A.A. Cass

Ancestors, Legends & Time

How Carterville’s Cass Street got its name

Picture of Jeanne Newby

Jeanne Newby

June 5, 2024

Amos Armstrong Cass, a well known Carterville forefather, was born Nov. 20, 1841, in Walker County, Ga. His parents were James M. and Martha J. (Ryan) Cass, who hailed from Tennessee, where they had moved shortly after A.A. was born. He learned farming and stock dealing from his father. When the Civil War began, A.A. hopped on board with the Union Army after working hard to avoid joining the Confederate Army, as did many in the state of Tennessee.

Most of the battles Cass fought were on Tennessee ground: eastern Tennessee, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville. He also did battle in Lebanon, Mo. but returned to Nashville to engage in government service. When he was discharged from government service, he returned to east Tennessee and was almost captured by the guerrillas.

He had experienced being a prisoner a few months earlier but was only held for a few hours. And once before that, he was arrested by the United States troops but was personally released by Andrew Jackson (then governor of Tennessee) who sympathized with the Unionists of east Tennessee because of their loyalty. Before that, he had been arrested by the Confederate forces and held for a day and night, when he was released through the intervention of a Tennessee friend and neighbor, W.A. Daugherty, later of Carterville.

In later years, Cass found a quiet and harmless revenge for the Confederate captain who had arrested him. Cass was engaged as a deputy sheriff during the reconstruction period, and he had an occasion to arrest the Confederate captain who had held him in custody. It was a great taste of revenge for Cass.

After the close of the war, Cass engaged in work as a contractor and builder, which he continued until 1886, when he moved to Carterville. He continued working as a contractor but keeping his sights on the mining industry and investigating the mines. He was finally so overwhelmed with his knowledge of mining that he began to invest in properties in Oronogo, Carterville and Webb City. He was invested in such mines as: the Belle C., the Ella, M.B., the Myrtle D., the Cass, Moore & Co., the Gray Goose, the Mayflower and Argo mines, the Klondike, the Beulah C., and the Alpha. His sons, Walter and Carl worked with him in the investments and the mining. His daughters, Belle, Beulah and Lillie were stockholders.

Cass was a Democrat and a Southern Methodist. He was a member of the Mason Fraternity. He never took up the habit of smoking or drinking and always spoke as a gentleman, no foul language. He served on the Carterville School Board for eight years. During his term, he assisted in the building of two brick school buildings and an addition to the Central School Building. His knowledge and talent allowed the school to have the best of accommodations at a reduced cost.

A.A. Cass married a Tennessee lady, Sarah A. Hunt from Monroe County, Tenn., on Sept. 26, 1867. His oldest daughter, Ollie E., became the wife of M.V. James, a merchant and mining proprietor. She died in 1897. Walter W. was an expert miner in association with his father. Belle Beatrice went to school in Carterville. Lillian A. became the wife of O.H. Schoenhrr, a mining proprietor. Carl Clayton was a very capable miner. Beulah went to Webb City College after graduating from Carterville.

Amos Armstrong Cass was a Civil War veteran, a building contractor and a mining proprietor. He was a notable Carterville forefather, serving the city the best he knew how.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.