Sal Anderson and Jacob Smith opened 'The Russ House' in December 1880 as a boarding house and hotel with one of the largest restaurants in Tombstone. The Russ House is closely related to Nellie Cashman who operated it until 1886. Ellen ‘Nellie’ Cashman, known as the “Angel of Tombstone” was born in County Cork, Ireland in September 1845. Nellie was born into a poor Irish Catholic family during the Irish Potato Famine and known in Ireland as the “great hunger.” The eldest of two sisters, Nellie, her mother and young sister immigrated to America after her father’s death around 1850.
Nellie Cashman and her associate Joseph Pascholy co-owned and ran a restaurant and hotel in Tombstone called The Russ House. The Russ House, on the corner of 5th and Toughnut Streets, was named after the original in San Francisco. The Russ House offered meals to Miners and vagrants at little or no cost. Nellie served 50-cent meals, advertising that "there are no cockroaches in my kitchen and the flour is clean." Nellie had rooms available for $8.00 per week. Nellie fed the hungry, needy and desperate of the silver camp, never turning anyone away.
Read a complete story about The Legendary Nellie Cashman, The Angel of Tombstone.
Painting of a young Nellie Cashman from a photograph taken in San Francisco in 1874.
Courtesy of the Alaska State Library
Known as the “frontier angel,” Irish-born Nellie Cashman made her reputation in the western U.S. and Canada as a successful prospector, businesswoman, and philanthropist. During the Cassiar gold rush in British Columbia in 1875, Cashman and six men loaded sleds with 1,500 pounds of supplies and completed a long journey in heavy snows to a remote mining camp, arriving in time to nurse almost 100 sick miners back to health. She later moved to Tombstone, Arizona, where she opened the town’s first woman-owned business (a restaurant) and became a prominent citizen, building a church and raising money for social welfare and the arts. When her sister died from tuberculosis, Cashman cared for her sister’s five children. When Cashman died, newspapers as far away as the New York Times wrote obituaries citing her good works.
Stamp Issued: 1994
Source: United State Postal Service - Women On Stamps
Nellie Cashman, was a remarkable woman, she is just one more of the Irish who helped to shape America. In 1994, her image graced a U.S. Postage Stamp and on March 15, 2006, Nellie Cashman was inducted into the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame.