Cushman Monument, 1863, Historical Overview

On the 15th of August, 1855, the descendants of the Cushman ancestors and their relatives, met together at Plymouth, in honor of their venerated ancestors, Robert Cushman, the right hand of the Plymouth forefathers, and Elder Thomas Cushman, his son, who for about forty-three years acceptably served the church of the Pilgrims as Ruling Elder.

On the following day the persons, assembled from almost every State in the Union, visited the grave of their ancestor, the Elder, and before parting resolved to erect an enduring monunfent over the remains of this venerable man. This object was subsequently consummated; and on the 16th of September, 1858, in commemoration of the sailing of the May-Flower from Plymouth, in England, for the new home in New England, the monument was consecrated with becoming exercises and ceremonies.

Image of the Cushman monument

The Cushman monument stands in a conspicuous position within the ancient cemetery of the Plymouth fathers, upon Burying Hill, within sight of the hospitable harbor where the May-Flower lay safely moored in the inclement winter of 1620; and also, of the far famed solitary rock of that sandy shore whereon the forefathers first set foot on the memorable twenty-first of December, and almost beneath the drippings of the first Christian sanctuary in New England.

The monument is a massive and tasteful structure, built of smoothly hewn Quincy granite, of the finest and most durable quality, and is highly creditable to the skill and faithfulness of Messrs. C. R. & C. Mitchell, the contractors. Its form is that of an obelisk with plainly chamfered edges, having a Grecian base standing upon an ornamented pedestal, also chamfered to its base, and containing sunken panels; the pedestal rests upon two square plinths, and the whole structure upon blocks of hewn granite occupying the whole space enclosed by a quadrangular fence, constructed with large stone posts and substantial iron rails. The whole height of the monument, including the stone blocks upon which it stands, is about twenty-seven and one-half feet; the base of the pedestal is about five feet square, and of the lowest plinth about eight feet. The space within the railing is about twelve feet square. The tablets, which contain the inscriptions in raised letters, occupy the four panels of the pedestal, and measure about thirty-six by twenty-two inches. They are of metallic bronze, and were cast at the foundry of Messrs. Henry N. Hooper & Co., in Boston.

1. "Cushman Monument," The Illustrated Pilgrim Memorial, 1863, page 21.

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