Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
George Lesley Cashman was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War at the 89th National encampment, held in Miami Beach, Florida on August 27th 1970.
Brother Cashman was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 27, 1897 and educated in the public schools there. He was a Co-op student at General Electric and during World War I, spent 20 months on a scientific expedition in the Arctic Circle. Following the war, he attended M.I.T., graduating as a mechanical engineer in 1922. After working in this field for two years, he worked as a sales engineer for Briggs Manufacturing Co. in Detroit for 21 years.
In 1920, he married the former Dorothy Moline of Keene, New Hampshire. They had no children.
Br. Cashman served as a civilian instructor in the Army Air Force Technical Training Command during World War II.
The Cashmans moved to Springfield, Illinois, in 1945, where he and his wife operated a camera shop on East Monroe Street. Combining their talents in both history and photography, the Cashmans assembled a slide-illustrated program entitled, “The Lincoln Story.” In the late 1940s, they assembled the slides during their sales travels and during vacations, toured most of the Eastern states and some west of the Mississippi presenting them. During one such vacation in Iowa, they gave this slide-lecture 15 times in five days!
When the Lincoln Tomb custodian’s position became available in 1950, it was Dorothy Cashman who urged George to seek the post. Friends urged Democratic Governor Adlai E. Stevenson to offer the post to Republican Cashman, which he did. Br. Cashman held the position for over 25 years until his retirement in January 1976. After he retired, he continued to advise and supervise ceremonies at the Tomb.
Mrs. Cashman was an authority on Lincoln history in her own right. She was a staunch advocate of Mary Todd long before it became historically fashionable, and personally lectured and answered questions for many years within the burial chamber itself. In 1963, the Cashmans were highlighted in an ABC television show entitled “They Live With Lincoln.”
The Lincoln Tomb Memorial Ceremony was inaugurated on April 15, 1957. George L. Cashman provided active co-operation and magnificent assistance. He was instrumental in forming and leading the Lincoln Deathday Association, which oversaw the annual observance.
Brother Cashman served as Illinois Department Commander in 1961-62 and was serving as Secretary/Treasurer of Springfield’s Gen. John A. McClernand Camp 4 during his term as Commander-in-Chief. He was also a commander of the Central Region Association. An avid Lincoln and Civil War student, he devoted much time during the previous 20 years to research and was considered an authority on Lincoln and Civil War history.
On May 27, 1957, Mr. Cashman, as a Springfield Historical Monuments Commission member, signed the Resolutions of the Commission addressed to the citizens of Illinois calling on them to collaborate and take immediate steps to restore to its original condition the Old State Capitol, Lincoln Square, Springfield. He worked tirelessly for many years to help bring about that result. In 1958, George T. Cashman founded the Springfield Civil War Round Table. On April 25, 1961, he was the temporary secretary of the organization meeting of the Sangamon County Historical Society; George and Dorothy Cashman were both members of the first Board of Directors of the Society. Mrs. Cashman was the first membership chairman of the Sangamon County Historical Society. Many of the charter members of the Society became members at her invitation
During their last years at their residence on the Oak Ridge grounds, the Cashmans endowed the larger portion of a considerable Lincoln collection to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion in Philadelphia.
Mrs. Cashman died November 29, 1974, after several years of failing health and a series of strokes.
Brother Cashman was an honorary member of several patriotic societies, including the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, the Springfield Civil War Round Table, which he founded in 1958; Decatur Civil War Round Table and the Ancient Order of Kentucky Colonels. He was a member of American Legion Post 32, St. Paul’s Lodge 500, a member of Springfield Consistory 32nd degree; a noble of Ansar Shrine and a member of Ansar Legion of Honor. He was a member of Bahar Grotto and of Elwood Commandery, Knights Templar. He was associate editor of the Lincoln Herald, a quarterly magazine devoted to Lincoln history, published by the Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN.
Br. Cashman passed away on March 27, 1983 at the age of 85. Following the chapel services, a large procession moved to Oak Ridge Cemetery, where the hearse, standing open, was positioned in front of the Lincoln Tomb during the full military ceremony. This was the first time since the funeral of Adlai Stevenson that the ceremony in front of the Tomb had been held in honor of an individual citizen. Br. Cashman was entombed in the Oak Ridge Memorial Chapel.
Submitted by PCinC Stephen A. Michaels
Source: The BANNER, Vol. 74, No. 4, October 1970
Civil War Tribute Banquet program, April 14, 1971
A Tribute to George L. Cashman, edited by Edward G. Pree, Attorney-at-Law,
published by Lincoln Deathday Association, Springfield, IL 1990