CUSHMAN (Taunton family). The Cushman family of Taunton here briefly reviewed, the family and lineage of the late Hon. Horatio Leonard Cushman, long one of the leading citizens and substantial men of Taunton, at one time the city’s chief executive officer, and who had served most efficiently in both branches of the city government, as alderman and councilman, and who in turn has been followed by his son, Seth Leonard Cushman, Esq., who for many years has been president of the Bristol County National Bank, is a branch of the family bearing the name of ancient Plymouth, which with its allied connections is one of the historic families of New England. Its progenitor, though of short life in New England, was one of the leading spirits in all the preliminary movements in both England and Holland incident to the coming of the “Mayflower” Pilgrims to New England, where his descendants soon allied themselves with those of the “Mayflower” passengers. There follow in brief some of the incidents in the lives of members of this Taunton family, and in those of their forefathers, in chronological order beginning with Robert Cushman, one of the leaders among the Pilgrims.

Discover your
family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

choose a state:
Start Now

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 was associated with William Brewster as agent 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. It is well known that Robert Cushman was among the eighteen or twenty persons left at Plymouth when the “Mayflower” made her final departure from England. When the Pilgrims came to Southampton from Holland he was there, having gone ahead of them to England. And he was among them when they set sail from that port, only to put back into Dartmouth. They started again and again returned, this time going into Plymouth, when they made their final departure. Robert Cushman was, therefore, a passenger on the “Mayflower” from the time she left Southampton until she left Plymouth. Governor Bradford says, “He” (meaning Christopher Martin) “was Governor in the bigger ship; and Master Cushman, Assistant.” At the bottom of one of the panels of the Forefathers’ Monument at Plymouth is this statement:

Robert Cushman, who chartered the May Flower and was active and prominent in securing the success of the Pilgrim Enterprise, came in the Fortune, 1621.

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. His gravestone on the old Burial Hill at Plymouth calls him “that precious servant of God.” He died Dec. 10, 1691, aged nearly eighty-four 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; and
  8. Mary.

Thomas Cushman (2), son of Elder Thomas, born in 1637, married (first) in 1664 Ruth, daughter of John Howland, and (second) in 1679 Abigail Fuller, of Rehoboth. He and his second wife were members of the Church at Plympton, of which he continued a worthy member through a long life. He lived to be eighty-nine years of age, dying in 1726. His children were:

  1. Robert, born in 1664 (born to the first marriage);
  2. Job, born probably about 1680;
  3. Bartholomew, born in 1684;
  4. Samuel, born in 1687; and
  5. Benjamin, born in 1691.

enjamin Cushman, son of Thomas (2), born in 1691, married (first) in 1712 Sarah Eaton, who died in Plympton, and he married (second) in 1738-39 Mrs. Sarali Bell. He and both his wives were members of the church at Plympton. He lived on a part of his father’s farm, in a home on the south side of or near to Colchester brook. He died in Plympton in 1770. His children were:

  1. Jabez, born in 1713;
  2. Caleb, in 1715;
  3. Solomon, in 1717;
  4. Jerusha, in 1719;
  5. Benjamin, in 1722;
  6. Sarah, in 1725;
  7. Abigail, in 1727;
  8. Thomas, in 1730;
  9. Jerusha (2), in 1732; and
  10. Huldah, in 1735.

Jabez Cushman, son of Benjamin, born Aug. 11, 1713, married a Padelford, and their children were:

  1. Zebedee, born Feb. 17, 1740, in Middleboro, Mass.;
  2. Hannah;
  3. Samuel, born April 6, 1742;
  4. Phebe;
  5. Sarah;
  6. Huldah;
  7. Molly; and
  8. Jabez, born July 9, 1756, in Middleboro, Massachusetts.

Zebedee Cushman, son of Jabez, born Feb. 17, 1740, in Middleboro, Mass., married Sarah Padelford, of Taunton, Mass., and they lived in that town, he dying there in March, 1833. Their children were:

  1. Apollos, born Aug. 9, 1782;
  2. Betsey, June 9, 1785;
  3. Sarah, Feb. 28, 1788;
  4. Selina, May 25, 1790;
  5. Ann, Nov. 5, 1793;
  6. Christianna, Oct. 18, 1795; and
  7. Alvah, Oct. 10, 1797, in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Alvah Cushman, son of Zebedee, born Oct. 10, 1797, in Taunton, Mass., made his home in his native town. On Nov. 27, 1818, he married Sally Leonard, daughter of William Leonard. She was a strong and forceful character, and her influence was a potent factor in the upbringing of her children. These children were:

  1. David, born July 15, 1820;
  2. Horatio Leonard, Oct. 22, 1826;
  3. Sally M., July 29, 1830 (married Henry Moore Preebrey);
  4. Christianna L., Jan. 7, 1832;
  5. William, Aug. 28, 1834;
  6. Harriet F., Oct. 14, 1837;
  7. William H., Nov. 2, 1839.

Horatio Leonard Cushman, son of Alvah, born Oct. 22, 1826, in Taunton, Mass., married there in 1847 Loretta Horton Richmond, and one child, a son, Seth Leonard, was born to them Aug. 13, 1849. Mrs. Loretta Horton (Richmond) Cushman was born Jan. 2, 1830, daughter of Seth and Lydia (Bunn) Richmond, she a daughter of Nathaniel Bunn, of Dighton, Mass., and he a direct descendant of John Richmond, one of the early settlers of Taunton, from whom his lineage is through Edward, Josiah, Benjamin and Seth Richmond.

Horatio L. Cushman’s early days were spent at hard work instead of in school. He had thrift, economy and toil as his only inheritance. For years as a young man he worked in Sproat’s sawmill, which occupied a site on Winthrop street. He then tried various branches of industry, and finally took up the leathering of tacks, when such were popular, and for years carried on that business. As that industry declined he gave attention to a machine for making shoe buttons, and, perfecting it, carried on that line of manufacturing successfully for years, under the firm name of H. L. Cushman & Co. He was always a hard and faithful worker. Mr. Cushman was interested in city politics, and in 1876 he was councilman from Ward One; in 1877 and 1878 alderman from the same ward, and in 1883 was mayor of the city. Into all of these offices he carried his unswerving fidelity to duty, and did not permit himself to be a mere figurehead. He will always be recalled as a good citizen, a faithful public servant, an honest man of business and a warm and genial friend. His rugged adherence to what he believed to be right, his strong personality and his energetic advocacy of what he believed to be true, always won him friends and compelled those who differed from him to respect his sturdy maintenance of his opinions. He always was found on the side of morality, and was ready to labor for all that tended to the good of the public and the home.

The death of Mr. Cushman occurred Sept. 2, 1894, and the city council of Taunton, in joint convention, Sept. 13th following, passed the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas: For the second time in the history of our city government we are called upon to note the death of one who has held the office of mayor of the city. Horatio Leonard Cushman, who died the 2d inst., was a member of the city council of this city in 1876; in 1877 he was elected to the board of aldermen and re-elected in 1878. At the election held in 1882, he was chosen mayor for the ensuing year, 1883. having been the eighth in succession. He served on the committee on printing during his first term in the common council in 1877, it being his first term in the upper board. He was chosen chairman of the committee on public property, printing and sidewalks, and was a member of the important committee on highways. In 1878 he was chairman of the committee on public property, printing, and a member of the committee on highways. In what-ever position he was placed his influence was decided and always in the direction of what he believed to be right and just. He was a true representative of old New England sterling honesty and he carried his views into all his public and private life. Nothing was done by him for policy, the sole and paramount question being “Is it right, is it honest”; and when convinced of the righteousness of his views human entreaty could not cause him to swerve – he went right on without fear to the consummation of his undertaking. No one had a keener understanding of human motives, no one had more charity for the needy and unfortunate. Underneath a manner often severe and imperious, he had as tender a regard for the unfortunate as the most sensitive woman. He was a man from the people and of the people. He knew what Abraham Lincoln called “the common people,” and was alive to their needs, and no political or civic honors could have alienated him from the ranks whence he sprang.

It is appropriate then, in view of the public services of the deceased, that at this time and in this place, where he served so well, such official action should be taken as will convey to the family and friends of the deceased, a token of the appreciation in which he was held.

Resolved, That the Honorable Mayor and City Council in joint convention assembled, hereby tender to the members of the family of the late Horatio Leonard Cushman their sincere sympathy with them in their bereavement.

Resolved, That the preamble and resolution be dijly entered upon the records of the city, a copy furnished to the widow and son of the deceased, and for publication in the daily papers of the city.

The following tribute to Mr. Cushman is quoted from “Rhymes of the Local Philosopher,” by Henry W. Colby, Esq.:

A Friendly and Official Tribute at City Hatx. Hon. H. L. C.

“An honest man’s the noblest work of God”; Thus runs my thought, nor do T feel inclined

To seek expression of a loftier kind, To praise the friend now resting ‘neath the sod. ‘Twould ill become one who has known him well,

To deck with fulsome flattery his grave; When simple mention of his name should tell

In quick response the compliments we crave. A manly, open hand, that never failed

To grasp its duty, be it stern or mild; A stout, courageous heart that never quailed,

And yet, withal, as tender as a child. He was my friend, this man, and I may dare

To say to others – strangers, it may be – That there are many we could better spare,

And few, alas, from weaknesses more free. Scan through his record made within these walls, –

True to an oath not for one hour forgot, And eye of keenest searching never falls

Upon a page or line that marks a blot. Remembering him whose life has passed away,

And saddened by the thoughts that memories lend,

Than this, no higher tribute can I pay – “A just official, citizen and friend.”

Seth Leonard Cushman, son of Horatio Leonard and Loretta H. (Richmond), was born in Taunton Aug. 13, 1849. His education was received in the public schools of Taunton, and he graduated from the high school in 1866. He entered the employ of the firm of 1ST. H. Skinner & Co. in that same year, soon after his graduation, as assistant book-keeper, under Mr. Colby, and continued there until 1869. In August of the latter year he entered the Bristol County National Bank as teller, under its then president, Theodore Dean. He continued in this position Until 1881, when he succeeded Mr. A. C. Place as cashier, which position he held until 1887, when he was elected president of the bank, and he has continued as such to the present time. As indicative of its growth since his connection with it as teller, cashier and president, it is interesting to note that in 1869 the deposits were about $176,000, and now (1909) about $900,000. In 1892 the old brick building was remodeled into the present excellent and commodious bank and office building. Unlike his father Mr. Cushman has taken no active part in public matters, giving his time and attention undivided to the business of the bank.

In Masonic matters Mr. Cushman has taken a considerable interest and is a member and past master of Charles H. Titus Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Taunton; St. Mark’s Chapter, R. A. M.; New Bedford Council, R. & S. M.; and St. John’s Commandery, K. T., of Providence, R. I. He has also been district deputy of the Twenty-third Masonic district. He has been treasurer and superintendent of Mount Pleasant cemetery since 1879, and his interest in it has no doubt contributed largely in making it the handsome burial place it is to-day. He is also a member of Winthrop Club.

Mr. Cushman was married July 11, 1871, to Mary Frances Taylor, born Aug. 9, 1844, daughter of Nicholas and Prudence (Gray) Taylor, of Fall River. They have one son, Elton Gray, born Dec. 25, 1879, who graduated from Harvard University in 1902, and from Harvard Law School in 1905, and is now a practicing lawyer at Taunton; he married Frances, daughter of Stephen A. and Emily (Burt) Jenks, of Barrington, Rhode Island.

William H. Cushman, son of Alvah and Sally (Leonard), was born in Taunton Nov. 2, 1839, and spent his entire life in his native place. For many years he was a nail maker with his brother David, and he was well known and beloved by all. He was a member of Alfred Baylies Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and held office in it for many years. He died at Taunton Aug. 27, 1901. He married Joanna Harlow, born Oct. 12, 1840, daughter of John B. and Rebecca (Reed) Paine, the mother being a daughter of Levi Reed and Lucy (Doten), of Plymouth. Mrs. Cushman is now a resident of New Bedford. To this union were born children as follows:

  1. Henry Presbrey, born Oct. 8, 1860, who died March 9, 1861;
  2. Herbert Elsworth, born Jan. 1, 1862;
  3. Albert Francis, born March 21, 1864, who died Nov. 17, 1884;
  4. William Alvah, born March 30, 1871, who resides in New Bedford (he is connected with the Southern Massachusetts Telephone Company);
  5. Jennie Edith, born Jan. 12, 1874, who married Sept. 8, 1897, Lewis Bright Barker, now of Central Falls, R. L, and they have one son, Winston Cushman (born Dec. 25, 1899);
  6. Everett Morton, born Feb. 16, 1876 – superintendent of the Holmes Manufacturing Company, New Bedford, who married July 19, 1905, Adelaide Susie Miner, and they have one son, Robert Miner (born Oct. 16, 1906);
  7. Grace Reed, born Jan. 31, 1881, who died Aug. 29, 1882; and
  8. Bessie May, born Feb. 24, 1883, who married July 6, 1910, Francis N. Smith and resides in New Bedford.

Herbert Elsworth Cushman, son of William H. and Joanna, was born in Taunton, Mass., Jan. 1, 1862, and was educated in the public and high schools of his native place, graduating from the latter in the class of 1880. Immediately after leaving school he entered the employ of the Taunton Locomotive Works as clerk, remaining there one year. From there he went to the Williams Manufacturing Company, of Taunton, as head bookkeeper, where he remained for a period of about six) years. In 1887 he took up his residence in New Bedford, where he became the selling agent of the Morse Twist Drill & Machine Company, and he remained as such until he was elected into the office of treasurer and general manager in 1902, succeeding Mr. Gideon Allen, Jr., who became president. This position he still holds.

Mr. Cushman is a director of the First National Bank; trustee of the New Bedford Institution for Savings; a director of the Firemen’s Mutual Insurance Company of Providence; and was president for 1908 and 1909 of the New Bedford Board of Trade. He is also a director of the Morse Twist Drill & Machine Company, and the New Bedford Foundry & Machine Company. Fraternally he is a member of Alfred Baylies Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; St. Mark’s Chapter, R. A. M, at Taunton; New Bedford Council, R. & S. M.; and St. John’s Commandery, K. T., of Providence. Socially he is a member of the Wamsutta and Country Clubs of New Bedford; of the Engineer and Machinery Clubs of New York City; and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is also a member of both the Old Colony Historical Society, of Taunton, and the old Dartmouth Historical Society of New Bedford. His religious connection is with the Unitarian (First Congregational) Church of New Bedford.

On Jan. 22, 1901, Mr. Cushman married Anna Russell Taber, daughter of William C. (deceased) and Sarah A. W. Taber. They have had three children:

  1. Mary Allerton, born Nov. 9, 1901, who died Nov. 12, 1901;
  2. Sally (christened Sarah), born Sept. 30, 1902; and
  3. Eleanor Jarvis, born Nov. 28, 1905.