Jacob Bushman’s family moves to Snowflake, AZ in 1884


From John Bushman’s Journal:

“On 14 October [1884] John took part of his children and some melons and went up the road about four miles to meet his older brother Jacob Bushman and family who were moving to Arizona. The brothers were overjoyed to see each other and all enjoyed the melons. Included in Jacob’s party were the families of H. Wilcox and John Sabey. John showed the visitors around for two days and let them have some corn and molasses, after which they went to Snowflake and later to St. Johns to locate.”

Years later, a grandson of Jacob Virgil Bushman, John Bushman’s son, recorded this memory:

Each year in May Grandpa would drive out to our farm to plant melons. On these occasions he would come down the driveway and park around back just beyond the picket fence. He would pop the trunk and pull out a hoe. Then he would select a helper among the older kids.

In the granary Grandpa would take the lid off the gold colored three gallon seed can. He would sort through the packets of seeds and find the ones for melons. There were seed packets for Cantaloupe, Casaba, Crenshaw, Honeydew, Watermelon and a plain white envelope labeled in hand writing, “Bushman Melon”.

The Bushman Melon was a source of pride to all of us as it was developed by Grandpa’s father, John Bushman in Joseph City, Arizona.

Adjacent to the front yard to the west, through a rusty wire frame gate was our enormous garden spot. Earlier in the spring Dad had prepared the soil and put in furrows to define rows for planting different vegetables. The melon rows were much wider than the other ones to allow for the spread of the melon vines. These were where Grandpa planted the treasured melon seeds.

I was chosen to be his helper one early May Saturday and this is how we planted melons: We would progress down the row with Grandpa on the left and me beside him on the right. He would say, “We’ll start the Bushman Melons here,” and would hand me the envelope. Then with the hoe he would loosen the soil with two or three chops about four inches deep and then pull back the soil and stop the hoe. This was my cue. I would throw four seeds into the hole. Next he would release the soil back over the top of the hole and tamp it firmly leaving a print of the shape of the hoe to mark the seed hill. On down the row we would go with Grandpa talking about life in Northern Arizona where he grew up and learned how to plant and grow gardens. Dad planted the rest of the vegetables in the garden in exactly the same way, but Grandpa always planted the melons.

–Matthew Manson Bushman

About annlaemmlenlewis

I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am currently serving as a Missionary in the Washington Yakima Mission. Welcome to my personal blog, Ann's Words, and my Mission blog, Our Yakima Mission. If you are interested in family history stories and histories, you can find those posted in Ann's Stories. Thanks for looking in!
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