Michael N. Bushey
In 1850, Michael Bushey Sr., a farmer, owned $15,000 worth of real estate in Antrim Township. He and his wife Frances were both born in Pennsylvania, as were their five children – Henry (21), Catherine (18), Elizabeth (15), Michael N. (12), and Franklin A. (9). Elizabeth Scott (15) and John Hochlander (22) were included in the enumeration of the household. John was a laborer on the farm and Henry, the eldest, also helped with the farming.
By 1860, Michael and Frances were living in Ft. Loudon. Michael was 60 years old, owned $20,000 of real estate, and at the age of 60, his occupation was “gentleman.” His wife Frances was 53 and only two of their children were still living with them – Elizabeth (23) and Franklin (19) was a medical student. Michael and Frances’ eldest child Henry H. Bushey (32) was a physician and lived in Licking Creek Township, Fulton County. Their post office was Spursville. His wife’s name was Mary A., who was 22 years old. Their personal estate was valued at $200. They were living in the household of John and Catherine Leighty, Mary’s parents. John was a miller whose real estate was worth $10,000 and his personal estate was valued at $1,050. In 1850, the Leighty family lived in Jackson Township, Cambria County. I have not yet been able to find Michael N. Bushey, the subject of this week’s Soldier’s Story, in the 1860 U.S. Census records.
After the second battle at Bull Run, the Confederate Army pushed northward, into Maryland and toward Pennsylvania, at which time Gov. Curtin called upon the citizens of Pennsylvania to arm themselves and to prepare to defend the Commonwealth, and the residents therein. On September 18, 1862 in Ft. Loudon, Captain David Vance raised an Independent PA Militia Company of 78 men. Among them was Michael N. Bushey. Of the approximately 50,000 men who answered the call to arms, 15,000 were in Hagerstown and Boonsboro, 10,000 in the areas of Greencastle and Chambersburg, and another 25,000 at Harrisburg. Everyone was mustered out on October 11, 1862, after the Battle of Antietam and after the chance had passed that Lee’s Army would invade Pennsylvania. Five days later, Michael enrolled in Co. I, 158th PA Infantry. He was mustered in on November 4, 1862 and was discharged due to a disability (no reason specified) on a surgeon’s certificate, dated November 20, 1862. 1st Lt. John Beaver from Capt. David Vance’s Independent Company, also mustered in with Michael. Beaver completed his nine-month tour of duty and was mustered out with the regiment on August 12, 1863.
Michael was living in Peters Township in the summer of 1863, during the registration for the Civil War draft. He was 26, a farmer, and single. Although he had already served in the Civil War, his service was not noted in the register.
Again in 1863, during the Gettysburg Campaign, when Lee was about to invade Pennsylvania, an emergency call for volunteers was made. On June 17, 1863, Michael, for the third time, enlisted, as a private – this time in Capt. Samuel W. Comly’s Cavalry Militia Company (Wissahicken Cavalry). Comly’s company was one of seven independent cavalry companies formed at the time. These seven cavalry companies were used for scouting and picket duty along the Susquehanna fords, near Harrisburg. The men also traveled the roads that led to Carlisle, York, and Marysville. Michael was mustered out on July 30, 1863. After the company was mustered out Samuel Comly became the Major of the 20th PA Cavalry Regiment (181st PA Volunteers).
Three weeks later on August 20, 1863, for the fourth and last time, Michael N. Bushy, enlisted in Co. D, 7th PA Cavalry (80th PA Regiment). His rank in and out was Quarter Master Sergeant, for Co. D. When Michael enlisted the 7th PA Cavalry was part of the Army of the Cumberland until November 1864, and from then on until discharge, the 7th was in the Military Division of the Mississippi, to July 1865.
Michael was immediately thrown into the Chickamauga Campaign. The history of the regiment states, “The march was wearisome to man and beast, obliged to move with rapidity, and to cross rugged mountains. From the 18th to the 22nd, in the preliminary operations, and during the progress of the battle, the regiment was in constant motion, performed important service.” While a Huntsville, AL at the beginning of the 1864, a great percentage of the men reenlisted and received a veteran furlough. On April 30, 1864, the regiment joined Girrard’s Division and rode toward Atlanta with Sherman, where the men took part in the battle the beginning of August, On August 17th, the PA 7th Cavalry joined Kilpatrick. On October 13, the regiment was involved in a charge, with sabers drawn, in which two pieces of artillery were captured. Kilpatrick’s raid ended two weeks later at Lead’s Cross Roads. After having participated in two major campaigns, the regiment suffered a heavy loss of killed and wounded, as well as many horses killed. The 7th was ordered to Louisville, KY where it was “remounted, equipped, and prepared again for active duty.
On March 25, 1865, the regiment joined Gen. James Wilson and headed across the Gulf States from Eastport MS. On April 2, the regiment dismounted and led the assault on the Rebel stronghold at Selma, suffering many killed and wounded. The 7th Pa continued onward and participated in the taking of Montgomery, AL and Macon, GA. Between April 20 and August, the men spent duty time in Georgia and Nashville, TN. After two years and three days as Quarter Master Sergeant of Co. D, 7th PA Cavalry, Michael mustered out on August 23, 1865.
According to When War Passed This Way (WWPTW), Michael married Rebecca E. Klink, of Newville, PA in 1867. After they married, the couple moved to West Virginia. During the 1870 U.S. Census, Michael’s and Rebecca’s home was in Averill Township, West Virginia. Their post office was Smithfield, WV. At 32, Michael was recorded as a “retired farmer.” The census taker did not list any figure for either real estate or personal estate. Michael and Rebecca had two daughters – Anna M., two years old, and Fannie E. was five months old. They were both born in West Virginia.
Within a year or two, the Bushey family moved west to Jasper County, Iowa, where they settled in the city of Newton. When the U.S. Census was taken on June 19, 1880, Rebecca was living on Main Street in Newton. Anna May was 12 years old. Little Fannie died and was buried in the Newton Union Cemetery. The date of death is not given in the online cemetery records. Daughter Jennie was seven and son Benjamin was five years old; both were born in Iowa. All the children were attending school. It was noted on the census form that Rebecca could neither read nor write.
Michael was not listed in the household on the census because like many others he kept going farther west to find his fortune through a better job. WWPTW states that Michael left Newton in the spring “and on or about June 1” he reached his destination in Saguache County, CO. Michael N. Bushey was shot in the back and killed by Indians. It was said that the Indians took his wagon, horse(s), and supplies and left his body by the roadway. If this incident did happen around the first of June 1880, then it took several weeks for his personal effects (clothes, false teeth, boots, etc.) to be sent to Rebecca for identification, because as of June 19, the date of the census, she still thought her husband was alive – Rebecca told the census taker she was married, not a widow.
Michael’s younger brother, Dr. Franklin A. Bushey, who married one of Dr. Adam Carl’s youngest daughters, lived in Greencastle and practiced medicine there. Although Michael’s body was not recovered, Franklin had a memorial headstone erected in the Bushey family cemetery plot in Cedar Hill, in Section O, Lot 28. It reads: Michael N. 1837 – 1880 KILLED BY INDIANS. Michael also has a PA Veterans Burial Card on file, which gives the dates of his first two tours of duty: 9/18/62 – 10/11/62 Militia Capt. Vance’s Indpt. Militia; 11/4/62 – 11/20/62 Co. I, 158th Regt Militia.
On December 28, 1882, Rebecca applied for Michael’s military pension. Curiously, only Michael’s 7th PA Cavalry service was listed on the application, when he in fact had served three previous times. The state in which she applied was not noted. I have not found an 1890 Special Veterans Schedule with either Michael’s or Rebecca’s name. These two documents would have identified where Rebecca was living in 1882 or 1890. The majority of the 1890 U.S. Census records were destroyed in a fire. The information at the time WWPTW was written indicated “Rebecca returned to Newville in the 1890s and died there in 1896.” The Internet site, Find A Grave shows that Rebecca E. Bushey, born April 20, 1838 died on April 18, 1896, two days before her 58th birthday. She is buried with her young daughter Fannie E. in Newton Union Cemetery, Section 3, Lot 68, Block 5, Newton, Jasper County, Iowa.
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