Here is a history of my great-grandmother’s brother, who was born on this day in 1876.
Jacob Isaac Bushman By Elden LaVern Stewart (grandson)
Written by Elden L. Stewart
Grandfather Jacob Isaac Bushman met Effie May Bills at Springville, Utah where the Bills had homesteaded in Mapleton Canyon. Not much is remembered by the children about their courtship days, just that they were married 16 November 1897 and later sealed in the Manti Temple 18 December 1901. They had eight children: Jacob Denzil, Ernest Franklin, Nancy Charlotte, Rissie May, Thelma , Lamar, Fern and Theodore Martin.
After Great Grandfather Bushman [Jacob Bushman] was too old to take care of the farm, Grandfather farmed the acreage for quite a few years. He was able to grub out an additional hundred and fifty acre dry farm homestead at hilltop, some five miles to the north of the old farm. The original farm was located about two miles north of Fairview, situated on a small knoll of limestone shale. Today it is known as the “Old Barker Farm” that Rufus Orrin and Ella Barker ran. (Aunt Ella is Grandfather’s sister.)
Grandfather had a team of mules that only seemed to pay attention to him. He knew just how to handle them and after a few trails of plowing, cutting wheat or whatever, they knew just what to do. Near the Rio Grande Railroad were several rails left after the railroad was completed. With a friend, Grandfather was able to make a drag to rail out the sage brush and cedar trees to clear the land. It was about eight foot wide and eight or nine feet long, bolted together with a plank bolted across the front to stand on. It took a team of mules and a team of horses to pull the drag. When the drag was full, Grandfather would step off the plank and the drag would pull over the pile of debris to be fired up later. The first year he got fifty or sixty acres in and the next year an additional hundred acres, even with his leg giving him trouble all the time. The harvest filled three granaries one behind the house and two others at various parts of the farm. Abe Clements’ farm was located to the west of the Bushman farm, Edward Housekeeper to the southwest, Eff Madden to the southeast and other neighbors close by. When harvest time came the neighbors pitched in to help each other. There was always a tenth of the harvest paid in tithe to the Bishop’s Storehouse.
Those old mules that grandfather had was something else. There was one named Jack that hadn’t taken a liking to anyone especially if one tried to ride him. He kicked like a darned mule and set up such a fuss and ruckus every time someone attempted, that the dog started to bark. Uncle Ern had his mind made up that he was going to ride the mule come “hell or high water.” Each time Ern tried, he found himself on the ground on his back. One day a cowboy came to the ranch. He said he had had a lot of experience breaking such critters and wanted to give it a try. Grandfather gave his consent and the cowboy mounted Old Jack to which he just stood there for a while, then all hell broke loose as the mule headed off for the railroad tracks, first this way and then that, then up and down, but Jack couldn’t shake the cowboy off. Poor Old Jack was so tired when he came back that he was glad to make peace with anyone who decided to ride him. After that Ern was able to ride him, but whenever a horse was available Ern preferred the horse to Old Jack.
One day Grandfather sent Denzil to town for some hay as the stock yard was a bit low. Denzil hitched up the mule team and headed to town for a load. Upon the return trip, he fell asleep on the hay wagon and the mules sensing the situation took advantage of it. They kicked up quite a stir and headed down the road at a good gait, straddling a telephone pole. Denzil was awakened by the sudden stop. He barked, pleaded and cursed at those mules, but they refused to back up. Denzil climbed off the wagon and headed for the homestead, meeting Grandfather on the way. He explained the situation to Grandfather and the two went back to the wagon, finding the mules still tangled around the telephone pole. While taking the reins he whispered a command to back up and those mules obeyed. As I said, Grandfather had a way with animals and especially those mules, he just had that touch of the reins that they recognized.
Grandfather had a machine called a header. It took two teams to pull because of its enormous size. It cut a twelve foot swatch where the grain was conveyed on a canvas belt, with wooden slats attached about every foot, up a chute to the loader that went into a waiting wagon along side the header. The wagon had a wooden body about sixteen feet long and eight feet wide. Its sides were tapered having one side a little taller than the other. When the load was full usually another wagon was ready to pull in place to likewise be filled and taken to the threshing machine. Grandfather had to be a good teamster to control those two teams in coordination. The header didn’t have a seat in front to sit on, but a little peg-like contraption to straddle that had a wheel attached to it. It was this contraption that acted much like a steering wheel on a car and could only be turned by the body movement from side to side. Most of the job was standing with levers to be pulled back and forth. His legs must have cramped him much at the end of the day, but there was always Grandmother’s Watkins liniment to swab him down.
Threshing season brought the big green John Deere down the lane the Brady Boys had finally caught up with Grandfather’s appointment. The engine seemed to have plenty of pulling power for threshing, but Grandfather often had to hook his team of mules to the front of it to get the machine over one steep hill just before the ranch. It took a week to complete the threshings. At first there was the steam engine but when John Deere came out with a two-cylinder engine, the Brady boys purchased one. The wheel was as tall as a man with cast iron cleats diagonally across them to aid in pulling power. The engine and thresher can be seen today at the Fairview Museum. The most fascinating part of the threshing was the big belt that was about 30 feet long and made a cross at the center. When the thresher loaded down and gave the John Deere an extra lug the belt bounced up and down and almost pulled off, but the Brady boys pulled back the throttle and the belt was back to normal. Sometimes the smoke stack belched out hot smoke rings and caused a fire or the engine let out a loud back-firing bang. Stories were told about rigs and stacks burning up on such occasions.
Aunt Fern said she was once playing with matches and started a fire. Luckily the closest spring had not dried up as they had to go for water to put the fire out. Needless to say, she got a good spanking.
Water was scarce, with only three springs to draw from. Some of the springs dried up later in the summer and others became rather brackish. Uncle Lamar said there was only one good spring and it was to the north at the Roll Terry farm, from which water could be carried in five-gallon milk cans for home and stock use when the others gave out.
To the front of the corral was a big wood watering trough that Grandfather had hewn out of an old cottonwood tree. The tap served as water for the animals and thirsty passerbys. You could only take about four swallows at a time because the water was so cold.
In the summer time, Grandfather brought all the animals to the dry farm. Pigs were turned loose to eat acorns or whatever showed up, including snakes that didn’t have a chance with them. There was a coop of chickens that also scratched out a living in the sage and often made friends with the sage hens that were plentiful. The cows were herded by my mother, Nancy Stewart, way down by the railroad tracks where there was lush green grass from the spring runoff. Here mother made friends with Nancy Squaw who when she found out their names were the same, gave mother a little glazed pottery dish.
After threshing, Grandfather took the pigs over to the straw fields to glean out any grain that had been missed by the threshers. The pigs grew big and fat and were ready for fall butchering in prime condition. In the late fall, the family moved back to Fairview with live stock and all. The Bushmans depended on the farm’s earnings to get them through the winter and if the price of grain fell short, there would be a tough winter to get through. With Grandfather’s ingenuity, they always made it through, however.
As a young boy I remember tromping hay on the farm with Uncle Ted loading the hay. He sometimes let me drive the team home which was a real treat. In the winter, Grandfather hitched up the bob sled with all the bells on the horses’ harnesses and we would take a ride up to the Fairview mill a block away to get the wheat ground into flour, whole wheat mush and grindings for the livestock.
To the north of the ranch was the Spencer farm at Indianola. The Spencers had invested in pigs, but one year the bottom fell out of the price of the pig market, so they were turned loose as it was too expensive to feed them. Along with other ranchers, Grandfather got free meat that he cured and smoked himself to help him through the winter. It didn’t take long before there were no more wild pigs.
I remember when I was about the age of six, Grandfather hooked up the team to the wagon and headed up to the east mountains at Bolger Flats. It was about an eight-mile trip up a steep mountain grade so we started early to enjoy the event. Straw was spread out in the wagon box, followed by some blankets and Grandmother’s goodies. A hasty early breakfast had previously been prepared and eaten and we were ready to go. The sun was just about to peek over the easterly crest of the mountain as Grandfather pulled out of Fairview with a slap of the reins and a “gid-ee-up Jack.” The dirt road was narrow and steep with little room for passing except at a few extended areas along the way and the toll gate at the mouth of the canyon required a dollar for use of the road. At about ten thirty we arrived at Bolger Flats. A traveling carnival was set up there and this was my first experience at seeing such contraptions. There was a merry-go-round, ferris wheel and such all driven by cogs and with horses going round and round.
Down at the lake by the spring where Grandmother sent me with a gallon of cold homemade root beer for cooling, there seemed to be a lot of commotion with people gathering all around. Someone said that a drunken sheepherder had rode his horse out into the lake, fell off and drowned. There were a lot of men out on homemade rafts pulling ropes back and forth with bent pitchforks searching for the body. Grandfather said they were dragging the lake. I don’t recall riding any of the contraptions at the carnival, it seemed the drowning had soured the day. Grandmother spread out her blanket under some pine trees and we ate our picnic about noon, then Grandfather said it was time to leave with evening chores and livestock to feed. He said the journey home would be long, slow and dusty with everyone leaving in their wagons at the same time.
Each year after the crops were in Grandfather took the horses up to Mud Springs and turned them loose to forage. Mud Springs was a couple of miles to the west of the farm. When it came time to use the horses again, Grandfather took several halters and rope to bring them home. They were used to their freedom, as they had been running free for some time and had other ideas about being caught and put to work. Grandfather thought it would be easy to catch them, however, and after spotting Old Dan, one of the more tame horses, he approached Dan rather slowly. With a halter in one hand, he placed his other hand on Old Dan’s rear and cautiously patted him, talking to him all the time. Old Dan didn’t like this slyfootedness and gave loose with a kick, sending Grandfather flying. Old Dan wasn’t about to lose his freedom and this was the only way he knew to show it. The pain was most unbearable as Grandfather tried to get to his feet. When he found it impossible, he crawled back to the farm on his hands and knees. Grandmother made a poultice to draw out the black and blue swelling. When the Denver Mud, Watkins carbolic salve, arnica salve, etc., failed Doc Winters was called in. The leg had to be lanced and from then on didn’t heal, making Grandfather a cripple the rest of his life. He had it lanced 33 times without medication before he died. He just said, “Go to it, go to it, Doc,” then he put a stick in his mouth and bit down while Doc Winters cut away. The puss drained and Grandfather was all right for a few more months.
At one time he took to supervising the construction of a railroad bridge next to the family home rather I should say he was talking to the Spanish hands working on the site. Grandfather was quite fluent in speaking Spanish since he had been raised in Mexican territory in his early years. Brigham Young had sent his father to Mexico to colonize the area, and as a boy he became well acquainted with the Spanish culture. While he was talking to the workers, a railroad spike was struck, it bounced and hit him on the side of the head. He was carried home and Grandmother had all she could do to keep him down.
He cured his own meat in a huge vinegar cask. The brine consisted of a jug of vinegar, several spoonsful of saltpeter and about ten pounds of salt. This was probably the best recipe for cured meat to be found. The sides and quarters were left in the brine for a week and then taken out to be hung on spikes in the smoke house. Here fruit wood, usually apple, was used to give the meat a rich suntan of smoke for about another week. A sliver of meat was always cut off a hind quarter as a taste sample for its quality. If smoked enough, it was taken out and hung in the cellar and if not it remained a few more days to complete the process. Bacon was sometimes given an additional batch of salt because of its fat content. Many times these sides had to have the salt boiled out before it was edible. Some of the lean meat was added to the fat and made into sausage. The innards of the pig’s intestines were washed clean and stuffed with the mixture of meat, sage, salt and other spices, then smoked and hung in storage for future meals.
Grandfather took pride in his little smokehouse. It was here that he also earned a little extra money to get him through the winter. The charge was usually fifty cents to a dollar depending upon the amount of meat for smoking. It was a small smoke shack, about the size of an outhouse, except fragrant fumes of smoked hams radiated and filled the surrounding air. The cracks were stuffed with rags to prevent any leakage and it could hold about two to three cured pigs at a time with rocks and hangars strewn across the sides and along the walls. Two or three feedings of fruit wood lasted for twenty-four hours.
When alfalfa became the newest frontier crop for animals, seed was much in demand. Grandfather took to raising the crop for seed on his lowland with excellent results. This made his farm more productive than ever.
The Housekeepers to the southeast were having a little trouble with the elk eating the hay after the seed had been harvested. When the fall came and feed became a little more scarce it was an easy handout for the critters. They just ate along with the other livestock. Ed got fed up with feeding his hard work off to those lazy critters and talked to Grandfather about the problem. Uncle Lamar had a 30-40 Krag army rifle with armor piercing shells. It was decided the gun would be tied to a railing at the feeding lot with some bailing wire. It had quite a kick to it so it had to be secured tightly. A string was tied to the trigger at one end and a post about six feet away to the other. The gun was loaded and cocked. If any of those elk stuck its head into the feeding area to get a morsel it would be a sad ending for him. The next morning, Ed was at Grandfather’s door bright and early. “Want some elk meat, Jake?” he said. “Got two of the critters and followed the third for over a mile before I gave up. I reckon he will make some starved coyote happy for its next meal.” Grandfather hitched up the bob sleigh and he and Ed headed for the feeding lots. Sure enough there lay two dead elk and the 30-40 Krag hanging jerked from its holdings. Now it was time to clean up the mess. Grandfather was a good butcher and immediately started to take care of that good meat. “Tell you what I will do, Ed,” Jake said. “I’ll smoke and cure some of that meat to make good jerky and I’ll share it with you when it’s done. Effie might want to bottle some of it, too.” “Sounds good to me,” replied Ed. The bargain was set and Jake was off to town with the elk covered with a piece of canvas. Ed waved and shouted to Jake, as the wagon mounted the hill, “If I got to feed them, we might as well eat them.” Grandfather smiled as he looked over his shoulder and gave the team a slap with the reins. “Gid-ee-up you lazy critters, we got meat to get home before it spoils.”
Uncle Ted was a little curious about all the commotion and what secret was under the canvas. Grandfather didn’t want to make much of the situation fearing that word might get out to Archie Anderson, the game warden. Ted was a young boy and had a hard time keeping a secret. After some careful listening he decided this would be a good story to tell at show and tell in school, as it was hard for him to ever come up with a good story. No one believed his story in class and to make matters worse they called him a fibber. When Grandfather found out about Ted’s story, he got a good licking. Years later Uncle Ted still remembered the licking. Needless to say, Grandfather was on pins and needles for several weeks until the meat was all disposed of one way or another.
A year later Grandfather was at the barber shop waiting his turn to get a haircut. It was a common practice for the men to tell tales and yarns. A wager was made that whoever could spin the biggest yarn got a new red-handled old-timer’s pocket knife purchased at the local Fairview Merc. Well now that all of the meat was mostly eaten up Grandfather thought it a good time to spill the beans. Nobody would believe him anyway and he was in need of a good pocket knife as his old one was getting mighty thin from sharpening. After everyone had taken their turn, Grandfather just smiled. “Well fellars,” he said, “I got one that will top them all,” and he proceeded to relate the elk story. Ed Housekeeper walked in just in time to hear the last of the tale. He gave Jake a wink and sat down. Grandfather stammered for a minute as he got his composure and went on. Everyone’s eyes were as big as marbles at the end of the tale. Grandfather got the new pocket knife and a free haircut to boot. As Grandfather and Ed went out the door together, Ed commented to Grandfather, “Looks like you got yourself a new pocket knife, Jake.” Grandfather chuckled in a whispering voice to Ed, “Shut up you damn fool, some crazy fool might just be smart enough to believe the story and we would both be in hot water. With that Grandfather headed home to share his good tidings with Effie. She used the knife, after Grandfather’s death, to cut her thick toe nails. After her death, my brother, Max got the knife.
Grandfather had an old wired-up shotgun. Its stock had taken the shock of many a volley. There were plenty of sage hens on the farm and Grandfather always made sure there was chicken for dinner. Harry Rasmussen and the dentist, Doc Phillips, had fancy shotguns and one day they came out to the homestead to get him out hunting chickens. “Well,” he said, “you with your fancy shootin’ pieces, I’ll bet this old gun can get more birds today than both of you.” Grandfather was used to betting as he had won the pocket knife and this wager was no different. The bet was made and Grandfather was more confident than ever. Just below Eph Madsen’s place was a spring and wet lands. This was always a good spot for sage hens to hang out. Grandfather took the crew there and right off, up flew two birds. Grandfather took a careful aim with that old rusty gun, pulled the trigger and before you could say Jack Robinson, down came two birds in one shot. “How’d you do that, Jake?” inquired Doc Phillips. “Well,” said Grandfather, “I just pulled the trigger real slow and got them both.” Before the day was over Grandfather had won another bet.
A few days later Archie Anderson, the game warden, paid Grandfather a visit. He was concerned about the Gandie bunch down at Whitaker’s Switch poaching his sage hens now and again. He didn’t have time to keep watch on them and thought Grandfather, being honest and all, could do the job. He made Grandfather an assistant game warden. Grandfather thought under his breath, “If only Archie knew what was cooking for dinner.” The warden was offered a piece of chicken that was frying crisp in Grandmother’s skillet but he turned it down saying he had to be on his way with other things to do that day. He gave Grandfather a wave and made his way down the road.
The old granary set just a little to the north next to the coal house. The bins were always full from last year’s harvest and Grandfather’s old rusty wired shotgun sat between the rafters. In later years, we played cowboys and Indians with it many times. To the west of the granary was the pig pen with a roofing of logs, willow, straw and clay to keep the moisture out. In the fall, there was usually two big stacks of grain set next to the pig pen.
Uncle Ted had a German Shepherd dog named Jack. Often Ted made a trip to town for supplies, followed by Jack at the rear. On the return trip Jack always got his share of hens. Even though Uncle Ted had a .22 repeater rifle (he’d bought from Angus Stewart) he saved it to use for rabbits; no need wasting shells on chickens, with Jack along.
During the winter months, Grandfather sold odds and ends, hardware and household items a double folding clothes hanger was the hottest item. Another of his money making projects was selling carp and sucker fish that he ordered from Utah Lake. The fish came in on the D&RG railroad. Grandfather hooked up the bob sleigh and delivered fish around the town. People just didn’t have the money to buy store meat even if hamburger was only ten cents a pound. Fish was plenty cheap as the cost of a big carp was only twenty-five cents.
Grandfather was famous for his horseradish relish. In the spring when the root was ready to harvest, he dug them, Grandmother scrubbed them clean and the roots were ground in the grinder outside as the aroma cleaned out your sinuses it was so strong. It was a punishment no doubt, but after a few breathers the grinding continued. The mixture was one-half cup of vinegar to a cup of water, a teaspoonful of salt and sometimes a pinch of sugar. A pint bottle sold for fifty cents to a dollar, depending on the demand. Orders were taken around the town and delivered on the weekend. Boyd Bushman and I took over the sales years later, but we found it more work than we were getting out of the project so it was abandoned. Besides we had most of Grandfather’s horseradish dug up and we were too lazy to put the crowns back in the ground to develop new roots.
Once a year the family was fitted up with new shoes, either from the catalog or the country store. They had to last for a whole year for school, church going, farm work and all special occasions. Stove-top black was used to put a shine on them for church and mutton tallow provided the water-proofing. A shoemaker last was well utilized in case the soles or heels wore out. Grandfather cut out a piece of harness leather or part of an old rubber tire to resole the shoe. Everyone dressed alike in bib overalls and Lil’ Abner shoes, so nobody looked any better than anyone else except of course, some of the store people or school teachers and these were few, so it didn’t matter much. Grandfather ran the Tim Fowles’ farm up by Milburn for a period of time. His sister had married Tim and so the farm was in the family. It was on the south end of Milburn seated next to the Sanpitch River. The land was good, but there was only a one-roomed house on the property to live in. Water was hauled from a spring at the old North Bend Creamery for drinking water. A small cistern was built by the irrigation ditch for other needs. Mother herded the cows again and as there was no kids in the neighborhood she had to be creative to find fun things to play with.
As I said previously, Grandfather was a meat and potato man, so Uncle Ern always brought ten sacks of potatoes each fall to store in their cellar.
In his later years, Grandfather spent a lot of time out on the front porch sitting on the lawn chair Grandmother bought him from Ward’s company. As the years passed by his leg got worse and worse which required him to be home more. He kept a few pigs for meat, a coop full of chickens to sell eggs and a few cows to sell milk and butter. Grandfather said he needed something to do, it kept his cogs a-turning and lubricated. He never wanted to give up entirely, but after awhile Uncle Lamar and later Uncle Ern, had to take over the farm, entirely.
He had one bad habit that Aunt Ida, his sister, used to gibe him about. “Jake,” she said, “that tobacco smoke will be the doings of your death someday, give it up before it is too late.” Grandfather never did stop even with all his sister’s persistence. Grandmother just loved him and endured it, calling it “that filthy odor” when he was not around.
The boys took turns staying up with Grandfather in his last days. One night right after Denzil had left when it was Lamar’s turn, Grandfather started coughing again. The sons usually carried him outside to catch his breath, but this time before Lamar could get to him, he took a turn for the worse, bent over and it was all over. He had served his mortal state and was called home, years later to come back to take his Effie with him for all time and eternity.
Grandmother used to tell me stories about the horse and buggy days when they packed the corpse in ice as some of the relatives had to travel a long way to get to the funeral. Grandfather wasn’t packed in ice, however. At his funeral he wore his nice temple clothes.
I feel my grandparents very close to me as I write this history and feel that they are proud of what I have written.
Elden L. Stewart
When I was about to close I thought about one last event that would be most fitting to add here. It was a Bushman reunion up Maple Canyon. I don’t recall if Grandfather was with the party as I was a little young. At any rate, I feel it noteworthy for some of the generation coming up to remember what a great event it was. Maple Canyon is just west of Moroni about five or six miles. It is the remains of some ancient sea where gravel was dumped and as the sea dried up the gravel was compressed together like cement. Winter runoffs had washed out the bottoms of these ancient monoliths and created deep gorges and canyons. A park had been created at the top of one of these monoliths. From the bottoms you could look up and see the wonders that nature had created with the so-called lion’s head spires at the top of one of them. There were all kinds of trails to hike and canyons to explore, this I remember. Those attending were the Gulls, Burt and Afton Christensen and family, Ted, Lamar, Ernest, Nancy, Denzil and all their born families. Burt and Afton had a big ton green 1938 Ford truck that acted as a school bus to transport the bigger portion of the group; Uncle Lamar had a 1938 Chevy; Uncle Ernest had a 1940 Ford pickup truck and Uncle Ted had a two-seater Model A Ford sedan. Our family rode with Ted. Uncle Ted’s girl helped make a cake that she insisted be a maple nut cake as we were going up Maple Canyon. It was my first experience up to the park as I looked with awe at the tall piercing walls of the canyon as if melting against the floating skies. There were swings and teeter totters for the children to play on, horse shoe games for the older men. There was plenty to do as the women folks prepared the luncheon. Trails led everywhere to which Reed Bushman was always the leader. I tuckered out real quick and saved my energy for the trek up to the lion’s head. At the rest rooms was a large handle outside that flushed the toilets. I think every boy there took turns flushing the thing, till Uncle Ted got wind of it and threatened to spank the next boy that flushed the thing.
The flushing stopped as Glen Gull announced a hike was in order up to the lion’s head. That was the one I was most interested in and started to tag along. Mother cautioned me not to go, but I would have it no other way and slipped away blending into the crowd. The trail was about a mile up winding back and forth as you got higher up. There was only room enough for one person on the trail. If someone was coming down you had to wait till you found a spot for two. I didn’t want to look down as I was afraid of heights. When I finally got to the top I just sat there, my legs not wanting to move. I wished then that I had listened to Mother and not come along. There were come brave ones there, however, like Glen Gull, a regular show off. At the edge of the ledge was an iron bar. I remember Glen swinging on the bar like a trapeze artist at the circus. “That’s not for me,” I thought as shivers went up and down my spine each time he vaulted the bar, and I started down the trail. It took me twice a as long to go down as to come up. Every time I looked over the edge I got the willies and my knees got a little wobbly. I was glad to get out of there just as the picnic was finishing off the watermelon and cake. I had worked up a good appetite and was ready for some nourishment.
Reed and Uncle Lamar had planned up a hike up Box Canyon. This canyon was a series of dripping falls and so-called steps one above the other that wound around and came out at the campsite from the north. These two men knew the trail well and were the leaders. Reed was a real card, always keeping us on the edge with his antics. He would catch a lizard and place it inside his shirt. The women folks weren’t too fond of lizards, so when they weren’t looking, out came the lizard and peals of screaming could be heard from them. Everyone loved Reed, a born fun man, I thought as he never seemed to tire out on new adventures. When we got back to the camp grounds we finished off the rest of Grandmother’s root beer and any leftovers. The green truck of Bert and Afton was loaded up and all the pickups and headed home. There was singing all the way down the canyon as the hills echoed peals of our singing and laughter. Years later we now hold our reunions with root beer that Blair brings, but not quite the spunk as that of Grandmother’s homemade.