Lois Angeline Smith Bushman

From Pioneer Women of Arizona: Bushman by Roberta Flake Clayton
Lois Angeline Smith Bushman
Author Unknown
Maiden Name: Lois Angeline Smith
Birth: January 25, 1844; near Little Rock, Pulustki Co., Arkansas
Parents: John Mitchell Smith and Maria Amanda Foscue
Marriage: John Bushman;143 February 11, 1865
Children: John Albert (1866), Homer Frederick (1868), Maria Elizabeth (1869), Martin Lester (1871), Lois Evelyn (1872), Wickliff Benjamin (1874), Preston Ammon (1875), June Augusta (1879), Jesse Smith (1881), Florence Cordelia (1884), Alonzo Ewing (1885), Jacob Virgil (1889)
Death: September 19, 1921; Lehi, Utah Co., Utah
Burial: Joseph City, Navajo Co., Arizona

Lois was the daughter of Dr. John Smith and Maria Foscue. She was born near Little Rock, Arkansas, on January 25, 1844. The parents of Lois were people of considerablemeans and intellectual attainments and were devoutly religious. They had moved from Alabama to Texas in 1844 where they were living when they became affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and at once began making preparations to join the Saints in their exodus west. Accordingly in 1850, in company with Lorenzo Van Cleve, the husband of a sister of Mr. Smith, and their five children; John Percival Lee and wife, Eliza, sister of Mrs. Smith, and their small family, they started for Winter Quarters [present day Omaha, Nebraska], stopping at St. Louis, Missouri to complete their equipment for the westward journey to establish a home.

Upon arrival at Winter Quarters, Dr. Smith was appointed captain of a company of pioneers. While encamped at the Platte River, cholera broke out fifty-three persons died the first day. Dr. Smith contracted the dreaded disease and died the next day, June 16, 1850, at Florence, Nebraska.

Dr. Smith’s dying request of his wife was that she continue on with the company. Their little family now consisted of four children, the eldest aged ten and the youngest only four. Lois was six at this time. The mother was in a delicate condition, and it required no little degree of faith and courage, to say nothing of business ability, for unlike many of the pioneers, this family was going to the West completely equipped to make a home.145 They had an unusually large outfit of sheep, cattle, and teams and wagons with their drivers.
The first evening after Dr. Smith died, the head teamster became offended because Mrs. Smith indignantly refused his offer of marriage, so helping himself to the best horse and outfit, he left that night for parts unknown. This necessitated hiring a new man and adjusting affairs, but Mrs. Smith was equal to the task. The company arrived in Salt Lake City September 1850, and this family located at the nearby town of Tooele.
After almost two years of widowhood, Lois’s mother married again, this time to Preston Thomas, and with him moved to Cedar Fort, thence to Lehi, Utah County, in 1858.
The opportunities for education were very limited in these early days, but the Smith family had brought many choice books with them, consisting of histories, biographies, and scriptural, scientific, and classical works. At an early age, Lois exhibited marked intellectual tastes. Her thirst for knowledge grew with the years. She was very fond of poetry and had a remarkable memory.

Lois was a member of the first Sunday School and Relief Society organized in Lehi and at the age of eighteen was chosen to lead the young ladies of the town in their celebrations. She loved to sing and dance and was very popular with young and old. In those days some of the requisites in every girl’s education were: to keep a home immaculately clean and sweet, to cook, knit, darn, sew and patch, spin, weave, embroider, and make lace, either knitted or crocheted or both. In these she excelled.

Whatever the task, Lois approached it with cheerfulness. As she spun, she sang to the accompaniment of the hum of the wheel, tripping back and forth in rhythmic dance. She declared that not only did it make the work lighter and the thread smoother, but the number of ten-knot skeins per day was more by one than was spun by the girls who signed [sighed?] or visited as they spun. This was demonstrated by the spinning “bees” of that day.
As early as 1862, the opportunities for recreational and social development along aesthetic lines were encouraged and provided. The balls were carefully planned and supervised, and dancing masters were employed. Amateur theatricals, concerts, home socials, and parties in abundance were conducted.

The courtship of John Bushman and Lois Smith began on May Day of the leap year 1864. The young ladies were required to invite their partners for the ball, and Lois selected John Bushman. John had long admired her for her maidenly reserve and her many charms, and when he found himself lucky escort, well he made the most of his chance and became “her steady beau.” He often recalled for his children the pleasures of those days, when in the summer time they took long walks together, and then of the sleigh rides in the winter when they would go to neighboring towns to dances and his spirited horse would try to pass all others on the road. The wedding took place on February 11, 1865, and the honeymoon lasted as long as they lived.

The newly married couple lived in the home of his parents for the first ten months. Lois won the love and confidence of the family, and there was perfect harmony and good will in the home. Besides helping with the cooking and housework, she carded, spun, and wove enough jeans for a suit of clothes for her husband, and tailored them herself. She also wove linsey and made a dress for herself this first year. In December, they moved into their own newly completed adobe house. They had but little furniture. At first the meals were cooked over the fireplace, but in a few weeks a cook stove was obtained.

The only thing to mar their happiness during the first year or two of their married life was the frequent raids of the Indians, and John would be called out to help guard the settlements. On June 12, Black Hawk was creating much trouble and the men were constantly on guard.146

May 28, 1866, their first child was born. He was a very delicate child and the latter part of July became very ill. John was away on guard duty much of the time and the whole of the care of the sick depended on Lois.  

Two of the townsmen were brought home dead from Indian bullets. The anxiety she felt for her husband and child was so great that her health was impaired. After the baby’s death on December 3, 1866, she was in very poor health for a long time.

Finally a treaty of peace was entered into between Black Hawk and President Brigham Young, and the men were permitted to return home. John began to acquire more land and was getting quite comfortably fixed.

On January 23, 1876, John Bushman, with two hundred other men, were called by Brigham Young to settle on the Little Colorado River, in the northeastern part of Arizona, on an arid waste of shifting sands. This was a mission to establish permanent settlement in this section of the country. All of the men were expected to pool their property, with the object of having all things in common, of working together in a United Order.

Because of the poor health of Lois, it was considered best that she remain in Lehi, Utah, while her husband, who had married a beautiful girl, Mary Ann Petersen, brought her with him to make a home.147 He frequently visited his family, and at the end of two years and a half, final preparations were made for the remainder of the family to go to Arizona. The covered wagon beds extended at the rear of one of the wagons. It contained shelves of food supplies and dishes, pots, and pans. The door, when let down, served as a table. The extension on the wagon box was used to carry barrels of water over the desert for both men and animals. On Tuesday, October 22, 1878, the trip began. The equipment consisted of three wagons well-packed and drawn by five span of horses, a small herd of cows, and a riding pony for the eldest son to use in driving the cattle (rather young was this cowboy, only ten years old).

There were six other families, thirteen wagons in the train. The caravan moved smoothly
along until it reached Salina Creek. Here the light wagon Lois was driving, and in which her aged mother and the younger children were riding, tipped over, bruising the grandmother and breaking the arm of little four-year-old Wickliff. This was near the town of Salina. Fortunately a doctor was summoned and attended the injured. Mrs. Bushman’s mother did not accompany them farther on the journey, going to her sister in Beaver, Utah. This was a sad parting indeed for Lois, but her faith and love for her husband sustained her.

The trip was a wonderful one, in spite of hardships. Every day revealed new surroundings with beautiful and sometimes strange scenery. At camping time, fires were made and the evening meal prepared. When all was arranged for the night the camp would be called together around one campfire, prayer would be offered, then the evening spent in singing familiar hymns and songs, and the voices of John and Lois rang out in sweet harmony. Thus the time passed, hardships came and were bravely met, and on December 1, 1878, the little town of St. Joseph was reached. Here was the home John took his family to, a sort of apartment house, known as the Fort. The newcomers were heartily welcomed, especially by Mary who had been anxiously awaiting them and little Lois who had come with the father and Mary on the first trip, and it was not long until they had entered into the life and become a part of this big family, with common interest, that of redeeming this desert into a place where the necessities of life could be obtained, with a little beauty and comfort mixed in. When the work of the day was completed, the bugler called all together as on the road. With prayer, song and friendly greeting, each family then went to its abode, there to rest until a new day with its duties should call them.148

Of a cheery, genial temperament, and an understanding disposition, Lois fitted well into this community life. Indeed, her past training especially prepared her for these new conditions. She had been schooled in patience, born of love and perfect faith and trust in the Giver of all blessings. Because of her extensive reading and her gift of song and storytelling, her part of the fort was the gathering place of the children. Bible stories were exhausted and historical ones began. Then the neighboring mothers requested to join the group. The interest grew and the circle enlarged. Her oral narrative of history became as interesting as fiction. The story lost none of its fine shading, and dates became significant. Her pauses with her knitting added impressiveness. She was truly an artist at entertaining and quick to discover the talents of others. Soon theatricals, concerts, and other cultural forms of amusement were undertaken, and all responded with the ingenuity that was needed to plan the costumes and scenery.

The northern part of the territory of Arizona was noted for its winds and sandstorms in the springtime. It seemed that the wind blew most of the time. But when these periodical storms came they lasted for three days. During this time, no [none but essential] work would be done outside. Doors were shut and windows closed, and when it was over, the sand drifts had to be shoveled away. John was not idle during these days, but employed his time making brooms for the family and neighbors. These winds were especially trying on the eyes. There were many on the banks of the sandy bed of the Little Colorado whose eyes were injured permanently. Lois’ eyes were seriously affected, and she was never able to read again. This was her greatest trial for a while, but always there was someone who delighted in reading for her, because of the rich background she possessed, and the graciousness she showed to all who were so kind to her.

Uncomplainingly, she passed through the trying experiences of pioneer life, making the best of everything as it came, and encouraging others to do the same. Although she almost completely lost her sight, her voice still retained its sweetness, and ten days before she passed away she sang in public.

Lois was the mother of eleven children 149, and then raised three others whose mother had died. Always, her home was the gathering place for young and old. The friends of her children were always welcome.

In 1884, the United Order was discontinued and people began building individual homes. The beautiful red brick one of the Bushmans was dedicated on the happy couple’s silver wedding anniversary. Friends from far and near came in to help celebrate the festive occasion.

After the children were grown and married, John and Lois traveled quite extensively, going to the World’s Fair in St. Louis and to a fair in Seattle. Their Golden Wedding Anniversary, February 11, 1915, was an elaborate affair and was celebrated by their numerous descendants and a host of friends.

Shortly after this they decided to return to their old home in Lehi, Utah. They were now together constantly. How gracefully and perfectly they had advanced together. How smoothly and gently their barque glided on the calm unruffled stream. They were living over the first happy years of their married life—plus the luxuries and comforts their thrift and industry had secured for them. They mutually enjoyed the hours of reading, writing, and the serenity and peace that follow a well-ordered life.  Here on September 19, 1921, ended the beautiful earth life of this wonderful pioneer, Lois Angeline Smith Bushman, beloved by all who knew her.

Ellis and Boone:
John Bushman and his two wives came to Arizona determined to make this town on the Little Colorado River successful, and John Bushman’s journals have been immensely useful in understanding these settlements. In particular, Tanner and Richards used these journals to paint “a brilliant picture of the early history of Joseph City.” Family members have also compiled a more inclusive book about Lois’s life with a title that reflects her great love of music: I Will Sing: The Life Story of Lois Angeline Smith Bushman. 151

The citizens of Joseph City have celebrated Founder’s Day on March 24 for many years.
For the twentieth anniversary in 1896, Lois Bushman, Emma Hansen, and Maria R. Smith sang in a trio. But everyone participated. The celebration began with dinner served at 5:00 p.m. and then a program with Joseph C. Hansen acting as master of ceremonies. There were twenty-six different numbers on the program: eleven songs (either by the entire group or special numbers), thirteen talks or recitations, and, of course, two prayers. John Bushman, in his journal, wrote that the program was long— and “they did not get through until midnight.”152


Photo:  John and Lois Angeline Smith Bushman. Photo courtesy of DUP album, Snowflake- Taylor Family History Center.

  1. Lenore B. Carpenter, “John Bushman,” in Clayton, PMA, 63−70; “John Bushman,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:553.
  2. The identity of Lorenzo Van Cleve and wife are unknown at this writing. John Percival Lee, wife Eliza Ann Foscue Lee, and three children traveled to Utah with the Benjamin Hawkins Company of 1850. John Mitchell Smith, wife Maria Amanda Foscue Smith, and four children traveled with the James Pace Company of 1850. The James Pace Company left Nebraska on June 11 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley September 20–23. MPOT.
  3. Maria Foscue Smith’s child, John Freeman Smith, was born January 1, 1851, four months after arriving in Utah.
  4. Black Hawk was a Ute subchief born at Spring Lake (near Payson and at the south end of Utah Lake), roughly between 1824 and 1830. Although not the first Ute chief to protest Mormon settlement, he led the fight over a three-year period from 1865 to 1868. He died September 26, 1870, and was buried at Spring Lake. Peterson, Utah’s Black Hawk War, 42–48, 77–79.
  5. Mary Ann Petersen Bushman, 92.
  6. Lois Bushman was one of the women Phillips quoted when discussing the United Order at Joseph City. Phillips, “‘As Sisters in Zion,’” 155−72.
  7. These three children are the surviving children of John’s second wife, Mary Ann Petersen Bushman, who died July 5, 1885. See comments by Ellis and Boone in Mary Ann Petersen.
  8. Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 164; Westover and Richards, Unflinching Courage, 103−6; John Bushman papers, MSS 1520, HBLL, BYU.
  9. Pearson, I Will Sing.
  10. Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 117–18.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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