At the young age of 22, Jacob Bushman, the oldest son of Martin and Elizabeth Bushman, left his family in Lehi Utah and headed West. His family had crossed the plains and arrived in Utah in 1851. Jacob was off on an adventure!
Just a few years before, in 1848, gold had been discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California. Several mustered out members of the Mormon Battalion where there. This led to the Gold Rush and more movement west. Jacob became part of that movement, traveling with Indian Agent, J. H. Holeman. Jacob was paid $25-$35/month for his services.
You can read about the Mormon involvement in the Gold Rush here:
From Jacob’s history (italicized):
Jacob Bushman, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 4 (italicized)
March 27th, 1902
I will now try and give you a short synopsis of myself while in California. As you are aware, I left in the Spring of 1852 to go to Carson Valley with Major Holman, the Indian Agent, as one of his escorts. And when we got to Carson, he give some of us the privilege of stopping and we concluded to stop.
Here is an abstract, or summary of a letter in the University of Utah library from J. H. Holman to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs L. Lea dated August 30, 1852. J. H. Holman describes his meeting with the Paiute Indians in Carson Valley. The Paiutes express their desire to establish/maintain friendly relations with the whites, despite the fact that they had been unjustly attacked by white emigrants and traders.
You can view the full fascinating letter here:
Jacob’s history continues:
We went to work in the Placer Mines a short time. And then four of us got any work there and started for Greenwood. We went about one mile when the other three boys turned back, but I said I never was known to turn back and I went on to Greenwood and stayed all night. Next morning could get no work and left for Mudder’s Bar, a mining camp on the Middle Fork of the American river, where there was a few families of old Mormons that I knew in Nauvoo. I stopped with them and worked for about a month or two and the family that I was living with started for San Juan Valley where there was quite a few families of old Mormons. We supposed that it was government land and we took up a squatters claim apiece and went to work building and fencing and farming, working in the large Redwoods getting out the fencing and for building. The third year it proved to be a Spanish title and we never got what the improvements cost. Then there was missionaries sent up from Sanbernardino by Apostle Rich and Lyman for all the Mormons or even called themselves Mormons to come to (San Bernardino). There was about 10 families from San Juan, went to Sanbernardino, and I went with them. Arrived there about the Fall of 1855, and I thought it was a fine place. I went to work for Brother Theodore Turley and John Cook. A short time. Then went on the mountain to run and Engine for a saw mill for Gilbert Hunt. I was there about 3 months. In the Fall of 1856, I went to work for George Crisman. And in March 2, 1857, I was married to Charlotte Turley, daughter of Theodore and Francis Kimberly Turley. Then news came from Salt Lake for all that called themselves Latter Day Saints to come back to Utah, and the most of the Saints started back in December 1857.
Here is some information about Carson Valley, and the places Jacob Bushman traveled:
Carson City history records, “By 1851, Eagle Station, a trading post and small ranch on the Carson Branch of the California Emigrant Trail, served as a stopover for travel-weary gold prospectors.” Douglas County holds the first permanent settlement in Nevada. The town of Genoa, Nevada was originally settled in 1851 by Mormon traders selling goods to settlers on their way to California.
In 1851, John Reese settled Genoa, the oldest town in Nevada. Today you can visit the Mormon Station State Historic Park, the local museum, and the oldest bar in Nevada.
1853 map above and 1857 California maps below: