Biography – James Arthur Cashion

James Arthur Cashion (10 May 1859 – 19 March 1936) was the son of Daniel Cashion and Jane Burton of Cashion’s Glen, Ontario.  He was one of nine children.  Daniel Cashion was a farmer, and a descendant of the original white settlers to the area.

Not much is known of his early life in Glengarry County.  A biography of him stated that he was educated at the common school – likely the Williamstown School (which is now the Glengarry Nor’Wester and Loyalist Museum).  According to the 1900 US Census, James immigrated to the United States in 1877, and was by that time a naturalized US Citizen.  The 1920 Census says he was naturalized in 1885.

It appears that James’ permanent home remained in Los Angeles, but he also held property in Phoenix, Arizona.  His brother Angus emigrated in 1888 and eventually settled in Phoenix and was a rancher.  James is listed in various Phoenix city directories as the President of the Reid-Cashion Land and Cattle Co.  The 1920 census calls him a rancher, while living in Los Angeles.  It is possible he did business in Arizona with his brother.

However, James’ main occupation was a railroad builder.  In 1889, he was superintendent of construction for Grant and Macdonald, in 1901, and Vice-President and Manager of Grant Brothers Construction, and Vice-President and director of Hibernian Savings Bank.  In the Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast it states that he “has constructed railroads in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Old Mexico.” Some sources state that Cashion, Arizona (near Phoenix) was named after him, while other sources say it was named after his brother Angus, who lived in the area.

He married Jessie N McDonald (or McDonnell) the 24 December 1900 in Ventura, California.  Together they had two children: Jean E (1903) and James A (1907).  James Arthur died in March of 1936, and his wife Jessie followed him in April that same year.

On Jessie’s death, her estate was inherited by her daughter Jean Flanagan, but it was contested by her son James.  He alleged that his mother was not capable of writing her will as she was incapacitated by drink at the time.  The California courts ruled on what was ultimately a truly sad family amongst siblings, that Jessie was not of sufficient mental capacity when she signed the will in 1934 because of drink.


Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast, 1913

US Federal Census, 1900-1930

California Court of Appeal, 22 July 1938

St Mary’s Church Register, Williamstown

Phoenix City Directories, 1920, 1923

Obituary, Jessie Cashion, 15 April 1936

Canadian Census, 1881

Full citations available on request!