Jonathan Cass

Captain Jonathan Cass (1750-1830), 2nd Regiment, N.H. Continental Line – Original Member

Jonathan Cass was born October 29, 1753 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He enlisted the day after the Battle of Lexington. He was commissioned as an Ensign on November 8, 1776 in the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment, Continental Line. He was promoted to a Lieutenancy in James Gray’s Company of the 3rd New Hampshire on August 4, 1777. He contracted Small Pox in January 1778 while at Valley Forge. He was promoted was transferred and promoted to Captain in the 2nd New Hampshire on December 8, 1782. He participated in all of the campaigns of the New Hampshire Line and was elected an Original Member of the New Hampshire Society of the Cincinnati on 18 Nov 1783 at Folsom Tavern in Exeter, New Hampshire. He served as the New Hampshire Society’s first Assistant Treasurer from 1783 to 1794.

After he returned at the end of the war, Captain Cass married Mary “Mollie” Gilman on December 20, 1781 in Exeter, New Hampshire. Mollie was the daughter of Theophilus and Deborah (Webster) Gilman. She was born in Exeter on August 6, 1759 died on August 13, 1834 at the age of 71 in Muskingum, Ohio. Captain Cass moved from Exeter to Boscawen and built the first house west of Blackwater River in New Hampshire and pursued his trades for some time.

On October 20, 1786 he accepted a commission in the army raised for the defense of the Western Frontier. This earned him the rank of Major in the 3rd Regiment of the Army of the United States. He commanded Fort Hamilton, in Ohio and resigned his post on February 15, 1801. His portrait featured on this page shows him in his uniform as a Major from this time period.

The new U. S. federal government could afford to pay its Revolutionary War veterans only part of their salary in cash. Jonathan Cass got the rest of what Congress owed him by taking part in a drawing in Philadelphia. He chose 4,000 acres of prime land in the Muskingum River Valley in the new State of Ohio where he became one of this area’s first settlers. He arrived at his new property near the Indian village of Wakatomica. This village developed into the town of Dresden, Ohio. He died on August 14, 1830 at age 77. Jonathan’s body was moved to the Dresden Cemetery in 1920.

Jonathan’s daughter Polly Cass (1788-1864) married  Joseph Fitch Munro (1774-1847) son of fellow New Hampshire member Josiah Munro.

He was the father of Lewis Cass, the United States’ 14th Secretary of War and the 22nd Secretary of State.

Sources: J. F Everhart, 1794. History of Muskingum County, Ohio, with illustrations and biographical sketches of prominent men and pioneers (Columbus, 1882), 352; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army(Baltimore, 1914); Frederic Kidder, History of the First New Hampshire Regiment in the War of the Revolution (Albany, 1868) 120; Selected Wartime Service Records of Captain Jonathan Cass.