Five College Archives and Manuscript
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David F. Cushing Daybook, 1860
1 volume
Collection number: MS 248

Operator of a general store in Cambridgeport, Vermont, as well as a postmaster and a deacon of the Congregational Church. Daybook includes lists of stock, how he acquired his goods, and method and form of payment (cash or exchange of goods and services).

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Scope and contents of the collection

David F. Cushing was born in Newfane, Vermont in 1814. At the age of 16, he journeyed to West Medway, Massachusetts where he learned the tailor's trade. There, he met and married Polly Adams (b. 1821), who gave birth to their first son Winfield in 1843. Shortly after his son's birth, Cushing returned to Vermont, establishing a general store in the village of Cambridgeport on the border of Grafton and Rockingham. He remained in business there for the next 56 years until his death in 1899.

In 1860, at the time of the daybook, Cushing had a household of eleven. It included his wife Polly; daughter Mary (age 12); sons Alverton (14), David Jr. (6), James (4), and Solon (3 months); a clerk, Frederick Barker (16); a domestic, Julia McQuade (16); Sally Brigham (66); and a schoolteacher/boarder, Lucy Eaton (20). Of his total of nine children, Cushing outlived five; he also outlived his wife by two years. In 1860, Cushing owned real estate valued at $4,000 and personal property worth $7,000. In addition to his general store, Cushing served as the postmaster of Cambridgeport and was deacon of the Congregational church.

Cushing's daybook reflects a fairly standard business in a small, rural community, relying on exchange as much as on cash. His stock, according to his own reminiscences noted in Lyman Hayes's History of the Town of Rockingham (1907), "comprised almost everything from a barrel of flour to a needle". To acquire his goods, he regularly traveled to Boston in an old-fashioned stagecoach, and he paid high rates for the transportation of his goods. Cushing also believed in taking care of his own business, having been "behind the counter nearly every day" since he started the store. The store, which eventually became one of the landmarks of Windham County, was a white building with green piazza posts and shutters. In time, Cushing was joined in the business by his sons David Jr. and Solon, who kept the store in the family into the twentieth century.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: David F. Cushing Daybook (MS 248). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1985.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Link to SCUA
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Barter--Vermnont--Cambridgeport--History--19th century--Sources.
  • Cambridgeport (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Cushing, David F., 1814-1899--Finance, Personal.
  • Cushing, David F., 1814-1899.
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--History--19th century--Sources.
  • General stores--Vermont--Cambridgeport--Finance--History--19th century--Sources.
  • Households--Vermont--Cambrigeport--History--19th century--Sources.

Genre terms
  • Account books.

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