Eliza and Elijah Cushing - Letters of the Cushing and Cobb Family

History

INTRODUCTION
Eliza Cushing was born Eliza Cobb, 2 May 1802, in Pembroke, Plymouth Massachusetts. Eliza Cobb's ancestry can be traced back to John Cobb, who was born 7 June 1623 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She married Elijah Cushing (b. 12 September 1806, d. 4 May 1868) on 12 September 1831. The Cushing and Cobb families are woven into the history of New England and particularly into the history of Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Elijah's gggg grandfather, Mathew Cushing (b. 2 March 1588 in Hingham, Norfolk, England) immigrated with family and friends to the United States in the summer of 1668 and settled in Hingham, Massachusetts. In 1728, Capt. Elijah Cushing, Elijah's great grandfather (b. 7 March 1698) migrated to Hanson (formerly western parish of Pembroke), Massachusetts. Elijah's grandfather, Nathaniel, who lived in Hanson (Pembroke), served in the French and Indian War.

Elijah and his brother-in-law, Theodore Cobb manufactured boxes for local nail and tack industries. The following two excerpts are from the book “History of Ship Building on North River,” by L. Vernon Briggs [1]:

“In 1814 the Hatch Mill, which for nearly a century had been used as a grist-mill and saw-mill, was bought buy a stock company with a capital of $20,000, and a cotton factory erected. Among other owners were Nathaniel Cushing, father of Elijah, who lived at the old place standing at Cushing's Corner Hanson....The people in the town and in the towns of Hanover, Pembroke, and Marshfield had looms, and used to weave, obtaining the cotton yarn from the factory. “

”During the panic of 1837, business at Hobart's tack-factory in Hanson became very dull and, Ezra Phillips, who had been working there, hired room and power in the cotton mill, and during the winter of 1837-1838 manufactured shoe pegs. Later in 1838 Cobb & Cushing occupied the building as a saw-mill, and the boarding-house was occupied by Theodore Cobb as a private residence. In 1853, the factory, store, and residence were burned to the ground. Soon after Elijah Cushing erected a saw-mill on the same dam, and together with his sons, George and Theodore, carried on the business until this mill was burned down about ten years ago.”

At the intersection of East Washington and Liberty Streets the original residence built by Elijah Cushing's great grandfather, Elijah, still stands. The following are excerpts taken from an article about the Cushing House in Hanson; it was written by Bruce R. Young and published in the “Hanson Express” on January 13, 2005 [2]:

“Elijah Cushing was born in Scituate in 1698, and in the mid 1720s he and his wife Elizabeth settled in the West Parish of Pembroke where they acquired several hundred acres of land at what is now the corner of East Washington and Liberty streets. Here working largely with materials taken from his land and oak timbers grown on the place, he had completed an impressive 13-room home.”

“With slaves to do his bidding, Cushing entertained lavishly, and his home soon became a social center for miles around.”

“Pembroke was the first town in the colonies to rebel against the tyranny of the British Crown in 1740. The Cushing House was a meeting place not only for the able men of Pembroke but also of many of the surrounding towns.”

1] Brigs, L. Vernon, “History of Shipbuilding on the North River, Plymouth County, Massachusetts,” Coburn Brothers Printers, Boston, 1889.

2] Young, Bruce R, from an article in the “Hanson Express,” January 13, 2005.

**We would like to thank John Norton of Hanson, Massachusetts, a fellow collector for providing us with photographs of the Hanson House which can be seen in the image above and to the left. His gracious offer and subsequent patience for “waiting for the snow to melt” so that they could be taken is very much appreciated.

THE ELIZA AND ELIJAH CUSHING LETTER TO THEODORE COBB (29 MAY1835)
The letter was written on 29 May 1835 from Gardiner, Maine by Eliza Cobb Cushing to her brother, Theodore, with a short note added at the end of it by Elijah Cushing, her husband. Eliza describes her trip from Milton, Massachusetts to Gardiner, Maine. She took a boat from Boston to Portland, Maine, then a stage from Portland to Gardiner. While she was in Boston, Eliza speaks of riding around to “see the ruins of the fire.” It is quite possible that she was referring to the great Blackstone-Street Fire. “In May, 1835, the Blackstone-street fire occurred, which took away upwards of forty buildings, and left a number of families homeless.” [3] The Washington Coffee House that she mentions was located on Washington Street near Milk Street and in front of it was the headquarters for a line of omnibuses which would cost the rider a 25 cent fare. The Elm Tavern in Portland that she mentions served as a stop for the stage coach and "Indian Old Town", was the name (in English) for the largest Penobscot Indian village - the present 'Indian Island'.” [4]

3] Jenness, Herbert T, “Bucket Brigade to Flying Squad; Fire Fighting Past and Present,” George H. Ellis Company, Boston, 1909.

4] Wikipedia.

COBB FAMILY
Eliza Cobb was born 2 May 1802 in Pembroke, Massachusetts and died 5 Oct 1880 of consumption.

Eliza Cobb's parents were Cornelius Cobb (b. 10 Feb 1775, d. 1 Dec 1833) and Betsey Thomas (b. 12 Oct 1778). The brother to whom she writes is Theodore Cobb (b. 2 Jan 1804), but she had several other siblings: Grace Cobb (b. 22 Jan 1806, d. 18 Jun 1832), Mary Jane Cobb (b. 22 Apr 1808), Cornelius C. Cobb (b. 4 Oct 1810, d. 21 Sep 1813), Betsey Cobb (b. 3 Jul 1813), Cornelius Cobb (b. 6 Dec 1815, d. 27 Jun 1847), Helen Maria Cobb (b. 15 Jun 1818, d. 25 Jul 1905), and Lucia Cobb (b. 24 Oct 1820).

Eliza married Elijah Cushing 12 Sep 1831.

Children: George Cushing (b. 5 Sep 1832), Theodore Cushing (b. 5 Feb 1838, d. 24 Jul 1919), and Charles Cushing (b. 26 May 1843, d. 29 Apr 1865).

CUSHING FAMILY
Elijah Cushing was born 12 Sep 1806 in Pembroke, Massachusetts and died 4 May 1868.

Elijah's parents were Nathaniel Cushing (b. 24 Jun 1762, d. 4 Sep 1827) and Mehetabel Dodge (b. 13 Feb 1763, d. 28 Aug 1845).

Siblings: Ezekiel Dodge Cushing (b. 2 Jan 1790, d. 5 Apr 1828), Mehetabel Cushing (b. 21 Feb 1792, d. 3 Feb 1842), Nathaniel Cushing (b. 17 Mar 1794, d. 13 Sep 1796), Lucy Cushing (b. 18 Mar 1796, d. 17 Aug 1873), George Cushing and (b. 6 Sep 1799, d. 10 Sep 1824)

1850 CENSUS
Elijah Cushing, 44, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts, his occupation is noted as farmer (His name appears to be spelled Elisha). Listed in the household are: Eliza, 47, George, 18, Theodore, 12, Charles Cushing, noted as a laborer, and Mary Cushing, noted as born in Ireland.

Theodore Cobb, 46, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts, his occupation is noted as farmer. Listed in his household are: Sarah H. Cobb, 34, Grace Cobb, 8, and Betsey Cobb, 73.

1860 CENSUS
Elijah Cushing, 53, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Living in his household are: Eliza, 58, Charles, 17, George, 28, Cath. Cushing, 29, (female), Walter Cushing, 5, and Martha Hitchcock, 66.

Theodore Cobb, 56, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Living in his household are: Sarah H. Cobb, 44, Grace Cobb, 18, and Betsey Cobb, 81.

1870 CENSUS
Eliza Cushing, 67, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts alone. (Elijah died in 1868).

Theodore Cobb, 66, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts. In his household are: Sarah H. Cobb, 53, Otis S. Bonney, 31, and Grace C. Bonney, 28.

1880 CENSUS
Eliza Cushing, 78, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Listed in her household are: George Cushing, 42, Walter Cushing, 24, and Martha Hitchcock, 86.

Theodore Cobb, 76, is enumerated in the Census as living in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Living in his household are: Sarah H. Cobb, 64, Otis L. Bonney, 41, (noted as son-in-law), Grace C. Bonney, 38, noted as daughter, and Annie D. Fowle, 20, noted as boarder.

THE TILDEN LETTER (17 MARCH 1829)
This letter was written from South Boston to Theodore Cobb. Mr. Tilden provides a rather detailed and interesting account of 19th century fire fighting, politics, and a case against an editor of the Anti-Universalist. He mentions the name Ballou in the course of this topic. We believe this to be a reference to Adin Ballou. Adin Ballou (April 23, 1803 — August 5, 1890) was founder of the Hopedale Community in what is now Hopedale, Massachusetts, and a prominent 19th century exponent of pacifism, socialism and abolitionism. Through his long career as a Universalist, and then Unitarian minister, he tirelessly sought social reform through his radical Christian and socialist views. [5]

At this time, we are still researching Calvin Tilden. We suspect that the Calvin Tilden who authored this letter was the son of Dr. Calvin Tilden of Hanson, Massachusetts. Dr. Calvin Tilden was a prominent citizen of Hanson and there is some reason to believe that he was related at least through marriage to the Cobb family; however, the author of this letter appears to be an attorney. Dr. Calvin Tilden had a son, Calvin Tilden, born 23 Dec 1805 and there is documentation that a Calvin Tilden, Jr. was admitted to the Bar in 1828. Death records from Hanson, Massachusetts indicate that Calvin Tilden Jr, Esq. died 22 November 1831 at 26 years of age. Dr. Tilden died 28 January 1832.

[5] Wikipedia.