Denis (Dan) Cashman was born June 13, 1866 in County Cork, Ireland (probaby in the town of Carritwohill). He was the son of Denis Cashman and Mary O'Brien.
Denis was in the English Navy and jumped ship in San Francisco around 1888 or 1889. It is not known if he became a citizen or claimed he was one after the 1906 earthquake destroyed most of the records at city hall. He became a fireman around 1889 and had many addresses ( Davis, Jesse, Shipley and Natoma Streets) before he married Minnie in 1892.
Supposedly, Denis met Minnie through her uncle who both brought Minnie over from Ireland and who worked with Denis. They married on February 7, 1894 in San Francisco.
Denis was a fireman until about 1922; he then became a gateman and then a watchman, mostly on the docks, until about 1932
"The Cashmans were from Carrigtwohill, County Cork, up in the hills. Denis’ mother only spoke Gaelic. Denis was blonde, almost a Platinum blonde; 5’10’ (that’s tall for us). He had a brother that was a six-footer that went over to Australia and Grandpa came over here to San Francisco. They would speak to their mother and she would answer only in Gaelic and she would say, don’t speak to me in that foreign tongue (English). Things were tough then. The uncle who went to Australia went to the northern territories, I’m sure because when I was working one day one of the businessmen from Australia noticed my nameplate on the desk and he showed me a card, "The Cashman Building".
My father [Vincent] worshipped Denis. Denis was in the English navy working below the ship in the black gang, with all the smoke. And one of his shipmates had a tattoo of the British flag on the bottom of his foot so that every time he walked he was stepping on the Union Jack. And Grandpa jumped ship, and why not? Both my Norwegian grandfather and my Irish grandfather sailed all over the world and when they came to San Francisco they said, this is God’s Country and never went anywhere else. Grandpa said, “Wherever you travel in the world, if you see a man worshipping a stick, you respect his right to worship that stick". Often he would walk with dad [Vincent] and I [daughter Aileen] to the docks and they would look at Japanese ships and once he said (before WWII), "We’re going to have trouble with them one day".
Denis had the brightest blue eyes of the whole family; China Blue, they were China Blue. No one else ever had his eyes. He was so sweet and so adorable; He was a quiet man and a wonderful man."
All the Cashmans in Carritwohill were doctors.
Val Buckley was a cousin of ours (Cashman side) from Cork came over here, running from the law; he had shot someone.
Grandpa’s brother who went to Australia was named Billy, William. I though Dan [Denis] was adorable. He would sit on one side of the dining room while I was doing something else and just be watching me. And I thought, “What a beneficent presence he had.” And what beautiful eyes he had.
Daddy and Dan should have been fire chiefs. They were just really great smoke-eaters. Denis couldn’t read; he was brilliant, though.
Once he received a letter from Ireland from his parish priest in Ireland asking him to sponsor a stained glass window for the church. He had someone write back saying, “Sorry, father, but I have five little stained glass windows over here that I have to take care of. [His children]. He was so wonderful and stunning. They used to call him the “Irish Suite” because he was so good looking. During the 1906 earthquake, he was driving a milk wagon and was struck on the head, out cold. He always had a little blue scar on his forehead from that. The worst thing was the fire; they watched the city burn from the hill.
- Aileen Cashman 2002
"Denis was very strict. I think that his mother was a housekeeper and cook for a priest [in Ireland]. That’s what she did to support her family." - Patricia Brogan Durdell
"Nana called it [Boyes Spring's house] 'Aileen's Villa'. A wooden plaque in Gaelic designated it. Nana had a cactus garden with over 100 plants she could identify." - Agnes Cahman Bakken
Denis passed away at their summer cottage at Boyes Hot Springs in Sonoma County on March 16, 1939.
The Family of Denis and Minnie Cashman