Our Cash, Bonar, Perkins and Field Family Lines and the U.S. Civil War

The further I go in assembling our family's history, the more amazed I become!

Why do I say that? Because of learning another piece of our family's story. From information provided by our Cash cousin, Kathy Shea, we learned the following (which is copied from the Revolutionary War page of this blog):

John Cash married Mary Dawson. We currently know little about him other than that he died in September, 1726, in Prince George's County, Maryland. Mary Dawson was the daughter of Edward Dawson... John Cash and Mary Dawson had seven children, one of whom was another John Cash." As previously discussed in this blog, we descend from this line of the Cash family.

Here's the source of new information that captured my attention. Kathy Shea sent me the wills of various Cash family members, along with that of Mary’s father, Edward Dawson. By marriage, he would be my generation’s GGGGGGGG grandfather. From his will I quote, in part (the spelling is duplicated from the will):

“…This fifteenth day of December in the year of our Lord God 1729, I, Edward Dawson…of Prince George’s County, planter…[for simplicity, I've snipped a portion of the will here].

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son, Edward Dawson, and to his heires forever, all that plantation whereon he now lives and the land belonging to the same called Mill land, containing two hundred and fourteen acres, except fifty acres… I give to my grandson, John Cash, son of John Cash, dec’d, to him and his heires forever, to be laid out of aforesaid tract as my son Edward shall direct, and after the decease of my said wife, my son Edward to enjoy all the land so left to her or if she marry to enjoy the same to him and to his heires forever, except her third part, and also I gave to my son Edward three Negroes, namely Jack, Peter and Maria, to him and his heires and future children of said Maria..."

Amazing! He bequeathed not only the slaves, but also the future children of the female slave named Maria!


Before his death, my generation's maternal uncle, DeRand Jones (1927-2002), was interviewed on video by my brother Cory Dunn. In that video DeRand reports that - according to the family's oral history - our Heath/Field ancestral line (DeRand's mother's maiden name was Field and her mother's maiden name was Heath) once owned a plantation in one of the Carolinas - one of the Confederate states - and that they too, owned slaves. However, he was never able to locate the site of the plantation and never documented the story.

With Edward Dawson's will, we have documentation that our forebears - in this case through the ancestral Dawson/Cash line - once owned slaves. To me, the bizarre thing about this is that we had family members who fought and died on both sides of the Civil War - which was fought largely about slavery.

Here are those we know of in our ancestral family lines who served:

Union Side:

■ Jimmy Bonar

■ Either Matthew or William Bonar
■ Rev. Jonathan Perkins
■ Jonathan Cash 1838 - 1908, Military Service 1865 in Co. H, 185th Infantry Regiment, Ohio
■ Evans Fleming Cash 1834 – 1890, Military Service Bet. 1864–1865 in Ohio
■ William J. Cash b. abt 1843, Military Service in Co B, 64th Illinois Infantry
■ William Henry Harrison Cash 1843 -1924, Military Service Bet. 1864–1865 in Wisconsin 10th Light Artillery Battery
■ Jonathan Cash 1847-1934, served with Co I, 176th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Confederate Side:

■ Nathan B. Field – b. 1816
■ Christopher Field – b. 1825
■ Martin L. Field – b. 1827
■ Jeremiah Field – b. 1831
■ William H. H. Field – b. 1841

Sources: DeRand Jones' family history archive, Edward Dawson's will and data from a report on Cash family genealogy provided by Cash cousin Kathy Shea


In DeRand’s writing about our family history he said, “Thomas Bonar was the father of David Bonar…who was a tanner by trade. He [David] fought in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.” DeRand wrote: “He had 12 children, one of whom was Margaret Skinner Bonar Anderson [wife of Dennis Parrott Anderson and mother of Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Anderson Cash].

David Bonar had 12 buttons on his uniform. He gave one button to each of his children. The button David Bonar gave to Margaret has been passed down through the family, and is now in the possession of DeRand Jones.” [Since DeRand's death it's been with his widow, Gail Jones.]

DeRand continued: "On the Jones side of our family (fighting for the Union) two of David Bonar’s twelve children fought in the Civil War. One of them, Jimmy Bonar, died of starvation in the notorious Libby Prison in the south. Two of the brothers were Mathew Bonar and William Bonar, one of whom also died in the war.

The starvation death of Jimmy Bonar strongly affected the descendants so that they were unable to stand the thought of anyone going hungry. Bums on the road found a real heaven on earth at these homes.”

Libby Prison was a Confederate prison in Virginia
during the Civil War. It gained an infamous reputation for the harsh conditions under which prisoners from the Union army were kept. On the Field side of our family (fighting for the Confederacy) five Field men died in the war. The names of those five are listed above. Writing about this family, DeRand said, “Webster Field was the father of Naphiel Field who was the father of Jeremiah Field, who married Harriet Fitchette Field. They had six children, of whom five boys were killed in the Civil War. Had not one child survived, this family would not now exist, this genealogy would not have been written, and you would not be here to read it. The surviving son was Lemuel Field.”

Later information shows that it was another Jeremiah (the above Jeremiah's son?), not Lemuel, who survived - and from whom we descend.


After I posted the above, Kathy sent me the following, which provides details of William Henry Harrison Cash's experiences in the Civil War, as well as his post-war role as a railroad builder.

(Captions and paragraph breaks were added to make it more readable online.)


C. W. Demmon, Compilor
(Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892)
Page 868

Background: Ohio to Wisconsin
"William H. H. Cash, one of the most enterprising and public-spirited citizens of Juneau, is a native of the Buckeye State, having been born in Belmont County, July 19, 1843. His parents were Hezekiah and Sarah Ann (Jones) Cash. His paternal grandfather, Jonathan Cash, was a native of Pennsylvania, and went as a bare-footed boy to Ohio, being one of the earliest pioneers of Belmont County. The father of our subject was born in that county, and there his son (our subject) first saw the light.
The parents of our subject removed to New Lisbon, Wisconsin, in 1861. This country was then more wild and farther from civilization than any State in the Union of today, for travel was then very slow and means of communication slower. What person now who is dissatisfied but can leave his abode with almost the swiftness of lightning, or who, when in distress, but can send word by electricity to the farthest ends of the earth? Here in these western wilds, far from home and friends, they built another fireside and reared their family.
They were the parents of eleven children, six of whom are living, the eldest of whom is our subject. Emmeline, the oldest sister, married George Cleveland, a member of the Fifty-second Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, in the late war. The next in order of birth was Martha Jane, S. F. next; Jeremiah and Susan are all that are now living.

The Civil War

Our subject accompanied his parents to New Lisbon in 1861, being then a youth of eighteen. He obtained a fair English education, but owing to his parents’ limited circumstances was early obliged to earn his own living, which he did, working at any honorable employment he could find. It was at this time that the late war broke out, and in 1863 our subject resolved to enter the service of the Union. Accordingly, he enlisted in December of that year in the Tenth Wisconsin Battery, Captain Y. V. Beebee in command.
He joined the battery near Knoxville, Tennessee. The battery became attached to Kilpatrick’s cavalry command. The first engagement in which our subject took part was Resaca, Georgia, and he afterwards fought at Calhoun, Adairsville, Kingston, Cartersville, Kenesaw Mountain, New Hope and Dalton. The battery was also in the engagements at Sandtown, Campbelltown, Peach Tree Creek, and in the siege proper of Atlanta. General Sherman elected Kilpatrick, who had now become noted for his bravery and dash, to take his command including the Tenth Battery, and out the railroad communications around Atlanta.
Two expeditions, with that end in view, had already failed. In pursuance of this object the battery was engage in action at West Point, Jonesborough and Lovejoy’s, and was successful in all, destroying three miles of railroad and much other property, and capturing a number of prisoners. At Lovejoy’s they were surrounded by 12,000 Confederates, but cut their way out, taking with them five guns and destroying a wagon train.

He Was Part of General Sherman's Army
During the five days of this expedition they were under constant fire and were continually pursued by a large number of rebels. On returning to camp they were immediately appointed to lead the right flank of Sherman’s army. They withstood the charge, at Jonesborough, of the celebrated Pat Cleburne’s division, beating them back until darkness terminated the battle. When Hood’s army moved north, the battery flowed on one side of the Sweatwater river, as far as Kenesaw Mountain. There the Confederates passed and the command followed and drove the Confederates out by Van Wirt following them to Rome, where they charged a rebel camp of Ross’ cavalry. Then, returning to Marietta, the command recruited preparatory to its march to the sea.
On the way to Savannah they fought the rebels at Griffin, Macon, Griswoldville and Milledgeville, the latter the capital of Georgia. At this place a mock legislature was held and the State was voted back into the Union by the boys in blue. A special detail with which our subject went made a forced march of 120 miles in twenty-six hours to Waynesboro, and destroyed railway trains, railroads and vast stores of the enemy, but were routed by a superior force, and in the retreat these 600 men were attacked by 5,000 rebels at a place known as Buckhead Church, where they killed 300 of the enemy, while those raiders escaped without the loss of a single man.
They afterward whipped the rebels at Waynesboro. Thence they pushed on, over all obstacles, to Savannah, where they took part in the action at Fort McAllister and elsewhere. Still retaining their position on the left flank of the army, they marched through the Carolinas, fighting at Barnwell, Carthage, Blackville and Aikin, encountering Wade Hampton’s cavalry. Among other important engagements of their campaign in which this battery participated were those of Averysboro and Bentonville. From there they proceeded to Goldsboro, where, the time of the original Tenth Battery having expired, they were relieved from further service.

Abraham Lincoln's Death
Mr. Cash, however, and other veterans and recruits were transferred to the Twelfth Wisconsin Battery, proceeding under this command to Raleigh, where the first news of President Lincoln’s death was received. Fired with new zeal by this cowardly and cruel act, they commenced in earnest the march directly to Washington, the command making thirty-two miles a day for the greater portion of the distance. After participating in the grand review, his company received orders to remove to Louisville, Kentucky, preparatory to going to Texas, but the order was countermanded, and the command went to Madison, Wisconsin, where it was honorably discharged on June 7, 1865.

After the War: Legislator and Railroad Builder

On the 29th of the same month Mr. Cash returned to New Lisbon, where he engaged in business and where he has ever since resided, as prominent in pursuits of peace as he was in those of war. In 1877 he was honored by his constituents by being elected to the State Legislature of Wisconsin. In this position he was instrumental in securing important special legislation for the Necedah branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad. He was awarded the contract for building this road, and through his energy it was soon completed. Mr. Cash had, in view of this enterprise, the best interests of New Lisbon, and the road has been of great value to the city and bids fair to be of greater value the farther it is extended.

In 1878 he formed a partnership with D. Vandercook who, under the firm name of Cash & Vandercook, undertook the construction of the present railroad between Sparta and Viroqua. With usual promptness and energy the right of way was secured and work commenced, but before its completion they sold it to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, realizing thereby a liberal compensation for their labors.

The town of Cashton, on this road, was laid out by Mr. Cash, after whom it was named. He was awarded the contract on September 19, 1879, to build the extension of the Wisconsin Valley Railroad, from Wausau to Merrill, a distance of eighteen miles. This work was pushed through to completion under adverse circumstances. It was to be completed January 1, 1880, and on the evening of December 31, 1879, the last rail was laid and the first locomotive was sent over the road."

[Editor's note: The complete version of this article can be found online and contains additional information not included here.]

Last updated 5/29/2012

William H.H. Cash was a colorful character - and here's a site where his obituary and other information about him can be found. (Be aware that our Cash cousin Kathy Shea's report on Cash genealogy disputes the "William the mariner" connection described on this site.) His grave is at the New Lisbon City Cemetery, New Lisbon, Juneau County, Wisconsin.

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