Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thank you, Sam Bush

"I thought you might appreciate having some writings of mine on family history and photos to go with them..."

So begins a letter received this past summer from Sam Bush, cousin of Jody (see below) and great-great-grandson of Asahel Bush II. Born in Portland in 1949, Sam was the younger son of Stuart Bush and his wife, Mary Patricia Livesley. After spending several years on the East Coast, Sam settled in Portland and worked as a woodworker, designer, and teacher. As the descendant of two important Salem families, Sam maintained an interest in family history along with albums and folders and boxes of historic photographs and documents. However, due to complications from a chronic illness, Sam had not visited the Bush House Museum in more than ten years.

About six weeks after writing that letter, on August 13, Sam passed away at the age of 60. A couple of months later came an unexpected gift for the Museum: the long-term loan of furniture, accessories, photographs, and papers that had been in Sam's keeping.

Details have yet to be finalized, but next year we expect to display the original suite of dining room furniture (table, chairs, and sideboard), a marble sculpture, and assorted pieces of china that have remained in the Bush family until now, and will be passed along to Sam's children in several years.

Equally exciting are the family photos, books, letters, and documents that fill some of the gaps in our knowledge of the Bush family, especially the years from 1880 to 1910: a journal of Lulu Hughes Bush's 1905 trip to Europe! A.N. Bush's scrapbook from his college years! College diplomas for several generations! Family correspondence! Home movies!

In the weeks to come, we'll be able to tell you more about these items and what we're learning from them. In the meantime: thank you, Sam.

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