100 Years Ago: Charles A. Cushing 1850-1915

Visitors to Freeport, Maine today can enjoy a dinner at the historic Jameson Tavern located on Main Street.   It was in the northeast room of this tavern on a March day in 1820 that the papers that separated Maine from Massachusetts were signed.  The building remained a popular tavern in town until it was purchased by Charles Cushing, a well-known Freeport shipbuilder, in the late 1840s. Charles and his wife Martha converted the tavern into a single family dwelling and would go on to raise ten children in the house.  Their second born son Charles A. would find success in shoe manufacturing in nearby Portland, Maine before making the cross country trip to Seattle where he is now buried in Evergreen Washelli Cemetery.

Charles A. Cushing was born on Feb. 7, 1850 in Freeport, Maine.  He remained under his parent’s roof until his mid-20s when he moved to Portland, Maine. It was here that he met and married Hattie Sawyer sometime in the early 1870s.  The couple welcomed their first son, Charles E., in 1874.

Charles formed a business partnership with James Webb around 1882 and opened the Webb & Cushing Shoe Factory.   A business card indicates the company focused on the manufacturing of ladies & misses fine boots and shoes.  The partnership lasted for over ten years.


In 1893, Charles suffered tragedy when his wife Hattie passed away after a battle with spinal meningitis. She was only 43 years when she passed away.  She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine. It appears that around the same time as his wife death’s, his business partnership with Webb dissolved and he moved his shoe business back to Freeport, Maine.

On March 17, 1895, Henry Blanchard joined Charles and Helen G. Chenery in marriage in Deering, Maine.   Helen had also been widowed at a young age and brought with her one son, John G., from her first marriage.

In 1899, Charles invested in a new railroad being built in Port Angeles, Washington. Financed by investors based in Boston, Charles moved his family including his son Charles and his young wife Leonice, across the country to the small town on the peninsula of Washignton State in late 1899. The new railroad,  Port Angeles Eastern Railroad, appears to have run into several problems and newspaper articles from the time report on the start of construction several times between 1900 and 1904.

In June 1903, Charles was preparing for a visit from several other railroad officials. The group had planned to go hunting so he took time prior to the visit to clean his shot gun.  The gun accidentally discharged hitting Charles in the abdomen. A physician was called and quickly administered aid. The newspaper account reported the wound to be ‘a hole large enough to insert one’s hand. A part of the intestine had been shot away, however, no vital organs had been injured’.  No further reports of the accident was found so how debilitating his injury were is unknown.

In October 1904, the railroad was sold to the American-British Finance Company.  It appears that Charles cut ties with the project around this time, however the reason for his departure is unknown.

By 1906, Charles and Helen had moved to Seattle.   Around this same time, Charles began a career in the hotel industry.  Over the next nine years, he would manage several Seattle hotels including The Fairfield, The Knickerbocker, Wintonia, and The Stander. HotelStander1912

In January 1915, Charles had surgery at Seattle General Hospital.  The exact surgery could not be discovered.   He developed complications following surgery. On January 7, he passed away.  He was laid to rest at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery.


Vital Records
Death Record for Charles A. Cushing. Source: Washington State Death Certificate Index 1907-1960 http://digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/4A47F489F5D3B762915EB829A4FD8D32

Marriage Record of Charles A. Cushing and Helen G. Chenery. Source: Maine State Archives; Augusta, Maine, USA; 1892-1907 Vital Records; Roll #: 13

Death Record of Hattie Cushing. Dec. 30, 1893. Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; 1892-1907 Vital Records; Roll #: 13

Birth Record of Charles A. Cushing. Feb. 07, 1850 Source: “Maine, Births and Christenings, 1739-1900,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F4C3-8H3 : accessed 5 January 2015), Charles A. Cushing, 07 Feb 1850; citing FREEPORT,CUMBERLAND,MAINE; FHL microfilm 10,917.

Census Records
1910 Seattle, King, Washington
Head: Cushing, Chas. A.
Source: Year: 1910; Census Place: Seattle Ward 14, King, Washington; Roll: T624_1661; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1375674

1900 Port Angeles, Callam, Washington
Head: Cushing, Charles A.
Source: Year: 1900; Census Place: Port Angeles, Clallam, Washington; Roll: 1742; Page: 7A; Enumeration District:0019; FHL microfilm: 1241742

1880 Portland, Cumberland, Maine
Head: Cushing, Char A.
Source: Year: 1880; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 479; Family History Film: 1254479; Page: 229A; Enumeration District: 053; Image: 0218

1870 Freeport, Cumberland, Maine
Head: Cushing, Charles
Source: Year: 1870; Census Place: Freeport, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M593_539; Page: 259B; Image: 523; Family History Library Film: 552038

1860 Freeport, Cumberland, Maine
Head: Charles Cushing
Source: Year: 1860; Census Place: Freeport, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 10; Image: 317; Family History Library Film: 803437

1850 Freeport, Cumberland, Maine
Head: Charles Cushing
Source: Year: 1850; Census Place: Freeport, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_249; Page: 5B; Image: 16

City Directories
Seattle, Washington City Directories. 1905-1915
Portland, Maine City Directories 1881-1900
Source: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 201

Newspaper Articles
‘Wound May Be Fatal: Charles A. Cushing Accidentally Shot’. Seattle Daily Times. June 25, 1903. Page 2 Column 3
‘Maine’s Birthplace’ Bath Independent and Enterprise. March 17, 1906. Page 3; Column 4&5
‘Stander Hotel to Open Next Month’. Seattle Times. December 3, 1911 Page 43
‘Well-Known Seattle Hotel Man Succumbs’ Seattle Times. January 7, 1915. Page 2 Column 1

‘Business Cards’. History of the Work of the Board of Trade of Portland Maine. Compiled and Published Under Direction of the Board, By the Secretary 1887. Page 57-58

Sanborn Maps
1886 Portland, Maine. Sheet 9.
1894 Freeport, Maine. Sheet 2


2 thoughts on “100 Years Ago: Charles A. Cushing 1850-1915

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s