Francis Edward Cassidy (1834-1927)

Francis Edward Cassidy
Francis Edward c. 1925

Francis Edward was the seventh of William’s twelve children. He inherited the homestead property from his father. Why Francis Edward was chosen over the others we do not know. However, he certainly proved himself to be a worthy recipient of this family trust.

Life on the farm was never easy. The land is at best suitable for mixed farming, i.e. a little of everything. But like his father before him, Francis Edward was able to enjoy a respectable, middle-class living. The family dressed well, loaned money to others in the community, and had enough disposable income to acquire such modern conveniences as an automobile. Some of this income undoubtedly came from his carpentry work at which he was a master craftsman. The cheese factory at Cassidy Lake was established during his time and it would be a fair guess that he was behind establishing this enterprise.

Francis Edward’s most notable contribution to the family legacy was the construction of the “little white” church on the family property in 1883. This contribution was formally recognized in 1949 when it was rededicated in his memory as the Francis Edward Cassidy Memorial Church. To say that he was active in the church would be an understatement. The remarks in 1949 by Rev. Shanklin—who knew Francis Edward very well, acknowledge this:

Mr. Cassidy was for years a local preacher in the Methodist Church. Many times did he visit the sick and the dying and read the scripture and pray with them. He was a member of the Official Board and again and again he attended conferences as the appointed delegate.

His generosity was exemplary. Francis Edward always gave to the church. In fact money went to the church that was often really needed at home. He went to the Church Conference every year. Once a month when the minister came, benches were carried into the sitting room to make it ready for the meeting. They never knew when he was coming. A Franklin stove in the front room kept clothes warm in the winter for the minister. The Circuit Rider period lasted about 10 years.

We have a letter that Francis Edward wrote to his daughter, Clara, Jan. 14, 1903. Brian transcribed the letter (link to letter). It gives some insight into Francis Edward’s personality. The penmanship is very good but spelling, grammar and sentence structure are weak. The formality of his signature in stunning; maybe it shows considerable experience at signing formal or legal documents. He would have been about 70 years old at the time. The wandering nature of the letter shows some impatience and impulsiveness.