Today is the birthday of my great-great grandpa’s brother, Martin. A few years ago I found the history below in their brother, John’s journal and I transcribed it. How I love hearing someone tell their story in their own voice! And as you read below, you will hear Martin’s voice. There is honesty and beautiful description in his words, written in the raw, without punctuation or editing. This is a true glimpse of the amazing life he lived.
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This is a copy of the edited diary of John Bushman, which was copied by himself from the original diaries into a large journal during the later years of his life. The book from which this typewritten copy was made is of the ledger type about 8 x 11 inches in size. The writing was entirely in ink. The latter part of the journal which records the death, etc. was in other handwritings. The original from which this copy was made is now in the hands of members of the John Bushman Association, of which Fred Bushman of Salt Lake City, Utah was the Chairman. [Now in Church Historian’s Office.]
[This bound manuscript is kept in the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Special Collections. This Life Sketch was found at the end of John Bushman’s journal entries and was retyped here by Ann Laemmlen Lewis, September 2005. Spelling and punctuation from the original has been retained.]
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF MARTIN BENJAMIN BUSHMAN
Written by himself
News paper clipping added to journal account: “Oldest man in Lehi Host on 86th birthday. Lehi, Feb. 8.– Martin B. Bushman, pioneer and oldest resident of Lehi, was called upon by over 100 friends Saturday, his eighty-sixth birthday. He was born in Barth Township, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, Feb. 5, 1841, and came to Utah in 1851, settling in Lehi where he has since resided.
Open reception was held at the Bushman home during the afternoon and evening. Some of the visitors brought musical instruments and entertained their aged host. The old folks’ committee presented Mr. Bushman with flowers and fruit.
During the evening, the children and grandchildren of the family were special guests.”
Martin Benjamin Bushman was born February 5, 1841. He was the son of Martin Bushman who was born April 1, 1802, in Lancaster County Pennsylvania; his mother Elizabeth Degen Bushman was born the same year in Holstine Basel, Switzerland. She came to America when she was fourteen years old. She came to Lancaster; it was there that Martin Bushman became acquainted with her. They were married on 20th of March 1827, at his home in Lancaster. They had ten children born to them, six boys and four girls. I was the seventh child. About the time I was born they joined the Mormon church. The percution became so great on that account, by their relatives, that they had to move away from their relatives and former friends. They sold out at a great sacrafise and went to Nauvoo Illinoise to join with the saints there. Their Journey there was about one thousand miles. It took many months with horse teem. It was on that journey that I spent part of the first year of my life no dout it was very hard on a baby. But that has been my lot all my life to have the ruff side of life. My parents started to make a home there and they were happy to be with the Saints and see the Prophet Joseph Smith and his Brother Hyrum. It was there that I had the privlage of seeing them and sitting on their laps. They helped to build that Temple. I also had the privlage of going into that most sacret house and while living there that their beloved Prophet was killed. It almost kill them to look upon their deathly faces of them that they loved so deerly. But they was not satisfied with their death they had to drive the saints from their beautiful city and Temple and it was going through Iowa that my parrents suffered ontold hardships, in the winter of 1846. They burried two of their children on that journey. I well remember of seeing one of them layed in the grave with out a coffen and seeing the dirt throwen on them and we never see that spot again where they were layed. They went to council bluff in western Iowa they lived there for four years to get an outfit to come to utah. My Father and older brother went to another state to get work to get some thing for us to eat and clothes us. then I had to get the wood and chop it for to burn also had to feed the cattle. I also had to grind corn on a coffe mill for us to eat I also made traps to ceth quails for help out our meals. It was there that I was paptised also received a Patarcal blessing. at the end of four years we was ready to come to utah our outfit was one wagon four oxin and four cows and provision for four month on the way we see many buffalows and killed some for meet to eat that helped us in our living. We see thousand of indians on that journey of one thousand miles but they did not molest us wich we was thankful for.
We staid one week in Salt lake City then came thirty miles south to lehi then called dry creek. I was then ten years old for the next ten years of my life I stayed with parents helps them build houses make correls and shed and make fenses plow the ground harvest the crops. Also hearded the cows many times bare footed and done many other things in building up a new country. many time was short of clothes and food but we made the best of our lot and was not annoyed by our enemies. Then at the age twenty I started out to make some thing for myself. but just as I was maken plans what to do I was called on a mission to drive a one team to the Masoura river and return to fetch some of the saints to utah that had no teams of their own that journey took five month. There was sixety wagons in the Company with four yoke to the wagon. that made four hundred and eighty head of oxen. they were driven into a correll made by the wagon each teamster had to go into that correl and hunt up his own oxen yoke them up and hitch them up to his wagon. Twice each day he had to do that three hundred times in the journey, there and back wich was no small job. then they had to make there fires and cook their food. there was ten to twelve emagrants to each wagon. the teamsters walk the entire journey on the return journey so the women and children could ride. They done all this without pay. The next three years of my life I worked very hard and was very saven so if I wanted to git married I would have some thing to live on. the Lord blessed me with means and a good young lady that was willing to share life journey with me. it came around in this way. Isaac Goodwin like my parrent joined the mormon church. he was willing to leave home and friends and gether with the saints. With that in mind he and his family embarked with a company of saints to go around South America to California. they were six month on the water his wife died on the ocean and was burried on a small iland. When they got to Sanfrancisco they move from there to Sanbardeno where some laterday saints lived. in 1857 the mormons there moved to utah. he staid one year at saint George then the family moved to Lehi. It was there that I first got acquainted with his daughter. After keeping company with her for about one year she excepted my ofer of mariage. on the twenty first of March 1863 we went to the house of the Lord and received our blessing and was Married by President Brigham Young. her name was Lucinda Ladelia Goodwin. after living with her parrents one week we moved to our own home. it was primatived one but it was our own. I had got a new stove and some furniture. She furnished the bed and so we got along very nicely together. after living there for one year I got a city lot and built a better home. We had a daughter born to us in our new home. She only lived sixteen days and died wich gave us sorrow but we tried to make the best of it. One year later we had twins born to us a boy and a girl. they both lived to have families. She had seaven more children ten in all, two boys and eight girls. She had two pare of twins. She was a very kind and helpful wife to me in my care for the family and religous duties. four years after our marriage I married a plural wife. She gave her full consent to it. She was all ways willing to share her husband time and effection with her and was kind to her children. the two famlies lived in peace together for forty years. she died the ninth of Dec. 1906 aged 63 years. Sister Rebeca Stanging the President of the relief sosiety was one of the speakers at the funeral. She spoke well of her said she was a faithful wife a kind mother and good to the poor and I can say she was dear to me.
Now I wish to say something about my plural wife Martha Worlton. She was born Sep. 14. 1849 in Bath Sumerset Shire England. her parents joind the morman church for the love they had for the Gospel they taught. they like others left their home and friends and gather with the saints in Utah They lived in Salt Lake then in uinta then move to spanish fork afterward to Lehi City. It was there that I became acquainted with their daughter Martha. being ing her company one evening I was impressed to ask her if she would marry as a plural wife as that prisipal was pracktis by the saints then. her anser was that she would if her parents would give their consent. after words when I come to think about it how in the world could I take care of two wives for I was poor and had only been married four years then so I thought I had better ask the Lord in prayer about it. I said to him if it was his will that should go into that prinsipal I should marry her that I should be directed by him to do so. after that I was impress to go ahead and it would be attened with Blessing and not cursing. I then got the consent of my wife then of her parrent then got a recomend from the Bishop of the ward to go in to that order of Marriage. Then I had to take that recomend to President Brigham Young for his signature. then took her to the house of the Lord and was sealed to her by wilford Woodruf March Second 1867. it is now nearly sixty years since and I can Truthfuly say that I have been Blessed. I have been blessed with means to provide homes for my wives and feed and clothes my famlies and school my children and have always had enough besides to pay and onest tithing and some left to give to preeching Gospel to the nation. twenty years after I had maried my plural wife and she had nine children united States depitees came to my home at mid night and served papers on me for having two wives and on my wives as witnesses. then I had to appear in court so to save them from going into court I pled gilty. then when we was to be sentance that day there was eight to be sentanced for that purpose for having more than one wife. juge gave the sentance. Whare there was no young babies he gave lite sentance but whare there was any young babies he made penalty much more. he seams to object to babies been born. when he came to my case he ask the prosicuting atorney weather there was any. he said no. then three months only for me. On the 23 March 1889 I with ten other cohab and two muderer and a horse thief was marched down Provo streets by two marshal to the Denver depo and put into a smoking car. while going to Salt Lake City the marshel told all sorts of smuty yarns about the mormon men to agravates us and the ruff men in the car laugh. When we got to the city we was put into a wagon without seats and taken the Penetensure. when we got there we was taken into a room and our pedigree was taken the coller of our eyes and hair our hight and how long we had to stay there. then we was taken thought the pearly gates to stay for months or years. there was a sensation that was sad when we passed through that the strongest heart felt. After you get within those walls that is twenty feet high you never see a green thing that is growing. you have no say in what eat or where. you have no say the food you eat all have the same. you have some good ligt bread a potato a peace of good meat with gravy on it a dish of mush without sugar or milk a tin cup ful of strong coffee minus milk or sugar. Your dishes is a tin plate and spoon. you are not allow a nife or fork. you have to use teeth to pull your meet to peases. You have no say in regard to your cloths. All have to put on the striped suit of gray and white stripes. You must be shaved clean and your hair cut short. you have to go to your sell at the tapping of the Bell. The sell is a room five by seaven six feet high made of steel plates with latice work of iron bars. there is one hundred and twenty of these sells in a large brick building. There was about one hundred of the Brothen there when I was there. they where hunted up by depities marshals from all parts of the state from Saint George in south to cash valey in north. Many of them had growed gray in the service of the Lord. There was some of the twelve apostle also president stake and of seveties and Bishops. I mite name one Bishop Maughan of from cach valey as good a soul as ever lived. he got the warden to let him take some of the beathern out side to work in the garden for a change and to give them exersise. he also got the privlage of holding a sunday scool sunday forenoon in the dining room. it was very interestin to the prisner. they used the Bible for a tex book. Apostle Lyman was very kind to us. We would wory some times about our famlies thinking that they mite be sufering for want of the nesasaries of life he would tell us not wery that they would be provided for.
There was in the Prison at that time about one hundred crimnel of every from murderers down to every kind you could think of. We had to be with them every day but we spoke to them kindly and treated them with respect our exsample had a good effect on them so they was ashamed to use absene and vulger lanwage in our presants. My age at that time was 48 years my expearience there was a benifit to me. it will be to your interest to relate to you my viset to my birth place in 1902. me and my two brother went to lancaster City Pennsylvany. our relatives there on my Father side and on my mother side treated us kindly. We moved away from there more than fifty years before. we visited chicargo and Philadelphia also New York and numbers of other large cities and places of interest. I greatly enjoyed the journey as I had never travel much. Now as to how I made a living for my self and famlies it has been mostly what I raised on the farm in my early life I got some land so what I did raise would be my own. I also was interested in the thrashing machine for many years wich made quite an increase. I was very handy with tools so I could put my hand to doing most anything and by using my means to the best advantage and wives being good manerager we always had some thing to live on and school our children. another great help has been to keep out of dept. Now as to my religin I beleave there is a God and that he can hear and answer prayer so I have saught his help in daly labor and with wisdom to direct me in having good health to care for my family. I have tried to attend all meettings whare I could gain knowage. it has been a great help to me to lissen to President Young council and the other Presidents. I have tried to cary them out for in doing so there is safty. as to the Priesthood I have set at the door also I swept and kept fire in the house of worship acted as teacher for many years. I have also acted as a priest in visiting the home teaching them the Gospel of life and salvetion. I was a member of the 68 quoram of seventies for 30 years one of the Presidents apart of that time. I served as a Sunday school teacher for 25 years. I never fill a faron mission but I have given hundreds of dollars to those that have gone. I am now 86 years old.
Dear Emerett I have writen these few insidents of my life acorten to your request. They may not be in good stile but you must excuse it for I never had any school education but there is some thing writen that is worth keeping for future generation if any of your brother or sisters that would like a coppy of it they can get it of you for I have nun.
A place to sleep Good food to eat
No cause to weep. It hard to beat
My state of joy.
A few good chums. A loving wife
Each new day comer To bring my life
A load of Joy
Good books to read. A glowing hearth
But though I need, Things of this earth
I still have joy.
A thankful heart. A word of praise
I’ll play my part. Though all my days
To scatter joy.
When cold I lie. Wrapped in a shroud
Let some one cry. With force aloud
He taught us Joy.
Writen by Martin Benjamin Bushman