History of Lehi published in 1913 biographies of Martin, Martin Benjamin and John Bushman

Here are some wonderful histories about our Bushman ancestors.  The text from History of Lehi’s Biographical Section are below.


Martin Bushman was born April 1, 1802, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Abraham and Esther Bushman, who were of German descent. Martin received a common school education, spending his boyhood days on the farm. He soon acquired a knowledge of farming and became a skillful hand at sowing grain and using the sickle to harvest grain and the scythe to cut grass for hay. The winter months he usually spent threshing grain with a flail, that being the method used then. He also took an especial pride in caring for his cows and horses.

In physique he was very strong and healthy, standing six feet high and weighing 175 pounds. He had light brown hair and blue eyes.

At the age of twenty-five he married Elizabeth Degen of his native state. She was born in Switzerland, September 12, 1802. She was a woman of good character and strong will power. She has learned all the branches of household work and was an expert with the spinning wheel and the needle. Undoubtedly the training both husband and wife had received in their childhood days qualified them to become successful pioneers later.

Thirteen years after their marriage, the couple joined the Mormon Church and moved to Illinois, a journey of one thousand miles by wagon. By this time they had four children. After four years of prosperity and happiness in Nauvoo, they fell victims, with their co-religionists, of mob violence, and were compelled to flee into Iowa, leaving their crops standing. Making this journey in the middle of winter, they suffered intense hardships and two of the children died from exposure. In the western part of Iowa they made themselves still another home where they remained four years.

At the end of that time they had acquired sufficient means to bring them to Utah, so they set out for the West. Their conveyance was a wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen and four cows. They arrived in Salt Lake in September, 1851, after a journey of five months. After a rest of one week there, they came on to Lehi, where they remained until their death.

They arrived at their new home without any provisions, having eaten their last morsel of bread on the way. The few settlers of Lehi helped them, however, by furnishing Martin employment in the harvesting of crops. Shortly afterwards, he obtained some land and built a home. Henceforth he was actively engaged in helping to build up Lehi, participating in all the joys and sorrows incident to the settlement of the city.

He proved true to his country and his religion, considerate of his wife and kind to his children. He never turned a stranger away hungry. He died in 1870, age 68. His wife survived him eight years, finally passing the 76th milestone. Much of her time she spent with the sick and her memory will ever live in the hearts of many of her sex on account of kindness bestowed upon them.

The five children the Bushmans brought to Lehi are still alive, the oldest being 83 years old. All have been as their parents–true pioneers; for they have assisted in building up towns from Canada on the north to Arizona on the south, being always known as workers and not drones. Truly as the poet says: “Toiling hands alone are builders of a nation’s wealth and fame.”

Martin Benjamin Bushman, the son of Martin and Elizabeth Bushman, was born Feb. 5, 1841, in Lancaster County. Pennsylvania. The first noted event of his life was the journey of over one thousand miles by team from Pennsylvania to Illinois, taken by his parents when he was fifteen months old. Oftimes the ground was his bed while his mother cooked their scanty meals. His next journey was through Iowa in the winter of 1843, when two of his sisters died for want of food and shelter. They stayed at Council Bluffs for three years to get an outfit to come to Utah. Here at the age of eight, he took care of the team and chopped wood for the family, so his father and elder brother could go off to work to get something for them to eat and wear. Then came their journey to Utah in 1851 which took four months of arduous toil.

Following this was their struggle in Lehi to make a home fence land; make water ditches; plow the land; build houses; stand guard against the Indians; and many other labors and hardships they had to endure. At the age of twenty he returned to Florence, driving an ox team. The journey took five months, covered two thousand miles, and was to bring the poor Saints, who had no teams, to Utah.

He has now lived in Lehi sixty-two years and helped in all its growth and development from a barren waste to a thriving city; he has taken part in making roads, building bridges, making canals, building school houses, and houses for worship. He has held offices in state and church, and has traveled in State and church, and has traveled in the United States, and Canada.

He has taken great interest in the threshing of grain; his first experience in Utah was pounding it out with a fail, cleaning it in the wind. Then he was interested in the threshing machines. He has owned in part and helped to run everything from the most primitive machine of early days to the latest improved steam thresher.

His main occupation has been farming and he has taken pride in tilling the soil. The present season, at the age of seventy-two, he has done most all the work on ten acres of land and raised two hundred and forty bushels of wheat, four hundred bushels of potatoes: eighty tons of sugar beets, and some hay.

He is the father of twenty children and has schooled and provided for them and their mothers. He has been exposed much, in camping out, with cold and has likewise been short of food and clothing in early days, yet for all this he is healthy in his old age and can read and write without glasses. He helped compile this little book, the History of Lehi.

John Bushman, son of Martin and Elizabeth Degen Bushman, was born June 7, 1843, at Nauvoo, Illinois. At this time the Church was passing through trying scenes. His parents were driven with the Saints from Nauvoo, and after several years of trials and poverty arrived in Salt Lake City in 1851. One week later they went to Lehi City. There he spent his boyhood days, always willing to do his full share for the town. Often he was very scantily clothed, and lacking for food, especially during the grasshopper years. With the rest he had very little schooling.

In 1865 he married Lois A. Smith. In the summer of 1866 and 1867 he was in the Black Hawk war.

In 1876 he was called to Arizona, and located at St. Joseph. In 1877, he came back to Lehi and married Mary A. Peterson, who shared with his family all the privations incident to settling a desert country. She named her first son Lehi, in honor of her former home.
After many years of toil they are comfortably situated, surrounded by a large family, who are all faithful members of the Church. Five of their sons have filed honorable missions.

Mr. Bushman has held many positions of trust, having been bishop 25 years, a member of the Board of Education 21 years, Justice of the Peace 14 years, Chairman of the Irrigation Company many years, and director of the Bank of Northern Arizona.
He and his wife have passed the 70th milestone, and bid fair to enjoy many more years.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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2 Responses to History of Lehi published in 1913 biographies of Martin, Martin Benjamin and John Bushman

  1. Debbie M. Bushman Housley says:

    The stories in the “History of Lehi” you have shared was wonderful! Can this also be found in the documents section of the Family Search page?

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