Search Library Catalog


by Frank Cashen


Alice Devlin, originally from Ireland and Nicholas King, originally from Germany were married in 1876, and had three children born in California: Mamie, Sarah, and John. Two more girls were born in Alaska: Alice and Catherine.

Nick King first came to the Treadwell Mines in 1884. After Treadwell had purchased the property in 1884, he went to California looking for experienced miners. He hired Nick and his brother Mike and sent them north to help set up a small stamp mill. When it went into operation, Nick was appointed foreman of the mill. He worked the day shift and his brother Mike worked the night shift. Later when the 700 stamp millwas organized, Nick became foreman of that mill.

Nick did not bring his family with him in 1884. The brothers stayed at Treadwell for three years before returning to California. After several months, Nick returned to Douglas to build a home for his family. The rest of the family arrived in Alaska in 1888. His brother Mike stayed in California.


Thomas Cashen came to Alaska in 1896, from Ishpeming, Michigan, with his brothers Jeremiah (Jerry), John, Frank and Dan. They had been preceded, in 1894, by their sister Mary Cashen and brother-in-law John J. Penglase.

Mary Penglase died in December 1894, and the family sent for her sister Catherine (Katie) Cashen to come from Michigan to help take care of the Penglase children. She came and married John J. Penglase in August 1895. All the brothers went to work in the Treadwell Mines. Thomas was a blacksmith as was his brother-in-law Penglase.

It was Nick and Alice King’s daughter Sarah (Sadie) who married Thomas (Tom) Cashen in 1901. The wedding was one of the major events of the 1901 social season in Douglas. Tom and Sadie Cashen had nine children, three girls and six boys. After the Treadwell cave-in in 1917, Tom worked for the Alaska-Juneau Mine on the Juneau side of the channel until his death in 1931.

All of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered in Douglas and Juneau to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their hometown, Douglas, Alaska. Tom and Sadie’s eight children had a total of 21 children and these in turn had 25 children. Most of these descendants were in Juneau in July 1980, for this centennial year celebration.


Senior member of the family, Frances Cashen (deceased 1989), joined the Sisters of St. Ann in 1923 and took the name of Sister Mary Philippa. In her long teaching career, she taught in several parochial schools in British Columbia, spent 19 years at the Pius X Mission in Skagway, and four years at Holy Cross on the Yukon River. She was the first Alaskan born woman to join a Catholic sisterhood.


Tom Cashen was the eldest of the six Cashen brothers. A lifelong Channel resident, he died in 1969, after 38 years as an officer of the First National Bank. His widow, Edla Holbrook Cashen, died in 1999. Their daughter, Mary Lee and her husband Gordon Brunton, live in Douglas. The Bruntons have a son Glenn and a daughter Gwen. Son Tom and his wife, the former Heather Hollmann, have three sons: Jim, Steve, and Greg who all live in Juneau with their families.


Cecile Cashen and Ralph Mortensen were married in Douglas in 1937. They and their three children: Karen Senior, Mort, and Marion Carlson and grandchildren, make their homes in Washington. Ralph, a longtime commercial fisherman in Southeast Alaska, retired from fishing in 1975, selling his boat F/V Totem to his nephew Phil Cashen. Cecile died in 1998.


John Cashen married Ruby Summers, who had come to Douglas as an elementary school teacher in 1935. John served as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in Ketchikan and Sitka before moving to Washington after World War II. The couple, now both retired, live in La Conner, Washington. Their sons, John and Mike and families (three children each) live in Everett.


William Cashen went north to attend the then Alaska College in 1933. He taught school in Anchorage following his graduation, then joined the faculty of the University of Alaska in 1942. He retired as professor of mathematics and marshal of the university, emeritus. He and his wife, Ellen Barr, also a retired teacher, continued to make their home in Fairbanks. Bill died in 1981. They had two daughters, Ellen and Phyllis.


Gerald Cashen and his wife, the former Marian Nicholson, made their home in Tacoma, Washington, since their marriage in 1950. Marian died in 1986. Gerald is a retired teacher and continues to live in Tacoma. They have three children: Colleen, Gerald and Sara.


Frank Cashen married Irene Olsen in 1948. They had eight children: Kirsten, Philip (deceased 1996), Rebecca, Daniel, Nicholas, Robert, Raymond and Joseph. Frank retired after 27 years of state employment. Irene retired as Chief Clerk of the Alaska House of Representatives. They continue to live in Juneau. They have 15 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Frank and Irene celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998.


Harry Cashen is Frank’s twin brother. Harry married the former Phyllis Bradley and moved to San Diego, California, following Harry’s retirement from the State Legislative Affairs Agency. He was an auditor. Harry died in 1982. Phyllis now lives in Surprise, Arizona.

General Information +
Exhibits and Collections +
Education +
Public Programs +
Juneau History Research -
Museum Calendar
Friends of JDCM