It is week five in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ writing challenge. This week’s prompt is titled So Far Away. Luckily, the ancestor about whom I was writing today, Daniel Busch, fits perfectly into this category.
On this day, 2 February 1836, Daniel Busch (my spouse’s 5th great-grandfather) passed away.
The son of Ludwig and Anna Catharina Busch, Daniel was born in 1750 in the small town of Büdlich, located in the Kurfürstentum Trier, also known as Électorat de Trèves, an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire. This principality was part of a larger area contested by German and French rulers for hundreds of years.
In the summer of 1753, when Daniel was less than three-years-old, his parents decided to leave their homeland and pursue the promise of the New World. With land and opportunity beckoning, the Busch family traveled nearly 400 miles (about a week of travel) to Rotterdam, Netherlands, where they boarded the ship Edinburgh under the direction of Capt. John Russell. They then sailed approximately 250 miles (two days at sea) to Portsmouth, England. While in Portsmouth, the ship took on provisions for the more than 3,700 miles voyage (about a month and a half at sea) to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The passage to America was treacherous by any standard. Crammed into a small wooden ship, rolling and rocking at the mercy of the sea, the voyagers—men, women, and children—endured unimaginable hardships. Misery was the most common description of a journey that typically lasted seven weeks.¹
As there is no indication that the Busch family was wealthy, they, along with other the less fortunate, would have been relegated to steerage—cramped quarters shared with dozens, if not hundreds, of other passengers:
…during the voyage, there is onboard these ships terrible misery, stench…vomiting…fever, dysentery, headache, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy…mouth rot, and the like…which come from old and sharply-salted food and meat, also from very bad and foul water, so that many die miserably.
Add to this want of provisions, hunger, thirst, frost, heat, dampness, anxiety, want, afflictions and lamentations, together with other trouble, as e.g., the lice abound so frightfully, especially on sick people, that they can be scraped off the body. The misery reaches a climax when a gale rages for two or three nights and days, so that every one believes that the ship will go to the bottom with all human beings on board. In such a visitation, the people cry and pray most piteously.
No one can have an idea of the sufferings which women in confinement have to bear with their innocent children on board these ships… Children from one to seven years rarely survive the voyage; and many a time parents are compelled to see their children miserably suffer and die from hunger, thirst, and sickness, and then to see them cast into the water. I witnessed such misery in no less than thirty-two children in our ship, all of whom were thrown into the sea.²
Thankfully, young Daniel Busch and his parents survived the voyage to America, arriving in Philadelphia on 14 September 1753, where father Ludwig Busch swore an Oath of Allegiance.
Soon after docking, the family left Philadelphia, heading to the newly formed Northampton County, Pennsylvania, where they set up their home.
When Daniel was about seven years old, his sister Anna Marie Busch was born on 20 March 1757. Brother Jacob Busch came along two years later in 1759.
Then, in 1764, when Daniel was about 14 years old, tragedy struck. His mother, Anna Catharina Busch, died. She was only 44 years old.
Nothing is known about Daniel’s remaining teenage years. What is known, is that in Daniel’s 25th year, the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on 19 April 1775. The American Revolution had begun.
Two years later, Daniel Busch married Anna Catherina Baum, a German immigrant as well and daughter of Christian and Anna Martha Baum.
Not long after the couple wed, Daniel Busch was called to serve in the Pennsylvania Militia, first under the command of Captain John Roberts, Northampton County, 1st Battalion, 5th Company.
In 1778, he and his wife relocated to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, founded a few years earlier on 26 February 1763. (It was the first county in Pennsylvania located west of the Allegheny Mountains.)
Meanwhile, on 18 April 1778, the couple’s first child, son Peter Busch, was born.
A few months later, Daniel Busch reenlisted in the militia, this time under the command of Captain Christopher Truby, Westmoreland County, 2nd Battalion, 8th Company.
On 19 October 1781, the British Army’s Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. Although the war was officially over, conflicts on the western frontier, aimed to weaken frontier communities and push settlers east, continued. One of the final conflicts of the Revolutionary War happened less than ten miles from Daniel Busch’s home. Hanna’s Town, the county seat, was attacked and burned to the ground on 13 July 1782, by a raiding party of Seneca and their British allies.
Less than a year after the attack on Hanna’s Town, son Christian was welcomed to the Busch family on 12 July 1782.
A daughter, Elizabeth Busch, arrived three years after on 14 May 1785.
Two years passed before son John Bush was born on 28 May 1787.
Then, on 6 August 1789, son Philip Bush (my spouse’s 4th great-grandfather) was welcomed to the family’s Hempfield Township home.
In 1790, the first U.S. Census shows Daniel Busch (spelled Bush by the enumerator) living in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Residing in the household were one free white male age 16 and up, including heads of families (Daniel); four free white males under the age of 16 (Peter, Christian, John, and Philip); and two free white females, including heads of families (Anna Catherina and Elizabeth).
A year later, son Daniel Bush was born on 3 July 1791.
Another daughter, Susan Bush, arrived on 17 November 1793.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the state in Northampton County, Daniel’s father Ludwig Busch passed away on 24 August 1794.
The next year, a third daughter, Catherine Bush, was born on 19 June 1795.
Son Andrew Bush came along two years later on 12 August 1797.
On 30 May 1800, another son name Jacob Bush was welcomed to the family.
Soon after, the 1800 U.S. Census was taken, and the Daniel Bush family was enumerated in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Living in the home were five free white males under the age of ten (including Philip, Daniel, Andrew, and Jacob), one free white male between the ages for ten and 15 (John), one free white male age 45 or older (Daniel), two free white females under the age of ten (Susan and Catherine), one free white female age 10 to 15 (Elizabeth), and one free white female age 26 to 44 (Anna Catherina).
In the 1802 Hempfield Township Tax List, Daniel Bush was assessed for 302 acres, three horses, and four cows.
One year later, a daughter named Margaretta Bush was born on 10 March 1803.
Then, four years later, the couple’s final child, son David Bush, was welcomed to their home on 14 September 1807.
Unfortunately, Daniel Bush does not appear in either the 1810 or 1820 U.S. Census. However, sons Peter, Christian, John, and Jacob are enumerated in Westmoreland County (Peter and Christian in 1810; Peter, John, and Jacob in 1820.) Considering the number of children Daniel and Anna Catharina had (12 in all), it is likely that they were visiting one of their adult children during the time the census taker came through and were enumerated in that household.
Sadly, four years after the 1820 Census, son Daniel Bush died at the age of 33.
The next year, 1825, son Christian Bush died at the age of 43.
In 1830, Daniel Bush was once again enumerated in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Residing in the household were one free white male between the age of 80 and 90 (Daniel), two free white females between the ages of 15 and 20 (unknown), and one free white female between the age of 70 and 80 (Anna Catherina).
Sadly, the next year, Daniel’s wife Anna Catherina (Baum) Bush died on 20 June 1831. She was buried at the Harrold Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
On 7 June 1832, the United States Congress passed an act allowing all those who served in the American Revolution the opportunity to apply for a pension. A year and a half later, on 13 January 1834, Daniel Bush, age 84, gave a sworn deposition in open court before the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, applying for a military pension. Here are some of the findings from that hearing:
Daniel Bush of Hempfield Township in said county, aged 84 years, who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration: that he entered the service of the United States in the year 1777, at which time he resided in the county of Northampton in this state. He was drafted as a militiaman and served in a company commanded by Captain Roberts. Declarant marched with said company to New Jersey but cannot remember the name of the place where they were stationed but recollects very well of seeing General Washington there nearly all the time he was on duty. Declarant served a tour of two months’ duty in the Jerseys and received a discharge from Captain Roberts, which he has since lost or mislaid.
In 1778, he moved to Westmoreland County, and in the summer of that year, he enlisted in a company of militia commanded by Captain Truby and was marched from Hanna’s Town in said county to a place called Fort Wallace (Blairsville, Pennsylvania) on the banks of the Conemaugh River, where he served a tour of two-months duty. He also received a discharge from Captain Truby which was lost.
Again, in the spring of 1779, he was drafted in the same company, commanded by Captain Truby, and marched from Hanna’s Town to a place called Fort Hand (Apollo, Pennsylvania), at that time under the command of Colonel Painter. Here, he served a tour of two-months duty
Again, in the spring of 1780, he was drafted in said company, commanded by said Captain Truby, and served a tour of two-months duty at a place called Fort Crawford. Fort Crawford was near New Kensington, Pennsylvania, which is where the draft board was located, situated on the banks of the Allegheny River but did not receive any discharge that declarant can recollect now. Declarant states that the company to which he belonged was principally employed at the above-mentioned stations in scouting and spying after the Indians and guarding the frontier settlements. Declarant never was in any battle, has no documentary evidence of his services, and stated that Christian Iseman can testify to his services as a soldier of the Revolution, and whose deposition accompanies this declaration.
Declarant claims a pension for eight months service as above stated.
(As a side note: It looks as if Daniel Bush were not literate, as a mark was made instead of a signature.)
Three people testified on behalf of Daniel Bush. The first was Christian Iseman (mentioned above) who said under oath that he was well acquainted with Daniel Bush and that in 1778, Daniel enlisted or was drafted in a company of militia commanded by Captain Truby and served one tour of two-months duty at a place called Fort Wallace in the summer of said year and that in the summer of 1779, the said Daniel Bush was again drafted in said company commanded by Capt. Truby and served a tour of two-months at Fort Hand, and again in the year 1780, the said Daniel and this deponent were drafted and served a tour of two-months each in Captain Truby’s company at Fort Crawford on the banks of the Allegheny River. The second was Rev. Nicholas P. Hackey, a Reformed Church clergyman residing in the borough of Greensburg. The final witness was Simon Drum, Esquire. Both the reverend and the attorney certified that they were well-acquainted with Daniel Bush, whom they believe served in the Revolutionary War.
After reviewing the evidence, Randal McLaughlin, prothonotary, confirmed that Daniel Bush had indeed served in the American Revolution. Consequently, the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania found in favor of Daniel Bush. He was awarded a pension of $26.66 per year.
In 1835, the Pennsylvania pension records show that Daniel Bush was still residing in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and was 85 years old.
The next year, on 2 February 1836, Daniel Bush died in his Hempfield Township home and was laid to rest beside his beloved wife in the Harrold Zion Lutheran Cemetery.
¹ “Passage To America, 1750,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000).
² Mittelberger, Gottlieb. “Gottlieb Mittelberger’s Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the Year 1754,” The German Society of Pennsylvania (1898).