While sorting through and scanning a large number of unlabeled portraits from the Society's collections, it was a pleasure to find labeled photographs of Charles and Nellie Cash. As is often the case with family history, one piece of information led to more questions. When did they live, were they from Acton, and what were their life stories? As it turned out, two small pictures turned into quite a research project!
Cash was not a common Acton family name, making the search easier. Charles and Nellie Cash were listed in Acton in the Massachusetts State Census of 1865. The careful census taker gave us their full names: Charles Henry (age 18) and Ellen Frances (age 13). Further research showed that the family had previously lived in Concord where Charles, Nellie, and their mother Rebecca (Potter) Cash were born. Their father, Hugh Cash, was reported in different sources as having been born in New York, England, and Northern Ireland... a research project for another day.
We now had a family with two children whose names matched our pictures. But we wanted to be sure that it was the right family.
Charles married, in Acton in 1868, Charlotte E. Davis, daughter of Ebenezer and Susan (Bradford). Charlotte died in 1870, and Charles moved on from Acton. He reappeared in Florida records, marrying Angie B. Phillips in 1884. He lived in Florida until his death in 1930, having been for many years in the ice business. Aside from the name on the back of the picture, nothing definitely proved that the young man in the photograph was Charles Henry Cash, son of Hugh and Rebecca.
Nellie Cash gave us more clues that we had found the right family. The back of her portrait showed that it was taken by a photographer H. E. Strout who operated in Woburn, Mass. in the 1870s and 1880s. Massachusetts vital records showed that Ellen F. Cash, born in Concord, MA to Hugh and Rebecca Cash, married Melville B. C. Cummings on 5 June 1879 in Woburn and died there on 24 September 1886. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. Her name on the gravestone is "Nellie." Melville, who died in 1900, was buried in the same lot. Nellie's parents, several siblings, and Charles Henry's first wife were also buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
We are quite confident now that we have placed Charles and Nellie in their Acton context, but we would appreciate having confirmation and more information. If this is your family, please contact us. We also have a few other unlabelled pictures that may be from this family - we're hoping that relatives of the Cash family might be able to identify them.
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