Monday, July 5, 2010

George Washington Cass

In my blog entry (June 21, 2010) about General Lewis Cass, I mentioned that Cass County, North Dakota was not named in his honor, but was named for George Washington Cass. As it turns out George W. Cass is General Cass' nephew.

Born in near Dresden, Ohio, George W. Cass was sent in 1824 to the Detroit Academy to study. At this time he lived with his Uncle, General Lewis Cass. George Cass completed his studies at the Academy and in 1827, was appointed from Ohio to Westpoint. He was a topographical engineer and served in the Corps of Engineers until 1840. He built the first cast-iron arch bridge in the United States.

Cass established the Adams Express Company to transport items between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Eventually his interest in transportation led him to the railroad industry.

George Cass, in 1875, was president of the Northern Pacific Railway. He had acquired an extensive landholding in the northern part of the Dakota Territory. He owned 27,000 acres at Casselton near Fargo. Dalrymple, who was known as the king of wheat farmers in Minnesota, moved to the Dakota Territory about this time. He teamed up with George Cass to grow wheat on a large scale. (Colossal Farms, Page 1031: History of Dakota Territory, Volume II by George W. Kingbury. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915.)

Cass County was organized January 4, 1873. With nearly 1,125,000 acres of land, it is one of the largest counties in eastern half of North Dakota. By 1910, 90% of the county was under cultivation. (Cass County, Page 53: North Dakota Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 4, August, 1911; Year Book 1910. Bismarck, ND: Agricultural Department.)

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