I’ve been meaning to write this all down for awhile anyway… So…

Once upon a time in Scotland, in the year 1160, King Malcolm awarded a large estate to the Earl of Fife when he married the king's niece, Cash (or Cashel). She was the daughter of his sister, Ada, and that’s where the “Cash Clan” originated. Cashel and her husband, the Earl of Fife, lived in a castle there on the beautiful estate of misty, rolling green hills between Falkland and Strathmiglo:

Over the next 450 years or so, the Cash clan spread throughout the area, and today the name Cash is still prevalent there on the names of farms and roads and lots of other references to places and things in and around Strathmiglo and Falkland.

In 1612, a descendant of theirs named William Cash, who eventually became a master mariner while working in the American Colonies trade, sailed aboard the ship "The Good Intent" with a boatload of pilgrims from Scotland to Salem, Massachusetts. Late in his life, he decided to settle (retire) in the 'new land' called America, and made one last crossing, bringing his nephew, also named William, with him.

The younger William Cash was born in Scotland in 1653, and arrived in America with his uncle in the 1670's, when he was in his early 20's. By 1677, he'd settled in Washington Parish, Westmoreland County Virginia and started a family with his wife, Elizabeth (maiden name: Skinner). William died there in his adopted land of Virginia, America in 1708, but his wife lived on another 42 years, until she passed on March 9th, 1750.

During their lifetime, they had several children, including a boy they named Howard Cash, who was born in 1703 there in Virginia. He bought land in Amherst County, Virginia, and married Ruth Howard in 1724. Together, they lived, raised a family, and he died in 1772. She followed in either 1776 or 1784 (records are unclear). In their lives, they witnessed the start of the American Revolution.

One of their sons was named Joel Cash. He was born in 1730, lived his whole life in Amherst County, then died in 1773 or 1783 (records are again unclear), possibly before his mother passed away. During his 43 to 53 year life span, he married Tabitha Bartlett, and they raised a family of nine children of their own together, including a son named Joseph.  Another of their sons, Joel's older brother Stephen, spawned a line of descendants that would eventually produce country music star Johnny Cash.

My great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Joseph Cash was born to Joel and Tabitha in 1759, making him about 17 years old when the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776. Five years later, in 1781, he married Martha Matilda Wright. Like his parents, they were content to stay right there in Amherst, Virginia throughout their lives, raising a family of their own. Topping his parents, they had eleven children together. He died at 49 years of age in 1810, having, like his father Joel, a short life span.

Of their eleven children, at least one had inherited the wandering spirit of the Scottish Master Mariner that landed them in America in the first place. Not content to stay in Amherst County as his father and grandfather had, nor even in Virginia as his great-grandfather had been content to do, John Cash, born in 1789, hit the road (which wasn’t a road yet) and plunked down a homestead in Tennessee. There, in 1808, when they were both 19 years old, he married Tennessee-born Sarah Merritt, and they got busy farming their new land and making eleven more kids to add to the Cash Clan.

Their kids had a wandering spirit as well, and William Cash, born in the later part of the year 1810 (as was his future wife), married his Tennessee neighbor Mary “Polly” Petty in the late 1820’s, then packed up and headed for Illinois. It wasn’t what they were looking for apparently, and they moved on, finally settling in Washington County, Missouri.

Finally feeling ‘home’ in the ‘away from it all’ hills of Missouri, William and Mary set up house and raised their eight kids. Like his brother, he was a lumberjack, felling trees, cutting them up and hauling them off. Naturally, one of their kids was named John, and he was born December 22nd, 1842.

John B. Cash, like his father, uncle and male siblings, went into the family business as a lumberjack. He married a half-Indian named Tyltha Matilda Soward who was 14 years younger than he, and they had nine children together, one of them being George William Cash, born in September of 1874. She died at 53 years old on December 16th, 1919, and he followed about 6 months later on May 20th, 1920 at age 77. Their generation lived through the Civil War.

Like his father and grandfather, George became a lumberjack, as did his brothers. At 29 years old, on August 22nd, 1903, he married Clara Etta Belcher, who had just turned 22. They added another nine Cash Clan babies to the world, including my grandfather, Buck Sam Cash.

George lived a long life, and saw quite a lot of changes to the world in the 90 years between his birth 1874 and his death in 1964. His was the generation of Edison, Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers, Einstein, and so many other inventors and discoverers, and all the wondrous inventions that sprang forth from that era, from the simple electric light bulb to neon-lit Las Vegas, phones and phonographs, radio and television, motor cars and airplanes, jets and rockets, men in space. He also saw two world wars and too many lesser ones, the crash of ’29, prohibition and gangsters. I’ll bet he had some interesting perspectives on life…

My grandfather Buck started out his life there in the hills of Missouri, looking at being yet another lumberjack in a lengthening line of them in the Cash Clan. And that may have been the end of it, but for the strange twists life sometimes throws at a person. A falling tree killed his uncle, making him think twice about the lumberjack trade. Then his first wife, Mabel Underwood, died young and unexpectedly, leaving him widowed with a young son and daughter on his hands. Then his daughter contracted a fatal disease, and she died too.

When the stock market crashed and the great depression hit, it was every man for himself. With no work to be found there in Missouri, he took his chances and hopped into a boxcar on a passing freight train with his last 13 cents in his pocket, bound for wherever it might be headed, and to whatever fate awaited him. He recalled to me that riding the rails during the great depression was fraught with danger. Desperate, dangerous, hungry men would knock you over the head to steal your shoes if you weren’t wary and aware, sleeping with one eye open. If you had anything more valuable than that, and they knew it, your life was in serious danger.

He was a big, tough man that could handle himself, so I don’t think he was terribly worried – just keenly aware – and ready for anything. Later in his life, a young man tried to mug him and a friend that was with him on the streets of Detroit. He killed the would-be thief with his pocket knife. It was ruled self-defense and dropped after a short inquest. He never talked about it.

When the train rolled into an area that looked heavily industrial, he figured ‘this is it’, and hopped off, hoping to find something, anything, to eke out a living. It turned out that he was just outside Detroit, Michigan, in River Rouge, where Henry Ford had built his giant automobile factory.

He did odd jobs for a while until he landed a gig as a bartender. As the economy improved, people started going back to work, and he went back to the train yard where he’d jumped out of a boxcar, and applied for a job – any job. They put him to work as a painter – painting boxcars and flat cars for Ford’s trains. He took his work seriously, and became the top painter in the company he worked for. Ford’s managers requested him by name for special, high profile jobs.

Along the way, he met and married Dorothy Sablosky, who was 14 years younger than him and had been born and raised there in River Rouge. They had 3 children, one of whom was my father, Richard. Grandpa Buck retired in 1971 and died of a heart attack in 1974, at 67 years old. I inherited his name and his gold retirement watch. My grandmother Dorothy passed on in 2006.

My father, Richard Charles Cash, was born to them on February 21st, 1941, in the house they lived in, in River Rouge, Michigan, and passed on in 2001.  I was born on May 5th, 1959.

And that's the story, as far as I know, of my roots.

A quick recap:

1130 (or so)  Scotland - King Malcolm and sister Ada
1160  Ada's daughter Cashel and the Earl of Fife marry
(450 years of making kids and grandkids passes)
1612  William Cash, uncle of William Cash sails to America
1653  His nephew William Cash born in Scotland
1670's  William Cash sails to America
1703 Howard Cash first Cash in my line born in America
1730 Joel Cash born
1759  Joseph Cash born
1789  John Cash born
1810  William Cash born
1842  John B. Cash born
1874  George William Cash born
1907  Buck Sam Cash born
1941  Richard Charles Cash born
1959  Buck Richard Cash (me!) born

This story is only here because of the research of hundreds or thousands of people involved in related genealogy searches.  Special thanks to David Bennett, who managed to put the final pieces together that welded two major pieces of history together and emailed it to me.  If you have anything more to add, please email it to me.  Thanks!