|Albert D. J. Cashier|
Cashier in November, 1864
|Birth name||Jennie Irene Hodgers|
December 25, 1843|
Clogherhead, County Louth, United Kingdom
|Died||October 10, 1915
Saunemin, Illinois, U.S.
|Buried at||Saunemin, Illinois, U.S.|
|Years of service||1862–1865|
|Unit||95th Illinois Infantry, Company G|
|Battles/wars||Vicksburg, Red River, Guntown|
|Other work||Farmhand, janitor|
Albert D. J. Cashier (December 25, 1843 – October 10, 1915), born Jennie Irene Hodgers, was an Irish-born immigrant who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Cashier was a "trans man".
Cashier was born in Clogherhead, County Louth, Ireland. According to later investigation by the administrator of her estate, she was the child of Sallie and Patrick Hodgers. Cashier's later accounts of how she moved to the United States and why she enlisted were taken when she was elderly and disoriented, and are thus contradictory. Typically, she was said to have been dressed as a boy by her stepfather to find work. Her mother died sometime in her youth, and by 1862, Cashier had traveled as a stowaway to Illinois and was living in Belvidere.
On September 4, 1862, at the age of 17, she enlisted into the 95th Illinois Infantry using the name Albert Cashier and was assigned to Company G. The regiment was part of the Army of the Tennessee under Ulysses S. Grant and fought in approximately forty battles, including the siege at Vicksburg, the Red River Campaign and the combat at Guntown, Mississippi, where they suffered heavy casualties.
Other soldiers thought that Cashier was small and preferred to be alone, which was not uncommon. She was once captured in battle, but escaped back to Union lines after overpowering a prison guard. Cashier fought with the regiment through the war until August 17, 1865, when all the soldiers were mustered in and out.
A transcription from a letter written by Thomas Hannah, Jr., a private in Company G, 95th Illinois Regiment, on 17 November 1862, from near Jackson, Tennessee reads:
" ... we have just discovered one of our soulders [sic] belonging to this rigment [sic] is a women [sic] and she is found out and sent home she is one of those loose characters that used to run around camp in Rockford she put on mens' clothes and enlisted just before we started ..."
Thomas Hannah indicates that this woman was sent back to Belvidere.
Also, footnote 4, Blanton, references a "Deposition of J. H. Hines." In fact, it was Robert Dunn Hannah, brother of Thomas, who gave the deposition in 1915. Thomas Hannah died 21 October 1865 from wounds suffered at Spanish Fort, Alabama.
After the war, Cashier returned to Belvidere, Illinois for a time where she worked for Samuel Pepper. She settled in Saunemin, Illinois in 1869, where she worked as a farmhand. Her employer there, Joshua Chesebro, built a one-room house for her. For over forty years, she lived in Saunemin and worked as a church janitor, cemetery worker and street lamplighter. Because she lived as a "man", she was able to vote in elections and later claimed a veteran's pension under the name Albert Cashier. In later years, she ate with the neighboring Lannon family. A later tale tells that the Lannons discovered that she was female-bodied when they asked a nurse to look at her, but they didn't make their discovery public.
In November 1910, Cashier was hit by a car that broke her leg. A physician discovered her secret in the hospital, but did not disclose the information. On May 5, 1911, Cashier was moved to the Soldier and Sailors 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. Attendants at the Watertown State Hospital discovered that she was female-bodied when giving her a bath, at which point she was forced to wear a dress.
Death and legacy
Albert Cashier died on October 10, 1915. She was buried in the uniform she had kept intact all those years and her tombstone was inscribed "Albert D. J. Cashier, Co. G, 95 Ill. Inf." It took W.J. Singleton (executor of Cashier's estate) nine years to track Cashier's identity back to her birth name of Jennie Hodgers. None of the would-be heirs proved convincing, and the estate of $418.461 was deposited in the Adams County, Illinois, treasury. In the 1970s, a second tombstone, inscribed with both of her names, was placed beside the first.
Also Known As Albert D. J. Cashier: The Jennie Hodgers Story is a biography written by veteran Lon P. Dawson, who lived at the Illinois Veterans Home where Cashier once lived. The novel My Last Skirt, by Lynda Durrant, is based on her life. Cashier's house has been restored in her home town of Saunemin.
Notes and references
- "What part am I to act in this great drama?" (PDF). Salt. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
- Benck, Amy. "Albert D. J. Cashier: Woman Warrior, Insane Civil War Veteran, or Transman?". OutHistory. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Beiermeister, Gwen. "Roster of Company G 95th Illinois Infantry".
- Hicks-Bartlett, Alani (February 1994). "When Jennie Comes Marchin' Home". Illinois History. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- Blanton, DeAnne (Spring 1993). "Women Soldiers of the Civil War". Prologue. College Park, MD: National Archives. 25 (1). Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
- Blanton, op cit, Deposition of J. H. Himes (January 24, 1915)
- Spalding, op cit. "$418.461" [sic] which could refer to denominations as small as the mill, but is likely a typo.
- "For Love Of Freedom". Saunemin Historical Society. July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Durant, Lynda. (2006). My Last Skirt: the Story of Jennie Hodgers, Union Soldier. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 0618574905 Historical fiction account of Jennie Hodgers' life.
- Eggleston, Larry G. (2003). Women in the Civil War: Extraordinary Stories of Soldiers, Spies, Nurses, Doctors, Crusaders, and Others. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0786414936
- Bradford, Martin J. (2015). A Velvet Fist in an Iron Glove: The Curious Case of Albert Cashier. Kindle Ebooks @ Amazon. Historical/fiction novel account of the life of Jennie Hodgers/Albert Cashier.
- Women Soldiers of the Civil War, esp. pages 2 and 3; DeAnne Blanton, Senior Archivist, National Archives
- When Jennie Comes Marchin' Home at Illinois Periodicals Online; includes photo of Cashier's headstone
- "What part am I to act in this great drama?" at Salt magazine
- Also Known As Albert D. J. Cashier: The Jennie Hodgers Story at Compass Rose Books
- Albert D. J. Cashier at Find A Grave
-  Article concerning Cashier by Irish archaeologist Damien Shiels