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  • The Patrilineal Descent of Vice President Bush

    Elaine Bush Prince

    Published Date : June 1986
     In recent months there has been an increased interest in the ancestry of Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush, and much erroneous data has surfaced.  His patrilineal descent, as known with certainty, commences with Timothy Bush who served from Hebron, Tolland County, Connecticut, in the French and Indian wars from 1755 through 1757 (Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society 9 [1903]: 82, 137, 188).  His date and place of birth as well as his parentage are unknown although researched by several genealogists in the past to no avail.  It was in Hebron on 12 April 1759 (Town Record 2:4) that Timothy married Deborah House, born 6 April 1742 in Lebanon, Connecticut, daughter of John and Deborah (Guile) House.

    The young couple apparently resided in Lebanon, Connecticut, where the births of four of their first five children were recorded in the Town Record 1:36.  There is not an existing birth record for Timothy, Jr., but he is listed in the family Bible as one of the children (old Bush family Bible owned in 1943 by John Davis Bush, great-great-grandson of Timothy, Sr.).  The young family removed to Norwich, Vermont, where the rest of their children were born and from which town Timothy served as a captain in the Revolutionary War.  According to the family Bible, Timothy died in 1815 and his wife, Deborah, about 1819, both in Springport, New York.

    Timothy Bush, Jr., was a blacksmith, born 1 April 1766 (Bible Record) and died May 1850, Rochester, Monroe County, New York (letter written by Rev. James Smith Bush).  He married at Penfield, Monroe County, New York, 26 July 1791 (Bible Record) Lydia Newcomb, who was born 28 April 1763 (Bible Record) and died 14 September 1835 at Penfield.  She was the daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (May) Newcomb.

    Obadiah Newcomb Bush, a merchant, son of Timothy, Jr., and Lydia, was born 28 January 1797 and died at sea on his way home from California in 1851 (letter by Rev. J. S. Bush).  He married at Rochester, Monroe County, New York, 8 November 1821 (Bible Record) Harriet Smith, who was born 12 May 1800, Cambridge, New York, and died 21 June 1867 in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, daughter of Dr. Sanford and Priscilla (Whipple) Smith.

    Rev. James Smith Bush, an Episcopalian minister, son of Obadiah N. and Harriet, was born 15 June 1825, in Rochester, Monroe County, New York, and died 11 November 1889 in Ithaca. Tompkins County, New York.  He married secondly at New York City, 24 February 1859 (New York Evening Post) Harriet Eleanor Fay, who was born 29 October 1829, Savannah, Georgia, and died 27 February 1924, Boston, Massachusetts. (Mass. V.R. Boston [1924] 1:141), daughter of Samuel G. and Susan (Shellman) Fay.

    Samuel Prescott Bush, a steel manufacturer, son of Rev. James S. and Harriet, was born 4 October 1863, Brick Church, New Jersey, and died 8 February 1949, Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio (New York Times obituary).  He married at Columbus, 29 June 1894 Flora Sheldon, born March 1872, died 1920, daughter of Robert Emmet and Mary E. (Butler) Sheldon.

    Prescott Sheldon Bush, U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 1952-1963, son of Samuel P. and Flora, was born 15 May 1895, Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, and died 8 October 1972 in New York City (Yale records and obituaries).  He married at Kennebunkport, York County, Maine, 6 August 1921 (Maine V.R.) Dorothy Walker, born 1 July 1901 near Walker’s Point, York County, Maine, daughter of George Herbert and Lucretia (Wear) Walker.

    George Herbert Walker Bush, former congressman, diplomat, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and presently Vice President of the United States, son of Senator Prescott S. and Dorothy Bush, was born 12 June 1924, Milton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts (Mass. V.R. 11924] 85:164).  He married at Rye, Westchester County, New York, 6 January 1945 Barbara Pierce, born 8 June 1925, Westchester, New York, daughter of Marvin and Pauline (Robinson) Pierce.

    One of the major sources of erroneous data concerning the patrilineal descent of Vice President George Bush is The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. D, (1934), page 126, where the following statement is made: “Samuel Prescott Bush’s first paternal American ancestor came from England to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1650 (?).  From him the line descends several generations to Samuel, Obadiah, Obadiah, and Obadiah, who was the grandfather of Samuel Prescott Bush.”

    In a letter written 21 January 1873, Rev. James Smith Bush stated “My great grandfather Capt. Timothy Bush served as an officer in the American army during the revolutionary war.  He resided until the time of his death in Vermont on or near the Connecticut River and nearly opposite Hanover, New Hampshire.  My grandfather Timothy Bush emigrated to Cayuga County, New York, about the year 1800.”  It would appear that the Bible cited by Mrs. Prince belonged to Timothy Bush, Jr.  A note therein concerning the deaths of his parents in Springport, New York, leads to a confusion as to the place of death of [125] Capt. Timothy. There are no existing death records in either New York or Vermont to substantiate either statement.

    By Elaine Bush Prince

    Mrs. Prince, 74 Dennison Avenue, Framingham. Massachusetts, 01701, is collecting material on all Americans (1630-present) sharing the Bush surname. She is also preparing a genealogy of the descendants of Captain Timothy Bush and would like to hear from anyone with additional data. Readers may be interested to know that the 1952 Hale-House genealogy by D.L. Jacobus, the 1923 Andrew Newcomb genealogy by B.M. Newcomb, R.A. Wheeler’s 1900 history of Stonington, Connecticut (pp.570-74), the 1898 John Fay genealogy by Orlin P. Fay, a biography of R.E. Sheldon in the 1901 Franklin County (Ohio) at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century, the 1878 Henry Whitney genealogy by S.W. Phoenix, and the 1963 Descendants of East Tennessee Pioneers, all in the Society’s library, cover much of the ancestry of the various Bush wives identified by Mrs. Prince.

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