Martin Benjamin Bushman (b. 1841) Autobiography

Life Sketch of Martin Benjamin Bushman
Written by Him 5 February 1925
When he was Eighty-Four Years Old

Bushman, Martin B. Family

Martin Benjamin Bushman Family   BACK:  Emma, Eugene W., Flora E., James A., Annie L.  FRONT: Martha Worlton, Vera, Martin Benjamin

Martin Benjamin Bushman was born 5 February 1841, in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, son of Martin and Elizabeth Degen, who was the son of Abraham Bushman, who was the son on Henry Bushman. At the age of one year he was taken from Lancaster to Nauvoo, Illinois by horse team, which was about one thousand miles.
At Nauvoo his parents labored hard to make their children comfortable. He saw the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith and remembered, though very young, of sitting on their laps. He remembered how his parents mourned because of their deaths.

His parents were driven from their homes. They had to leave their crops in the fields and take a few of their things in their wagon and bid good-bye to the city they loved. He remembered going into the Temple with his mother to take their last look at this beautiful house. Then they started on their journey through Iowa. They suffered much with cold and hunger. On that journey he remembered seeing two of his sisters laid in the silent grave who had died from exposure and for want of proper food. One of them was buried without a coffin.

When they got to Winter Quarters in the western part of Iowa the family built a log house and a place for their team. His father and older brother went to Missouri to get work so they could obtain some food for the family. In their absence it was his job to take care of the team and get wood and chop it up. They often had to grind corn on a coffee mill before they had their meals. He used to set traps and catch quail and pheasant to help out with their meals.

They lived there for four years to obtain an outfit to go on to Utah. While living there he was baptized a member of the church and also received a patriarchal blessing by William Draper.

There were no schools in the little village he lived in, but his sister taught him to read. Though he never went to school but very little, he tried to educate himself by studying hard. He was ten years old when he came to Utah. The one thousand mile journey was long and tiresome. They were about four months on the way.

The family spent one week in Salt Lake City, Utah, then moved on to Lehi. For the next ten years he stayed with his father and helped on the farm. Other jobs he did were to help build houses, make fences, reap and sow crops, herd cows and haul wood and timber from the canyons.

Bushman, Martin B. age 20 abt 1861

At the age of twenty he started out to make a start for himself and just as he was planning on what he was going to do, he had a call from the Bishop for a short mission to drive an ox team to the Missouri River and back without any pay. He and five other boys from Lehi went. They had five wagons and four yoke of oxen to the wagon, two oxen to the yoke. That was forty oxen Lehi furnished. They were nearly five months on the journey and the trip was about two thousand miles there and back. When the Lehi teams got with their company there were sixty wagons, eight oxen to the wagon, making 480 oxen in the train. They made a caravan with the wagons.

On the return trip they had from eight to twelve persons in each wagon. The wagons were so heavily loaded that the teamster had to walk the thousand miles and drive the teams. It was a hard journey, but the boys felt that they were doing a good work, and said they were glad they went and when they arrived home they returned the teams to the owners and had not lost a one.

Bushman, Martin B. age abt 25

He now started out to make some means for himself, he thought he ought to get him a home for himself for he felt that he should get married and have a family of his own, so he obtained a small house and lot, some furniture–such as a stove, table and chairs and other necessary things. He had a cow and a yoke of oxen and a wagon. All this he obtained in three years. Then he obtained the consent of Lucinda Ladelia Goodwin to marry him. They were married 22 March 1863 by President Brigham Young. They stayed one week with her parents, then moved into their own home. One year later they had a baby girl born to them but she only lived sixteen days. One year later twins were born, a boy they named Martin Isaac and the girl Laura Ellen. They were born 9 October 1865. Both children were strong and healthy so they had to get a girl to help take care of them. They obtained the services of a young lady by the name of Martha Worlton. She lived with them for two years. He became so attached to her that he asked her to marry him as a plural wife. She said she would if her parents would give their consent. It was then that he realized the responsibility that he was taking upon himself being a young man of only 27 years and in poor circumstances to take care of two families, so he went to the Lord in secret prayer and asked that if it was his will that he should marry her that it would be so, if not, that something may turn up to stop the marriage. Her parents and his first wife gave their consent and they were married on the 2nd of March 1867 by Wilford Woodruff.

Bushman, Martin Benjamin and Martha Worlton

Martin and Martha on their wedding day, 2 March 1867

Bushman, Martin Benjamin and Martha Worlton 1

Both wives and their children lived in peace in the same house for ten years, then he provided each family with a home and he was always able to pay his debts and his tithing.
After living with these two wives for thirty-two years he was arrested by a United States Official, taken to court and there he was given the privilege of turning one family away or go to prison and pay a fine. He chose to go to prison rather than turn away a wife that had been true and faithful to him. He was sent to prison for three months and paid a fine.
He made it a practice to live with each family the dame, that he might help them take care of their children and have prayers with them. He tried to set a good example before them by having prayers night and morning as well as going to Sunday School and to meetings, also by paying his tithing and all other requirements. He wishes to say that his wives and their children have tried to obey his counsel and have shown him all the respect he could ask of them.

As a member of the church he has tried to live a consistent life. In the priesthood he has acted as a deacon in caring for the house of worship, he has acted as a block teacher for many years and as a priest in visiting the saints in their homes and teaching them the gospel. He was in the Elder’s Quorum for five years and a member of the 68th Quorum of Seventies for 39 years and was one of the Presidents. He served as a member of the High Priests Quorum for 18 years. He was a Sunday School teacher for thirty years.

At the age of sixty he went back to his native state of Pennsylvania to visit his relatives. He also visited New York, Philadelphia and many of the large cities and places of interest.
Twenty children were born to him and he was present when each one of them was born. Out of the twenty, he lived to see thirteen of them and one wife that was very dear to him laid away. Of the 7 children still living at the time he wrote this history, two lived in Canada, one in Washington State, one in Salt Lake City, one in Provo (Martin Isaac Bushman) and two in Lehi. In writing the closing of this history he wishes to say to his children–Be faithful to God and his church and he will bless you. He has written this sketch of his life that his children might know of his life’s labors.

* * * * * *

[Handwritten on to the copy of this account:]

He died 31 Oct 1927 in Lehi, Utah at age 86.
2nd wife Martha Worlton died 20 Jan 1938 at age 89.
Martha Worlton’s father was James Worlton born at Bath, Sommersetshire,
Mother Elizabeth Borne [?] 1848, Sommersetshire, Eng.

The following is a list of the children born to Martin Benjamin Bushman and Lucinda Ladelia Goodwin Bushman. Their birth dates and death dates.

Mary Elizabeth 29 Sept. 1864 Lehi, Utah 15 Oct. 1864
Martin Isaac 9 Oct. 1865 “ ” 24 Sept. 1933
Laura Ellen 9 Oct. 1865 “ ” 4 May 1899
Nancy Lucinda 3 Oct. 1868 “ ” 22 Ma.r. 1872
Sarah 17 June 1870 “ ” 30 Sept. 1871
Lewis Jacob 16 July 1872 “ ” 31 Oct. 1897
Edith 3 Mar. 1875 “ ” 30 Oct. 1875
Ester 5 Sept. 1877 “ ” 8 Oct. 1878
Rhoda 5 Sept. 1877 “ ” 30 Aug. 1922
Emerette Ruth 20 June 1884 “ ” 27 Nov. 1939

Bushman, Lucinda Ladelia b. 1843 headstone  Bushman, Martin Benjamin headstone
[Handwritten on to the copy of this account:]

10 by Lucinda
10 by Martha

James Albert 4 June 1868 “ ” 12 Oct. 1917
John Benjamin 16 Nov. 1870 “ ” 10 Aug. 1871
Alvin Alonzo 28 Dec. 1872 “ ” 28 Sept. 1873
Flora Elizabeth 15 Aug. 1874 “ ” —
Eugene Worlton 14 Dec. 1876 “ ” 28 Feb 1931
Annie Lois 27 Apr. 1880 “ ” 22 Jan. 1950
Martha Emma 3 Sept. 1882 “ ” 13 Sept. 1936
Cyrus William 23 Sept. 1884 “ ” 22 Apr. 1909
Drucella Jane 24 Nov 1886 “ ” 15 Dec. 1887
Vera 22 Jun. 1891 “ ” —

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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4 Responses to Martin Benjamin Bushman (b. 1841) Autobiography

  1. Frances Gray says:

    A what an amazing man. Never heard about him before. A great testimony of polygamy righteously lived. imagine providing for two families that big. You do a good work. I notice that the time of some of these postings are in the wee hours of the morning. May God bless you and yours. Love Frances.

    • Hi Frances! I’m so happy you are enjoying the stories. Here’s my secret about burning the midnight oil: I can write a post ahead of time and then schedule it to be posted on a particular day (like someone’s birth or death day). When I do that, I usually schedule to be posted sometime after midnight on the right day so it’s there first thing in the morning. (I’m trying hard to get to bed before midnight which is really hard for me. I’m a night owl).
      I love you. Greetings to all your family. Ann

  2. Frances Gray says:

    I came across your message tonight. I am a. Night owl too since my father died when l was ten just before WWII. We took in roomers and Gordon slept in a trundle in Mother’s room and I slept on the couch. With many responsibilities my only private time was after all was quiet. We had a branch library two blocks away and l gradually devoured it.My mother was prone to long periods of depression. My Father’s halfsister came once a week on her day off and brought balance and courage into my life. Also fun and homemade goodies. She was a Methodist Deaconist all her life. A great woman leader in her Church in her time. Reva was her name. Well I have rambled. I am getting over another backset . So grateful that l can still live alone and handle my handicaps and odd digestive system that is left now. The Lord is always near and keeps me on the right track and never lets it go beyond my strength.. l only get out to doctors etc. Larry is a Bishop again and so is his son Matt in the same building. Leads to some funny mixups sometimes. They are very good to me. MN is a good place for elderly handicapped, many good programs.l follow your great experiences and am so proud of you both. Did you notice many of Martin’s children died very young. What a hard life. Larry lost a nine month son to brain cancer. I was here for the months during that time. And that was only one lost child. His wife Marie recently had two valves replaced in her heart. She just turned seventy. He has his hands full. Third time as a Bishop in an unusual ward with only 8 high priests mostly cash strapped couples getting second or third degrees and starting families. He will retire in June. I have 35 greatgrand children. I have no feeling in my feet and hands after thirty years of neuropathy. Getting my small five meals a day is a challenge, but l often feel God and His love at my side. I feel gratefulness should be the first commandment.. it opens all doors for me in dealing with my present experiences.. and l get to know real joy to feel in my heart and soul. So glad your family can all be be together again. Your father calls every few months a we talk old times. Such a good man and he has now a gentle greatness. Very few of our old group left. Continue to be joyful in your great work.. love you all, Frances.

    . .

    • Frances Gray says:

      PS sometime l will tell you about my visit to the polygamy colonies in Mexico with a friend who is a Romney. She introduced me to an elderly Turley had written an ..history of the colonies there.I obtained a copy. Well written with good pictures. It seems you should have it if you don’t have one. Let me know . My energy is limited l have planned segments of a project, even a meal to get it done.. l think we have similar minds. Mine used as much as l could under different circumstances. Blessing to you and your Missionaries, love Frances.

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