Elizabeth (Miner) Bush was born on Sept. 28, 1811, probably at Maple Summit near the border of Fayette/ Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth (Sechman) Miner Sr. All 5 of her sons and 1 son in law served in the Civil War, with one dying of illness during the conflict.
As an infant, in about 1812, Elizabeth moved with her parents to Sego, Perry County, OH.
On May 25, 1833, at Uniontown, Muskingum County, OH, Elizabeth married Christopher Bush (1811-1889), by the hand of L. Fulton. A record of the marriage exists today in Muskingum County. Christopher was born near Zanesville, Muskingum County on Sept. 25, 1811.
The Bushes first lived at Zanesville. In 1845, they moved to Wayne County, IN. In 1856, they bought an 80-acre farm located about 2 miles northeast of Greenfield, Hancock County, IN. The farm, of about 80 acres, was largely "uncleared woods," and was in Section 28, Township 16, Range 7 East.
Most of their story is found in the Civil War pension papers of their son Leroy, on file today at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Tragically, Leroy, a private with an Indiana infantry unit, died of typhoid fever during the war. Christopher went to Indianapolis three times to try to bring his son home, and only succeeded when he appealed to Governor Morton, over the Army's objections.
Having all their sons away at war took a heavy toll. Adding to the family sadness was what's thought to have been the death of young daughter Sarah in the early 1860s.
In 1863, Christopher "was in feeble health -- seemed to be broken in Constitution and in a decline." The following spring, while working with son in law William E. Boyd in their harvest fields, Christopher suffered a stroke. It was so severe that for all intents he never again was able to work on their farm. With "much industry," Elizabeth and their neighbors "managed the little farm and thereby obtained barely comfortable subsistence for herself, invalid husband and their two [young] children [Mary and Alora]."
Witnesses claimed that Elizabeth's efforts to successfully keep the farm going were due to her "severe toil and frugality." The Bushes successfully petitioned the federal government for a monthly pension as compensation for the loss of Leroy, on whom they had depended so heavily for farm labor.
Apart from the sale of their farm produce, there was no income for the couple for the years 1865 through 1869. In around 1870, though feeble, Christopher became a mail carrier on a short star route, earning about $200 a year for four years. In 1875, he became unable to do any manual work whatsoever. At the end of 1879, they sold the farm, and moved to a small house in town.
Christopher's sufferings finally ended at his death on Jan. 26, 1889, at age 77. He was buried in the family plot at Park Cemetery, seen here. The Hancock Democrat eulogized that the:
major portion of his life ... was devoted to farming. About ten years ago he moved to Greenfield, where he had since lived, and led a quiet and peaceful life. He was converted to God and joined the church in 1853 and has since that time lived an exemplary christian life. During his late sickness he seemed to bear his afflictions with the greatest fortitude, and lingered patiently until the Heavenly Father saw fit to call his spirit home. On one occasion, in the presence of the minister, he said he would like to live for the sake of his family, 'but if it is God's will to call me to die, I trust I am ready.' Blessed be they who die in peace."
After his death, Elizabeth resided in Greenfield with their daughter and son in law, Mary and John Anderson. Elizabeth died of a stroke on Nov. 22, 1901. The Hancock Democrat called her "one of the oldest citizens of this county...."They are buried together at Park Cemetery in Greenfield.
Today, their farm has been turned into a subdivision, seen here, providing quality housing and property for middle-income Greenfield area residents.
Copyright © 2000, 2008 Mark A. Miner