Just ask Leonard

By: 
Bri Brasher

“Everyone you meet has something valuable to teach you” 

– Anonymous 

By Bri Brasher 

 

In over a year of knowing and spending time with Leonard Cash, I continue to learn more than I ever imagined. Leonard’s knowledge is detailed, vast and seemingly endless, which I’ll admit is sometimes intimidating and a bit overwhelming. Even so, his passion and love of history is contagious, and I keep going back week after week to write story after story. 

In my time with Leonard, he’s made me feel like a Newcastle native. Each meeting, he saunters into his second home at the library with his carefully organized folders in hand, nearly bursting at the seams with stories to tell. Prominent people of Newcastle’s past and the buildings that make up Newcastle’s downtown all have a story, many of which are stories I can now tell. Leonard delights in teaching me — and anyone else interested — all he knows about Newcastle and its community, and the History on Main series is a great outlet for his knowledge. 

The series grew from an idea to retell a few bits of history to a fruitful project that keeps on giving. Last week, Leonard’s hard work on the series paid off when he received a Wyoming State Historical Society award at the society’s annual luncheon in Douglas. 

“I didn’t think this would turn into this big of project,” Leonard admitted. “It’s really amazed me how many people from out of town come in and tell me how much they enjoy them (the articles). One of the girls at my class reunion last weekend (Newcastle High School class of 1958) said it’s so fun to go back and recall all of those memories.”

Cash and I received the First Place Activities Award for our work writing the History on Main series. While I was unable to attend the luncheon, Cash and many of his family members made the trip to celebrate his accomplishment. Awards such as this are not a first for Cash, though he says each is special and cherished just as much as the last. 

So far, Cash has won eight awards from the Weston County Chapter of the Wyoming State Historical Society — many of which also received statewide recognition — nine volunteer awards and two L.C. Bishop awards. He was also nominated for the News Letter Journal’s Person of the Year in 2017. 

“I’m proud of those L.C. Bishop ones because not everybody gets those!” Leonard said of his prestigious awards. 

Leonard’s accolades go to show that his memories and records are valued and relied upon by many, and I am lucky enough to hear them firsthand. His research and preservation efforts extend from placing historical markers around Newcastle to local and familial genealogy, the history of Cambria and the Salt Mine, and information on the Texas trail. 

We all have so much left to glean from Leonard. Because of that, I’ve learned to patiently listen to whatever he has to share and to furiously type when he ventures out of his file notes to tell a story from memory. 

After all, who needs a time machine when you have him around? Just ask Leonard. He’ll gladly take you back to wherever you’d like to go — to meet whomever you’d like to meet.

So, we’ll continue to write and document Newcastle’s history. We just ask you to please continue to read the History on Main series each week, share your own memories and photos, and be sure to “just ask Leonard” if your curiosity hits. 

You’ll strike gold.

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