BYU Women’s Manuscripts, Biography of Lois Angeline Smith Bushman
Lois Angeline Smith Bushman was born January 25, 1844 near Little Rock, Arkansas to Dr. John Smith and Maria Foscue Smith. Her parents were well educated, wealthy, and devoutly religious. They were living in Texas when they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and decided to join the Saints at Winter Quarters. They traveled with some relatives to Winter Quarters, where John was appointed a captain of a pioneer company. He contracted cholera when they reached the Platte River and died, leaving Maria with four small children and pregnant with the fifth. Following her husband’s wishes, Maria continued on to Utah with the children despite her fragile health. Making this journey ‘took considerable business acumen’ because their family was completely equipped to establish a home and had a large outfit. After they arrived in Salt Lake City, Maria married Preston Thomas and settled in Lehi, Utah. Despite living in this remote location, Lois received an excellent education. Her family had brought a personal library across the plains, and Lois was well versed in history, classic literature, and the scriptures. She enjoyed poetry and also read in the sciences. Lois and John’s courtship began when Lois asked John to be her escort to a ball. They were married February 11, 1865 in the Endowment House by the Apostle George Q. Cannon. They became the parents of twelve children: John Albert, Homer Frederick, Maria Elizabeth, Martin Lester, Lois Evelyn, Wickliff Benjamin, Preston Ammaron, June Augusta, Jesse Smith, Florence Cordelia, Alonzo Ewing, and Jacob Virgil. After struggling with the Indians and crickets, they established a productive farm. However, they were called to leave this farm in 1874 and settle in St. Joseph on the Little Colorado River. John went ahead to establish the settlement, and he came back and forth several times before the family was ready to move to St. Joseph with him. In St. Joseph, Lois was industrious, caring for her children and for three children of a relative who had died. She organized reading groups, concerts, and theatricals, and she was known for her beautiful soprano voice. Due to the sandstorms in northern Arizona, Lois’ eyesight was damaged, and she eventually lost most of her eyesight. However, she did not let this stop her from serving and loving. ‘When her vision was all but gone, and she was not able to walk, she would sit in the big chair and sing sweetly, tenderly, and low. The little children clustered near, as was their want.’ In their later years, Lois and John moved to Lehi, Utah so that they could attend the temple more frequently. Lois died September 19, 1921.
The biography of Lois Angeline Smith Bushman was written in 1937 by Lois’ daughter, Maria Elizabeth Bushman Smith. It is typewritten and is 35 pages long. Maria states the various sources she used for the history in a forward. These include personal histories and interviews with John Bushman. Maria goes into great detail as she outlines the course of her mother’s life. She emphasizes Lois’ education and her engaging personality. She quotes John, who said of Lois, ‘On account of her wide reading, she was an interesting talker, a good conversationalist; being well informed she was much sought after. Always reserved and very modest, yet she seemed in her element when entertaining interested groups.’ Maria also praises Lois’ skill at running her household. She particularly recorded Lois’ careful planning in preparing for the move to St. Joseph. For example, Lois planned for the future clothing needs of her family: ‘Of ready to wear clothes, such as shoes, the ages and growth of each child was contemplated, and each of them had several pairs reserved to bring forth when needed.’ From the time of their journey to St. Joseph onward, Maria speaks from her own memory. She recalls in great detail their journey to St. Joseph and the growth and progress of the settlement each season. She mentions such things as their dealings with the Navajo Indians, a Christmas they celebrated, the melon season, the completion of the railroad, the building of a dam, and the water filters they made. Included in the biography are some love poems that Lois wrote to John while he was away building up St. Joseph.
This information can be found here:
MSS SC 792