Gold Rush Queen

The Extraordinary Life of Nellie Cashman

By (author): Thora Kerr Illing
ISBN 9781771511599
Softcover | Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 7.5 in
224 Pages

About the Book

A biography of the extraordinary Nellie Cashman, a well-loved miner, entrepreneur and philanthropist who lived and worked in the roughest boomtowns of the West in the late-nineteenth century.

At a time when well-bred women wore tight corsets and entertained each other at tea, Nellie Cashman (1845–1925) was trekking for hundreds of miles through blizzard conditions to deliver food and supplies to trapped miners in Northern BC.

An Irish immigrant, Cashman travelled from Boston to San Francisco in search of opportunity. She followed the mining boomtowns, all the way from California to northern BC, and Arizona to Alaska opening up restaurants and boarding houses, and staking mining claims. She was friends with the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday during her years in Tombstone, and was known among them for her kind heart and charitable acts. This biography is a fresh look at the fascinating life of an underappreciated historical character.

About the Author(s)

Thora Kerr Illing is a former journalist and librarian. She immigrated to Canada as a young woman and fell in love with the space, the fjords, and the forests of the west. Now retired, she lives in Sidney, BC, and loves travel, books, nature and animals.


“This breezy, readable account is more than just an interesting biography, it’s an arresting social history of the gold mania that shaped B.C.” —Vancouver Sun

Gold Rush Queen is certainly worth reading. Victoria can claim Nellie Cashman as one of its own, and this biography will make her accomplishments known to a wider range of readers.” —Dave Obee, Times Colonist

“An attractive volume that offers the casual reader a well-written and engaging overview of the story of Cashman’s life and career . . . short, lively, and highly readable . . . This is a book that, like Cashman herself will find a welcome home on both sides of the international border and in half a dozen provinces and states.” —The Ormsby Review

“An entertaining and informative read . . . a well-researched glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman who wasn’t afraid of taking chances.” —Canada’s History