Cushing, Thomas Humphrey (1755–1822)

By: Jack D. L. Holmes

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: December 1, 1994

Thomas Humphrey Cushing, army officer, was born in 1755 in Massachusetts, where he enlisted as a sergeant in the Sixth Continental Infantry in January 1776. He succeeded Isaac Guion in 1799 as commander of United States troops on the Mississippi and Tombigbee rivers, with headquarters near Natchez. He supervised the construction of American frontier forts in Mississippi Territory, particularly Fort Stoddart. Cushing was commissioned a colonel on September 7, 1805, was named commander of the posts west of the Mississippi the following May, and was ordered by Gen. James Wilkinson to leave for Natchitoches with several cannons and howitzers. He was to prevent Spanish violations of American territory east of the Sabine River during the Neutral Ground dispute. He negotiated with Simón de Herrera in August 1806 but failed to reach any agreement. Hostilities were avoided when Wilkinson arrived and signed the Neutral Ground agreement on November 6, 1806. Cushing was commissioned a brigadier general on July 2, 1812. He was honorably discharged on June 15, 1815, and was appointed collector of customs in New London, Connecticut, on January 16, 1816. He died on October 19, 1822.

Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Jack D. L. Holmes, ed., "Fort Stoddart in 1799: Seven Letters of Captain Bartholomew Schaumburgh," Alabama Historical Quarterly 26 (Fall, Winter 1964). Jack D. L. Holmes, "Showdown on the Sabine: General James Wilkinson vs. Lieutenant-Colonel Simón de Herrera," Louisiana Studies 3 (Spring 1964).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jack D. L. Holmes, “Cushing, Thomas Humphrey,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994