Priscilla Elizabeth Bushman, b. 23 Jan 1858

Muddy River

On this day, Jacob Bushman’s wife Charlotte gave birth to their first child, a daughter born on a cold blustery night in southern Nevada.  The place was called Muddy, near the Muddy River in Iron County (see the map below).  They were traveling to Utah from San Bernardino, where they were married.  Charlotte married Jacob at age 16, and gave birth at age 17.  Jacob was 27 when Priscilla was born.

Record of Priscilla’s birth and death can be found in the Lehi Ward Record Book, Book A, page 3, line 4.  She died on 15 August 1959.  [FHL microfilm 889413 Item 1]

Here is an entry from a history of his life written by Jacob Bushman to his brother John Bushman in 1902.  The transcript can be found in the BYU HBLL Special Collections.

Jacob Bushman, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 4

March 27th, 1902
I will now try and give you a short synopsis of myself while in California. As you are aware, I left in the Spring of 1852 to go to Carson Valley with Major Holman, the Indian Agent, as one of his escorts. And when we got to Carson, he give some of us the privilege of stopping and we concluded to stop. We went to work in the Placer Mines a short time. And then four of us got any work there and started for Greenwood. We went about one mile when the other three boys turned back, but I said I never was known to turn back and I went on to Greenwood and stayed all night. Next morning could get no work and left for Mudder’s Bar, a mining camp on the Middle Fork of the American river, where there was a few families of old Mormons that I knew in Nauvoo.

I stopped with them and worked for about a month or two and the family that I was living with started for San Juan Valley where there was quite a few families of old Mormons. We supposed that it was government land and we took up a squatters claim apiece and went to work building and fencing and farming, working in the large Redwoods getting out the fencing and for building. The third year it proved to be a Spanish title and we never got what the improvements cost.

Then there was missionaries sent up from Sanbernardino by Apostle Rich and Lyman for all the Mormons or even called themselves Mormons to come to (San Bernardino). There was about 10 families from San Juan, went to Sanbernardino, and I went with them. Arrived there about the Fall of 1855, and I thought it was a fine place. I went to work for Brother Theodore Turley and John Cook. A short time. Then went on the mountain to run and Engine for a saw mill for Gilbert Hunt. I was there about 3 months. In the Fall of 1856, I went to work for George Crisman. And in March 2, 1857, I was married to Charlotte Turley, daughter of Theodore and Francis Kimberly Turley. Then news came from Salt Lake for all that called themselves Latter Day Saints to come back to Utah, and the most of the Saints started back in December 1857.

I left Sanbernardino on the 25 day of Dec. 1857 in company with my father-in-law and two brother-in-laws and about 20 other families for Utah. We traveled along until we arrived at the Muddy on the night of 22 of Jan. 1858. And on the 23 of Jan. my first child was born, a girl Pricilla Elizabeth. We had a hard time from there until we reached Cedar City about the first of Feb. 1858. I left my wife there with her father and went on to Lehi with one of my brother-in-laws Stephen Franklin, and we arrived in Lehi about the 10th of Feb. 1858, being gone nearly six years. *(Sanbernardino—San Bernardino, California)

In March, I returned to Cedar City for my wife and child, traveling through snow sometimes three feet deep. And started back for Lehi the first week in April 1858. Had to shovel snow a going back. Arrived there about the middle of April.

Now dear Brother, you know a good deal of the rest for I am about tired out a writing and I do not know whether you can make it out or not for there is nothing grammatical about it. And may God Bless you all.

Yours Truly,
Jacob Bushman

Muddy River circa 1948

This photo of the Muddy River was taken circa 1948.

Muddy River map

History of Muddy River (Wikipedia


The area was part of the Native American Paiute peoples homeland for centuries, with the Mojave to the south. “Moapa” is a Southern Paiute language word meaning “muddy”; although “Moapa River” was formerly the official name, local usage tended to translate the name, and it was made official in 1960.[3]

The Old Spanish Trail originally followed the Virgin River all the way to the Colorado River and followed it westward. In 1844, the expedition of John C. Frémont discovered a cutoff route that avoided the Colorado River, following a route between Resting Springs inCalifornia, and the Virgin River Valley that passed through Las Vegas Springs and crossed the Muddy River near modern Glendale. Mormon pioneers blazed a wagon road from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles along this pack trail in 1847, followed by Forty-ninersattempting avoid the winter snows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and wagon trains of Mormon colonists on their way to settle in San Bernardino in 1852. By 1855 it had become a cold season freight route between Utah and Southern California that remained in use in Southern Nevada into the 20th century.

Mormon settlers established several settlements in the Muddy River area in 1864, including the town of St. Thomas, which by 1938 was submerged under Lake Mead until recently. Some of the towns ruins can be still seen during low water levels. Some Paiutes fought to protect and reclaim their homeland. For a variety of reasons, including the harsh climate, unpredictable periods of drought, and a tax dispute with the State of Nevada, the Mormons abandoned the area in 1871.[4] Many of the LDS people returned to the area in the 1880s and it currently has a substantial Mormon population.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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