George Washington Cass
George Washington Cass was born near Dresden, Ohio, March 12, 1810, to George W. and Sophia (Lord) Cass. He married Louisa Dawson in 1842.
Joined Army Corps of Engineers circa 1832, working on improvements to the Cumberland Road. Cass helped design the first cast iron bridge in the United States at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, later designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark. Cass left the Army as a first lieutenant in 1836 and settled into private business in Brownsville, Pa.
From 1836 to 1855 Cass organized a steamboat line and a stagecoach line. Due to his efforts he was appointed president of Adams & Co., successor to Adams Express. He expanded the Boston-based shipping company to points as far away as St. Louis, Missouri, and Richmond, Virginia.
Cass joined the future Northern Pacific Railway as a director in 1867, four years before the company laid its first rail near Carlton, Minnesota. He was appointed president in 1872, and saw the company through the difficult years following the failure of Jay Cooke and Company and the Panic of 1873. He remained as president until 1875, when the company succumbed to its first bankruptcy. Cass was named its receiver and remained until Frederick Billings reorganized the company circa 1878.
He died March 21, 1888.
- Thomas C. Cochran, Railroad Leaders, 1845-1890 (1953).
- Eugene V. Smalley, History of the Northern Pacific Railroad (1883), pp. 190-97.
- The New York Times, March 22, 1888.
John Gregory Smith
|President of Northern Pacific Railway
1872 – 1875
Charles Barstow Wright
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