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Mayflower, Day by Day - Monday, 20 December 1621

20 Dec 2021 2:55 AM | Soule (Administrator)

Cushman Monument on Burial Hill

By far the most conspicuous memorial on Burial Hill is to someone who is not buried there.  The Cushman memorial, a twenty-five foot obelisk erected in 1858, is to Robert Cushman, his son Thomas, and Mary (Allerton) Cushman, Thomas’ wife.  Robert Cushman returned to England on the Fortune, and never came back to New England; he died in London during the Great Plague of 1625.  On the west side of the memorial is this touching inscription: “He died, lamented by the forefathers as ‘their ancient friend, - who was as their right hand with their friends the adventurers, and for divers years had done and agitated all their business with them to their great advantage. And you, my loving friends, the adventurers to this plantation, as your care has been first to settle religion here before either profit or popularity, so, I pray you, go on. -- I rejoice -- that you thus honor God with your riches, and I trust you shall be repaid again double and treble in this world, yea, and the memory of this action shall never die.’”  The monument makes special mention of yesterday’s sermon, so that this may very well be the only monument in America to a Sunday sermon.

Robert Cushman’s son Thomas became the ruling elder of the Plymouth church, and married Mary Allerton, the last surviving of the passengers of the Mayflower (depending on how one considers Peregrine White).  Robert’s 1691 grave marker is one of the half dozen seventeenth century gravestones on Burial Hill; the original was removed to make room “for a more enduring memorial” and placed next to the newer (and more showy) granite obelisk.

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