Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Timothy Bush (1735?-1815?) and Descendants in The Genealogist

Michael Thomas Meggison and R. Andrew Pierce have given the fullest account yet of the prolific family that gave rise to the two US Presidents Bush, in a 73-page article spread across the three most recent issues of The Genealogist. Unpublished work by Elaine Bush Prince helped frame their account. Previous published works focused on the male line of Presidential descent only.

This is the kind of article (or book) that we all more or less dream of writing for our families; sadly, for many of us it remains a dream. Seeing a living, breathing, lengthy example like this may provide the inspiration we need.

The authors begin by discussing the intricate and still unresolved question of Timothy Bush's parentage, where the minimal direct evidence is ambiguous and not enough indirect evidence is yet available to reach a conclusion. Note to interested researchers: "A thorough search of Windham County court records before 1754, including files, might turn up further evidence of him." In his documented later life Timothy lived in Connecticut, Vermont, and western New York.

For Timothy and his wife Deborah House, the article documents ten children, 36 grandchildren, and 122 great-grandchildren. (Female lines are not followed as far as male lines.) Eight of their children married: to Nathaniel Willis Seaver and Abner Chamberlain; Abigail Marvin; Hannah (nee Porter) Preston; Lydia Newcomb; Maria Chamberlain; Cyrus Hamilton; Amy Yeomans; and Lavinia Barnes. Descendants lived in New Hampshire; Maine; Massachusetts; Kansas; New York City; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Kansas; California (beginning with the Gold Rush); and several counties in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. Various descendants served in the Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War.

Stories are plentiful. Grandson Rev. George Bush had a stormy tenure in an Indianapolis Presbyterian pulpit in the 1820s. Grandson Obadiah Newcomb Bush died aboard ship en route between Acapulco and Panama in 1851. Great-grandson John E. Roberts died of wounds incurred at the Battle of Gettysburg. An interesting indirect-evidence argument as to the parentage of Lydia Bliss, wife of grandson Timothy Bush, is condensed into a footnote.

There's plenty to learn here even if your family tree has sprouted no Bushes.

Michael Thomas Meggison and R. Andrew Pierce, "Some Descendants of Timothy Bush of Connecticut, Vermont, and Western New York," The Genealogist 25 (Spring 2011): 35-55 and (Fall 2011): 233-56, and 26 (Spring 2012): 102-32.

Harold Henderson, "Timothy Bush (1735?-1815?) and Descendants in The Genealogist," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 4 July 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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