The Bush Family of Chautauqua
Compiled and Submitted by Douglas Bush
I. Adam Bush was born about 1812 and married Rachel Flint (1816-1900) about 1835. Adam, Rachel, and their parents were born in New York State. Adam may be related to one of the Bush families of Chautauqua County, although no connection has yet been established.
On December 11, 1837 Adam purchased about 89 acres (lot 108) from David Allen in Freehold, Warren County, Pennsylvania. Even though he was the head of a household, Adam does not appear in the 1840 and 1850 Warren County census records, or in the 1840 and 1845 Chautauqua County census records. His name does appear in the following 1840 census records: Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (125 miles south) and in Middlefield and Exeter Townships, both located in Ostego County, New York (250 miles northeast). It is possible the Adam Bush of Middlefield, New York is the same one who later lived in Chautauqua and Warren Counties.
There are several possible explanations for Adam purchasing land in Warren County in 1837, but not appearing in the 1840 or 1850 Warren County census records. One is that the failure in 1838 of the Lumberman's Bank of Warren, which "brought financial disaster to many of the middle and poorer classes of the county." Another possibility is that Adam purchased the land on speculation, then returned to his family in Middlefield, New York.
The 1850 census shows Adam owned a farm in Busti, Chautauqua County, New York, valued at $300 (no deed has been found). The 1852 Freehold, Pennsylvania tax assessment records indicate he owned an eighty-nine acre farm, two oxen and a cow. The following year, records show the farm as being eighty-one acres in size, perhaps the result of a new survey. On September 23, 1854, Adam sold 30 acres to Dewitt Beals.
In the 1860 Pennsylvania census, Adam's personal estate was valued at $375 and his farm at $1,000. On September 9, 1861, a $45 judgement against him for past-due taxes was entered in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas. As a result, on September 5, 1862, the local sheriff sold Adam's farm at auction to William D. Brown for $75. On June 22, 1863, title of the land was transferred from Brown to Nelson Kemp. Under the law, Adam had five years in which to pay off the debt and redeem his property. On August 5, 1867, he paid $900 to Nelson Kemp for the fifty-eight acre farm, twenty-five of which were "improved," including a frame barn and a small orchard.
By 1870, Adam's farm had increased in value to $11,500 and his personal estate had grown to $1,200. On May 3, 1871, Adam and Rachel sold the sixty-acre farm to their sons John B. and Edwin (a.k.a. Charles E.) for the sum of $1,740. Adam and Rachel do not appear on the Freehold tax assessment rolls between 1872-79, a period during which they did not own property.
John B. Bush, wife Clara, and Charles E. Bush, sold 30 acres of land to Rachel on April 7, 1879. Placing it in Rachel's name may have been done for tax purposes or because Adam's health had begun to fail. Adam, age 68, and Rachel, age 64, appear in the 1880 Pennsylvania census. Assessment records from 1880-89 list only Rachel, since her name alone appears on the land records. Adam probably died within a few years of the 1880 census (no will or obituary found in Warren or Chautauqua County).
About this time local land records start to refer to an area called "Bushes Corners," indicating the family was well known in those parts. After 1889, Rachel is no longer listed in Warren County assessment rolls. At the time of her death, however, she still owned lot 108 (which remained in the family about 80 years), which her heirs sold for the token sum of $1 to Chloe Bush on February 15, 1916.
Rachel last appears in the 1900 Lottsville, Pennsylvania census along with her son Marshall, and daughters Emma and Chloe. Rachel Bush died in Lottsville of paralysis on November 17, 1900. Adam, Rachel and at least nine other family members are buried in two family plots in Bear Lake Cemetery at Bear Lake, Warren County, Pennsylvania. The children of Adam Bush and Rachel --?--:
Aaron [1850 NY census as "Adrian"], born November
28, l836; married Eliza Jane May (1845-1923); died January 22,
1899 [obit. and death cert.].
2) Emma L. [1850 NY census as "Emma" born 1838; 1870 PA census as "Anna" born 1840], born in New York in October 1837 [1900 PA census]; died between 1900-1916.
3) Janette [1850 NY census ] or Janet [1860 PA census], born in New York in 1840; died before 1900.
4) Calista [or Collista] Adelaide [Adelaide in 1860 PA census, b. 1843] or [Calista in 1850 NY census, b. 1842], born in New York in 1842/43; married Eugene S. Munger; died in Sherman, Chautauqua County, New York on Feb. 27, 1911.
5) John Burnham [1860 PA census, b. 1846; 1850 NY census, b. 1845] born in New York in 1845/46; married Clara B. --?--, then Rosetta J. Ellis; listed in Lottsville in 1886 as a farmer, in 1896 as a laborer [City dir.].; and again as in 1904 as a farmer; died after 1922.
6) Charles Edwin, born in Chautauqua County, New York Feb. 29,1848; married Bell V. --?-- (1859- ) in 1878; listed in Freehold Township as a farmer [1880 PA census]; as a cooper (a maker of wooden tubs or casks)in 1886-96; and as a laborer in 1904 [Warren County Dir.]; died in Freehold Oct. 22, 1906 [death cert.].
7) Marshall W., born in Busti (?), New York in August 1850; a farmer in Bear Lake in 1896 and in Freehold in 1900-04 [Warren County Dir.]; died before 1916.
8) Chloe M., born in Bear Lake (?), Pennsylvania in January 1853 [1900 PA census]; still alive in 1918.
9) Cyrus, born in Bear Lake (?), Pennsylvania in 1856/57 [1860-70 -80 PA census]., listed in Lottsville as a farmer in 1886 [Warren County Dir.].
10) Rose B., born in Bear Lake (?), Pennsylvania in 1858/59, married Walter Carr
II. Aaron Bush was born November 28, 1836 in New York [1850 NY census, 1860-70 PA censuses all say NY; Death Cert. 1899 says Busti, NY; son Henry 's death cert. says Corry, PA; sons Fred and Jacob's death certs. say Bear Lake, PA;] In the early 1850's, his family moved to Freehold Township, Warren County, Pennsylvania [1860 PA census]. As a young man, Aaron probably worked on his father's farm, located at the intersection of two country roads in the area between Bear Lake, Lottsville, Gilmartin, and Niobe [Chapman Family Rec. map].
Bear Lake is described in period documents as a "thriving village - the product of railroad enterprise," named for the "beautiful body of water of that name about a mile east of town" with a surface of about ten acres. "As late as 1860 there was no road through (the village of) Bear Lake worthy of the name."
Aaron Bush was baptized at the First Baptist Church of Jamestown in 1865 [Church Rec.]. About this same time he married Eliza Jane May, daughter of Frank May. Eliza was born November 9, 1845 in Tidioute, Warren County, Pennsylvania [Eliza's obit.]. Aaron had a stocky-build, stood five foot two, and was French and Dutch; Eliza was tall, thin, and of English ancestry [oral trad].
Aaron's farm in the Bear Lake-Lottsville area was valued at
$1,800 and his personal estate had grown to $1,000 [1870 PA
census]. Aaron's sons probably helped out on the farm - as Aaron
himself had done for his father - until they married and
established their own families. Family-owned farms were becoming
less profitable, however, and within a few years Aaron and most
of his children would move to nearby cities in search of work.
In colonial days, farmers were "self-sufficient individuals and raised a variety of crops. By the end of the Civil War, the average farmer specialized in a single crop, such as wheat or corn, and purchased whatever else he needed at the local country store or by mail order."
Like many Americans of that time, Aaron was forced to abandon farming and find work in the city. About 1875, he found employment as a carpenter in nearby Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York and lived near the boat landing [City Dir.]. He and two sons - Alfred, a butcher, and Frank, a teamster - boarded on Cherry Street in 1886 [City Dir.]. By 1895, Aaron had purchased a homestead at 133 Fairview Avenue and settled permanently in Jamestown [City Dir].
Several colorful stories about Aaron have been passed down to us. In one, a man is said to have attacked him with an ax. According to witnesses, Aaron blocked the blow with his forearm and broke the ax handle. Another time, Aaron discovered that someone down on Steele Street (in Jamestown) was taking his firewood. To teach the thief a lesson, he hid a small stick of dynamite inside a hollowed-out log, then placed the log in with the rest of his firewood. A few nights later neighbors reported hearing a loud explosion - presumably the thief's stove. Needless to say, the thefts of firewood stopped immediately [oral trad.].
Aaron Bush died at his home in Jamestown, New York on Sunday, January 22, 1899 at 4 a.m. of Bright's disease [Death Cert.; obit.] and was buried in Bear Lake Cemetery on January 24, 1899 [Bear Lake Cem. Rec.]. According to his obituary, Aaron had a sister in Sherman, Chautauqua County, NY.; a brother in Wrightsville, Warren County, Pa.; three sisters and a brother in Lottsville, Warren County, Pa.; a brother in Grant Station (now Niobe, in Harmony), Chautauqua County, NY [obit.].
Aaron's widow, Eliza, survived him by twenty-two years. She was baptized November 23, 1921 at the First Baptist Church of Jamestown [Church Rec.]. She died in Jamestown General Hospital at 11:20 a.m. on November 1, 1923 [Death Cert.], and was buried beside Aaron, and three other family members (including son Alfred), in Bear Lake Cemetery [Bear Lake Cem. Rec.].
The children of Aaron Bush and Eliza Jane May:
1) Frank E., born in Bear Lake, Warren County, Pennsylvania on May 29, 1866; lived on Cherry Street and worked as a teamster in Jamestown, New York in 1886; married Catherine Hein (1872-1935), daughter of Carl Hein and Catherine Klein; lived in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1899; died in Los Angeles, California on September 2, 1921; buried in Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles on September 6, 1921 [All data on Frank E. Bush and family from Sprague-Kennedy gen. Obtained through correspondence].
The children of Frank E. Bush and Catherine Hein:
a. Joseph Edwin "Ed", born April 2, 1894 in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York; married Beatrice Maud "Bea" James (1895-1960) on February 24, 1913; worked as a mason and a contractor; died in Lynwood, Los Angeles County, California on July 31, 1967; buried in Rosa Hills Cemetery in Whittier, California.
The children of Joseph Bush and Beatrice James:
James Bertram "Bert)" born in Bear Lake (?),
Pennsylvania in November of 1868; married Ann --?--
(1860- ) in 1891 (she had emigrated
from Germany in 1882); they had three children, all of whom died
[1900 NY census, p122]; boarded at 141 Warren in Jamestown from
at least 1895 to 1899 [City Dir]; employed as a bottler in 1899;
a day laborer living on East 5th Street in
Jamestown in 1900 [1900 NY census, p122]; lived at 111 Fairview Avenue in 1937 [City Dir.]; still alive in October of l941 in Gowanda State Hospital in Helmuth, New York [John Bush obit.].
3) Alfred A. "Fred" (Albert's twin brother), born in Bear Lake, Pennsylvania in 1869 [Death Cert. states 1873]; lived on Cherry Street and worked as a butcher in Jamestown, New York in 1886 [City Dir.]; employed as an "engineer" and boarded at 133 (later renumbered 111) Fairview Avenue from at least 1895 to 1922 [City Dirs.]; worked as a stationary engineer in 1915 [City Dir]; as a
laborer in 1922 [City Dir.]; died November 17, 1933 in Jamestown General Hospital [Death Cert.]; buried at Bear Lake, Pennsylvania on November 20, 1933 [Family Bible; Death Cert.].
4) Albert (Alfred's twin brother), born in Bear Lake, Pennsylvania in 1869; worked as a weaver and boarded at 133 (later renumbered 111) Fairview Avenue in Jamestown in 1898; employed as a butcher and living at 1 New Gifford building in Jamestown, New York in January of 1899; married Catherine S. --?-- ( -1941) about 1898; owned a home at 328 Steele Street (in Jamestown) and worked as a florist for E. W. Worden in 1922; living in Jamestown, New York in October of 1940; died before October of 1941.
5) John Emery, born September 9, 1872 in Corry (Erie County, Concord Township - some records say Bear Lake), Pennsylvania; married Bertha J. Camp on June 19, 1893; employed as a switchman at the Erie railroad yards and resided at 107 Fairview Avenue in 1895 and later at 224 Steele Street in 1898; living at 111 Fairview Avenue in Jamestown, New York in January of 1899; died in Jamestown, New York on October 1, 1941.
6) Henry H. (or Hank), born in Bear Lake, Pennsylvania on January 20/21, 1874; boarded at 133 Fairview Avenue from at least 1895 to 1899; employed as a carpenter in 1899; married Chloe C. Camp (1883-1971) (sister of Bertha J. Camp); lived between Lottsville and Bear Lake, Pennsylvania and moved to Jamestown about 1918; worked as a carpenter and owned a home at 418 11th Street in 1922; owned a home at 405 West11th Street in 1930; worked for Davis Junk & Salvage Company in 1937; living in Jamestown in October of 1940; died at
home in Jamestown, New York on February 4, 1941; Chloe died in Jamestown, New York on February 17, 1971; buried in Lakeview Cemetery.
The children of Henry H. Bush Sr. and Chloe C. Camp:
b. Bertha, married --?-- Davison, still alive in 1975.
d. Woodrow Wilson.
f. Henry H. Jr., born 1907; baptized at First Baptist Church of Jamestown on September 5, 1923; died October 13, 1975; buried in Lakeview Cemetery.
g. Frank E., born 1915; nicknamed "Muck" because he used to dive into the Chadakoin River and surface covered with fine silt from the bottom of the river; lived in Celeron, NY; died June 11,1966; buried in Soldier's Circle, Lakeview Cemetery, Jamestown, New York.
h. Rose, married Walter Carr; buried in Bear Lake Cemetery.
Theodore W., born March 18, 1876 in Jamestown, New York; lived at
111 Fairview Avenue in Jamestown, New York from 1899 to 1915;
married Alida M. Gray sometime between 1915-22; worked as a
carpenter and owned a home at 409 11th Street in Jamestown, New
York in 1922; worked as a meatcutter for Wood & Anderson and
owned a home at 321 11th Street in Jamestown in 1930; died there
on September 29, 1937 and was buried in Lakeview Cemetery on
October 1, 1937; Alida was still living in Jamestown, New
York in 1948.
8) Dora A., probably born in Jamestown, New York about 1878; lived in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1899; resided at 111 Fairview Avenue in 1900.
9) Jennie Maria, probably born in Jamestown, New York about 1880; living in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1899.
10) June? probably born about 1882; (died young).
11) Jacob A. (or Jake), born March 18, 1885 in Jamestown, New York; lived in Jamestown, New York in 1899; lived at 111 Fairview Avenue and worked as a painter in 1915; married Mary Gardiner; died October 27, 1939 in WCA Hospital, Jamestown; buried in Shadyside Cemetery in Busti, New York on October 30, 1939.
12) Joseph (or Joe), born in Jamestown, New York on August 9, 1889; lived in Jamestown, New York in 1899; married Josephine Miller sometime between 1915-22; lived at 111 Fairview from 1915-26; worked as a laborer in 1915, later as a driver for the Lakewood Street Department; lived at 111 Fairfield in 1922; died February 26, 1952 in Lakewood, New York; buried in the Bentley-Lakewood Cemetery on February 28, 1952.
The children of Joseph Bush and Josephine Miller:
a. Joseph Jr., (there is some confusion in the records) buried
May 14, 1926 or June 1, 1926 in Lakeview Cemetery.
III. John Emery Bush was born September 9, 1872 in Corry, a small town in western Pennsylvania, located near the junction of the Atlantic and Great Western, Philadelphia and Erie, Oil Creek and Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroads. Not surprisingly, after a brief stint as a merry-go-round operator in Meadville, Pennsylvania (about 1889), John went to work for the Erie Railroad.
The short, stocky nineteen year old, nicknamed "Jack" by his friends, possessed little in the way of education. Like his father before him, John earned his living with his hands. He joined the A.L. Dunbar lodge of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen on June 10, 1897 and may have worked in a brewery at some point in his life.
John married Bertha Jeanette Camp in Jamestown, New York on June 19, 1893. John was about five-foot four inches tall, with brown eyes and dark brown hair; Bertha was five-foot one, with blue eyes and strawberry blond hair. They lived at 77 Steele Street in Jamestown from 1900, or earlier, until at least 1903, and purchased groceries at Willard Marcy's store on Cook Street.
About 1910, after nearly twenty years of employment, John lost his railroad job. He had started out as a switchman (or yardman), worked his way up to fireman, and was next in line to become engineer when he was let go in order to "make room" for the son of one of the higher ups in the company.
John then became a stage carpenter for Shea's Theater (opera house) located at 2nd and Cherry Streets in Jamestown, New York. On January 7, 1913, he joined the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of America, local 226. John remained at Shea's Theater for thirty-one years, eventually becoming stage manager and coordinator of road shows.
On May 22, 1916, John and Bertha Bush purchased a home at 306 West 11th Street for $1,600 but missed a payment and were evicted in August of 1917. Later, they bought a home at 23 Delaware Avenue, sold it on September 5, 1924, then purchased a home at 307 South Main Street on September 24, 1924, where they spent the remainder of their lives.
John suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in April of 1941 which forced him to retire from his job at Shea's Theater. He appeared to recover but suffered a second attack at 3:30 a.m. on October 1, 1941 that proved fatal. He was buried in Lakeview Cemetery on October 5, 1941.
The children of John Emery Bush Sr. and Bertha Jeanette Camp:
1) Donald Henry, born August 22, 1895 in Jamestown, New York; baptized April 1, 1909 at Calvary Baptist Church in Jamestown; served in WWI in Company "E" (gassed during the war); married Marion Thompson (1898-1949) in 1917, divorced; married Bertha Mohney, divorced; married Clara --?--, divorced; married Sara Mohney; worked as a salesman; died February 6, 1972 in Jamestown, New York; buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown, New York on February 7, 1972.
The children of Donald H. Bush and Marion Thompson:
a. Mary Elizabeth "Sis", born March 28, 1918 in Jamestown, New York; married Donald G. Casselman there on December 13, 1941; divorced.
The children of Mary E. Bush and Donald Casselman:
2) Charles B.
3) Judy Ann
b. Warren Elwood, born January 13, 1921 in Jamestown, New York; married Minnie M. Warren there in 1940's.
The children of Warren E. Bush and Minnie Warren:
4) Mary Ann
c. Barbara Jean, born December 15, 1927 in Jamestown, New York; married Jack Goss there on July 3, 1948.
The children of Barbara J. Bush and Jack Goss:
1) Jacquelyn "Jackie"
2) Margaret Ann "Margie"
2) Richard B., born October 24, 1897 in Jamestown, New York; baptized April 16, 1911 at Calvary Baptist Church in Jamestown; married Bertha Anderson; worked as a jeweler and managed a jewelry store in Grand Rapids, Michigan; died December 29, 1958; buried in Jamestown, New York.
The children of Richard B. Bush and Bertha Anderson:
a. Betty, married Lester Bosse.
The children of Betty Bush and Lester Bosse:
b. Harry, married two or three times, lived in Grand Rapids, Mich..
c. Richard B. Jr., lived in Grand Rapids, Mich.
3) John Emery, Jr., born May 4, 1900 in Jamestown, New York; in Navy in WWI (a boxer while in the service, stationed in San Diego); married Helen Siegler; died December 29, 1966 in Jamestown; buried in Lakeview Cemetery on January 3, 1967. Helen died February 5, 1977; buried in Lakeview Cemetery.
The children of John E. Bush Jr. and Helen Siegler:
a. Richard Allen, born 1933; killed in sledding accident December
19, 1942; buried
December 22, 1942 in Lakeview Cemetery.
d. Janice Marie, born 1939; died May 16, 1971; buried in Lakeview Cemetery.
f. John Emery III.
4) Aaron Levi, born January 9, 1905 in Jamestown, New York; married Kathyrn Ulrich; was a jeweler and managed the jewelry department of J.L. Hudson's in Detroit, Michigan; died December 1, 1975.
The children of Aaron L. Bush and Kathyrn Ulrich:
a. Patricia, married Robert Kopp.
b. William, married Peggy --?--; (two daughters: Cheryl, --?--).
c. Ann, (had three children).
Lillian Louise, born March 30, 1907 in Jamestown, New York;
baptized April 4, 1920 at Calvary Baptist Church in Jamestown;
January 20, 1936, in Montecello, New York, married Charles
Cottle Taylor (1898-1968) (along with his father, he ran
Taylor and Sons Chevrolet Sales and Service in Jordan, New York,
and owned a factory); "Lilly" was employed as a
telephone operator, a secretary, and later as a bank loan
officer; died December 1, 1985 in Skaeneatelas, New York (no
6) Robert Frank, born March 18, 1912 in Jamestown, New York; married Lucy M Swan on April 4, 1946; died April 5, 1986 in San Diego, California.
7) Julia, born February 10, 1916 in Jamestown, New York; never married; died November 28, 1921 in Jamestown, New York; buried in Lakeview Cemetery on November 30, 1921.
IV. Robert Frank Bush was born at his parents home in Jamestown, New York on the morning of March 18, 1912, with his aunts Chloe and Ol acting as midwives. At age six Robert enrolled in kindergarten at the Charles Street School in Jamestown and was promoted to the first grade two weeks later. Several years later he won a knot tying contest held at the school. He belonged to the local Boy Scout troop and enjoyed playing the harmonica and drawing in his spare time.
Robert became interested in performing after watching shows at Shea's Theatre, where his father worked. He worked out a routine where he would walk out on stage carrying a violin case under his arm, set it down, open it up, and look for his instrument. Not finding it, he would frantically search his pockets, finally locating a harmonica in his vest pocket. He then played Tchaikovsky's "Humoresque," followed by an encore of Stephen Foster's "Way Down Upon the Swanee River." After one show, however, he was beaten up by several boys from the school.
Robert and his younger sister, Julia, were constant companions. One day while they were playing on his scooter, Julia fell and bumped her head on a tree Several weeks later, she fell from the wagon they were playing on and hit her head on the sidewalk. The last injury caused quite a swelling and everyone was very concerned. Soon afterwards, Julia lapsed into a coma which lasted about three months. On November 28, 1921, five year old Julia died from lethargic encephalitis, a disease caused by an unknown organism.
Although it had nothing whatsoever to do with her falls, people often spoke of her going into a coma "after falling off Bobbie's wagon." These events became linked in his mind, and he came to believe he was responsible for his sister's death. Sadly, he never completely accepted the fact that he was blameless for his sister's death.
At seventeen, Bob went to work in a furniture factory, although he was barely heavy enough to punch the drilling machine bit down. In the fall he went back to school. After dropping out of high school Robert worked in several other furniture factories. He was employed at Art Metal for two years, helped manufacture voting machines, and eventually joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work program created by the Roosevelt administration to combat unemployment during the Depression.
The C.C.C. camp was located in Connecticut. Young men were sent there and trained to do outdoor maintenance such as clearing brush, making parks for the public, and clipping diseased tips (leaders) from pine trees. The program paid $30.00 a month, $25.00 of which was sent home to Robert's parents. Bob was on the staff of the camp newspaper and one of his drawings appeared in it. Sundays - his only days off - were spent with friends sitting in front of an ice cream parlor in Haddam, Connecticut, eating vanilla ice cream by the pint.
Once, while using a brushhook close to the ground, Bob hit a hornets nest that was built on the ground. A swarm of angry hornets attacked him, stinging him around the neck, shoulders, and eyelids. His face and neck swelled up but, luckily, the hornets did not sting his eyes.
After this job ended, Bob endured several years of unemployment, as did millions of others during the Great Depression. He stayed home and did odd jobs such as weeding and mowing lawns. Later, he got a job at the Union Furniture Company "tailing" a rip saw, and remained there for several years. Bob earned enough money to buy a Hupmobile touring car which he kept for a short time before selling.
Bob and his friend, "Fat" Peterson, used to caddie at the Moon Brook Golf Course. Peterson was sixteen, and Bob was twenty-one. "Fat" Peterson convinced Bob to sign for a Chrysler touring car he wanted to buy. Peterson borrowed the car to take a drive around to the other side of Lake Chautauqua and to visit Celeron Park. He ran into an old Essex and damaged it; the Chrysler had to be towed away. He had no license, no insurance, and was underage. Bob's name was on the registration so he was held accountable for the accident. The owners of the Essex got a judgment against him and he couldn't own anything in his own name for seven years.
Another one of Bob's good friends was XXXXXXX XXXXXXX, also an amateur artist. He and Bob spent many hours together drawing pictures of WWI airplanes and current movie stars. One of XXXXX's ancestors was a famous war hero for whom a park had been named. XXXXX was a sensitive, troubled young man who never appreciated by his parents. One night he climbed a tree in the park and committed suicide by hanging himself.
In the early 1930's Bob underwent an operation designed to correct amblyopia (or "lazy eye"). He would later undergo another such operation in 1950, while living in Sanborn, New York. Neither operation proved completely successful.
Bob had always suffered from a lack of self-confidence. In an effort to build his confidence he read inspirational books such as those written by Dale Carnegie. Whenever he felt unsure of himself he would re-read these books.
In 1941, Bob was drafted into the Army, went through basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, and joined the 90th Armored Reconnaissance, 2nd Platoon. The Armored Reconnaissance preceded the regular troops, providing them with important information on the terrain, the enemy's location and strength. While on his way to France, the ship he was on struck a mine and sank in the fog shrouded English Channel. He and the others were rescued and continued on to Normandy's Omaha Beach, arriving on June 7, 1944 (D-Day plus one). Allied forces in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), under the command of General Eisenhower, succeeded in recapturing the heavily defended coast, but at a terrible cost in lives.
Bob and the 90th "Recon" fought their way across France. Within a few months' time, France was completely cleared of the occupying German forces and attention was then focused on Germany. His unit went on to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Battle of the Bulge, during one of Europe's worst winters in modern history. He was in Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) when WWII ended, May 7, 1945, and was then sent to occupied Weiden, Germany.
In October 1945, Bob returned home because his mother was ill. The Red Cross notified him that his mother was gravely ill. Instead of being sent home on a plane, however, he was sent on a boat - a much slower trip. Although everyone hoped that Mrs. Bush would recover and be able to attend Bob's wedding, she weakened and died on February 24, 1946.
On April 4, 1946, Robert Bush married Lucy Mae Swan at Kidder Memorial Church in Jamestown, New York and they moved into the house his mother left him, at 307 South Main Street. After the war, he joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars and participated in a few local parades.
Bob worked at Marlin Rockwell as a screw machine operator from October of 1945 to November of 1946 before quitting to start his own business, Bob's Mobile Lunch. He and his wife, Lucy, operated a hamburger truck in Jamestown, New York in 1947 and 1948, after having read about someone in the New England area who had originated the idea. The first truck Bob and Lucy used was a Chevy stake truck on which he built a wooden framework. They went around to the various factories in town, selling freshly cooked hamburgers, hot-dogs, coffee, Coca Cola, and ice cream. The business did not bring enough money to support their growing family so they had to give it up.
In June of 1948, Bob went to work for Crescent Tool Company in Jamestown as a tool inspector and remained there for two years. The workers went on strike and Bob had to move to Niagara Falls to find work to support his family. Robert worked at Bell Aircraft (in Buffalo, New York), beginning in August of 1950. While there, he joined their singing group called the Belladiers. In 1957, he performed in the musical "Oklahoma!" at the Klienhans Music Hall in Buffalo with the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by Frans Allers.
While still at Bell Aircraft, Bob bought a house on 2 1/8 acres for $2,800 cash. He had to replace a floor in one room which collapsed after movers put all the family's furniture in it. Bob and a neighbor jacked up the floor and put in new beams and flooring. He put a new chimney on the back of the house, then tore out the old chimney and replaced the section of roof where it had been.
Next, Bob replaced the roof. He had a contractor raise the house with jacks and put it on blocking. They then dug a hole for a seven foot cellar which was made of poured concrete. A floor was poured first; the walls were added later. Bob added two layers of blocks on top of the concrete walls and set bolts into the concrete which the house was bolted to. He took the oil burning stove and moved it to the cellar and connected it to a register in order to heat the house. A stovepipe attached to the chimney carried off the fumes. Bob converted the back porch and entry way into a stairway which led to the cellar. On the back of the house he added two large bedrooms (with closets), a bathroom, and a large hallway with linen closets.
All these things he accomplished without ever having studied or worked in construction. He would go to construction sites and ask questions of the crew, then go home and work on his own house.
In 1958, Bell Aircraft laid off 1,400 workers (including Bob), and the family's future was in jeopardy. He went to work at a local school, drove an oil tank truck, and worked at a paper box company, simultaneously. He held these three jobs for two years before a friend in California, George Lowery, suggested he come out west and apply for a position at Douglas Aircraft. The family had been considering moving to Florida, Alaska, or Australia in order get a fresh start. Jamestown was suffering from an economic slowdown and the future there looked bleak. Reluctantly, the family decided to sell the house on which they had worked so hard.
Bob moved to California in February of 1960 in search of work, while the rest of the family remained in Sanborn, New York. After eleven days, Bob got a job at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California. He lived with friends for a short time before moving into a garage, where he remained until August, when he rented an apartment in Paramount on Alondra Boulevard. He completely furnished it in preparation for his family's arrival (by Santa Fe railway on August 19, 1960). About eight months later, he was laid off again, shortly after renting a house in Bellflower, California.
Bob then moved to San Diego, moved into a boarding house, and found employment at the Convair Division of General Dynamics. He worked in San Diego during the week and commuted to Bellflower each weekend. In March 1961, the Bush family came to San Diego, where they would settle permanently. They lived in a hotel on 5th Avenue for two weeks before moving to a three bedroom house on Hortensia Avenue in Old Town. They started looking for a better place to live and found a house at 1216 Johnson Avenue in Hillcrest and moved in that summer. After settling in at Johnson Avenue, Bob's contract at Convair ran out and he was once again unemployed.
of the uncertainty of aircraft work, Bob decided to change
careers, and trained to become a barber. While he trained, his
wife Lucy worked in the Navy laundry. After she quit because of
harassment by fellow employees,
Bob went to work at a gas station on El Cajon Boulevard. Lucy worried about him and convinced him to quit. Two weeks later, his replacement was beaten, robbed, and locked in the restroom. After completing his barber training Bob worked in many shops in the San Diego area and eventually bought his own shop in Kearny Mesa.
In 1964, the family moved to another house located in the same neighborhood, 1231 Hayes Avenue. About four years later, they started buying the house. Bob was unsure whether or not they could afford to buy it so Bob Jr. started making part of the payments. After a while, Bob Jr. said he wanted to buy the house as an investment and have his parents live out the remainder of their lives there.
In April of 1974, Robert and Lucy Bush took a bus trip to Denver, Colorado, Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan, Jamestown, New York, and Largo, Florida to visit relatives. They had to return prematurely because they both became extremely ill. Robert developed a bad cough that would not go away and he was bedridden for two weeks in Florida. After returning home, he went to VA Hospital in La Jolla to have a checkup. Doctors performed a biopsy and discovered he had prostate cancer. On August 19, 1974, he had surgery to remove his prostate and lymph glands. He also underwent chemotherapy and a series of bone scans.
As a result of being diagnosed with cancer, Bob decided to sell his barber shop and he and Lucy both retired. Lucy Bush took care of her husband, taking him to appointments, dispensing medicine, and keeping his spirits up. Three months after his operation, they were forced to move when the house they were living in was sold. Bob, Lucy, and their son Doug then moved to an apartment at 1051 1/2 Wilbur Avenue in Pacific Beach, where they remained for the next eight years.
Shortly after the family celebrated the fact that Bob had been cancer-free for five years, doctors discovered he had cancer again in November of 1979. This time it was determined that it had spread to his ribs, hips, and pelvic bone. Bob was enrolled in an experimental program at VA Hospital in January of 1980 where he was given Cytoxin intravenously and DES orally.
He developed a perforated ulcer on February 4, 1980, as a result of the Cytoxin treatment. This led to peritonitis, a life-threatening condition, which required emergency surgery. While undergoing surgery, he suffered cardiac arrest and while still in the hospital, one of his lungs collapsed. He recovered within a few weeks, but as a result of diet, medication, and restrictions on water intake, he became dehydrated and nearly died, again, March 4, 1980.
By May of that year, he had made a remarkable recovery and was able to make another trip back east, this time by plane, for a family reunion. A large number of relatives gathered in Syracuse, New York. After returning home, he began working as a "vacation" barber for local shops. In June, he developed a very serious case of Herpes Zorres (or shingles) and was treated at VA Hospital.
In 1982, Robert and Lucy Bush became managers at Public Storage at 573 Raleigh Avenue in El Cajon, California. Three months later, Robert suffered congestive heart failure and was again forced to retire. Never one to give up easily, he continued to help out on the project, following his recovery.
In 1984, the Bush family moved to another Public Storage, at 1510 North Magnolia Avenue, also located in El Cajon, and remained there for two and a half years.
Bob always enjoyed singing and belonged to several singing groups in San Diego, the Pacific Aires and the Riford's Club. They performed at nursing homes and other locations. He also played the harmonica and sang while his son Doug accompanied him on guitar. Another one of his hobbies was carving western figures out of balsa wood and then painting them. This he took up while convalescing from his many illnesses.
In the summer of 1985, during their vacation, Bob and his wife Lucy and son Doug went to Gillespie Field in El Cajon. They had intended just to fly as passengers in a small plane and were surprised when the pilot offered to turn the controls over to Bob. He was ill with cancer and hadn't flown in more than forty years - as a matter of fact, he had never even gotten a pilots license - nevertheless, he took over and proceeded to fly around the city of El Cajon as though he had always been a pilot.
In early 1986, after a series of setbacks, he was again hospitalized at VA Hospital. It became obvious that the end was near. The family gathered on the evening of April 4th to celebrate Bob and Lucy's fortieth wedding anniversary. Daughter Sharon brought forty red roses and presented them to her parents. Bob, although drifting in and out of consciousness, thoroughly enjoy the visit. At about nine p.m. the family left, as he appeared tired.
Robert Frank Bush died peacefully in his sleep of heart failure at 1 a.m. on April 5, 1986 in Veterans Administration Hospital In La Jolla, San Diego County, California. He was buried in El Cajon Cemetery on April 8, 1986.