Family Stories

Bush Family – Colonial Virginia to Clark County, Kentucky

I decided to visit Clark County today, and while going through my photographs taken at Winchester Cemetery the name James H. G. Bush came up.  He and wife Julia A. Bush have a large, beautiful stone.  James was the son of Jeremiah Bush, 1789-1842, and Nancy Harris Gentry, 1795-1863, full name James Harris Gentry Bush.  Jeremiah was the son of James Ambrose Bush, 1748-1815, and Lucy Gholson, 1746-1814.  Ambrose was the son of Philip Bush, Jr., 1697-1769.  Philip was the son of John Bush, 1660-1746, of Orange County, Virginia.

James H. G. Bush, born July 12, 1818, died May 23, 1866. Julia A. Bush, born October 5, 1828, died September 26, 1864. Winchester Cemetery, Clark County, Kentucky

In checking newspaper articles about the family, I found the following from 1916 in The Lexington Herald.  The first paragraph of the Quisenberry book is very interesting.  The history of the Bush family in the United States begins when John Bush sailed from England in 1618.  The author goes on to say that it is not possible to find evidence.  But I did.  In the new book I mentioned in the last post, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635, John Bush was listed!

John Bush came to Virginia in 1618 on the Neptune, the ship that brought Lord Delaware to the colony.  His wife, Elizabeth, and daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, arrived on the Gift in 1619.  The Bush household resided in Elizabeth City on the east side of the Hampton River.  Because Virginia Company officials decided to take that area for the Company’s use, incoming Governor George Yeardley had to evict the settlers living there.  John and Elizabeth Bush and their daughters were turned out of the two houses he had built there, and Mrs. Bush was so traumatized that she had a miscarriage.  On February 16, 1624, John Bush, his wife and their two children were still living in Elizabeth City but had moved to the west side of the Hampton River.  On November 30, 1624, he and the Rev. George Keith were named administrators of an orphan’s estate.  On December 1, 1624, John Bush patented 300 acres of land in Elizabeth City on the basis of headrights, including those of two men he had transported to the colony in 1621.  John Bush made his will on December 9, 1624, and died sometime prior to early January 1625.  When a list of patented land was sent back to England in May1625, he was credited with 300 acres in Elizabeth City, acreage that had been planted.  The decedent’s will was presented to the General Court on January 13, 1627.

John Bush’s wife and two daughters have smaller entries with basically the same information. 

In The History of Orange County, Virginia, I found Philip Bush was a member of the first grand jury of that county about 1738. Francis Bush and James Bush were in the 1782 census of the county. Thomas Bush was an Ensign in Captain Dudley’s Company, 2nd Virginia (from the Orange ‘Petitions’ on file in the State Library). In 1786 John Bush of the 7th Virginia, died in Continental Service. And in Appendix F, Commissions 1734-1783, in 1741 Ensign Philip Bush was listed.

The Lexington Herald, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Monday, May 8, 1916

Bush Family Will Soon Hold Reunion

History of Famous Clark County Family Is Very Interesting

Winchester, Ky., May 7. – Owing to the fact that there is to be a reunion of the Bush family in Clark County during the “Home Coming” week, a short history of the family will be read with more than usual interest.  The Bush family is one of the largest in this section of the State, and in practically all instances, the members are among the most honorable and respected citizens of the communities where they live. A. C. Quisenberry, now of Washington, widely known as a writer and historian, in his book “Quisenberry and Other Families,” tells entertainingly of the early history of the Bushes here.  A sketch from his records follows:

“The Bush family, of Clark County, Ky., is said to have descended from John Bush, who came from England and settled at Kiccoughtan (now Hampton), Va., in the year 1618, and while there is probably no doubt whatever of this being a fact, on account of the destruction of many of the old records in Virginia it has not been found possible to trace the connection. 

“The furthest back the Clark County Bushes have been absolutely traced is to John Bush, of St. Thomas Parish, Orange County, Va., whose will was probated in that county in 1746.  In this will his wife is mentioned as Bridget Bush and the following children are enumerated:   Philip, Martha Bruce, Elizabeth Sanders, John, Thomas and Daniel.  The testator, John Bush, was probably born later than 1670 and was doubtless the grandson of the pioneer John Bush, who settled at Kiccoughtan in 1618.

Philip Bush Buys Land

“Philip Bush, of St. Thomas Parish, Orange County, Va., the eldest son of John Bush, Sr., of the same county and parish was the ancestor of the Clark County branch of the family.  The first mention found concerning him in the records of Orange County, Va., is where on March 6, 1745, William Bryan, of St. Thomas Parish, Orange County, sold to Philip Bush of the same county and parish, 100 acres of land ‘in consideration of five shillings, and the rent of one ear of Indian corn yearly, at the feast of St. Michael, the Archangel, when lawfully demanded.’  One of the witnesses to this deed was Zachary Taylor, the grandfather of the President of that name.  The William Bryan who sold the land is very probably the ancestor of William Jennings Bryan, whose Virginia forefathers lived in Orange and the adjoining county of Culpeper.

“Philip Bush in his will probated in Orange County, Va., of September 24, 1772 (which was probably not more than a month or so after his death) and witnessed by James Madison, father of President Madison, names children and disposes of 500 acres of land, 75 pounds in money, four slaves and some personal property.  The children mentioned in the will are Josiah, Philip, John, William, Ambrose, Mrs. Sarah Watts, Mrs. Mary Richards, Joseph, Joshua and Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson.

“It is likely that all the sons named saw service in the Revolutionary War.  If is known that some of them did.  Most of these children moved to Kentucky, sooner or later, and some of them settled in what is known as ‘The Barrens,’ in the Southeastern part of the State, and to this stock belongs Sarah Bush, the second wife of Robert Lincoln, the father of Abraham Lincoln.

“Those of the children of Philip Bush, Sr., who settled in Clark County, Ky., and founded the famous Bush settlements, in the midst of which Providence Baptist Church, or ‘the old stone meeting house,’ was located were:

“Philip Bush, born October 18, 1736.  In his youth he courted a young lady in Virginia who rejected him and married Colonel John Vivion instead, but she promised that he might marry her first daughter, if she should have a daughter, and sure enough he did marry her eldest daughter, Frances Vivion, when he was forty years of age.  Among his children were Robert Bush, the father of the famous Dr. Bush, of Lexington; Colonel John Bush, Peggy, who married Tandy Quisenberry, and Polly, who married Mr. McMurtry.

“Mary Bush, born July 3, 1738, married Robin Richards.

“John Bush, born February 2, 1742.  He was twice married and the name of his first wife is not now known.  His second wife was Polly Tillman.

“William Bush (better known as Captain Billy Bush), born October 29, 1746; died July 26, 1815.  He married Frances Tandy Burris, the first wife of Rev. James Quisenberry.  Captain Billy Bush accompanied Daniel Boone on his second trip to Kentucky in 1775 and was a great Indian fighter.  He also served under George Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign, which won the Great Northwest territory for the United States.  His tombstone says that ‘he was the friend and companion of Daniel Boone.’

“Ambrose Bush, born April 8, 1748, married Lucy Golson or Gholson.  They were the grandparents of Hon. Ambrose G. Bush, who for fifty years was the clerk of the old Providence Church, and of Judge James H. Bush, Richard G. Bush and Valentine W. Bush.

“Francis Bush, born February 20, 1750.  The name of his first wife is not known, but their children were Fannie, who married Mr. Bradley; Polly, who married Ambrose Christy; Nancy, who married Thomas Vivion; Betsy, who married Daniel Orear.  The second wife of Francis Bush was Rachel Martin, and their children were Sallie, who married George Matthews; Fielding, who married Adelaide Halyard, who commanded a Virginia company in the Revolutionary War; Jordan, who married Sallie Miller Stewart.  One of the granddaughters of Fielding Bush married Hon. John H. Reagan, one of the founders of the Republic of Texas, then Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America, so called, and subsequently Representative and then Senator from Texas in the United States Congress.

“Francis Bush was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  He enlisted February 14, 1778, in Captain William Taylor’s company of Colonel Christian Febiger’s Second Virginia Regiment of the Continental line and served one year.  His second wife’s father, John Martin, served as a sergeant in the same regiment and company from September 16, 1776, to September 16, 1779.  This family of Martins are Traditionally descended from Captain John Martin, one of the Royal Councilors of Jamestown in 1607.”

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