Martha and James Bush

Biography of James W. Bush

This is the background of James W. Bush from Clarence Bagley’s History of King County Volume III pages 856-858. As of 2002, members of the Bush family continue to reside on parts of the family’s homestead, east of today’s Pickering Place shopping center.

Martha and James Bush

Martha Bush and her husband James. [IHM photo 2002.16.1]

The old pioneers who, having finished their tasks, have passed on to higher scenes of action, seldom receive the measure of credit which they deserve from the present generation for the splendid work which they accomplished. It required courage and stamina of a high order to enter a new country and there wrest from the primeval forest a farm and create a home, and thus contribute to the foundation of the present civilization.

James and Martha Bush.
Among the pioneers of King County was numbered James W. Bush, who was one of the first settlers in Squak Valley, coming at a time when it was literally a jungle, the haunt of wild animals and frequented by hostile Indians. He was a man of mettle, however, and in the course of time realized a commensurate reward in the splendid homestead which he created and in the gratitude and appreciation of his children.

Mr. Bush was born in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, in 1825 and was the son of William and Rebecca (Hotchkiss) Bush, also a native of Pennsylvania. His father was a farmer and on his land the first oil in Pennsylvania was discovered.

When James W. Bush was a small child the family moved to Erie County, New York, where in the public schools he obtained his education. When seventeen years of age he started out to make his own way in the world and went to Buffalo, New York. Later he went to New Orleans, Louisiana, and was there employed in cutting cordwood for Mississippi river steamers. At the outbreak of the Mexican war he enlisted and served until its close, for which he received from the government a land warrant. He took a land grant where now stands the city of Chicago, but later relinquished it. In 1850 he crossed the plains to California, traveling with a horse team and covered wagon, and there engaged in gold mining. After a few years’ search for the yellow metal, he went overland to Lind County, Oregon, in 1852, where he engaged in farming until 1859, when he went to Seattle. Soon afterward he bought land at Georgetown, on the Duwamish River, in what is now part of Seattle, and there followed farming until May 4, 1864, when he sold the place and came to Squak valley, where he traded a yoke of oxen for one hundred and sixty acres of land. One acre was cleared and had on it a small log cabin, which he occupied a few years, and then built a good log house. He devoted his efforts closely to clearing his land, a task of no mean size, and also worked in the logging camps on Puget Sound during the summers. In the course of time his entire farm was cleared and developed into a good, productive homestead, and there he spent his remaining years, his death occurring in 1894.

In 1854, at Lind County, Oregon, Mr. Bush was united in marriage to Miss Martha Stewart, a native of Indiana, whose death occurred in April, 1922. They had six children, namely:

Mrs. Mary S. Prue, who was born in Lind County, Oregon and whose husband is a native of Rhode Island, has three children, Mrs. Bertha Baxter, Mrs. Edna Anderson and Edgar.

William Robert, who was born in Benton County, Oregon, is married and has had nine children, Robert, Mrs. Myrtle Horrocks, Richard, Mrs. Ethel Forsey, Mrs. Eva beach, Mrs. Gladys Pickering, deceased, Floyd, Mrs. Hazel Buntrock and Mrs. Thelma Workman.

Andrew Jackson, who was born in Oregon and now lives at Falls City, Washington, is the father of three children, Leroy, Mrs. Elva Pauley and Phillip.

Mrs. Emily Darst, who was born in King County, Washington, is the mother of five children, Mrs. Inez Gunderson, Ralph, Clyde, Mrs. Emily Walker and Dallas.

Mattie was also born in King County.

John Allen, who was born in Issaquah, is married and has six children, Percy, Mrs. Agnes Rankin, Mrs. Martha Cutsworth, James, Viola, and John.

James W. Bush was a man of public spirit, who took a deep interest in everything affecting the progress and prosperity of his section of the county, and rendered effective and appreciated service as a member of the Board of County Commissioners for three years, and as road supervisor for several years.

He was a member of the Pioneers Association of Washington, and was regarded as one the representative men of his community, commanding the uniform confidence and respect of his fellowmen, who esteemed him for his genuine worth as man and citizen. His son William Robert Bush, is an prominent and active member of the Grange in this county and was the organizer of the Grange at Issaquah in 1913, serving as master of that society.

The old homestead is still nearly all owned by the Bush family, the most of whose members are living in the vicinity. They are worthily sustaining the prestige of the family name and are numbered among the loyal and progressive citizens of King County.

From History Of King County, Washington by Clarence B. Bagley, publised by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago–Seattle, 1929.Now in Public Domain. This material was typed and submitted to the web site by Eric Erickson
Added January 15, 2002

Martha and James Bush

Fifteen Minutes With a Person From the Past

By Erica Maniez

We recently asked members of the Issaquah community what person from the past they would most like to spend fifteen minutes with. The answers we received ran the gamut, from long-ago to fairly recent, from public figures to family members.

Stella Alexander

Stella Alexander on the day of her installation in office, 1932. [IHM photo]

Debbie Berto, publisher of the Issaquah Press replied without hesitation, “Mayor Stella Alexander.” She would have been a great subject for editorials!

Patricia Knight Gladwell, IHS member and author, said that she would like to spend fifteen minutes with John M. Stakebake, who was the town marshal in Issaquah from 1928 until 1931. Stakebake was also Pat’s grandfather. “I would ask him how he treated the ‘rowdy teenagers’ who got out of hand while he was on duty and what exactly did they do what might be different from the modern day rowdies… while I was growing up, he fascinated me with stories of the wild west during the reign of the Dalton Boys, how he had been part of the posse that captured them. There were so many other stories… that are now long forgotten.”

Pioneer descendant Sue Cameron picked her great-grandmother Martha Bush as the person she would most like to spend fifteen minutes with. Sue would like to ask her grandmother how she felt in 1864 when her neighbors, the Castos, were killed by several Native American employees, specifically how she coped with the situation as a young woman with four children to care for. Sue would also ask what the valley looked like as a wild place filed with large trees and wild animals. Finally, Sue would tell her great-grandmother, “I have met your little sister Emily’s grandson and his family. We are close friends. They live in Issaquah. Little did you know when you left Oregon that you would never see each other again … I think you lived a life you can be very proud of and had a wonderful family.”

Martha and James Bush

Martha Bush and her husband James. [IHM photo 2002.16.1]

IHS docent and volunteer Jim Loring said, “If I could talk for 15 minutes with someone from Issaquah history, it would be interesting to chat with the folks who started the Salmon Days festival. What was the objective? Did Salmon Days morph from earlier community traditions and festivals, or was it seen as a way to raise funds for the Chamber?”

The research files at the museum help to answer this last question. The guiding force behind the founding of Salmon Days was Earl M. Robertson, who passed away in 1995 at the age of 81. Robertson served as co-grand marshal at the 1994

Salmon Days event. According to an Issaquah Press article about Robertson, he came up with the idea of Salmon Days after learning that about 15,000 people a year come to the city annually to watch the salmon. He decided it would be a great opportunity for an event, and pitched the idea to the Chamber of Commerce.

As for what Stella Alexander, James Croston, John Stakebake or Martha Bush would say, it can only be left to our imaginations.

This article was published in the the Winter 2004 edition of Past Times.

From the Digital Collections: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Postcard ca 1911
Full Record


“Hearty Thanksgiving Greetings”

Postcard from “EB” of Walla Walla, WA to Miss Mattie Bush of Issaquah, WA. Postmarked November 28, 1911.

See all Thanksgiving related records