History of Lehi
Published by the Lehi Pioneer Committee
Written by Hamilton Gardner
The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1913
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.”