The Cushman family in New England dates from the year 1621, the first after the landing of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower, when Robert Cushman, who was a prominent leader and organizer of the Plymouth Colony, brought from England the earliest recruits and supplies to the wasted and famishing settlement.
A century and a half later Solomon Cushman, a descendant of Robert, in the sixth generation, born at Plympton, Mass., in 1745, having married Sarah Curtis, daughter of Simeon Curtis, at Lebanon, Conn., in 1768, removed to Norwich, probably in company with the Curtis family.
Solomon Cushman (afterward known as Captain Solomon) was in those days a famous hunter and marksman, the terror of bears and catamounts. He once shot and killed a deer at a distance of seventy-two rods 1. In the war of the Revolution he served three years as lieutenant in the Norwich militia in the campaign of 1777 against Burgoyne, and the following two years on the northern frontier as captain of a company of Rangers in the regiment of Colonel Timothy Bedel of Haverhill, N. H. His health was much broken as a result of his service in the army. In 1784 he removed to Tunbridge, Vt., where he died in 1799, at the age of fifty-four. His son, Benjamin H. Cushman, born in Norwich, recently died at Tunbridge, upwards of ninety years old, and the father of twelve children.
Three years after the removal of Captain Solomon Cushman to Tunbridge, another Solomon Cushman, the fifth in descent from Robert Cushman, the Pilgrim ancestor, came to Norwich from Willington, Conn., with his family. He was already a man of advanced years, and a portion only of his large family of grown up children seems to have accompanied him to his new home in Vermont. Of three sons who came, Job and Solomon, Jr., after some years’ residence in Norwich (where Solomon married Charlotte Vincent), removed to the state of New York. Oliver, the remaining son, married Maria C. Thomas of Lebanon, N. H., in 1795, became a prosperous farmer and reared a family of eleven children. He died in 1852 aged eighty-three. His son, Oliver, Jr., who married Sophia Tilden, daughter of Timothy Tilden, in 1839, occupied the paternal homestead near the banks of Connecticut River.
Joseph Cushman, a younger brother of Solomon, Sr., came to Norwich about the same time and settled in the western part of the town. He had previously served four years in the Revolutionary army, and had been present at Monmouth and other important battles. He died here in 1848, at the age of eighty-nine, having received a pension of $96 a year for many years. He married Tabitha Johnson, daughter of Captain William Johnson, of Willington, Conn., in 1785, a sister of Seth, Calvin, William, James and John Johnson, all early settlers of Norwich and four of these also fellow soldiers in the Revolutionary struggle. Mrs. Cushman died in 1856, aged eighty-eight years. Of the descendants of their four children, a granddaughter only, Mrs. Susan Ann Davis, widow of Oscar P. Davis, who died in Andersonville prison in 1864, survives in town.