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Notes for Robert Woodward Cushman and Elizabeth Delahoy

1843 Robert Woodward Cushman and Elizabeth Delahoy were married by Rev. Dr. Sharp.

1850 4th Ward of Washington, D.C. in a French Seminary: Robert W. Cushman (age 50), a teacher, Eliza (age 37), and Ella (age 4) with teacher Zenas Richards (age 35), Minerva Richards (age 34), Emilie Arline (age 32) and 19 young women. Eliza's son Frederick Billing Miles is not in the household. [1]

1860 In the U.S. census Robert W. Cushman (age 60), Baptist clergyman born in Maine, and his wife Eliza (age 48), gentlewomen born in England, lived in South Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts with Clara W. Cushman, public school teacher born in Pennsylvania, Ella (14), Eliza Darwing (38), servant born in Ireland, John Madan (19), farm laborer born in Ireland, Charlotte Chorsby (70), gentlewomen born in England. Chorsby could be Thorsby as this is Eliza Delahoy Billing Miles Cushman's aunt, Charlotte Omer Thoresby visiting from England. [2]

1865 In the Massachusetts state census on May 1, Robert W. Cushman, age 60, clergyman born in Maine, lived in South Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, with [his wife] Eliza, age 50, born in England, [their daughter] Ella, age 18, born in Massachusetts, Charlotte Thorsby, widow, age 76, born in England, Ann Robert, age 30, born in England, and George Randall, age 14, born in Massachusetts. [3]

1868 The Index to the Probate Records of Middlesex County, Massachusetts lists Robert W. Cushman, residence South Reading, Will number 30126.

1880 Eliza Cushman (age 68) lived in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts with Samuel A. Davis (age 42), physician. and his wife Ella C. (age 33). Eliza's parents are listed as born in France. [4]

Research Notes:

The Genealogy of the Cushmans [5] includes a biography of Robert Woodward Cushman:

"Robert Woodward Cushman was a watchmaker & jeweler; clergyman & teacher.
His father, who was a shipmaster, was lost in a hurricane at sea, when young Robert was only five years of age; and this sad event was followed, a few years later, by the death of his mother. Thus early left an orphan, the period of youth was passed in various mechanical employments, and in the possession of very limited means of education.
At the age of 14, unwilling to be longer dependent, and feeling that he must prepare for an honest living, he went, on the injudicious recommendation of a relative, into the interior, and into apprenticeship in the cabinet making business. He soon found it a bad more; for neither his physical nor mental organization seemed to be fitted for that occupation. He remained there two years and returned to his friends.
He next selected a more suitable and far more agreeable business,--that of watch-making and jewelry,--which would probably have been his employment through life, had not aspirations for a higher work induced him to commence a course of study. How mysterious and yet how grand are the ways of Providence! In the very boy, while busily engaged in learning to adjust the minute wheels of the watch, we find the germ of the future man, who is to be instrumental in bringing many into "the way of salvation."
At the age of 16, the influence of religious truth awakened him to a new life. Deeply impressed by the conviction that it was his duty to preach the Gospel, he at once carried his new formed resolution into effect,--going from house to house, exhorting the people to repent. The discouragements of friends and pecuniary want however repressed his youthful zeal and again induced him to resume a mechanical occupation. But so deep was the impression that a "dispensation of the Gospel" had been committed to him, that every leisure moment was devoted to study, and soon after a systematic course of preparation was commenced.
His academic studies were pursued, partly with the Rev. S. Glover, at Kingston, Plymouth Co MA, Plymouth Co MA, and partly at Lincoln Academy, New Castle, Me. He was graduated at Columbian College, D.C., under the celebrated Dr. Staughton, in 1826. He felt that injustice was done him at the time of his graduation, in the assignments of his class. But subsequently circumstances gave him an opportunity for a most noble revenge. It is a singular incident that the President should have been dependent upon him for his character, which the world is now reading from his monumental marble. At his death, a monument was erected to his memory by those who had been his students, and the inscription that was furnished by the subject of this article was selected from all that were presented by his admiring pupils throughout the country, and is now telling the story of his greatness to the thousands that, from all parts of the world, visit the beautiful "Laurel Hill Cemetery" on the banks of the Schuylkill.
In preparing for and pursuing his studies at College, he was subject to great trials and difficulties. He had not "friends and wealth to aid him," but supported himself by his own industry. By repairing watches, teaching school, acting the part of Tutor and serving as Proctor in College, preaching as a Missionary under burning summer suns, in vacations, in the South, and during term time, he was enabled to pay his college expenses. when he graduated, he had preached 273 sermons, partly in the stated supply of the pulpit, and partly in missionary services during vacations.
When he commenced a preparation for a professional life, although surrounded with difficulties and discouragements, he resolved that nothing should be wanting on his part to stand high as a scholar and a preacher--to be a useful and good man. He knew well that "what man had done he could do." With such determination, we can easily account for the distinguished ability and prominence of his subsequent life.
Of his college life, we adopt the language of another:
"He was one of the first graduates of Columbian College. He took a high stand in his class, and was second to none in native talents and scholastic attainments. His power of independent thought and self-reliance united to his ardent devotion to study and untiring perseverance, gave promise, at the commencement of his course, of the eminence which he has since attained.
"He was noticed, while in college, for his strict conscientiousness and punctuality in the performance of every duty, both as a student and as a Christian, and for the propriety and manly dignity of his bearing. His piety, which was deep and ardent, manifested itself in active efforts to do good to those with whom, in the providence of God, he had been placed, and who came within the circle of his influence. He established a prayer meeting for the neighborhood, which was sustained by himself and his fellow-students as long as he remained in college, and was continued after he left. He visited often among the poor and afflicted, and being himself deeply alive to the blessings of kindness and sympathy, he was eminently fitted to impart to them kindly and spiritual consolation. The death of his intimate friend and roommate [Footnote: Ira D. Love of New York, a brother of Rev. Horace T. Love, late Missionary in Greece], which occurred during the last year of his course, was a deep affliction; and yet viewed in the light of a blessing, inasmuch as it had an effect to deepen the tone of his piety and greatly quicken his progress in the divine life."
At the time of his graduation he selected for the subject of his declamation, one of the most abstruse and difficult in the range of human learning. It was entitled "The Influence of Metaphysical Speculation on Force of Character." It is decidedly characteristic. We give one or two extracts:
"By metaphysical speculation, however, we would not be understood to mean the frequent perusal of metaphysical authors; for the most natural, and very frequently, the only effect of this, is a dependence on the fallible memory for a knowledge of what has been said, on a particular subject, by fallible men; and, consequently, a reverence for their authority which is directly hostile to independence of thought and of action--an intellectual infirmity, which is sure to betray itself in servility of demeanor, and a perpetual reiteration of names as to the sanction of sentiments. But we mean a habit of withdrawing the attention from the phenomena of the material world, and fixing it on the subjects of our own consciousness; of observing the phenomena, and analyzing the powers of the mind; and, generally, of prosecuting extended trains of reasoning on every description of abstract truths which does not, like mathematics, draw the mind into a dependence on foreign aid.
"Such alone is the character which exhibits the perfect stature, and is worthy of the high and honorable appellation of a MAN--a character so essential to true greatness, that without it, none ever deserved, or ever acquired an immortality of fame.
"Does the love of honor, ye votaries of science, burn in your bosoms and prompt you to aspire to a more durable renown than that which is lighted to its grave by the same revolving sun that shines on its birth? While you contemplate the facility and the brevity of your terrestrial existence, do you feel a high-born spirit within you, pointing for a name and a praise among the descending generations of our race? Do you feel that the hymn of blessing and the tear of gratitude, from men who shall live in centuries yet unborn, would be a reward for a life of arduous exertion in the cause of human happiness, then dismiss every propensity to an abject and undiscriminating reverence for example and opinion; and learn to exercise your own understandings on every question presented to you, whether of sentiment or of action; think vigorously and clearly before you act, ever nobly doing, though at the peril of solitude in your opinions, to think for yourselves.
"Let your path be an onward career of duty; your panoply a conscious rectitude of purpose; let your guide be reason, and your lamp be truth; and you may take as your motto, 'while life remains nil, nil desperandum.'"
In the month of August, 1826, Mr. C. was ordained at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., as pastor of the Baptist Church at that place, which he sustained on the small salary of four hundred dollars per annum.
Finding himself reduced to the alternative of either seeking a larger sphere, or resorting to some means, aside from his ministerial duties, for meeting the deficiency of support, he decided to relinquish the pastoral charge and for a season engage in teaching, without remitting pulpit duty, hoping, in the course of a few years, to supply himself with the means by which, on returning to the pastoral office, he might eke out a deficient salary.
The city of Philadelphia presented itself to him as the locality where, without taking a pastoral charge, he would never want an "open door" for the exercise of the ministry. With an intellect of the highest order, cultivated by years of severe literary training, he had now attained the stature of intellectual manhood, and was cordially welcomed as one of the happy company formerly under the instruction of Rev. Dr. Staughton of that city. In accordance with his purpose, his first object was to establish a "Young Ladies' Institute," of a high order. In the prosecution of this cherished purpose, continued with untiring perseverance, his labors were ultimately crowned with complete success, his school being second to none of its class in the city.
But, with all his talent as a teacher, and his success in that profession, his most judicious friends were of opinion that his qualifications for the pulpit were still greater.
With all the toils and cares of the seminary he was seldom silent on the Sabbath, and elicited from all sects admiration for his clear and impressive manner of exhibiting Divine truth. To all this it may be added that his pen was by no means idle. He was induced to assume the editorial management of a religious newspaper called the "Christian Gazette," which office he filled with distinguished ability.
This incident was connected with a series of endeavors on which he entered immediately on his settlement in Philadelphia, for bringing to a close a division which had unhappily existed for many years in the denomination in that region, and which had led to the establishment of party papers; the "Religious Narrator," the organ of one of the associations, and the "World," the organ of the other. Refusing to identify himself with either party, and cordially serving both, he had the happiness to see a reconciliation effected. The churches with which the difficulty originated, the associations into which it had spread, and the denomination at large, acquiesced in the merging of the papers above named in one, to be documented by him. This same difficulty extended through all the benevolent operations of the denomination, but was particularly prejudicial to its educational interests. He therefore could not refuse his service, although gratuitous and superadded to this already oppressive duties of the seminary and the ministry; and it is among the most gratifying recollections of his past life, that he was able to conduct that paper with impartiality, such as met the acceptance of all. Its circulation increased with great rapidity, and the extent to which its editorials were copied by the papers of the country, was gratifying evidence that the "Christian Gazette" was regarded with favor beyond the denomination to whose interests it was more especially dedicated. To be a peacemaker has always been his highest ambition, and he has often remarked, that "one of the happiest moments of his life was that in which, after a three days' debate in an educational convention, he had been enabled to unite the parties in a compromise, and was hailed by one of the most active as 'the Henry Clay of the denomination!'"
The following interesting account of his residence in Philadelphia was communicated by Rev. J. H. Kennard of that city:
"The Rev. Robert W. Cushman, D. D., located in Philadelphia, in the year 1818. He received a very cordial welcome by all who had formerly known him as one of a happy company of young men, who were students under the beloved and distinguished Dr. Wm. Staughton, the successful instructor of many of the most talented and useful ministers in the Baptist denomination.
"With an intellect of the highest order cultivated by years of severe literary training, diligent reading and research, he had now attained the full stature of an intellectual man, and was thoroughly furnished unto every good work.
"Under a full conviction of the importance of female education, his first object was the establishment of a Young Ladies' Institute of a high order. In the prosecution of this cherished purpose, with patient toil, he was eminently successful. His school increased [Footnote: "The Institution increased slowly for the first two or three years. A sense of propriety held me back from soliciting patronage, and the first year of teaching brought me but $290; the second but little over $700; and the third but little over $1000. So that at the end of five years I had, as I have before said, only brought up the arrears of expenditure. The school at last come to have such a reputation that I had among my patrons not only all Protestant sects but Catholics, Jews, Infidels and stage actors; and pupils not only from all sections of our own country, but from the West Indies." --Extract from a letter of Rev. Dr. Cushman] both in the number of its pupils and in favor with the citizens of Philadelphia, and those interested in the cause of education at a distance also, until it became of an importance second to none in the city.
"While thus successful as a teacher, he was not insensible to his solemn charge in the souls committed to his care, nor the importance of imparting religious truth and exertina a holy influence over their minds and hearts. This was done daily, and the desired result was attained. Many of the young ladies under his instruction, not only became qualified for an intelligent discharge of life's duties, and ornaments to the family circle, but also active and devoted Christians to bless their generation.
"In connection with this Institute [Footnote: Known as "Cushman's Collegiate Institution for Young Ladies"], was established a Literary and Missionary Society, embracing not only his pupils but also many other pious and active ladies of this city who esteemed it a high privilege to be thus associated for objects so praiseworthy.
"But with all his qualifications and success as a teacher, the prevailing opinion among his most judicious friends was, that his qualifications for the pulpit were still greater, and its claims to his talents and labors stronger than those of the school.
"Bro. Cushman loved the pulpit and amidst all his cares and toils of his Seminary he was seldom silent on the Sabbath. Churches of our own and of other evangelical denominations eagerly sought his service and were edified by his preaching. Destitute churches and those having disabled pastors shared much of his sympathy and his labors. As a preacher none could hear him without admiring his clear, chaste and impressive manner of exhibiting divine truth. In his preparation for the pulpit he was thorough, and in the delivery of his message, serious and impressive, ever holding his hearers in fixed attention.
"Kindred to this, the sweetest employment of his active life were his efforts in behalf of various benevolent societies, some of which were, at that period, new and in need of decided and influential friends. The cause of missions, at home and abroad--the circulation of the Scriptures--the education of young ministers of the gospel--African colonization--the Temperance reform, and the Publication of Religious books and tracts, all had his efficient support. On many a platform in Philadelphia has he for years boldly stood and successfully plead for these, and other objects of a similar character, in their several distinct organizations.
"Dr. C. was one of the few, that from the first, espoused and zealously advocated the 'American Baptist Publication Society,' which at that time was feeble and almost friendless. To his influence and efforts including his contribution to the number of its valuable publications, much of its present prosperity may be traced."
From the above it will appear that the period spent in Philadelphia, was to him, one of incessant toil. Few men had so great a diversity of labors, and fewer still have been so successful in every department.
The following extract is taken from a letter which was drawn forth by an editorial reference to some animadversion on his position, during the early part of his residence in Philadelphia, and will show the immense amount of intellectual labor he performed while living in that city:
"Since I have resided in this city (Philadelphia), which is now rather more than six years, I have preached once a Sabbath, on an average for nearly seven-eights of the time, in churches of seven different denominations--in town and country, in meeting houses and private houses, in school houses, college halls, and court houses, in log houses and in the open air; in prisons and asylums; to infant schools, apprentices associations, and to sailors on ship's deck. Besides being called on pretty frequently to deliver addresses in behalf of bible societies, tract societies, domestic and foreign mission societies, sunday schools, infant schools, maternal associations, and temperance societies. I have been engaged in the service of these different societies to the number of five or six, I believe, at the same time, either in their boards or secretary ship; and into whatever ship I enter--let who will get the helm I am pretty sure to get the laboring oar, because I have no pastoral charge."
In the year 1840, the Bowdoin Square Church, in Boston, was organized, composed principally of enterprising and intelligent members from other Baptist Societies in the city. A commodious edifice was erected in an attractive location, and a pastor with the requisite qualifications was then the object to be sought. Dr. Cushman received an affectionate and unanimous invitation to accept this office. Mindful of the obligations taken upon himself in early youth, he responded favorably to the call, relinquished the pleasant and lucrative position which he held in Philadelphia, and was installed 8 July 1841. The reputation for scholarship and pulpit eloquence which had preceded him, was fully sustained during his six years' residence in Boston. The evident blessing of Heaven attended his labors, and his resignation of the pastoral office was deeply regretted.
On leaving Boston, Dr. C. resided several years in Washington, D.C., where he established and successfully maintained a "French and English Protestant Female Seminary."
For a sketch of his life while in that city, we are indebted to an esteemed correspondent:
"In the winter of 1847 and 1848, Dr. Cushman went to the city of Washington to take charge of the E St. Church, during the absence of its pastor, Rev. G. W. Sampson, on a tour to the East. He filled the post with his well known dignity and ability, and it is not too much to say that the respectability of the Baptist denomination was enhanced by his connection with it. His elegant diction and beautiful elocution attracted many to the Church who had not before attended there; and his sound scriptural views of Christian doctrine, his valuable practical teachings and the predominance of Christ, crucified in all his discourses, rendered his preaching always profitable and instructive. There are many who will never forget the rich spiritual and intellectual treats he has given them from the pulpit, or the heart-felt Christian consolation he has afforded them in the time of sorrow and bereavement.
"During the period that Dr. Cushman officiated in the E St. Church, he was invited to deliver the Oration before the Alumni of his Alma Mater, at the annual commencement. His theme was, 'The Elements of Success in Life.' It was published at the request of the Institution, and was worthy of its author.
"After the return of Mr. Sampson to his pastoral charge, Dr. Cushman decided to remain in Washington in the capacity of a teacher, having in view the establishment of a Protestant school for young ladies, which should prevent the frequent accessions to Romanism resulting from the influence of Roman Catholic schools in the community. Twelve years of successful teaching in a young ladies' school in Philadelphia had eminently fitted him for the undertaking. His school was of a high order, and those who placed their daughters under his care gave flattering testimonials of his devotion to their interests. The result of his peculiar mode of instruction was seen in the expansion of mind and strength of moral and intellectual character in his pupils. A number of the young ladies who were inmates of his family became pious, and connected themselves with the Church; and their consistent life has since shown, not only the genuineness of their piety, but the faithfulness and force of his Christian instructions.
"Dr. Cushman was called to endure trials of a peculiarly perplexing and harassing nature, while in Washington,--trials which severely tested his Christian meekness and forbearance;--but the calm dignity and submission with which he bore them raised him in the estimation of his friends and made his Christian graces shine more brightly. As a proof of the estimation in which he was held in that city, his name was twice presented as candidate for the Chaplainry in Congress. But it was his friends alone who moved the measure. Dr. Cushman was, emphatically, no office-seeker. He voluntarily declined in favor of another clergyman of Washington, considering the dignity of his high calling as minister of our holy religion, greater honor than human governments have in their power to bestow. He never courted attention from 'the powers that be;' but conscious of his own rectitude and integrity of purpose, he quietly pursued the path duty had marked out for him.
"In 1848 the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him, without his knowledge or consent, by the 'Granville College,' Ohio. For reasons which it is not necessary to explain, he immediately declined the proffered honor, and has never used it.
"The removal of the pastor of E Street Church to another field of labor, in the autumn of 1850, left the pulpit again vacant. This vacancy existed two years, during a part of which time he supplied the pulpit, and as far as was consistent with his imperfect health and the exhausting labors of his school, performed the duties of pastor.
"In 1852 Dr. Cushman was re-called to the pastorate of the Bowdoin Square Church, Boston, over which he had previously been settled for a period of six years. The call was a pressing one, but though he loved the work of the ministry above everything else, he nevertheless decided not to accept, feeling assured that Providence had called him to the work in which he was engaged. He continued in Washington till the summer of 1853, when he removed to Boston to take charge of a young ladies' school in that city. His departure was sincerely regretted by his friends to whom he had so long ministered in holy things, and by the Christian public, by whom his influence had been felt as a man and a clergyman."

The following, taken from the Boston Journal of July 1853, shows, conclusively, the public appreciation of his abilities and services:
"REV. Dr. Cushman. -- We see by a card in the Washington Union, that Rev. R. W. Cushman, a Baptist clergyman, well known and respected in this city, has announced his intention to resign into other hands his Protestant French and English Boarding School. He will be succeeded by Rev. Stephen M. Myrick. Dr. Cushman has been successfully engaged in teaching at Washington, five years, and his institution has been entitled to and has received the confidence of the public. In the language of the editor of the Union, Dr. Cushman has won golden opinions by his efficient, enlightened, and faithful labors as an instructor of youth."
As a writer, his style is chaste, elegant and terse, and as a speaker he is eloquent and convincing. He has, therefore, been called upon to give sermons and addresses on public occasions, almost without number,--several of which have been published.
We subjoin a list of his published works:
1st. Tracts. The Christians' Stewardship,--a tract on the right use of wealth.
The Anchor for the Soul,--a tract for seamen.
Christ Rejected,--a narrative--pp. 12. Philadelphia.
An Important Question. -- Some forty thousand of this were circulated in the course of a few months after its first issue.
2d. Sermons. The Moral Likeness of Men, contemplated as a ground of Encouragement in Missionary Labor. -- Delivered before the Society of Missionary Inquiry, in Hamilton Lit. and Theol. Inst., N.Y.
A Calm Review of the measures employed in the Religious Awakening in Boston, in 1842. Delivered in the Bowdoin Square Church, June 28, 1846.
The Expediency of Christ's Ascension. Published in the Baptist Preacher for April, 1850.
A Solemn Providence Sanctified. Occasioned by the death of President Harrison. Delivered in Bowdoin Square Church on the National Fast, May 14, 1841.
3d. Literary Discourses. Elements of Success in Life. Delivered at the first annual meeting of the Alumni Association of Columbian College, July 12, 1848. pp.29. Washington, D. C., 1848.
Summer's Cares in Summer Time. Addressed to the Graduating Class of Wake Forest College, N. C., of 1852. pp.22. Raleigh, N.C., 1852.
Requisites of American Female Education. Delivered before the Columbian Teachers' Association, at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. pp.72.
4th. Books. Bowdoin Square Church Book. A manual of history, doctrine and counsels for that Church.
A Pure Christianity the World's Only Hope. pp.115. New York, 1849.
Temptations of city Life. Addressed to young men.
Grace and Apostleship. Illustrated in the life of Adoniram Judson, founder of the Burman Mission. pp. 144. Philadelphia, 1853.
Lives of the Apostles. This was written on the basis of an English abridgment of Cove.
Baptist Manual. Mostly a compilation for the American Baptist Publication Society.
In addition to the foregoing, quite a number of addresses, controversial letters, communications for the periodical papers, on various subjects, and poetic effusions, are scattered in newspapers, magazines, reviews and annual reports,--a list of which it would be difficult to procure.


[1] US census, 1850

[2] U.S. Census, 1860, [Ancestry_Image].

[3] Massachusetts: 1865 State Census (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org), [AmericanAncestors].

[4] US census, 1880

[5] Henry Wyles Cushman, A Historical and Biographical Genealogy of the Cushmans: The Descendants of Robert Cushman, the Puritan, from the Year 1617 to 1855 (Little Brown, 1855), 382-408 and 579, [Google_Book].

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