« PreviousContinue »
HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL
THE DESCENDANTS OF
ROBERT CUSHMAN, THE PURITAN,
From the year 1617 to 1855.
In Memoriam Majorum.
BY HENRY WYLES CUSHMAN.
LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.
"To attend to the neglected and remember the forgotten,"* has ever been considered by the wise and good an object of great importance.
Enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers,"† is an injunction as well of patribtism and filial affection as of sacred writ.
Influenced by such sentiments, and desirous of saving from oblivion and of placing in an enduring form the character, principles and history of my ancestors, I have now the satisfaction, after many years of labor, to present to the descendants of Robert Cushman, the Puritan, a complete Historical and Biographical Genealogy of the Cushman race and of those connected with them, for a period of two hundred and thirty-eight years.
That it has been a work of great labor, how much, no one but myself can ever know,· must be obvious to all. But the old maxim, "nil magnum sine labore," and an anxious desire in this way to erect a monument to our name, more lasting than marble or granite, has carried me on through many trials, perplexities and discouragements, to the end.
It is now ten years since this work was commenced, and it has constantly grown on my hands to this day. At first I designed to publish the Cushman Genealogy in a pamphlet form, and now it makes a volume of over six hundred pages. It contains an account of more than double the number of Cushmans and others than I estimated, after I had made considerable progress in the work. I am sensible that this volume is rather too large for convenience. It is twice as large as I supposed it would be. And even now I have left out, probably, a hundred printed pages of matter that I had prepared, much of which was valuable and interesting. Necessity compelled me to reduce many articles one half, and to leave out entirely, after the Seventh Generation, the children of Cushman mothers, but of other This is my apology, -I hope it may be satisfactory, — for omitting much that has been communicated to me.
In preparing this volume, my correspondence has necessarily extended to all parts of the United States, to the Canadas, England and France. I have written with my own hand and received over fourteen hundred letters.
Feeling that this was a work for the future more than the present, and that hereafter it will be used as authority for the facts here stated, I have aimed at great accuracy, and have entirely omitted what was apocryphal in its character, preferring to omit rather than misstate an event. Nevertheless, errors will doubtless be found: some, perhaps, of the pen or the type, but more from the wrong information communicated to me, or from the impossibility of decyphering the chirography of many. While all have been cautioned to give accurate dates and to write names so plain that they will not be mistaken," it has not always been done. How could I ascertain the date of a birth if it was given "1864," or "Feb. 31"! which has been done.
I have found that when persons relied on their memory for dates of births, marriages, &c,, they have, frequently, been wrong. The memory is not sufficiently certain for such statements. Errors, arising from that cause, will, no doubt, be found, for I have in some cases corrected the memory by record evidence. The latter has always been chosen, when practicable, as being the most certain. I have taken unwearied pains and great labor to be right in names and dates.* But I am sensible, for the reasons I have given above, that there will be found some that are incorrect. In the language of the historian, Dr. Thatcher, I would say, "Should errors be detected in this work, the author would only observe that perfect works come only from perfect wisdom; but if assiduity and care can bring any work to a respectable standard of correctness, he may, in this instance, have some ground to hope for public approbation."
It may appear to some that I have related too many minute circumstances and events. My answer is, that in my judgment minuteness and accuracy are the great and fundamental principles of a genealogical work. "Minuteness of detail," says an eminent historian, "is indispensable in the delineation of individual character or in a faithful relation of transactions under the most trying circumstances." It is such a course that renders a genealogy valuable to the historian and the antiquarian; and without them it would lose much of its value. As the ocean is composed of drops, so the history of a country is made up of the acts of each individual person. And those acts, in the aggregate, give the character of the people as well as an indication of the policy and administration of the govermennt. Hence the importance of genealogies.
In compiling this work, I have, as far as practicable, used the language of others, including records, obituaries and auto-biographies, believing that such a course would be more valuable and more acceptable than any language of my own. I owe an apology for using the auto-biography of several persons, without their consent. I trust I shall be forgiven.
The orthography of proper names being entirely arbitrary, and every person having the undoubted right to spell the names of their children as they please, I have made it a rule to follow the copy that has been furnished
*N. B.-All persons who may discover errors in this work, will confer a favor by communicating the same to the author, at Bernardston, Mass.