Cushman Family of Acushnet, MA

CUSHMAN (Acushnet family). For perhaps fifty years there has lived in what is now Acushnet and figured largely in the industrial life of the locality a branch of the ancient and historic Cushman family of the Old Colony, in the immediate family of the late Emery Cushman, whose early life was passed in Duxbury; himself the founder of an enterprise here in which he was succeeded by his son and the latter by his sons, all of whom contributed through the manufacturing plant to the material progress and welfare of their locality.

It will be remembered that Robert Cushman was one of the most active and influential men in all of the preliminary movements of the Pilgrims in going to Leyden and thence to New England, he the ancestor of the Cushman family here in question, the marriage of whose son into the Howland family further identifies it with the “Mayflower” party.

There follows the history and genealogy of this Acushnet Cushman family in chronological order from this first American ancestor.

Robert Cushman, a wool carder, of Canterbury, England, married (second) at Leyden, Holland, June 3, 1617, Mary, widow of Thomas Chingleton, of Sandwich, England. He and William Brewster were agents of the Leyden Church in negotiations for removal. He came to New England in the “Fortune,” in 1621, bringing with him his only son, Thomas. He returned to England on business of the Colony, and died there in 1626. He left his son Thomas in the care of Governor Bradford.

Thomas Cushman, son of Robert, born in February, 1608, in England, accompanied his father to Plymouth in 1621 in the ship “Fortune.” He became an important man here in church and colony. He married about 1635 Mary Allerton, of the “Mayflower,” 1620; and they lived together the long period of fifty-five years, she surviving him nearly ten years. Mr. Cushman was chosen and ordained elder of the Plymouth Church in 1649, and was forty-three years in that office. He died Dec. 11, 1691, aged nearly ninety-five years. The children of Mr. Cushman and wife were:

  1. Thomas, born in 1637
  2. Sarah
  3. Lydia
  4. Isaac, born in 1647-48
  5. Elkanah, born in 1651
  6. Feare, born in 1653
  7. Eleazer, born in 1656-57
  8. Mary

Thomas Cushman (2), born Sept. 16, 1637, married (first) Nov. 17, 1663, Ruth, daughter of John Howland, of the “Mayflower.” She died between May 25, 1672, and her husband’s remarriage, which occurred Oct. 16, 1679, when he married Abigail Fuller, of Rehoboth, and both were members of the church at Plympton. He lived on the west side of the highway that leads from the Plympton meeting-house to the north part of town, and “Colchester Brook” ran through his farm, which contained a large quantity of land. He died Aug. 23, 1726, aged eighty-nine years, and was interred in the Centre burying-ground at Plympton. His children were:

  1. Robert, born Oct. 4, 1664
  2. Job, born about 1680
  3. Bartholomew, born in 1684
  4. Samuel, born July 16, 1687
  5. Benjamin, born in 1691

Robert Cushman, born Oct. 4, 1664, married (first) Persis, who died Jan. 14, 1743-44, and at eighty years of age married (second) in February, 1744-45, Prudence Sherman, of Marshfield. He lived to be ninety-two years, eleven months, three days old. His children were:

  1. Robert, born July 2, 1698
  2. Ruth, born March 25, 1700
  3. Abigail, born July 3, 1701
  4. Hannah, born Dec. 25, 1704
  5. Thomas, born Feb. 14, 1706
  6. Joshua, born Oct. 14, 1708
  7. Jonathan, born July 28, 1712

Joshua Cushman, born Oct. 14, 1708, married (first) Jan. 2, 1733, Mary, born Dec. 6, 1706, daughter of Josiah Soule, of Duxbury, and (second) March 5, 1752, Deborah Ford, of Marshfield, born in 1718. Mr. Cushman settled in Duxbury, coming thither from Lebanon, Conn. His children were:

  1. Joseph, born in 1733
  2. Molly, born in 1736
  3. Joshua
  4. Cephas
  5. Soule
  6. Paul
  7. Apollos
  8. Ezra
  9. Consider
  10. Robert
  11. Mial
  12. Deborah

Joseph Cushman, born in 1733, married Elizabeth Sampson, of Middleboro, Mass., and lived in that town. He died in 1822, aged eighty-nine years. Their children were:

  1. George, born Jan. 7, 1759
  2. Hannah, born Nov. 8, 1761
  3. David, born in 1767
  4. David (2), born Dec. 22, 1774
  5. Joseph, who died at sea, unmarried
  6. Soule
  7. Mercy
  8. Abigail
  9. Lydia Soule
  10. Sarah, and Elizabeth or Betsey

David Cushman, born Dec. 22, 1774, married (first) April 18, 1799, Betsey Thomas, of Middleboro, Mass., born July 10, 1778. He married (second) a Miss Sampson. He lived in Duxbury, Mass. His children were:

  1. Lucy, born Dec. 28, 1799
  2. Elisha, born April 14, 1802
  3. Sally, born Aug. 16, 1804
  4. Sally (2), born in November, 1805
  5. David, born Sept. 24, 1807
  6. Cephas, born March 2, 1810
  7. George S., born June 25, 1812
  8. Emery, born July 6, 1814
  9. Joseph S., born Sept. 30, 1816
  10. Mial, born June 23, 1819
  11. Cephas (2), born Sept. 19, 1836

Emery Cushman, son of David, was born July 6, 1814, in Duxbury, Mass. Conditions surrounding his boyhood were such as to afford him but meagre school advantages, and at an early age he began learning the cabinet-maker’s trade. In 1840, when twenty-six years of age, he commenced the business of manufacturing wooden boxes at Providence, R. I., continuing at this pursuit there until 1857, when he removed to what is now Acushnet, this State. Here he built the dwelling house now standing on the west side of the Long Plain road of the “Parting Ways,” which he continued to make his home the remaining years of his life. In the rear of his residence stood his factory building.

With the rapidly increasing manufacture of cotton in and about New Bedford there came an increased demand for the product of Mr. Cushman, and it was not long ere his business outgrew his quarters and he purchased the Thomas Wood mill property to the northeast of his residence. He removed his business hither in the year 1874, and here he carried on operations until the time of his death.

Mr. Cushman was a man of large energy and tireless industry which, coupled with his rare good judgment and care in management and his straightforward course – through his honorable dealings – met with good success, he being abundantly prospered.

On June 2, 1853, Mr. Cushman was married to Caroline S., born Aug. 8, 1830, daughter of Barnabas and Phoebe Nye (Swift) Douglass and a direct descendant of John Douglass, a native of Scotland who came to this county and settled in Middleboro. Barnabas Douglass in early life was engaged in the merchant marine service. He later carried on a commission business at Savannah, Ga., but still later in life he retired to his farm in Rochester, Mass., where his death occurred.

Mr. Cushman for many years was a consistent member, as was his wife, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he an official in the church and generous toward its support.

The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Cushman were:

  1. Julia L. D., born Sept. 25, 1854
  2. Carrie D.
  3. Henry W.
  4. Emery E.

Of these Julia L. D. married Pardon T. Gardner and they had one child, Earl C, who was born Oct. 14,’ 1885; the mother died Jan. 6, 1887. Emery E., who was born Oct. 13, 1866, received a public school education, then took a business course at Bryant & Stratton’s business college, entered the factory of his father and for seventeen years was foreman there. He has since been engaged in the poultry business, dealing only in fine bred stock. He married in August, 1891, Deborah C, daughter of Horatio N. and Mary J. Wilbur, and since in 1896 has been established in a home of his own, which he built in that year and which is located on the Fairhaven road opposite the estate of Mr. Horatio N. Wilbur. Mr. Cushman has been actively identified with the affairs of Acushnet and a participant in the town’s business, having served as a member of the school committee and as its chairman and as a member of the board of health. One child, Mary, Wilbur, born Feb. 23, 1900, has blessed his home. Mr. Emery Cushman, Sr., died April 5, 1884, at his home in Acushnet, Mass., his wife surviving him many years and dying May 31, 1900.

Henry W. Cushman, son of Emery and Caroline S. (Douglass) Cushman, was born Feb. 20, 1859, in Acushnet, Mass., and there passed his lifetime. After his school days were over with, after having received a good common school education in the local schools, he entered the business of his father, assisting him in it and in time, after the death of the father, became his successor. His father, as stated in the foregoing, was a manufacturer of wooden boxes, and developed quite an extensive and profitable business, which the son aided him in very materially. He later carried the enterprise to still greater proportions, and by his straightforward course in business, through his close attention to his affairs and promptness in all business matters, attained for himself high standing in business circles and was prospered in his undertakings. His business grew to be the largest enterprise of its kind in southeastern Massachusetts.

On Nov. 20, 1885, Mr. Cushman was married to Frances R., daughter of Francis and Kate (Brady) Eldredge, of Fairhaven, Mass., and granddaughter of Capt. Ellis C. Eldredge, of that town, and to them came children:

  1. Henry E., born Sept. 7, 1886
  2. Emery, born Oct. 24, 1887
  3. Ruth, born Oct. 27, 1889
  4. Francis, born Oct. 10, 1895

Of these, Henry E. Cushman married Nov. 13, 1907, Bessie M. Bigney, and they have one child, Elizabeth, born Oct. 14, 1908; and Emery Cushman married June 2, 1909, Marion Downes, and they have one child,

  1. Florence Eldredge, born June 8, 1910

Mr. Cushman died May 12, 1904, at his home in Acushnet, Mass., in which community he was respected and esteemed; and since this event the business left by him has been carried on by his sons Henry and Emery in the interest of the heirs, it being incorporated in 1905 under the firm name of Henry W. Cushman Co. These young men, after receiving quite a liberal education in the excellent public schools of their home town and New Bedford, furthered their studies in the Military Academy at Worcester, Mass. They are worthily wearing the family name and sustaining its reputation.

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: containing historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. 3 Volumes. Beers & Chicago. 1912.

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