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Robert Cushman

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~~~~All that is essential for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing~~~~

Rose, Small

On 31 July 1606 when Robert was 29, he first married Sarah REDER, in St. Alphage, Canterbury, Plymouth, England. Their marriage record reads "Robert Cushman vnto Sara Reder dwelling with in Pr'cinct's of Christchurche" [the Cathedral] They were married before Andries Hasperson van Vesanevelt and Jacob Paedts, Sheriggs, this fifth of June 1617". Sarah lived in the precincts of the Cathedral at Canterbury and died in 1616 in Leyden, Holland and was buried on 11 October 1616 in St. Peter's, Leiden, Holland

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The name REDER is derived from the trade of reeder or thatcher, a trade in southern England of a person who made thatches for cottages.

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Direct Descendants of Robert Cushman

1 Robert Cushman b: 8 February 1577/78 in Rolvenden County Kent England d: June 1625 in England
... +Sarah Reder m: 1 July 1606 in Cantebury, England
. 2 Thomas Cushman b: 8 February 1607/08 in Canterbury, England d: 11 December 1691 in Plymouth, Massachusetts
....... +Mary Allerton b: 1610 in Leyden, Holland m: 1636 in Plymouth, Massachusetts d: 28 November 1699 in Plymouth, Massachusetts Father: Issac Allerton Mother: Mary Norris
..... 3 Isaac Cushman b: 8 February 1648/49 in Plymouth, Massachusetts d: 21 October 1732 in Plympton, Massachusetts
........... +Rebecca Harlow b: 12 June 1655 in Plymouth, Massachusetts m: 1675 d: 3 September 1727 in Plympton, Massachusetts Father: William Harlow Mother: Rebecca Bartlett
......... 4 Isaac Cushman b: 15 November 1676 in Plymouth, Massachusetts d: 18 September 1727
............... +Sarah Gibbs b: 1682 in Plymouth, Massachusetts m: 28 January 1700/01 d: 28 October 1716 in Plympton, Massachusetts Father: Thomas Gibbs Mother: Alice Warren
............. 5 Nathaniel Cushman b: 28 May 1712 in Plymouth, Massachusetts d: 1 October 1793 in Montague, Massachusetts
.................. +Sarah Coomer b: 28 February 1712/13 m: 22 November 1733 d: 14 April 1753 Father: William Coomer
................ 6 Consider Cushman b: 6 July 1740 in Plympton, Massachusetts d: 4 April 1819 in Greenfield, Massachusetts
...................... +Submit Newcomb b: 7 October 1745 in Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut d: 28 February 1814 in Greenfield, Massachusetts Father: Silas Newcomb Mother: Submit Pineo
.................... 7 Silas Cushman b: 5 March 1778 in Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut d: 18 August 1857
.......................... +Elinor Millard b: 1787 in Hampton, Washington County, New York m: 22 April 1802 d: 1867 Father: Abiathar Millard Mother: Eleanor Ashley
........................ 8 Albon Cushman b: 1820 d: 7 January 1869 in Westville, Franklin County, New York
.............................. +Martha Stearns b: May 1830 in New York m: 1 January 1849 d: 26 January 1909 in Westville, Franklin County, New York Father: Asa Stearns Mother: Nettie Ellsworth
............................ 9 Millard Cushman b: February 1850 in New York d: 1932
............................ *2nd Wife of Millard Cushman:
................................. +Jennie b: 1851 d: 1897
............................... 10 Howard H. Cushman b: February 1881 d: 1958

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Robert Cushman

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Arrival of the Fortune, Nov. 1621

35 new colonists led by Robert Cushman, who returned to England on the Fortune when it left Plymouth on 13 Dec. 1621, a total now of 85. In 1623 Bradford told John Pory, a visitor to Plymouth, that "for the space of one whole year of the two wherein they had been there, died not one man, woman or child."

II - Town impaled, February-March 1622

In November 1621, the Fortune arrived with thirty-five new colonists, plus Robert Cushman who returned to England a month later. They found only fifty of the original passengers on the Mayflower had survived, so numbers in the colony now increased to eighty-five. Twenty-one of the remaining Mayflower passengers were men, and there were six young adult males, plus twenty-six men who came on the Fortune, effectively fifty-three men who could have been involved in building the palisade to fortify the town.


People putting themselves or their capital at risk, hoping for gain. In 1620 Thomas Weston of London, England, headed a company of merchant adventurers that had existed for about ten years and was searching for investment opportunities. After an initial agreement discussed with the settlers, John Carver and Robert Cushman, acting as agents for the settlers, later agreed that they and the adventurers would have joint ownership of everything when they settled in the New World for seven years, lands, houses, gardens, as well as share all profits and benefits. Going further than his original discussions, Weston at this point would not agree to underwrite the settlement on any other basis, but by accepting an amended contract, Carver and Cushman exceeded the instructions of the settlers who wished to own their own houses, land and gardens. The majority of settlers refused to sign the contract as it altered the original agreement with Weston. Weston then refused to continue any further payments towards their settlement in America, and the Mayflower sailed without any assurance that there would be further financial backing from the merchant adventurers (Langdon 1966: 9-11).

The congregation sent Robert Cushman and John Carver as emissaries to the Virginia Company of London, which was sponsoring the English venture at Jamestown, to apply for land patents within the Company's vast holdings. The Virginia Company accommodated the group and even granted them a patent, but it was never exploited. The Leyden assembly favored the support of a group of private backers and adventurers, headed by a London merchant named Thomas Weston. Bradford writes in his history, Of Plymouth Plantation,

Passenger List of the
Ship Fortune (1621)
* Adams, John
* Bassett, William
o Elizabeth Bassett, wife
* Beale, William
* Brewster, Jonathan
* Briggs, Clement
* Bumpas, Edward
* Cannon, John
* Connor, William
* Cushman, Robert
o Thomas Cushman, son
* Deane, Stephen
* Delano, Phillip
* Flavel, Thomas
o son Flavel
* Ford, Mr.
o Martha Ford, wife
o Martha Ford, daughter
o John Ford (born day after arrival)
* Hicks, Robert
* Hilton, William
* Morgan, Benedict
* Morton, Thomas
* Nicholas, Austin
* Palmer, William
o William Palmer, son
* Pitt, William
* Prence, Thomas
* Simmons, Moses
* Statie, Hugh
* Steward, James
* Tench, William
* Winslow, John
* Wright, William


This is a sermon delivered by Robert Cushman, it is free to be downloaded, but cannot be used for profit or posted on any web page as stated by copyright owner. Interesting read full of Fire and Brimstone, PDF file, adobe.
copyright owner is listed in file



Name: Deacon Robert CUSHMAN

Sex: Male

Father: Thomas COUCHMAN (1538 - 14 Feb 1585/86)

Mother: Elinor HUBBARDE (abt 1549 - )

Individual Facts

Birth bef 9 Feb 1577/78 Rolveden, Kent, England

Baptism 9 Feb 1577/78 (age 0) Rolveden, Kent, England

Excomm abt 1605 (age 28) St. Andrews Church, Canterbury, England8

Elected bet 1609-1625 (age 32) Deacon; 9

Death 1625 (age 48) London, England


1. Sara REDER

Marriage 31 Jul 1606 (age 29) Canterbury, Kent, England10

Children Elder Thomas CUSHMAN (bef 8 Feb 1607/8 - abt 10 Dec 1691)

child #1 CUSHMAN (abt 1611 -
child #2 CUSHMAN (abt 1614 - )
Sarah CUSHMAN (abt 1615 - 1636/37
2. Mary (Clark) SHINGLETON

Marriage 5 Jun 1617 (age 40) Leiden, Holland

Notes (Individual)

General: "One of the Leiden Separatist leaders, .... He was apprentice to George Master; was excommunicated from St Andrews Church, Canterbury, after saying that he could not be edified by going to that church; was received back in the church in 1605; and in the same year became a freeman of Canterbury, being described as a grocer.... He and John Carver were chosen by their fellow Separatists to go to England (from Holland; 1617-20) to negotiate for a patent to go to America, .... In 1621 he arrived at Plymouth on the Fortune with son Thomas, but returned to England ...." (Plymouth Colony)

"sailed on Speedwell, 1620, ..; sermonized on "Danger of Self-Love"* soon after arrival of Fortune; returning to England to compose quarrel about amended articles of agreement; captured by French pirates; planning to settle in colony, died suddenly, London, 1625, probably of the plague." (Saints ..)

*(noted to be 'the first recorded sermon on American soil')

"He early became interested in the movement for greater freedom of religious opinion and joined the little church at Scroby (England), with Rev. John Robinson, Elder Brewster, Governor Carver, Governor Bradford, Isaac Allerton and others, in 1602. Subsequently they removed to Holland, but were not satisfied with conditions at Leyden (Holland) and resolved to make application to the Virginia Company, whose authority extended over a considerable portion of the North American continent, for liberty to settle in the company's territory in America. For that purpose Robert Cushman and Deacon John Carver were selected to go to London in 1617 and open negotiations. The mission was not successful. Later they arranged with Thomas Weston and the Merchant Adventurers of London to go to America... He was most active and influential in securing a Charter for the Plymouth Colony and also for the first settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Cape Ann. He continued to perform his duties as agent of the Colony in London, and did his best to promote its interests. He died somewhat suddenly in 1625 before he could return to America as he had planned." (Burt pp.75-76)

From the Cushman Memorial on Old Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA: "Fellow-Exile with the Pilgrims in Holland, Afterwards their chief agent in England, Arrived here 9-November, 1621, With Thomas Cushman his son: Preached 9-December His memorable sermon on 'The Danger of Self-Love Ant the Sweetness of True Friendship:' Returned to England 13-December, To vindicate the enterprise of Christian emigration; And there remained in the service of the Colony Till 1625, When, having prepared to make Plymouth His permanent home." (Burt, p. 67; Robert Cushman of Kent, p. ii)

Translation from The Dutch Records at Leyden: "Robert Cushman, Woolcomber from Canterbury, England, Widower of Sara Cushman, dwelling in a little alley of the Nunsgate, accompanied by John Keble, his friend with Mary Shingleton from Sandwich in England, widow of Thomas Shingleton, accompanied by Catharine Carver, her friend, were married before Andries Jasperson VanVesanevelt and Jacob Peadts, Sheriffs, this fifth of June 1617."

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Robert cushmans letter to Edward Southworth

Dartmouth, August 17

LOVING FRIEND, my most kind remembrance to you and your wife, with loving E.M. etc., whom in this world I never look to see again. For besides the eminent dangers of this voyage, which are no less than deadly, an infirmity of body hath seized me, which will not in all likelihood leave me till death. What to call it I know not, but it is a bundle of lead, as it were, crushing my heart more and more these fourteen days; as that although I do the actions of a living man, yet I am but as dead, but the will of God be done.

Our pinnace will not cease leaking, else I think we had been half-way to Virginia. Our voyage hither hath been as full of crosses as ourselves have been of crookedness. We put in here to trim her; and I think, as others also, if we had stayed at sea but three or four hours more, she would have sunk right down. And though she was twice trimmed at Hampton, yet now she is as open and leaky as a sieve; and there was a board a man might have pulled off with his fingers, two foot long, where the water came in as at a mole hole. We lay at Hampton seven days in fair weather, waiting for her, and now we lie here waiting for her in as fair a wind as can blow, and so have done these four days, and are like to lie four more, and by that time the wind will happily turn as it did at Hampton. Our victuals will be half eaten up, I think, before we go from the coast of England, and if our voyage last long, we shall not have a month's victuals when we come in the country.

Near 700 hath been bestowed at Hampton, upon what I know not; Mr. Martin saith he neither can nor will give any account of it, and if he be called upon for accounts, he crieth out of unthankfulness for his pains and care, that we are suspicious of him, and flings away, and will end nothing. Also he so insulteth over our poor people, with such scorn and contempt, as if they were not good enough to wipe his shoes. It would break your heart to see his dealings, and the mourning of our people; they complain to me, and alas! I can do nothing for them. If I speak to him, he flies in my face as mutinous, and saith no complaints shall be heard or received but by himself, and saith they are froward and waspish, discontented people, and I do ill to hear them. There are others that would lose all they have put in, or make satisfaction for what they have had, that they might depart; but he will not hear them, nor suffer them to go ashore, lest they should run away. The sailors are so offended at his ignorant boldness in meddling and controlling in things he knows not what belongs to, as that some threaten to mischief him; others say they will leave the ship and go their way. But at the best this cometh of it, that he makes himself a scorn and laughing stock unto them.

As for Mr. Weston, except grace do greatly sway him, he will hate us ten times more than ever he loved us, for not confirming the conditions. But now, since some pinches have taken them, they begin to revile the truth and say Mr. Robinson was in the fault who charged them never to consent to those conditions, nor choose me into office; but indeed appointed them to choose them they did choose. But he and they will rue too late, they may now see, and all be ashamed when it is too late, that they were so ignorant; yea and so inordinate in their courses. I am sure as they were resolved not to seal those conditions, I was not so resolute at Hampton to have left the whole business, except they would seal them, and better the voyage to have been broken off then than to have brought such misery to ourselves, dishonour to God and detriment to our living friends, as now it is like to do. Four or five of the chief of them which came from Leyden, came resolved never to go on those conditions. And Mr. Martin, he said he never received no money on those conditions; he was not beholden to the merchants for a pin, they were bloodsuckers, and I know not what. Simple man, he indeed never made any conditions with the merchants, nor ever spake with them. But did all that money fly at Hampton, or was it his own? Who will go and lay out money so rashly and lavishly as he did, and never know how he comes by it or on what conditions? Secondly, I told him of the alteration long ago and he was content, but now he domineers and said I had betrayed them into the hands of slaves; he is not beholden to them, he can set out two ships himself to a voyage. When, good man? He hat but 50 in and if he should give up his accounts he would not have a penny left him, as I am persuaded, etc.

Friend, if ever we make a plantation, God works a miracle, especially considering how scant we shall be of victuals, and most of all ununited amongst ourselves and devoid of good tutors and regiment. Violence will break all. Where is the meek and humble spirit of Moses? and of Nehemiah who re-edified the walls of Jerusalem, and the state of Israel? Is not the sound of Rehoboam's brags daily here amongst us? Have not the philosophers and all the wise men observed that, even in settled commonwealths, violent governors bring either themselves or people or both to ruin? How much more in the raising of commonwealths, when the mortar is yet scarce tempered that should bind the walls! If I should write to you of all things which promiscuously forerun our ruin, I should over-charge my weak head and grieve your tender heart. Only this, I pray you prepare for evil tidings of us every day. But pray for us instantly, it may be the Lord will be yet entreated one way or other to make for us. I see not in reason how we shall escape even the gaspings of hunger-starved persons; but God can do much, and His will be done. It is better for me to die than now for me to bear it, which I do daily and expect it hourly, having received the sentence of death both within me and without me. Poor William Ring and myself do strive who shall be meat first for the fishes; but we look for a glorious resurrection, knowing Christ Jesus after the flesh no more, but looking unto the joy that is before us, we will endure all these things and account them light in comparison of that joy we hope for.

Remember me in all love to our friends as if I named them, whose prayers I desire earnestly and wish again to see, but not till I can with more comfort look them in the face. The Lord give us that true comfort which none can take from us. I had a desire to make a brief relation of our estate to some friend. I doubt not but your wisdom will teach you seasonably to utter things as hereafter you shall be called to it. That which I have written is true, and many things more which I have forborn. I write it as upon my life, and last confession in England. What is of use to be spoken presently, you may speak of it; and what is fit to conceal, conceal. Pass by my weak manner, for my head is weak, and my body feeble. The Lord make me strong in Him, and keep both you and yours.

Your loving friend,
Dartmouth, August 17, 1620

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