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19 May 2011

Albert D.J. Cashier, (1844 - 1915) soldier, laborer.

Jennie Hodgers was born in Clogherhead, County Louth. Hodgers emigrated to the US as a male stowaway.

As Albert Cashier he enlisted in the US Civil War with the 95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1862 at age 18. The regiment was involved in almost 40 battles, including the siege at Vicksburg Mississippi where they suffered heavy casualties. Cashier was once captured by Confederate forces but managed to escape and return to his regiment.

He settled in Saunemin. Illinois in 1869. He worked as a farmhand, church janitor, cemetery worker and lamplighter. He voted in elections. He applied for a military pension in 1890 but, as he refused the required medical examination, it was not granted.

One neighboring family discovered Cashier's body sex when he was ill, but maintained the confidence. A second application for a three-fourths disability pension in 1907 with the complicity of his doctor was approved. He was awarded $12 a month. In 1910 he was hit by his employer's car which broke his leg. The doctor discovered his sex but remained quiet.

A year later Cashier became seriously ill, and was taken to the Soldier and Sailor's home in Quincy, Illinois, where the doctors agreed to respect his chosen gender. However he became increasingly mentally disturbed by 1914 and was transferred to the State hospital where he was coerced into wearing women's clothes and his condition deteriorated rapidly. His story was leaked to the press and reprinted across the US.

He died six months later.

His tombstone was in the name of Albert Cashier. His executor spent nine years tracing his identity back to Jennie, and was still unable to find any heirs. His estate of $416 was given to the county. In the 1970s a second headstone was added giving both his names.
  • Julie Wheelwright. Amazons and Military Maids: Women who dressed as men in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Pandora 1989: 140-1,146-7.
  • Gerhard P Clausius. “The Little Soldier of the 95th: Albert D.J. Cashier” Illinois State Historical Society. 51,1958.
  • Richard Hall. Patriots in Disguise: Women Warriors of the Civil War. Marlowe & Company, 1994: 20-6.
  • Stephanie Stevens. "Remembering the Civil War Veteran Albert D.J. Cashier". TransAdvocate, May 25th, 2009.
  • Lon P. Dawson. Also Known As Albert D.J. Cashier: The Jennie Hodgers Story, or How One Young Irish Girl Joined the Union Army During the Civil War. Compass Rose, nd.
  • “Albert Cashier”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1 comment:

Dutch Leonard the Fifth said...

Another great article about a historical trans man! I remember going to visit my great grandfather, a veteran of the Spanish American War in the Philippines, at the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy. So there is my tenuous connection to Albert Cashier. I sort of hoped he was buried near Quincy but I guess his grave is closer to Chicago.