Through the support of the Maine Humanities Council and the Island Institute, the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association was able to collect hours of oral histories from fishermen throughout Maine.
Randy Cushman is a fifth-generation fisherman from Port Clyde, Maine, with a rich family history in the fishing industry. His family's involvement in fishing spans several generations, with numerous relatives, including his three brothers, nephew, grandfather, great uncles, and great-grandfather, all having been fishermen. Cushman's family lineage traces back to Robert Cushman and his son Thomas, who were among the passengers on the Mayflower. However, the family's fishing roots began with Apollos Cushman, the first family member to settle in Maine, specifically in Bremen. Randy's great-grandfather, Charles "Jack" Cushman, was the one who brought the family to Port Clyde after marrying Bertha Stone, a local from the area. Jack Cushman was a lobsterman, and it was his move to Port Clyde that established the family's five generations of fishing in the area.
Scope and Content Note
The interview with Randy Cushman, conducted by Joshua Wrigley for the Maine Coast Oral History initiative, provides a detailed account of Cushman's family history, their involvement in the fishing industry, and his personal reflections on his career. The interview covers a range of topics, including the family's migration from Plymouth, Massachusetts to Bremen, Maine, and eventually to Port Clyde, Maine. It also delves into the family's transition from their initial professions to becoming fishermen, with a particular focus on Randy's great-grandfather, Jack Cushman, who was a lobsterman. The interview also provides insights into the economic conditions of the fishing industry in the mid-20th century, with anecdotes about buying food on credit during the winter months and paying it back during the summer fishing season. The interview also touches on the local culture and community of Port Clyde, including the importance of neighborly support in a small community.
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