ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Augustus Cushman


Watertown Man, Daddy of Twins, at Age 70


Watertown Daily Times, 08 29 1923


Augustus T. Cushman and wife, of this city, were blessed with twin babies three years ago.  He is now (1923) 73 years old and has in interesting history.  He works daily in a local garage and has not been absent from work by reason of sickness for years.


By his first marriage in 1871 he had eight children, five boys and three girls.  He married his present wife in 1919.


Mr. Cushman was born April 25, 1850, in Watertown on the site where now stands the Waukesha hotel.  At that time it was near the outskirts of the city.  The property owned by his father was 80 feet wide and 108 feet deep and was purchased for the sum of $13.


Close relationship with Henry Ward Beecher is claimed by Mr. Cushman, whose family, he asserts, while not numerous in Wisconsin, comes from New York state and boasts of many individuals of historical significance.


He remembers in 1860 how he cut across the most thickly settled part of Watertown with an ox team. Horses were as scarce an article in that day as automobiles were in 1906.  The finest of the three or four horse teams in the city at that time was the pair of animals driven by Deacon Forbes, proprietor of the local livery.


The first store in Watertown, he says, was that of Peter May in the Sixth Ward.  The principal street was Western Avenue, which was destined to be the main street of the city, but failed to live up to expectations.


A man named Nixon, he stated, ran the first cooper shop and sawmill in the city.  It was the city's first factory as well.  The Planters hotel, near the site of the present Commercial hotel, was the first tavern in the city.


Mr. Cushman remembers when Peter Brooks kept a candy store and barber shop in the middle of Main Street bridge here.  Brooks had a flowing well which shot up out of the middle of the stream.


There was a long period of darkness for this city when the railroads had it bonded.  The city government only functioned as a board of street commissioners.  A mayor and council elected resigned and a street commissioner was named for each ward.  This sort of government remained until an agreement with the holders of the railroad bonds against the city was reached.  The North Western road canceled its bonds against the city.  Daniel Hall, he stated, was responsible for the solving of the problem of the railroad bond tangle.  After that the city prospered.


Mr. Cushman and his young wife life happily together on the property owned by his step-father, Hiram Harder, who with a partner, had the first gun shop in this city . . .


When he was a boy the city was divided into various settlements, Irish, Germans, "Yankees."


He has a vivid recollection of Carl Schurz and when a boy considered him to be one of the greatest men in the country.  Several of his boyhood playmates went to the first kindergarten in America conducted at the Carl Schurz home here.



No 1:  Cushman, Augustus T., b. 1850, d. 1926.    Buried in Oak Hill Cemetery