Ungainliness; perversity, an evil temper; malice prepense. Halliwell gives cuss = surly.
“The turkey-cock is just as likely as not to trample on the young turkeys and smash them, or to split their skulls by a savage dig of his powerful beak. Whether this is `cussedness' pure and simple ... has not been satisfactorily determined” —Daily News, December 22nd, 1885.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894