Frank Hamilton Cushing

Frank Hamilton Cushing

Birth
North East, Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 10 Apr 1900 (aged 42)
Brooklin, Hancock County, Maine, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Plot Louise Home & Border, Lot 308 East. Unmarked burial.
Memorial ID 55443382 · View Source
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Age 43 years, 9 months. Buried April 12, 1900.

Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography Volume II New York, D. Appleton and Company, 1887.
Cushing, Frank Hamilton, ethnologist, born in Northeast, Erie County, Pennsylvania July 22, 1857. He manifested in early childhood a love for archaeological pursuits and at the age of eight years began to collect fossils and minerals, made a complete Indian costume and lived in a bark hut in the woods. He learned from observation that wherever Indian encampments had been long established the soil and vegetation had undergone a change, which materially assisted him in his search for relics. At the age of fifteen he had discovered the process of making arrowheads from flint by pressure with bone. In 1870 his father removed to Medina, New York, where the son's researches found new ground and greater wealth of material. In the town of Shelby were ancient remains of fortifications rich in relics and they, with ancient fortifications, burial grounds and camp sites in the counties of Madison and Onondaga, were carefully searched, as well as the Hamilton group of rocks. In the spring of 1875 he became a student in Cornell University, but spent most of his time as assistant to Dr. Charles Rau in the preparation of the Indian collections of the National museum for the Centennial exposition at Philadelphia and was curator of the entire collection until the close of the exhibition, when he was appointed curator of the Ethnological Department of the National Museum. During the summer of 1876 he gained his first knowledge of the Pueblo Indians and joined Major J.W. Powell in his expedition of 179 to New Mexico as Assistant Ethnologist of the United States Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution. The expedition spent two months among the Zuni Indians and Mr. Cushing at his own request was left there. He adopted the costume, habits and life of the race and for three years lived strictly the life of an Indian among the Indians, studying their habits, language and history. During the second year of his sojourn he had so far made himself one of the tribe and gained the esteem of the chiefs that he was formally adopted and initiated into the sacred esoteric society of priests, the Priesthood of the Bow. In 1882 he visited the east with a party of six Zunis, who came for the purpose of taking water from the Atlantic ocean or Ocean of Sunrise as a religious ceremony and carrying it to their temple in the Pueblos. Four of the Zunis returned, while Mr. Cushing remained with the other two during the summer in Washington for the purpose of writing with their aid his contribution to the Bureau of Ethnology on Zuni fetiches. In September of the same year he returned to Zuni, but in the spring of 1884 failing health obliged his return for two years to the east. He brought with him three Indians to aid him in the preparation of a dictionary and grammar of the Zuni language and translations of myth and beast stories, hero legends, songs and rituals. Mr. Cushing's publications and contributions to periodical literature include Antiquities of Orleans County (Washington, 1874); Zuni Fetiches (1881); The Relationship between Zuni Sociologic and Mythic Systems (1882); The Nation of the Willows (1882); Adventures in Zuni (1883); Studies of Ancient Pueblo Keramic Art, as Illustrative of Zuni Culture Growth (1884); and Zuni Breadstuff (1885).

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Contributor Veteran Guy sent the following:
Frank Cushing choked to death on a fish bone in Brooklin, Maine. He was working at a dig on Campbell's Island, from which he recovered a Frenchman in full armor from the 1600s.


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  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 25 Jul 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 55443382
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Hamilton Cushing (22 Jul 1857–10 Apr 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55443382, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .