants
Attempt to give her Bath - Was Auto Chauffer.
Quincy.Ill, May 6 - To go masquerading as a man for more than fifty years without detection is the record of a woman inmate of the Soldiers' and Sailors' home in this city who is enrolled under the name of "Albert D. J. Cashier".
The woman adopted the garb of man before the civil war, in which she fought for three years, and has worn the clothes and taken the part of a man since. Only twice has her secret became known and it was not until yesterday that it was made public.
The woman known as Cashier has been in the soldiers' home for nearly two years and has always been extremely companionable with the other members. She has become enfeebled mentally and her secret became known to the authorities at the home only a few months ago when two male attendants attempted to give her a bath.
Reveals Secret to a NurseOn 29 March 1914 The Washington Posts states:
She appealed to a female nurse and told her story. Since that time her secret has been known to only a few of the home attaches, but so far the authorities have been unable to learn her real identity. She keeps it as profound a secret as she has kept her sex during the last half century.
The first time her secret became known was two years ago, when she was run over by an automobile owned by ex-Senator J. M. Lish, in Livingston County. Her leg was broken at that time but Mr Lish, by whom she was employed as a chauffer, never betrayed her long guarded identity.
The woman soldier is a native of Ireland and claims to have come to this country shortly before the civil war broke out. She donned boys' clothing and obtained passage across the Atlantic as a stowaway.
Fights in War Between States.
When the struggle between the north and south began, she enlisted as a member of company G, Ninety-fifth Illinois infantry, and served three years in the war. When her company was mustered out the records show that there were only thirty survivors. From surviving members of the company Col. J. O. Anderson, superintendent of the soldiers' home, has learned that she was a fearless and faithful soldier.
During the years following the war she worked in various parts of Illinois as a farm hand, doing a man's work wherever she could find it to do. In later years she became an automobile chauffeur and machinist. She was employed in a number of automobile garages in different parts of the State as a machinist.'
'POSED AS MAN 60 YEARS
Woman Who Served as Soldier Under Grant Sent to Asylum
Quincy, Ill., March 28 -After masquerading as a man for 60 years and serving as a soldier in Ge. U. S. Grant's army during the civil war, "Albert" Cashier, whose sex was discovered at the soldiers' home recently, today was committed to an insane asylum.
The woman was born in Ireland 73 years ago. She came to America as a stowaway, clad in boy's clothes. When the war between the States broke out she, having continued to represent herself as a male, enlisted in Company G, Ninety-fifth Illinois Infantry. She participated in some of the bloodiest battles of the war and behaved with gallantry.
When the war closed she resumed civil life as a workman, until age and the results of exposure during the war made her helpless to support herself. She then entered the soldiers' home, where her sex was discovered while she was under the care of a surgeon. She refused to tell her family history.'
was made for an increased pension and this led to an enquiry.
By 1915 a claim
A Disposition was taken 24 Jan 1915, at Huron, County of Beedle, in South Dakota, of Robert D. Hannah. He stated he was 75 years old and resided in Huron. That he was the Corporal of Company G, 95th Illinois Infantry. On being shown a picture he stated it was that of Albert D. J. Cashier who served in his Company. After the war, he stated, Albert D. J. Cashier resided in Belvidere and worked for a Samuel Pepper deceased. The other person in the picture he was not able to identify.
From a newspaper article it appears she was age 72 years by February 1915. The Moberly Weekly Monitor, dated 23 February 1915, archives.com, stated:
'CASE OF FAMOUS WOMAN SOLDIER AGAIN IN LIMELIGHT
Albert D. Cashier, Once Inmate of Soldiers' Home at Quincy
Wants Increased Pension.
Albert D. J. Cashier, the soldier-woman whose sex was disclosed shortly before she was brought to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Quincy three years ago, is seeking a larger pension from the government.
She has been receiving $12 per month, but has reached the age of 72 and according to a recent amendment to the pension laws is entitled to $20 per month.
Application for the increased remuneration from the government was made recently through W. J. Singleton of Quincy, conservator of the little woman. Mr. Singleton said yesterday that no action had been taken as far as he knows, on the application, but he believes that under the circumstances the request will be granted.
Broken in physical and mental health, the little soldier-woman was recently at the point of death but is now convalescent and doctors at Watertown, Ill., asylum, where for a year she has been a patient, believe that she will live several years.
"Albert" D. J. Cashier is perhaps the greatest character of the Civil War. She disguised as a man to enlist in the Union army and for three years underwent the most trying hardships. She figured in several of the important battles and upon one occasion gained distinction after she had climbed a tree to tie the Union flag to a tree after it had been shot down.
Following the war she did not disclose her identity and took a man's job. She worked on farms, in factories and did manual labor until age commenced to tell on her strength.
Her last employment was caretaker of a lawn owned by a doctor in the eastern Illinois town. She learned to run an automobile while working there and even the doctor failed to see through her disguise and discover that she was a woman. She was in his employment about two years and during that time associated only with men.
Had it not been for an accident while she was employed by the doctor it is doubtful if the sex of the soldier woman would have been discovered until she died.
The revelation of her long kept secret came one day while she was under the doctor's automobile attempting to make some repairs. The doctor was not aware of her presence under the car and backed the machine over her, breaking her leg. It was after she was removed to a room in his house that he discovered the supposed man servant was a woman.
When Cashier was brought to the Soldiers' Home, Col. Anderson, then superintendent, kept her secret. A few attaches at the Home learned in time that the veteran was a woman, but they were sworn to secrecy. It was about a year after the woman entered the Home that Col. Anderson revealed Cashier's identity to a Whig reporter. The little woman had become mentally deranged when Col. Anderson gave her secret away and even now she does not know that her career has been given wide publicity.
A year after the story of her unusual masquerading was published, she was adjudged insane in the county court by Judge Lyman McCarl and committed to the hospital at Watertown.'
Albert Cashier died on 11 October 1915 (per pension card, but some reports say 10 October 1915).
She was buried in her Civil War uniform, which she wore proudly in life, in a Joshua Cheesbro plot in Saunemin's Sunny Slope Cemetery. Her tombstone simply stated:
'Albert D. J. Cashier, Co. G. 95Ill. Inf.'
W. J. Singleton (executor of Cashier’s estate) took 9 years to track Cashier’s identity back to Jennie Hodgers but none of the would be heirs proved convincing, and the estate of $414.461 was deposited in the Adams County, Illinois treasury. (Source: wikipedia). This, however, may not be the current position. The same source states she was born in Clogherhead, County Louth, the daughter of Sallie and Patrick Hodgers.
Memorials to her in USA.
The oldest headstone was a modest white stone listing only her male identity and mentioning the 95th Infantry she had served in.
In 1977 a newer stone was added and was unveiled during Memorial Day Services at Saunemin. It was stated that the USA flag which flew at half mask in the cemetery had been given by U.S. Representative Tim Hall and had flown over the U.S. Capitol.
In 2006 plans were made to return the 130 year old small wooden house that she lived in, as Albert D. J. Cashier, back to Saunemin Village from a storage site in Pontiac. It had shuttered windows and several padlocks inside the doors.
What of Ireland?.
If, as stated, the news that Albert was actually a woman spread throughout USA newspapers surely it must have reached Ireland?
The Irish Independent dated 7 May 1913, p.6, irishnewsarchive.com, had a short article
‘POSED AS A MAN,
A person who as “Albert Cashier,” has
for 50 years worked as a man, and who for
over two years has been an inmate of a
Soldiers’ Home at Quincy, Illinois, has
confessed that she is a native of Ireland,
who in her girlhood went to America as a
stowaway, disguised as a boy. She cam-
paigned three years in the Civil War, and
was declared to be a fearless soldier.'
The Irish Independent dated 13 December 1913, ibid, p.7
'IRISHWOMAN AS SOLDIER
The romantic story of a woman named
Hodgens, a native of Clogherhead, Co.
Louth, who enlisted in the American army
at the time of the Civil War, and, dis-
guised as a man, did three years’ cam-
paigning, is told by the Rev. P. D. Curran,
Chaplain of the Old Soldiers’ Home,
Quincy, Illinois, in the course of a letter
to the “Anglo-Celt.”
Miss Hodgens has been an inmate of the
Home for about three years, and it was
only when she became ill and was under
medical care that the secret of her sex
was revealed. Under the name of “Albert
Cashier” she enlisted in the Illinois In-
fantry in 1862, and left the service in
1865, being one of the few of her company
who survived the campaign. She was duly
pensioned off, and still retaining her name
of “Albert Cashier,” came back to Illinois
and worked on a farm. On the introduc-
tion of motor cars she went into a factory
as an apprentice and learned to be a
On 12 April 1914, p.1, the Sunday Independent, ibid, stated:
'MASQUERADED AS A MAN.
SERVED IN GEN. GRANT’S ARMY.
“Albert Cashier,” an inmate of the Sol-
diers’ Home at Quincy, Illinois, who had
been masquerading as a man for 60 years,
and who served as a soldier in General
Grant’s army during the Civil War, has
(says the Chicago correspondent of the
"Daily Chronicle”), just been found to be
Her sex was discovered only while she
was under the care of the surgeon. The
woman was born in Ireland 72 years ago,
and came to America as a stowaway clad in
boy’s clothing. When the Civil War broke
out she enlisted in the 95th Illinois Infan-
try, and participated in some of the bloodi-
est battles, always behaving with great gal-
lantry. She has refused to disclose her
name or to tell her family history.'
The Freeman’s Journal dated 13 April 1914, page 3, ibid, provided the same story:
’60 YEARS’ AS A MAN
An Irishwoman’s Masquerade
“Albert Cashier” an inmate of the Soldiers’
Home at Quincy, Illinois, who had been
masquerading as a man for 60 years, and
who served as a soldier in General Grant’s
army during the Civil War, has (says the
Chicago correspondent of the “Daily Chronicle”)
just been found to be a woman.
Her sex was discovered only while she was
under the care of the surgeon. The woman
was born in Ireland 72 years ago, and came
to America as a stowaway clad in boy’s cloth-
ing. When the Civil War broke out she en-
listed in the 95th Illinois Infantry, and par-
ticipated in some of the bloodiest battles,
always behaving with great gallantry. She
has refused to disclose her name or to tell her
These national newspapers would be read by at least some residents in all areas of the country. However it is also likely that the story was taken up by local newspapers.
After her death it was reported in the Anglo-Celt, a newspapers that circulated in the counties of Cavan and Monaghan, dated 6 November 1915, page 1, ibid:-
'A WOMAN SOLDIER.
IRISH HEIRS WANTED
With reference to the Irish woman
soldier, "Albert F. Cashier" (real name
Hodgers) who distinguished herself in
the American Civil war, and the iden-
tity of whose sex was only discovered
two years ago when brought to hospital,
as told in the "Anglo-Celt," at the time,
we have received the following from Rev.
"Sacred Heart Church, Dalton City,
Ill., Oct. 18, 1915. To Mr. O'Hanlon,
Editor 'Anglo-Celt', Dear Sir, -Two
years ago I wrote your paper concerning
the 'woman soldier,' 'Albert F. Cashier'
(real name 'Hodgers'). The enclosed
from the Superintendent of Soldiers'
Home, Quincy, explains itself. By pub-
lishing his letter you will do her rela-
tive in Co. Louth a favour and confer
another on yours truly, P. F. Curran."
"Illinois State Bank of Quincy,
Quincy, Illinois, October 16, 1915. To
Rev. Fr. Curran, Dalton City, Illinois.
Dear Fr. Curran, -You may not be
aware of the fact that Albert D. J. Cas-
hier, the woman soldier, died last Satur-
day evening. Now you investigated this
case while in Ireland--will you kindly
advise me at your earliest opportunity
regarding her relatives so that the Con-
servator can get in communication with
them? Thanking you in advance for any
favours shown me in this connection,
and assuring you that I will welcome the
opportunity to reciprocate, in the mean-
time believe me to be yours very truly,
John E, Andrews, Supt., Ill. S. and S.
Home. By Iona J. Fisher.'
Various online articles give her date of birth as 25 December 1843 in Clogherhead, County Louth, and her forename as 'Jennie' although earlier reports stated that she refused to disclose her first name.
What of a Birth Record in Ireland?.
Unfortunately it was over twenty years after her birth that civil registration of births began in Ireland. But, in the case of County Louth, parish baptism registers do exist for the time period but not for all parishes so actual proof is difficult to determine.
In the case of Clogherhead Roman Catholic Parish there is a baptism of a MaryHodgers, the daughter of Dennis Hodgers and Catharine Maguire, on 25 December 1843. There were other siblings.
What of a Jennie?. The nearest baptism entry, of available registers, is for a JaneHodgins (found as a variant of Hodgers sometimes in County Louth), the daughter of Thomas Hodgins and Mary Mullin on 31 December 1841 in St.
The official pension records from 1890 may provide some clues as to her real age and identity.Peter's Roman Catholic Parish in Drogheda. Again possibly other siblings. Where the family lived, while not in Clogherhead Roman Catholic Parish, may not have been too far away. For a stowaway a possible route of emigration would be on a fishing boat from Clogherhead to Liverpool and thence to America.
Link to Emigrant page Link to County Louth page