Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 3, p.186-188
John Bushman was born June 7, 1843, a son of Martin Bushman and Elizabeth Degen. He came to Utah in 1851 with his parents and settled in Lehi. In 1865 he married Lois A. Smith. In 1876 he was called by President Young with two hundred other men to explore northern Arizona. He was appointed to go with William C. Allen’s company to settle on the north side of Little Colorado, where they established Allen’s Camp later named St. Joseph. In August of that year he returned to Utah, then made another trip to Arizona taking with him his second wife, Mary Peterson. In the spring of 1878 he sold his property in Lehi and brought Lois and their five children to Arizona. The following are musings of Mary, her letter to Lois, and a letter from Lois to Mary. Material contributed by Adele Bushman Westover.
Jan. 6th 1878
“I have been thinking today about how wonderful it was that Lois, my husband’s first wife was willing to let her husband share his love with another woman and how she trusted us to bring her five year old daughter, Lois, with us out to this barren country that was just being pioneered and so far away from her Mother. I must write Lois now and tell her how we all are, and what we are doing.”
Allen’s Camp, Arizona
Aug. 31, 1877
Dear Sister Lois,
With pleasure I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along, as John is not here to write. He has been in the harvest fields all this week and will not be back until tomorrow night, and I thought you would be anxious to hear from us. We are all well, and I hope these lines find you enjoying the same blessings. I have been helping Sister Richards sew today. She is going to Dixie on a visit. She is a nice woman, and I think everything of her.
Well, I hardly know what to write as there is no news here to write about. The men are very busy harvesting. All the wheat is ripe and only ten men to work, and it keeps them pretty busy. They have 85 acres of wheat to cut, all getting ripe at once. The crops all look splendid. I wish I had one of your apples, it would be quite a treat. Lois often says she wishes she was back home where all the good apples are, and she wants to know if you will save some for her till she comes. She is eating bread and milk for her supper, she is well and [p.187] hearty, she grows prettier every day. She says Ana must kiss those sweet baby boys for her and then they must kiss you.
Well, dear Lois I hope you will write soon for I cannot live if you do not write. We have received one letter from you this week. I looked for one today but did not get one. I am so glad you write so often, it is such a comfort to get a letter from you for they are always so good and interesting. I hope we can always feel as we do now. If we can it will be a blessing to us all, and I think we can if we will call on the Lord in secret and with a humble heart he will hear us and help us to do what is required of us. I hope you will pray for me, for I am young and foolish and fear myself very much, but I hope by the help of God, I will be able to do what is right. Lois has written a letter to Maria and wants her to write back. We write two letters nearly every week to you, but I do not think you get them all. John sends his kindest love to you and the children. He has not forgotten you, for when he speaks to me he calls me Lois more than Mary. Give my love to my folks and all my friends and accept a sack full for yourself & babies. Remember me to cousin Ellen. Have you gotten any money yet? I remain,
Your loving friend,
Your welcome letter of the 19th found us in good health and spirits. I received yours and John’s of the 21st on New Years Day, I considered them my New Years gift as I had no other and I duly appreciate them, am always thankful to hear from you all, glad my little girl’s cheeks are rosy red and eyes of clearest, clearest blue and heart all innocent and true. I am glad she grows so fast, yes, I can read her writing; It says Lois isn’t a very good girl when she meddles with Aunties pen and ink when she is out. Homer, Maria and Grandma are at meeting, and my babes are asleep and all nature is hushed in repose. Thank you for getting an apron for Lois. What do you have to pay a yard for calico there am glad she is a comfort to you, I don’t worry about her now that I have a promise that you will be home in the Spring, if your lives are spared; as for you I have never doubted but you would take as good care of her as I possibly could, that ought to be a proof to you, that I had all confidence and faith in you, to place a child of mine under your care; I am not afraid of your correcting her too much. Liza Holdsworth and James Grey are married; also Joe Suly & Emily Clark. Malissa Peterson has a son. I would like to go out sleigh riding, the weather is very cold and clear here, how is it there? Bells, bells, the jingling bells and the happy hearts go flitting by, their hopes are in the future, in the days of by and by, the past is in oblivion, as they give themselves up to the enjoyment of the hour; What memories the bells awaken in the past of long ago when I was beside the one on earth most dear to me. I hope you had a merry [p.188] time Christmas and New Years. The general health of the people is good. Mother, Homer and Maria join in kind love to you all.