Neal was born in 1926 to parents Maude Jean (Scheuer) and Neal Marshall Cassady. His mother died when he was 10 and he was raised by his alcoholic father in Denver, Colorado. Neal lived on the streets and had a nomadic life where he was frequently in trouble with the law for petty crime and drugs.
In 1946, Neal met Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs in New York City and became a legendary member of the Beat Generation. Neal was immortalized in Kerouac's book On the Road as the character Dean Moriarty. Cassady was arrested for selling marijuana in 1958 and spent two years in San Quentin Prison. After he got out, he joined Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and drove the Bus named "Furthur" in the summer of 1964. You were either on the Bus or off the Bus. Their adventures were chronicled by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
He died on February 4,1968 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico after passing out on the railroad tracks while walking home from a party. The cause of death was exposure, although drugs and alcohol may have been involved.  
Cassady was a writer in his own right. He was the author of The First Third, recollections of his adventures with Kerouac, and Grace Beats Karma, a selection of his letters from prison. A long-lost letter that Cassady wrote to Jack Kerouac in 1950 was found in the archives of the Golden Goose Press which were sold at auction by Christie's on June 16, 2016 for $21,250.
There are many references to Cassady and Kerouac in music and literature. The King Crimson album Beat is an homage to the Beat Generation and features a song called "Neal and Jack and Me."  Robert Anton Wilson created a character for one of his plays called Kerouacidy, a composite of Kerouac and Cassady.
John Perry Barlow (RIP February 8, 2018) and Bob Weir wrote a song called "Cassidy" that was performed by the Grateful Dead. The Cassidy in the title was the name of a child of a Grateful Dead associate, but also refers to Neal Cassady. Here is a sample of the lyrics:
"Lost now on the country miles in his Cadillac. I can tell by the way you smile, he is rolling back. Come wash the nighttime clean, come grow the scorched ground green. Blow the horn, and tap the tambourine. Close the gap of the dark years in between. You and me, Cassidy."     
1930 US Census:
1940 US Census:
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
Neal is 20 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 20 degrees from Katy Jurado and 21 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.