From Pioneer Women of Arizona: Bushman by Roberta Flake Clayton
Mary Ann Petersen Bushman
Maiden Name: Mary Ann (Ane Marie) Petersen
Birth: May 24, 1857; Vinstrup, Randers, Denmark
Parents: Jens Pedersen and Maren Sorensen Frost
Marriage: John Bushman;153 March 2, 1877
Children: Elsie May (1878), Lillian Ann (1879), Maren Adele (1881), John Lehi (1883)
Death: July 2, 1885; St. Joseph, Navajo Co., Arizona
Burial: Joseph City, Navajo Co., Arizona
Mary Ann Petersen, daughter of Jens Pedersen, called Petersen in America, and Maren Sorensen Frost, was born May 24, 1857, at Vinstrup, Randers, Denmark. She is the second child in a family of ten children. Her parents were converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Desirous of joining the main body of the Church, her parents, a sister Mettie Marie, and two brothers, with her Frost grandparents, sailed for America. There was much privation on the ship Franklin, on which they sailed from Åalborg, Denmark, with the Scandinavian Immigration Mission in the spring of 1862.154 They were short of water, and one brother died and was buried at sea.155
Mary Ann, known as Ane Marie Pedersen when registered on the ship’s list, was not only a pioneer to America but traveled by wagon across the continent, with much suffering and privation, to join the Saints in Utah. Her other brother died while crossing the plains.156
The family made their new home in Lehi, Utah, where Mary lived until her marriage. She attended school for a limited time, learning to read and write, but because of their circumstances, it was necessary for her to work out to help with living costs. Thru her mother’s teachings and working in other homes, she learned well the art of homemaking and grew to be a very capable woman. Her experiences prepared her well for the further pioneering she was asked to do.
Mary Ann had many friends among the young people, but her mother was very careful as to who her companions were. The Bushman and Petersen families were acquainted with each other while they both lived in Lehi.
John Bushman accepted the call from the Church authorities to colonize Arizona territory, and he was advised to take another wife to assist him in this calling, because his first wife, Lois Angeline, was not well.157 He chose Mary Ann Petersen to be that young wife.
It was February 27, 1877, when they arrived in St. George from Lehi. They visited several acquaintances the next few days. On March 2, 1877, when she was almost twenty years of age, she married John Bushman in the St. George Temple. The ceremony was performed by Erastus Snow.158 On March 6 they continued on their way to Arizona and caught up with John Hunt, Henry M. Tanner, Manassah Blackburn, Isador Wilson, and the Westover families.159 The road was very bad, dugways for miles, very hilly, and water was scarce.160 They arrived at President Lot Smith’s Camp Sunday, April 29, at 10:00 a.m., took dinner at the long table, and in the evening all attended meeting where nearly all spoke.
On April 30 John Bushman and L[ycurgus] Westover went to Allen’s Camp and were welcomed home by all those who arrived earlier, John Bushman having visited Arizona the year before in preparation for this move. It was here in Allen’s Camp, later called St. Joseph and now Joseph City, that he and Mary were to do their life’s work and raise an honorable family.
On June 7, 1877, Mary prepared a nice supper and asked their friends in to celebrate her husband’s thirty-fourth birthday. It was July 1, 1877, that Lorenzo Hill Hatch, Patriarch at Obed, Arizona, gave Mary Ann a patriarchal blessing.
She took an active part in community affairs as well as Church callings, sharing the duties of the wives of the colonists during the time of the United Order. 161 She served as treasurer of the Relief Society at St. Joseph from September 7, 1877, to July 5, 1885. Her name is signed Mary A. Bushman, along with her husband’s to the “Articles of Association of the Allen’s Branch of the United Order, Allen’s Camp,” dated April 15, 1877.
She also served as counselor in the MIA for two years, and also counselor in the first Young Ladies Mutual Improvement organization at Lehi, Utah.
Mary became the mother of three daughters and one son. The eldest girl, Elsie May, died at the age of two years.
About 1883 she developed a tumor under her arm which caused her much discomfort and great pain. In the spring of 1885, it became so bad that her husband took her to Salt Lake City for medical treatment, but the doctors could not give her hope of cure, so she returned to St. Joseph where she suffered much. On Sunday, July 4, 1885, John took Mary and Lois and the children for a little ride. Mary was very feeble and restless, and at 4:30 a.m. Monday, July 5, she breathed her last. She had her reason to the last hour and seemed prepared to make the change but expressed some anxiety about her three children, who were all too young to mourn their mother’s death.
Brother John McLaws made a nice coffin from the native pine, and the funeral services were held at 6 p.m. of the same day, with all the village present. All spoke of her exemplary life and as a Saint, wife and mother, and said she was better prepared to go than any of them. She was buried at sundown in the St. Joseph cemetery, now Joseph City, Arizona, July 5, 1885.
Her husband had witnessed the death of his father, mother, and three of his children, but this was
by far the saddest. Nevertheless, he felt to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all things and thanked him for the knowledge of the glorious gospel and the principle of plural and celestial marriage. He wrote to her relatives in Utah.
Lillian Ann Bushman Palmer writes of her mother: “I was only five when my mother died. I can remember very little. When she was sick I remember her lying in bed, and when she died I remember them covering her over with a sheet. Sister Eliza Tanner was one of mother’s best friends, and I’ve heard her say mother could sew rags faster than any of them, and she and mother cooked for the men when they were putting in the dams.”
Son, John Lehi Bushman, does not remember his mother, but others have told him the following: “Sister Tanner told me that Mother could take the rough boards in her floors and scrub them until they were white, and that Mother and she did the cooking for the men at the dam, and Mary Bushman always did more than her part.
“Sister Mary Richards said that mother was one of the grandest women she ever met and said that [my] daughters, Maud and Blonda, look like their grandmother.
Alva Porter said she was a beautiful young woman and always busy, a fine cook and dressmaker. That mother would be up with me most of the night because I was a puny little fellow but next morning her work had to go on just the same.”
Lois Bushman Smith writes: I sometimes flatter myself that I am the authority in our family on Aunt Mary, for as a little girl I went with Father and Aunt Mary to Arizona. I remember so distinctly their showing me the twelve big oxen at the Temple. These childhood memories have remained with me very vividly. The first Christmas I spent away from my mother was so filled with thrills and pleasures by my second mother I doubt whether I missed my mother, brothers, and sisters in Lehi as much as a little girl a long ways away should do. When I awoke that morning, there on a chair beside my bed was a beautiful rag doll Aunt Mary had made with her own hands. The doll had beautiful black hair, with black thread outlining the features, and just lovely clothes. The sweets consisted of a dish of raisins. She guarded my health as zealously as my own mother would have done and I always had a pretty clean apron on. Her prowess as a housekeeper and cook have become a family tradition. Her cooking was always done in an orderly manner and the results were tasty and enjoyable it seemed to me no matter how rough or meager the food.
I remember a habit that would do credit to any young lady of today. No one ever saw her hair disorderly or in a disheveled manner. The secret of her neatness was that first thing every morning she performed her toilet and her hair then stayed combed for the rest of the day and no one ever saw it otherwise. As befitting the wife of an early Arizona Pioneer, Aunt Mary seemed to love work, was economical and never complained of hard work or hard times. In the fort, the sisters helped each other by having sewing bees and so forth, no one could accomplish more than Aunt Mary at these bees.
Lois and Mary were exceptionally good friends and real pals, as letters written to each other have shown. Some musings of Mary herself and one of her letters to Lois follows:
I have been thinking today about how wonderful it was that Lois, my husband’s first wife, was willing to let her husband share his love with another woman and how she trusted us to bring her five year old daughter, Lois, with us out to this barren country, that was just being pioneered and so far away from her mother. I must write Lois now and tell her how we all are, and what we are doing.
Aug. 31, 1877
Dear Sister Lois:
With pleasure I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along, as John is not here to write. He has been in the harvest fields all this week and will not be back until tomorrow night, and I thought you would be anxious to hear from us. We are all well, and I hope these lines find you enjoying the same blessings. I have been helping Sister [Mary Willie] Richards sew today. She is going to Dixie on a visit. She is a nice woman, and I think everything of her. Well, I hardly know what to write as there is so little news here to write about. The men are very busy harvesting. All the wheat is ripe and only ten men to work, and it keeps them pretty busy. They have 85 acres of wheat to cut, all getting ripe at once. The crops all look splendid. I wish I had one of your apples, it would be quite a treat. Lois often says she wishes she was back home where all the good apples are, and she wants to know if you will save some for her till she comes. She is eating bread and milk for her supper, she is well and hearty, and she grows prettier every day. She says Ana must kiss those sweet baby boys for her and then they must kiss you.
Well, dear Lois I hope you will write soon for I cannot live if you do not write. We have received one letter from you this week. I looked for one today but did not get one. I am so glad you write so often, it is such a comfort to get a letter from you for they are always so good and interesting. I hope we can always feel as we do now. If we can it will be a blessing to us all, and I think we can if we will call upon the Lord in secret and with a humble heart he will hear us and help us to do what is required of us. I hope you will pray for me, for I am young and foolish and fear myself very much, but I hope by the help of God, I will be able to do what is right. Lola (Lois) has written a letter to Maria and wants her to write back. We write two letters nearly every week to you, but I do not think you get them all. John sends his kindest love to you and the children. He has not forgotten you, for when he speaks to me he calls me Lois more than Mary. Give my love to my folks and all my friends and accept asack full for yourself and babies. Remember me to your cousin Ellen. Have you gotten any money yet? I remain your loving friend. Mary Bushman
Nettie Hunt Rencher writes of Mary Ann P. Bushman: “First I remember what a pretty woman she was, with blue eyes and light hair that she combed and braided every morning before we left camp. It seems like every time I looked at her she was smiling. I have thought it so sweet of the first wife to let her child, Lois, go with Mary, the second wife, to be a comfort for her on the way after they arrived in this lonely land. But one morning a look of terror was in her eyes and later thankful tears. Little girls wore pretty long dresses then, and Lois turned around with her back to the fire, her dress fell right on the hot coals and in a moment her dress was blazing. She ran screaming. Her father and mine were near. They ran after her as she dodged between the wagons. My father had on one of his buckskin gloves which he always wore when he drove, and he was just ready to leave camp, so it was only a few moments until he had the blaze put out with his gloved hand. Since, I have known what thoughts were going through Mary’s mind, of how terrible she would have felt if anything really bad had happened to Lois, when she was in a way entrusted to her care. I have often thought it was so sad that she must die so young and so far from her own dear ones.”
Ellis and Boone:
Mary Ann Bushman came to Joseph City very early in its settlement and is frequently mentioned in the early records. For example, John Bushman wrote about building the fifth dam in his diary: “On January 12, 1881, all the brethren gathered at the Dam Site and dedicated it to the Lord, and the materials that were to be used in the structure of the dam. They commenced work immediately with all the men that could be spared. Sister [Maria Sophia] Neilson and Mary Bushman cooked for the men. The weather was cold and very windy. Part of the men went home every saturday and returned monday mornings.”162 It would be interesting to know if Mary Ann Bushman kept her fifteen-month-old daughter Lillian at the dam site. One possibility would be that Mary volunteered to be the cook, planning to leave Lillian with John’s first wife, Lois. Mary was just beginning a new pregnancy and would likely have weaned Lillian about this time.
Mary Ann Peterson Bushman died at Joseph City when she was only twenty-eight years old. She had given birth to four children. Her oldest daughter, Elsie, died when two years old, and the three other children (Lillian, Adele, and John) survived their mother. The book Unflinching Courage, a history of Joseph City and its people, was compiled mostly by Mary Ann’s daughter, Adele Bushman Westover.163 With information here from both Lillian and John, it seems likely that this sketch was written by Adele.
The funeral of Mary Ann Petersen Bushman in 1885, “with all the village present,” could have happened in many different towns, but it became a Joseph City custom. Forty years later this same scene was repeated with the death of Mary Hansen Larson (raised by Emma Swenson Hansen, 245). Mary’s husband, Hugh, had taken her to Gallup, New Mexico, for medical treatment where she died. Her mother-in-law, May Hunt Larson (394) wrote that Mary “suffered no pain whatever but gradually sank away. He asked her once if she knew him and she answered, ‘Certainly Hugh, I know you.’ He stood it as long as he could and walked out and the nurse beckoned him a few minutes later, by then she was past knowing him. He had a very sad, lonely time as the undertaker would not take his word or note. He had to wire to John Miller at Holbrook for money before he could move her. The whole town of Joe City met him at the depot and they said it was a very touching sight to see him with only her coat and hat while neighbors carried her body.”164
John and Mary Ann Petersen Bushman. Photo courtesy of DUP album, Snowflake-Taylor Family History Center.
John Bushman built this frame house in Joseph City for his families and then later added the two-story brick home which is attached (see p. 91 for front of brick house). He fired his own bricks and made his own nails. Parked by the house is the ubiquitous covered wagon (sans cover); William E. Ferguson, photographer, about 2000. Photo courtesy of William and Betty Ferguson.
153. Lenore B. Carpenter, “John Bushman,” in Clayton, PMA, 63−70; “John Bushman,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:553.
154. PWA had Alborg [sic] listed as in Germany, not Denmark. The explanation may come from Conway B. Sonne: “On 15 April 1862 the full-rigged Franklin—one of four German flag square-riggers to carry an emigrant company to America—sailed from Hamburg with 413 Mormons from Denmark.” Many of the Scandinavian Saints used a combination of land and water travel to reach a larger port (often Liverpool, but this case Hamburg) before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. A manifest for the Franklin was not found online. Sonne, Saints on the Seas, 152; Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 78.
155. Jens Anton Petersen died May 16, 1862. Measles broke out on the Franklin and forty-eight people died; by the time the emigrants reached Utah, fully fifteen percent of their company had died. For a compelling and detailed description of this voyage, see Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 78−79.
156. This is probably her older sister, Mette Marie Petersen who died August 31, 1862. Jens and Maren Peterson, with three children, traveled to Utah in the Ansil P. Harmon Company of 1862, departing August 1 and arriving October 5. MPOT.
157. Lois Angeline Smith Bushman, 88.
158. Erastus Snow (1818–1888), born in Vermont, was made an Apostle in 1849 and was called on a mission to Scandinavia that fall. Nearly thirty years later he was called to supervise the Latter-day Saint settlements in Arizona. This role is memorialized with the “Pioneer Monument” on Main Street in Snowflake. Erected in 2000, the free-standing figures include Lucy Flake (holding baby Roberta), Snow, and William J. Flake, with Jesse N. Smith, John Nuttall, and Ira Hinckley in the frieze. Ellis, Snowflake, 121; Ludow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4:1647; “Erastus Snow,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:103–15.
159. Probably this means the two Westover wagons, one driven by Lycurgus and Johanna Westover and the other by Johanna’s father, Swen Erickson.
160. Even though “dugways” often refers to Lee’s Backbone, the route of this party was through Pierce’s Ferry. See Ellis, “‘Arizona Has Been Good to Me,’” 1−32.
161. See Phillips, “‘As Sisters in Zion,’” 155−72. Her name is signed Mary A. Bushman, along with her husband’s to the “Articles of Association of the Allen’s Branch of the United Order, Allen’s Camp,” dated April 15, 1877.
162. Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 43,
163. Westover and Richards, Unflinching Courage, 103−6.
164. April 17, 1925, Journal of May Louise Hunt Larson, 333. For the funeral on April 20, Larson wrote, “The casket was carried from the home to the church building by Hugh’s three brothers and Mary’s three. Pratt, Wallace, Evan [Larson] on one side, Jim, Delbert and Harvey [Hansen] on the other.”