Abraham Bushman is my 4th Great-grandfather I descend through his son, Martin Bushman.
Abraham was born on April 12, 1767, in Strasburg. He is listed in the 1790 Census as residing at Strasburg Township, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with a family consisting of one male below 16 years of age and four females. He was on the tax list at Strasburg in 1802 but was receiving mail in Paradise, a short distance away, in 1843.
He is said to have been about five feet, six inches in height and to weigh about 160 pounds.
During his later years he must have been in poor financial circumstances, since his son, Martin, found it necessary to postpone his trip to Nauvoo while he built a home for Abraham. Abraham married Esther Franks and they had ten children.
Abraham wrote a letter to his son Martin which is published in the Bushman Family History by Newbern Butt on page 4. In the letter, written in 1843, he mentions 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.” (see below)
Abraham’s wife, Esther Franks, is said to have Welsh blood in her lineage. She was born October 4, 1764 and died April 25, 1844. She was a very large woman. The reproduction of a “tintype” photograph of Abraham and Esther in later life (shown above) is the only one known.
Burial: Willow Street Mennonite Church Cemetery
Abraham BUSHMAN by George W. McDiwitt & others (posted on FamilySearch.org)
Here is a photo of their home in Strasburg, Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
This couple lived in Strasburg until between 1807 and 1810, when they moved to Lampeter Township neighboring Strasburg. They lived at and was caretaker of the General Edward Hand farm, a spacious and beautiful tract just south of Lancaster on the banks of the Conestoga River. General Hand had been chief of staff to Washington during the Revolutionary War and his personal friend. It was on this historical ground that the first continental troops had been trained. At that time the Hand farm was adjoined by the land of our early ancestors. The Bushman children are proposed to have all married from this home.
It is interesting to note that at this present time only the General Hand home remains standing. The home is in fairly good condition, testifying to the durability of the bricks, the hardware, the glass and the woodwork all of which were brought from Europe more than a century and a half ago.
At the time of the Bushman Family reunion in 1939, the group visited the old home. On the north side of the Hand Farm runs the Conestoga river upon which Robert Fulton performed some of his very early experiments with the Steam Boat. During later years, part of the Hand Estate was converted into Williamson Park, at which place this reunion was held. A covered bridge crosses the river at the end of what was known at the Old Factory Road. Many years ago, many of our older relatives were employed at the Cork Factory which stood on the river bank near the bridge and from whence the road got it’s name.
We have learned through visits and correspondence of their descendants much about the children of Abraham and their families, but we know very little about him. When John, Martin, and Albert, sons of Martin Bushman, went on their genealogy mission of Pennsylvania, they stopped in Ohio and visited their Degen relatives there in 1902. Their mother’s half sister, Anna Maria Degen Leftwick, age 92, had been acquainted with their grandparents and told the men somewhat about them. She said grandfather Abraham was a medium sized man, with light hair and eyes and that grandmother was tall and slender with light hair and eyes.
Ester died April 25, 1844, and Abraham November 29, 1852. In the census of 1850, Abraham is listed with the family of his youngest daughter, Ester (Hetty) Ewing, in Strasburg. Abraham and Ester had ten children, the sixth was Martin.
Below is a history with a copy of a letter from Abraham Bushman to his son, Martin: