William Cushing

Lt. William Cushing – 14th Regiment, Massachusetts Continental Line

Lt. William Cushing was born in Pembroke, Massachusetts on October 2, 1751. He was the son of Nathaniel and Sarah (Humphrey) Cushing. He married his first wife Abigail (Turner) Cushing (1755-1781) of Pembroke, on January 23, 1777 in Pembroke, Massachusetts. William and Abigail had his only child in 1780, with the birth of William Cushing Jr. in Pembroke, Massachusetts (there is no record of William Cushing Jr.’s death). Following the death of his first wife Abigail in 1781, William married his second wife Ruth (Briggs) Cushing (1757-1852) of Scituate, on November 13, 1796, in Scituate, Massachusetts. William died in Pembroke, Massachusetts, January 4, 1825. Ruth Cushing, who applied for widow benefits in 1848, never remarried.

Prior to his commission as an officer, William began his military career by first enlisting as a Private in Captain Freedom Chamberlain’s Company of Colonel John Bailey’s Massachusetts Regiment. On April 19, 1775 he marched on alarm with this company and remained in service for two weeks. On May 3, 1775, William reenlisted as a Private in Captain Freedom Chamberlain’s Company of Colonel John Thomas’ Massachusetts Regiment and he served in this role until August 1, 1775. On October 6, 1775, he returned to the same company as a Corporal, at the Roxbury Camp of the Massachusetts Continental Line, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where they remained for eight months. On September 21, 1776, William reenlisted in Rhode Island as a Sergeant in Captain John Turner’s Company of Colonel John Cushing’s Regiment and he served in this role with this company for two months.

William was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in Captain Josiah Stetson’s Company on November 6, 1776 and belonged to the 12th and 14th Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Colonel Gamaliel Bradford. He served as an Officer in the Massachusetts Continental Line in this capacity for the duration of his military career. On orders issued from Colonel Gamaliel Bradford on February 1, 1777, directing officers to march to the Northern department, William marched with Captain Josiah Stetson’s Company from Massachusetts to New York. On October 13, 1777, while fighting in the Saratoga Campaign of the Northern Theater, William was wounded four days before the surrender of General John Burgoyne, when a cannonball struck and severely injured his leg. While his injuries did not immediately end his military career, William did not see action in the Northern department in the same capacity following this event. He was honorably discharged from military service on February 5, 1779. For his service, he was credited with 25 months and 5 days at $25 per month.

Following the war, William returned to Pembroke Massachusetts where he lived until his death in 1825 in a small dwelling home situated on 12 acres of land. As a result of his injuries, William had lost the “fleshy part” of his thigh, which prevented him from walking without the use of a cane and made him wholly unable to continue working as a shipwright, his profession by trade. At the time of his death, William was estranged from his son, whom he had not spoken with in over 20 years, and he could neither confirm nor deny whether his only offspring was alive or dead. William Cushing is buried at Center Cemetery, in Pembroke Massachusetts.

Abstracted from the National Archives: “Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900”, & National Archives: “Revolutionary War Service Records”. Burial information cited from findagrave. William Cushing has been represented by Matthew Peter Bak of Marshfield, Massachusetts in the New Hampshire Society since 2017.