Abraham Bushman 1843 letter to his son, Martin Bushman

After joining the Church Elizabeth and Martin remained with his aged parents who were without a home of their own.  Martin spent the fall and winter building one for them.  They hoped that by remaining in Pennsylvania for a time they could sell their property to a better advantage but alas a year or so passed, the baby grew, and the promise of selling profitably had dimmed.  Times were very hard in Pennsylvania at that time and even the wealthy farmers were having difficulties.    A fleeting glimpse of these conditions come out in a letter written by Martin’s father, Abraham in 1843 after Elizabeth and Martin had moved on to Nauvoo.  The letter was folded and sealed without an envelope.

Dear Beloved son, Martin Bushman,We received your letter by the hand of Henry Kerns on the 5th day of April [1843] and am glad to hear you and family are all well.  Your father has continued in very good health, this last winter.  Mother continues still weakly and troubled with pains, but we are still in hopes that these few lines will find you all in good health.

We have moved down to Stantonsís for one year.  We had a very hard winter for about two months.  Snows drifted in the roadway so very bad the wagons could hardly get along and we had hard moving.

Mother could not come down for about two weeks after and our spring continues cold and backward, still looks almost black as winter.  I will state my reason for moving, Scott wouldn’t move the street and I would not go there with him, and another reason Scott was too hard with me in regard of payments, and Hetty was not as kind and clever for the favors we cone for them many a time.  And Stoutzenberger has never paid me yet, there was I 76, and treats me very bad and thinks he may not ever pay, and the note you left with me has failed and all is gone and we will get nothing.

We were very sorry when Kerns told us your troubles and loses on the road going out, but still rejoice when Kerns says you stick to your religion.  And your letter states that you keep the faith and we trust you will ever obey the first call and pray to your God to guide us in all truth ever more.

I now take this opportunity to inform you my son that we find ourselves of great age and well stricken in years and have settled our minds to give our souls to God and our body’s to be laid in the earth, and pray to God that he may keep us steadfast until death we ever pray.

Henry Kerns stated that you had received a blessing and we are all in great hopes that day may appear that if we should be all alive ? so happy we all would be.

Don’t forget to write us again, your friends and relatives are all well as far as we have heard of at this time.

I will state to you that times are very hard here and has been hard with the poor people all winter.  The richest farmers are breaking up and this stops all kind of trade.  John R. Montgomery is busted and a great many others like him has gone all to nothing.  The poor and them that are in a middling circumstances cannot get a days work and if they do, no money to pay, nor hardly get grain or trade.

You made a happy escape last Spring, we all wish to be there and think that the Lord may through time, he may permit, we will venture some day; although you never have encouraged us by your letters.  Yet you stated that it was a fine place for John Stoutzenberger and we well know that he never can come out.  Jacob wishes to hear from Hiram.  He says as soon as he is of age he will come out and will be about all of the family that will ever come.

I have sent a little present by Henry Kerns, two dollars and thirty-seven cents in all.  Fifty cents for you, my son, Martin, and Eliza the same amount, and Jacob get the same amount as his father and mother and Sarah gets 25 cents and Martin my grandson gets 37 cents.

I now will send you my choicest lines of a hymn,

Oh what are all my sufferings here?
If those Lord counts me meet
With that enraptured host appear
And worship at thy feet

Your father and mother think they are like Jacob of old, their desire is to see their son once more, for Israel said it is enough, Joseph my son I still alive.  I would like to arise and go see him before we die.

So it is with us, we would like to come and see son Martin before we die.  He can come to see us, but we cannot go to see him, but remain your affectionate Father and Mother

(Signed) Abraham Bushman

Myself has been very poorly with asthma in my breast for about six months, since I could do a days work.  Sarah sends her love to you all.  Send your letters to Bart Post Office, be sure and direct your letters as I direct you.


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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