Mary Ann Petersen Bushman
Compiled and written by Mary Lois Westover Carroll about 1973
The parents of Mary Ann, or Ane Marie, Petersen Bushman heard the gospel of Jesus Christ in Denmark. Jens Petersen was the son of Peter Christensen and Magdalene or Malene Christensen, born 3 Jan 1818 in a beautiful little town in Hvornum, Randers. He married Mette Sorensen who bore him four children. The fourth child died at birth and two days later his wife died also. About four years later 10 Feb 1854 Jens married Maren Sorensen Frost, daughter of Anders Sorensen Frost and Elsie Marie Christensen. She was fifteen years younger than he, born 3 Feb 1833 in Hou Mariager, Randers. Maren cared for Mette’s children, but they all died before they were in their teens. While Jens and Maren were still in Denmark, they had four children of their own. The gospel had been introduced only a few years earlier in the Scandinavian countries. Much ill feeling had been stirred up among the people, but Jens and Maren felt they had found the true gospel. They were baptized by Elder J. Andersen on Maren’s twenty-sixth birthday, 3 Feb 1859 and were confirmed the following day as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Maren’s parents, her sister Anna Marie and brother Jens Christen had been baptized a few months earlier. Anna Marie came to America in 1859, married a missionary that had labored in Denmark and made her home in Ephraim, Utah. The others had the spirit of “gathering” with the Saints that were joining the Church all over the world, and in about three years after their baptism were ready to leave for American with a group of other Saints. (Maren’s brother Jens Christen stayed in Denmark until after he filled a home mission.) Jens and Maren had previously moved from the Trusholm Branch to the Hobro Branch, both in the Alvsborg Conference. They took voyage on the sailing vessel call Franklin, with 413 Scandinavian Saints under the direction of Christian Madsen. In a notebook Jens wrote: “My wish is to serve God my Father in Heaven in as far as He will give me power thereto and as He wished me to. I will bow under His will and work with a humble heart, and always seek to keep His commandments and covenants and live according to his holy (unchangeable) everlasting ordinances.”
Their ship depended on the winds to navigate. In mid-ocean the winds stopped blowing and for days they were almost completely still, leaving the vessel unable to travel. Food ran low, the water became stale, thick and stagnant. Soon it was beyond drinking and their thirst became almost unbearable. Children cried for water. They looked to their parents for relief, but they were helpless to ease the suffering. Measles broke out among the children.
“One of the (many) children who passed away during the horrible experience was the eldest son of Jens and Maren. The parents pleaded with the captain of the ship to let them keep their son’s body so that it could be buried on American soil. But he would only permit them to keep the body until the sharks were sighted. Almost immediately shark fins cut the water around the ship. Obedient to the captains wishes, Jens and Maren saw the body of their child dropped into the sea, where the lean sharks twisted and circled and waited.
After many weeks on the ocean they reached America, arriving in New York 29 May 1862. Before the long journey to the Rockies would be completed they would meet more trials. Their oldest child, Mette Marie, age six, weakened by hunger, succumbed to the hardships of the plains and was buried at Florence Nebraska, 31 Aug 1862. Maren’s sister Anna Marie and husband Jens Larsen Lund had become discouraged with the actions of some of the Saints to whom he had loaned passage money. These people now didn’t recognize their debts. The couple was rather bitter about it and had gone from Utah to Nebraska. The Petersens and Frosts stopped on their journey and visited the Lunds. After hearing the complaints and wondering about the situation Jens decided: “We will go on the Valley and join our brothers and sisters in the Gospel of Christ.” Several years later, the Lunds moved back to Ephraim.
The company arrived in Salt Lake City 5 Oct 1862. Maren’s parents went to Ephraim to live, but Maren and Jens went to Lehi, about thirty miles south of Salt Lake and lived the rest of their lives in that lovely little town. Jens recorded in his little notebook: “I was called by the bishop and his counselor to meet in the Meeting House the next Sunday and I felt glad and happy to serve the Lord in Unison with my family.”
Mary Ann, as she was called in America, was five years old and her brother Christen just a year when they arrived in Utah, the only two to survive the trip to their new home. At Lehi, their parents had six more children: Josephine, Marie Magdalena, Marie Elizabeth, Jens, Elsa Ida, and Nikoline. Magdalena and Nikoline both died young; the other married and lived nearby, except Elsa who moved to Canada. Now, after the foregoing story of Mary Ann’s parents and family, which indicates the great heritage, that is hers, we will learn more about her own life.
Mary Ann attended school for a limited time. Because of the financial conditions of the family, being the eldest in the family she worked out to help provide. Working for many families she learned good housekeeping and took pride in her work. She learned to cord wool and spin yarn to make cloth for their clothing. She and Josephine spend many evenings cording and spinning with their mother. Her sister Elizabeth wrote of her many years later: “She was always ready to help with work that was to be done. As a member of the choir, she was invited to go to Payson to take part in a program there. All the girls were dressed in white. On the way home in the wagon they were caught in an awful rain storm that did not help the looks of their dresses, but they were thankful they got home safe.”
She worked for other families in the town, but probably did more for the Bushmans than any other family. The families of the parents, John and Lois Bushman, had joined the church in Pennsylvania and Texas and had gathered in the West, also at Lehi. John and Lois had been married 11 Feb 1965 and were raising their family here in Lehi. Many years later, telling the story of Mary’s life, John said: “She came to Utah with her parents in 1862. Here she lived and shared the hardships of pioneer life: had very little chance for education, only a few months in the winters. She was a faithful attendant in Sabbath School and at the age of 16 was a member of the choir, also a Sunday School teacher and a faithful Latter-Day Saint. She lived at the John Bushman home when two of their children were born and did housework. They were very pleased with her.” Mary was also a counselor in the YLMIA in Lehi.
It has been said that one day John Bushman was passing the Petersen’s home and was observed by Mary’s parents. Her father said that he was the man Mary would marry. Plural marriage had been granted to the righteous of the Church and had been practiced during and since the days of the prophet Joseph Smith. When the Lord’s people accepted plural marriage and lived it correctly they were blessed abundantly. So this remark wasn’t too strange.
John was a respected member of his ward and town. His wife Lois was a refined lovely woman who had and enjoyed many books, some of which were brought by her mother from Texas when she joined the Church. Lois had a good singing voice and was asked to sing in public all during her life. She gave readings well, and because of her extensive reading was conversant on many subjects. Much of her life she had ill health which limited her other activities at times.
When John and Lois had seven children (the first of whom died when just a few months old and another died when just a few weeks old), John and two of his friends, James S. Robison and Peter Christofferson, were called by Brigham Young to go to Arizona to settle the Little Colorado River area, along with 200 other men. This was January 1876. After quick preparations the left Lehi 8 February for a tedious 600-mile trip, arriving at their destination, a very dry and desert country, on March 24th. The men were divided into four groups of approximately fifty men each. Two companies had stopped on each side of the Little Colorado River about a mile apart east of what is now the town of Winslow. These groups were lead by Jesse O. Ballinger and Lot Smith. The other two went east twenty miles where George Lake’s men went south of the river and William C. Allen set up camp on the north. John was with Captain Allen’s group. Hundreds of miles lay between them and other settlements. These were the first settlements in the northern part of Arizona Territory and Allen’s Camp was the only one of these four that lasted more than a few years, becoming the oldest permanent settlement in that part of the state. Allen’s Camp soon was called St Joseph and still later Joseph City.
Very few women were with this first expedition. After working all summer to make living quarters for their families, dams in the river to obtain water for the land and farming to replenish their supplies, most of the company left for Utah for more provisions and their families. Few of these returned to Arizona. John and his two friends arrived in Lehi 2 September that fall. Because of Lois’ ill health, John was not prepared to take his wife and five children to Arizona when he should return. He felt to take a plural wife would be the thing to do. Family members say Brigham Young advised him to do this. It seemed that the girls who had helped them in their home somewhat could be what he would desire in a wife and in November he began to make plans. Even if one had been closely associated with plural families, many problems can be seen that have to be met, not the least of which is how a second wife is chosen and courted. We have little other than the diaries John kept for most of his life, but the diary gives us some insight to the courtship of John and Mary Ann:
19 Nov 1876 Had a talk with Mary Petersen. (Sunday, significant enough to record in his diary.)
31 Dec 1876 Went to Meeting – had a successful interview with Brother Petersen and wife and daughter. Went to Evening Meeting. (Sunday)
1 Jan 1877 Lois and I went to a dance in the schoolhouse. Pretty good dance, took M.P.
5 Jan Had a sleigh ride in the evening with M.P. and parents.
8 Jan Went to the Relief Society dance in the evening. Took two partners.
14 Jan Went home with Mary Petersen, had a sociable chat. (Sunday)
23 Jan Went to the funeral of Magdelene Petersen (sister of Mary Ann). Magdalene died 22—Lois and I went up to Petsens and stayed part of the night—
26 Jan Went on a sleighing party in the evening. Took both of them. Mary said she would accompany me to Arizona (Friday
27 Jan Went to the Theatre, took 2 partners.
31 Jan Whitewashed our front room. Took 15 bu wheat to mill. M. Petersen helped clean the house.
2 Feb Gave Mrs. Petersen a ring.
7 Feb Asked the bishop for a recommend to get Miss Mary Petersen sealed to me and he gave me one.
10 Feb Loaded for the trip. Lois and Mary are cooking for us to take along. Bro. Petersen and family dined with us. (Saturday)
11 Feb (Married to Lois 12 years to date.) Lois and I went to Meeting—Lois and I dined with Brother Petersen—very good dinner. Lois, Mary and I went to Mother’s –had a good visit. (Sunday)
12 Feb Started for Arizona 11 o’clock—Mary Petersen and my daughter Lois go with me.
They traveled in company with P. Ewing on their way to St George, stopping on the way in Pleasant Grove, Provo, Santaquin, Nephi and other places with friends and acquaintances. They arrived in St George 27 Feb and stayed with John Mathias who had once lived in Lehi. John and Mary were to be sealed here in the St. George Temple that had just been completed. On the 2nd of March, they went through the temple and were married by Erastus Snow at 4 p.m. Sister Mathias prepared a nice supper for them. The next day they went with several old friends up on the large sandstone Sugar Load where they enjoyed a fine view of St George and the temple. They took little Lois into the temple to see the font on the twelve oxen backs and donated two dollars to the temple. The 4th of March he wrote letters to Lois and Mary’s parents.
According to the plan to join a company of Saints going to Arizona, they left St George on the 6th of March., joining John Hunt and company the following day. John Hunt’s family consisted of several children, some near or about Mary Ann’s age, not yet 19. They sang, played musical instruments, gave recitations and were fun to have in the company. Lycurgus and Joanna Westover were a young couple with their first child, a year old. Another Westover, father of the first, with his wife and some of their children, were also among the company. There were also two young adventurous fellows, Manassah Blackburn and Isadore Wilson. Henry and Eliza Tanner were newly married and, she being the same age as Mary Ann, they found much in common. In camps at night there were festivities that made them forget how hard the day had been. At the big Colorado River they took a moonlight ride which they enjoyed so much they almost went over the rapids.
When John had gone the year before, the trip was taken by way of Kanab, Lee’s Ferry above the Grand Canyon and over the Painted Desert area. This time they took a new road going from St George south to Pearce’s Ferry, again on the Colorado, but at the south end of the Canyon. Some places were rocky and almost impassable. Florence Westover Platt, who was only 6 years old when with this group, later wrote: “The men had to make a lot of roads as we went for it was not much more than a trail and I remember Mary Bushman used to get out with the Hunt girls and work right along with the men—My mother got well acquainted with her on that long trip and they thought a lot of each other.”
Nettie Hunt Rencher, the youngest of the Hunt family wrote of an incident that happened one morning on this journey: “Loly (Lois) and I were playing by the coals left of the camp fire when the men harnessed the horses and the women were putting things in to the wagons. Little girls wore pretty long dresses then and as Loly turned around with her back to the fire, her dress fell right on the hot coals and in a moment her dress was blazing. Her father and mine were near. I can still see them as she dodged between the wagons. Father had on his buckskin gloves, so it was only a few moments until he had the blaze put out. I have thought it was so sweet of her mother to have let Loly come with Aunt Mary and I saw the look of terror in hr eyes and later thankful tears.”
On the 19th of February they reached the Ferry and found “Father Pearce” very glad to see them. The next day they were all day getting the animals and wagons over the river. From the river south the roads were very sandy and hard to travel. With winter scarce, they divided the company. Some days later they came to the Old Beal Road that was used in 1852 when people from the East traveled to the coast. This road took them past the San Francisco Peaks to their settlement on the Little Colorado. Near the Peaks the first company waited for the others to catch up with them. Traveling together they arrived at Pres. Lot Smith’s camp, 29th April. They attended church with them the following day and ate at the big United Order table. Monday they finished their journey to Allen’s Camp where all made their home, except the Hunt family who went on to New Mexico. After traveling together for many weeks under great difficulties, the group had become greatly attached to each other and life long relationships had been established.
Back in Allen’s Camp, John was again in the struggle of survival with the other brethren, and Mary began her life in a new land. All who hadn’t previously been baptized into the United Order were then re-baptized. Their attempts at farming were increased over the year before, and while some men farmed, others built houses and some went to Utah and New Mexico for provisions. Controlling the water for irrigation was their greatest problem. As the Little Colorado had a quicksand bottom, their dams wouldn’t hold. This river drained a large country and in August and September when the rains came, the river would rise very high and sweep the dams away. Many were discouraged and moved away, some back to Utah and others to southern Arizona. Except for the United Order it is doubtful if any would have stayed along this river. Life at the fort required cooperation, loyalty and consideration.
Mary and Eliza took turns going up the river with their husbands where the dam was being constructed. Here they cooked, washed, etc. for the men. They lived in tents and spent the evenings reading, discussing various subjects and telling each other experiences interesting to all. After they spent about a month, other women would take their turn.
Next to controlling the river, one big problem was the wind and dust. In the spring the wind blew for days. The land was dry and the strong winds caught the loose sand and blew it everywhere. After a few days of wind, the sand had to be shoveled away from the doors. When the sandstorms were at their worst, it was impossible to work outside. The sand stung the eyes, made gritty the mouth, thickened the water and found itself in everything. The trials of this arid country tired the souls of all. Only their dedication kept them there.
The water wagon was in the center of the fort, the school and church unit in a corner, and each man had a unit for his family, side by side to form the perimeter of the fort. Water was brought in and settled to make it useable for culinary purposes and drinking. The children played in the interior of the fort and sometimes the grownups danced and sang. All had an evening prayer together, sometimes with a song and short talk preceding. There were no doctors in the country. When one was sick, the Elders were called in and the ill anointed with holy oil and prayed over. The sick were healed and the people’s faith was increased.
Special occasions whenever possible no doubt helped to shed the weariness of the mind and body. 7 Jun was John’s 34th birthday that first year and Mary Ann made a nice supper and invited friends to commemorated the day. On the 4th of July the other three camps came to Allen’s Camp to celebrate all together, and the 24th Pioneer Day was celebrated for all at Sunset, Lot Smith’s camp.
Mary heard often from her parents and her sister Josephine, who was now fourteen years old. These letters tell of their happiness because of Mary have such a fine husband. Jens wrote that people ask how he could let his daughter go so far away and he answered he wasn’t anxious about here because of her wonderful husband. John or Mary wrote to Lois twice a week, Mary sometimes writing when John was busy in the fields. A few of these letters are now in the possession of some of Mary’s family and express a love and sisterhoods and friendship that was genuine. Mary asked for “tolerance because she was so young and sometimes foolish and Lois was so wise.” She told Lois that she knew John loved her dearly as he spoke of her often and sometimes called Mary “Lois.”
6 September, the Female Society, later called the Relief Society, was first organized among the women of Allen’s camp and Mary was made treasurer for the Society.
Besides being a joy to her father, Lola (Lois) was a wonderful companion for Mary Ann. Many years later, Lois wrote of the “other Mother,” of their trip to Arizona, the twelve big oxen holding the baptismal font in the temple at St. George, and other things that remained vivid in her memory. “The first Christmas I spent away from my Mother was so filled with thrills and pleasures by my second Mother that I doubt whether I missed my Mother and brother and sister in Lehi as much as a little girl a long ways away should do. On that Christmas morning when I awoke, there on a chair beside my bed was a beautiful rag doll Aunt Mary had made by her own hands. The doll had beautiful black hair made from black wool with black thread outlining the features, and the clothes were just lovely. The Christmas sweets consisted of a dish of raisins. I thought that Christmas was the best ever. She guarded my health as zealously as my own mother would have done and I always had a pretty apron on. Her prowess as a housekeeper and cook has become a tradition. Her cooking was always done in an orderly manner and the results were tasty and enjoyable to me no matter how rough and meager the food. No one ever saw her hair disorderly or in a disheveled manner. The secret of this beautiful display of blonde glory was that first thing every morning she performed her toilet and her hair then stayed combed for the rest of the day and no one ever saw it otherwise. As befitted the wife of an early Arizona Pioneer, Aunt Mary seemed to love work, was economical and never complained of hard work or hard times. No one could accomplish more than Aunt Mary at sewing bees.”
In September of 1877 some of the colony left for Utah and John was left in charge of the settlement. The winter was dreary for these few people in a lonely land. In 1878 Mary’s close friend Eliza gave birth to her first child, a son. About three weeks later, 14 February, Mary had her first daughter whom they named Elsa May. Within two months, 5 April, the Bushman and Tanner families started for Utah. The Tanners stopped in Beaver. The Bushmans went on by way of Ephraim where her grandparents lived, arriving 30 April. Her grandfather had died ten days before. They arrived in Lehi 4 May and found everyone well except John’s mother who was very ill, and died shortly after their coming, on 21 May. The purpose of this trip was to dispose of their real estate, cattle and things that they wouldn’t be taking to Arizona with them, and to get Lois and the children. They sold the farmland, traded such things as a sewing machine, stove, trundle beds (that he had made), etc. for horses, wagons, cattle, supplies of all kinds that would help them establish themselves best. They attended the State Fair and conference in Salt Lake, had photos taken and visited relatives and friends. While John took Lois to her people (now living in Smithfield), Mary went to Sanpete County to visit her grandmother, uncle and cousins.
22 October they started for Arizona in winter weather with five span of horses, three wagons well loaded with provisions, clothing, farming tools, supplies for making a home, a riding pony, and 21 head of cattle (driven by 10 year old Homer) John drove one four-horse team and the women drove a one-horse span on a light wagon. Elias (a brother of John’s and Christen (Mary’s brother) traveled with them for three days hauling hay to help them along.
Other trips had been taken to begin their stay in new land, but this time was more final. With their property sold, this trip seemed no little trial. They traveled in company with John’s friends, Peter and James, and their families, Pres. Allen and John McLaws and their families, the Tanners, Lois’ mother and others. They had little trouble until they were crossing Salina Creek. The women tipped their wagon over in the creek and Lois’ mother was hurt pretty badly. She went only to Kingston and then someone took her over to Beaver. Mother Smith’s sister was living at Beaver and they both planned to work in the temple at St George. After the women tipped over, John got Alva Porter to drive their team. The weather was pretty cold, but the family didn’t suffer and the children enjoyed the trip. They arrived at St. Joseph after a long and tedious six weeks of traveling on 7 December.
As the houses were all occupied, Henry Despain let the Bushman family use one room until they could build a home. With the help of other brothers, 2 log rooms were put up, chinked and adobed and moved into and the family was made fairly comfortable.
The four colonies of saints established a sawmill, a tannery and diary in a valley about 90 miles southwest of the settlements. Several families would spend the summer here making cheese, butter, etc., and take back for their winter supply. Leather for their shoes, gloves, etc. and lumber for their needs was also prepared here. This area is what is now known as Mormon Lake.
When Elsa May was about 16 months old, she fell into a tub full of water. Life was gone when her mother pulled her out, but she soon came to and was all right Then when about two years old, Elsa May died quite suddenly of croup, on 7 March 1889. Lillian Ann had been born 31 October 1879 the fall before, but Elsa May’s passing left a real void. Another daughter was born 18 August 1881, and was named Maren Adele.
The terrible sand had been very hard on Lois’ eyes, affecting her sight very much, which she was never able to regain. When some of her relatives came by the settlement, Lois went with them, taking four of her children, to Utah seeking medical help for her eyes. When they left John took the rest of the family to Mormon Dairy where they stayed for two months. To let Lois know how the family all were they send her a chart showing the ages, height and weight of each, down to Adele who was one a half years old. This is recorded in John’s diary.
In the beginning of 1883, after 7 years of the United Order, it was dissolved and each man given a stewardship. Now each family operated on an individual basis, except for community affairs. About this time the YM and YL Associations were organized and Emma Hansen chose Eliza and Mary as counselors. “The summer of 1883 each one is planning and working singly. John Bushman and family are farming and improving their town lots. Crops are fairly good for this country, which has not proved to be very productive. Made 125 gallons of molasses and paid a tenth as tithing.” On September 14, his wife Mary gave birth to her fourth child, a son named John Lehi. The next year in April 1884, John began their house in town.
The first of October 1883, John boarded a train for Salt Lake with four-year-old daughter Lillian to get Lois. Railroad fare was $45. This was his first trip by rail and they enjoyed the trip through northern New Mexico, southern Colorado and much of Utah that they hadn’t seen before. They arrived 4 October surprised his family and found Lois and the relatives well. He attended General Conference, representing the Little Colorado Stake. After visiting all the relatives a buying a new wagon (for $110) and horses to pull it, they left Lehi 9 November and traveled this time with Sanford Porter and Andrew L. Rogers and families all going to Sunset. They encountered some snow and bad roads but arrived 9 December to the great welcome of the rest of the family. He brought a dress pattern and some dress trimmings for Mary.
When he returned Mary was not well. A tumor under her arm was growing and giving considerable pain. A Sister Ramsey from Snowflake thought she could help clear it up by scattering the tumor with castor oil and cotton seed. (One version in the journal says whiskey and the oil.) Sister Ramsey was to call back in three weeks. Mary’s son John was a frail baby. Nothing seemed to agree with him so Mary had problems added to that of her own search for health. The treatment had caused the tumor to go all over her with big lumps coming on her neck. When Joseph F Smith, Erastus Snow and their wives were visiting their conference that fall, as Mary was still troubled with the tumors her husband and family decided she should return to Salt Lake with the Authorities and go to the Deseret Hospital to see if they could cure her. Her husband gave her and her two youngest children, Adele and John, blessings before they left. At the hospital the doctors gave her no assurance of help so she returned 29 November. John took the train to Albuquerque to meet them.
About this time, the Territorial Officers were stirring up trouble for the polygamists, putting some on trial. At five o’clock one morning some of the brethren from the settlement of Snowflake came to St Joseph. They said they were on their way to Utah and asked John to take them to Sunset right away. After arriving there President Smith and Jesse N. Smith advised him to go with them for the officers would soon be after him also. The six men took team and wagon and started north, deciding on assumed names to secure their travel if met by officials. At Tuba City, he got a pair of overshoes from Bro. David Brinkerhoff. They obtained oats for their horses, and gave an order on Bro. Richards back home for payment. There was lots of snow there and all up through southern Utah. They spent Christmas in Kanab where there was 15 inches of snow. There he received some mail from home. On arrival in Lehi, John was unshaven and his brother-in-law A.D. Rhodes, not expecting him, didn’t recognize him.
Visiting with President Cannon, John asked for assistance for those serving in prison, and obtained a recommend to work in the temple. To then further evade the law and spend time until it was safe to return home, he spent about two weeks in Smithfield and Logan with Lois’ people doing work on Lois’ ancestry in the temple there. He spent 3 days repairing Mother Smith’s fence. The talked with the doctors about Mary and got a prescription for her. Back in Lehi he helped Mary’s mother record her genealogy. He then sold his team and wagon and took the train back to Arizona, arriving the 12th of February. Shortly after that Mary received word from her brother Christen that her father had died.
On May 31st John took his family in their wagon to the field and asked the Lord to bless their land and crops that they could sustain themselves in the land to which they had been called to live. Mary continued to suffer greatly with her affliction (most likely breast cancer) and the family tried to make her as comfortable as possible. She was now suffering all the time and sleeping very little. On July 4th the family all went out for a little ride. Mary was very feeble and weak and restless. “The next morning, Sunday 5 July, his wife (Mary) breathed her last. A few minutes before she passed away, he anointed her with oil and prayed that she might go in peace. He notified Lois and then called Eliza who came in soon after. Funeral services were held at 6 p.m. and she was buried at sunset. Five speakers testified of her exemplary life, as a Saint, wife and mother and said she was better prepared to go than any of them.” Her husband records that “although he had witnessed the death of his parents and three children, this was far the saddest –on account of her three little children. He felt to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all things and thanked him for the knowledge of the glorious gospel, and the principle of plural or celestial marriage, which he had the privilege of practicing with joy, for the noble children he had been blessed with.” He wrote the relatives in Utah to inform them of her death.
Lola wrote of her: “Aunt Mary’s patient and serene nature was fully displayed during her last sickness. The long treatment in the hospital in Salt Lake found this second Mother just as sweet as ever. When she knew she was dying her request of her husband was that the other Mother take care of her children.” When last in Utah, John had talked with Mary’s sister Josie and tried to get her to go to Arizona to be with Mary. She didn’t feel at the time to go, but when she heard of Mary’s death, she took the train there and helped care for Mary’s children from 16 August till the next April when she got married. Lola was thirteen and having always been good in helping with the children, filled in a great deal now.
Lois, the wife, didn’t have good health, but was a good manager and their household ran smoothly as she had everyone organized to be doing their share. During the years the Mary and Lois were both there, while Mary was having her children, Lois has three. Lois was midwife when two of Mary’s were born. The children, especially the younger ones looked to either mother for guidance and the solutions of their problems, calling either one “mother.” People often couldn’t tell for sure which child belonged to which mother.
As the children matured, the oldest children who had married came home for family reunions. The family was told about Mary so they felt her spirit there. John kept in touch with her people, visiting them when he went to Lehi, helping them do their genealogy. When possible he let his children visit them. When John and Lois went to Utah in 1893 they took Mary’s Lillian with them and left her with Josie and her husband for a while. In a letter to her there John wrote of the news at home, gave her some advice and said: “Just eight years ago yesterday your dear mother died and I have not got through mourning for her. We had just been married a little over eight years when she died. They were the brightest and happiest years of my life. I long for the time to come when we shall meet her—What a joyous event that will be—Be good and you will be happy, your affectionate father, John Bushman.”
After the children were all married, John and Lois sold their home in Joseph City and moved to Utah, living in Lehi for some years and then renting in Salt Lake City. For years they were busy at the temple doing ordinances and sealings for many relatives and ancestors for whom they had names. The next year after moving to Lehi, 1918, where they were among many of their family, a party was held to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the marriage of Mary Petersen to John Bushman. “There was a sketch of Mary’s life read and several letters that had been exchanges between Mary and Lois and some from John to Mary’s parents, all written in 1877. All present spoke, expressing pleasure in being present and glad to know of the harmony and good feeling that existed in these plural families. There were cake, candy and fruit served and all seemed pleased to be present. Dismissed at 12 midnight. They had a bouquet of carnations and all went smoothly.”
In his journal John tells of feeling her presence and the following speaks of one of those times: “I record an incident which occurred on 12 Feb 1905 while I was coming home from Woodruff. Having had cancer on my lower lip for over two months and doctoring it without apparent benefit. I had been to see Bros. Freeman and Flake who had taken their wives to San Francisco to have cancer removed, and also W. DeWitt who had been there and had one taken off his lip, which he said was very much like my case. I had decided I would have to go also to have my case cared for and had got some money to pay part of my expenses; and I was riding along all alone and was pouring out my soul in prayer and thanks to my Heavenly Father for the many privileges and blessings I had enjoyed in the Gospel, I felt a peace and joy greater than I ever had experienced before, and an assurance that the Gospel was true and that all would be well with me. And then I vowed that if I did not have to go to San Francisco that I would give at least part of the means that trip would cost to the Church.” He later records: “2 Sep Having received pay for our wool I sent to Pres. Joseph F Smith $100, $50 to apply on Pres Joseph Smith the Prophet’s Memorial Building and $50 to the fund to purchase Center Stake of Zion. And $10 to Brother Martin to assist his son M.T. Bushman while on a mission in England. This is to make my vow as above, good.”
Louis died in 1921. One more experience as found in his diaries: A few years before his death, John told of being in the Salt Lake Temple. He had been praying and worrying about his worthiness in having such wonderful companions and whether they were happy together. For a moment he saw them, as he was doing ordinance work. They were coming towards him hand in hand and smiling. Though they did not speak, it was an answer to his prayers and he was content.
John died 30 May 1926. Mary, Lois and John are buried in Joseph City, where they had a great part in its establishment.
Notebook of Jens Petersen
1. Diaries and journal of John Bushman (Quotations not otherwise identified)
2. J B Roundup of May 1954
3. Family group sheet of Jens Petersen and Maren Sorensen Frost, by Sarah P. Collinwood.
4. Life sketch of Christen Petersen
5. Life story of Jen Larson Lund
6. LDS Scandinavian Mission Records
7. Account of Mary Ann by her sister Elizabeth Petersen
8. Matilda W. Decker’s story of her mother Joanna E Westover
9. Florence Westover Platt’s reminiscing
10. Nettie Renches writings
11. Litter to Lillian in possession of Marie P Horne
12. Lois B Smith, “My Other Mother”
13. Conversations with George Tanner and Adele Bushman Westover
14. Story of the Petersens by Lettie P Bates