Here’s a little history about Strasburg, Pennsylvania, where my 3rd Great-grandpa, Martin Bushman was born on this day in 1802.
Strasbourg Borough, Lancaster County, Founded 1733
Strasburg Borough’s origins can be traced to the Old Conestoga Road, now Main Street, which passed through the area which was to be developed as the town of Strasburg. The Old Conestoga Road was already in use by 1714. Between 1730 and 1750 a tavern and a few log houses were built alongside this road in the vicinity of what is Strasburg Borough today. At one time, the village of Strasburg was known as Bettlehausen (beggar houses). But, as trade and transportation prospered, Strasburg grew. As Conestoga wagons were used to carry goods from Philadelphia into the interior, Strasburg became a way station with as many as ten hotels and as many stores for the travelers. By 1759, there were 32 taxable properties in the town.
Most of the early settlers of Strasburg Borough were Mennonites of Swiss or German lineage. Several church congregations were formed around the 1760s. The first church building was built later in 1807 by the Methodists. The Mennonites, the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, and the Presbyterians all had churches soon thereafter. The small hamlet was known as Strasburg by the beginning of the Revolutionary War and is one of the few places in Lancaster County which was named for a place in Germany. Because Strasburg was located along the Old Conestoga Road, rapid growth occurred within the hamlet during the late 18th Century, and it subsequently became a commercial center for the residents of the surrounding farmlands, as well as passers-by. By the late 1800s, Strasburg had become the most populous town in Lancaster County.
Strasburg was a center for locally-oriented, small-scale industries such as blacksmithing, weaving, clockmaking and cabinetmaking. A post office was established in Strasburg in 1804, and the town was officially incorporated as a borough in 1816. Along with its local commercial and industrial importance, Strasburg played a significant role in establishing local education opportunities. Records show that, as early as 1790, there was a small, private school available. About 1808, the first school building was built which was later incorporated into the State school program. Strasburg was one of the first communities to favor free education and, in 1831, sent a petition supporting free general education to the State Legislature. This petition directly contributed to the passage of the Act of 1831, appropriating monies for the establishment of a public school system.
History of Lehi
Published by the Lehi Pioneer Committee
Written by Hamilton Gardner
The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1913, pp. 231-232
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.
This Methodist Meeting House was built close to the time Martin Bushman was born in Strasburg.
The family burial plots for Martin’s parents and two of their children are in Lancaster, about 7 miles away, at the Willow Street Mennonite Cemetery.
More historical images of Strasburg:
Here are some of the historic homes of Strasburg that are still standing today:
Now that was a treat. Of all my husband’s ancestors, Martin Bushman is special to me. Our son bears his name.