Elizabeth Degen Bushman, from Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude

degen-elizabeth-portrait

Birth date: 12 Sept 1802 in Hollstein, Baselland, Switzerland
Death: 21 May 1878 in Lehi, Utah county, Utah
Parents: John Casper Degen and Anna Maria Graf
Pioneer: 23 Sept 1851 in Easton Kelsey Co. Wagon train
Spouse: Martin Bushman
Married-20 May 1827 in Bart, Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania
Death sp: 18 Oct 1870 in Lehi, Utah County, Utah

Children:

Henry, 11 Dec 1827 (died as infant)
Maria, 21 Jan 1829 (died as infant)
Jacob, 27 July 1830
Sarah Ann, 9 Jan 1833
Abraham, 14 July 1835 (died as infant)
Elizabeth, 9 Nov 1837
Martin Benjamin, 5 Feb 1841
John, 7 June 1843
Hetty Ann, 28 Nov 1845 (died as infant)
Elias Albert, 6 Dec 1849

Elizabeth Degen was born in Switzerland in 1802. Her mother died when she was four years, and her father remarried and had six more children. She came to America with her father and his second family. Two children in the family died and were buried at sea. the ship was becalmed for a time, and the extra delay put them in debt to the Captain. They met this debt by hiring Elizabeth out as a domestic servant. this is where she learned to spin and weave and make clothing. At twenty-four she could read and write English as well as her native language.

She married Martin Bushman in Pennsylvania and they became the parents of ten children, four of them dying early.

While living in Nauvoo, they suffered persecution with the other Saints. They were asked to stay and grow crops, but were forced to leave just before the crops were harvested.
The five hundred mile trip to Council Bluffs was an extreme hardship over muddy and nearly impassable roads. Two of her little girls died from exposure, and were buried without coffins. In 1851, they arrived in Utah with the Easton Kelsey Company. They settled in Lehi, Utah, where only thirty families lived. Martin helped harvest crops for food, and lived in a vacant log hut.

Elizabeth was strong in the faith, never turning away a stranger from her door, and helping immigrants to get settled. She devoted the last twenty five years of her life as a practical nurse and midwife, bringing over one hundred babies into this world. She continued this until her seventy-fifth year.

She caught pneumonia while acting as midwife and died in 1878.

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About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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