More About The Cushing House / Old Museum of Newbury

Reverend Caleb Cushing was one of the Essex County ministers who had to heal his divided community in the aftermath of the Salem witch trials. He was Salisbury’s fourth minister, following Rev. James Allen (alternately spelled Allin or Alling), a petitioner in defense of the accused and convicted Mary Bradbury in 1692.

Rev. Allen was married to Elizabeth Cotton, daughter of either Rev. John Cotton or John’s son Seaborn (which one is disputed). Interestingly, after Allen’s death in 1696 at the young age of 38, (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates Biographies says, “after three months’ sore sickness with dry Gripes”) the reverend’s widow Elizabeth Allen married his successor, Caleb Cushing. Rev. Cushing led the Salisbury congregation for 56 years, from 1696 until his death in 1752.

And the Newburyport connection? The reverend’s great-grandson, wealthy captain and merchant John Newmarch Cushing, moved his family from Salisbury to Newburyport in 1802 when his son Caleb was two years old. Caleb entered Harvard University at the age of 13, graduated at the age of 17, and began to practice law in Newburyport in 1824. He married that same year, but his wife died a decade later and he lived the rest of his life childless and unmarried.

This Caleb Cushing had an illustrious career in government. He was a U.S. representative for Massachusetts’ 3rd District (1835-1843); Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs (1841-1843); U.S. Ambassador to China (1843-1845); Mayor of Newburyport (1851-1852); 24th U.S. Attorney General (in Franklin Pierce’s cabinet, 1853-1857); and U.S. Minister to Spain (1974-1877).

In 1808, the brick house at 98 High Street in Newburyport was built for Captain William Hunt. Ten years later, Caleb’s father John Newmarch Cushing bought half of the house, and then owned it entirely in 1823. The Cushing family owned it until 1955, when it was given to the Historical Society of Newbury. It is known as the Cushing House Museum and Garden and is today the home of the Museum of Old Newbury.

98 High Street