William Izora Bush was born about November of 1838 in Caldwell Co., KY, likely on his father's farm on the banks of the Cumberland River in what is now Lyon Co., KY. Willie's parents were William Bush, Jr. and Permilla M. Osborne. William and Permilla were married by Robert L. Cobb on 30 Nov 1836 in Caldwell Co., KY. Willie's mother died before his third birthday, perhaps in childbirth. The 1840 census does not list him in his father's household, perhaps the baby was sent to live with relatives. On 14 Dec 1841, Willie's father married Lydia A. Clark in Caldwell Co., KY.
Willie spent his early years in western Kentucky and by 1850 was living with his father,
step-mother and four younger step-brothers: Edwin R., Lorenzo C., Lynn Boyd, and Simon H.
Bush. In 1855, Willie's father and uncle Lorenzo S. Bush sold their land in western Kentucky and
moved their families to eastern Grayson Co., Texas near where Willie's aunt and uncle Marilla
(Bush) and John M. Sivells had settled in the early 1850's. The entire family settled in an area
north of Bells in eastern Grayson County. On 31 Oct 1856, Willie's father purchased 167 acres
there from George C. Dugan for $800.
Willie's father was a slave owner, both in Kentucky and in Texas. Just prior to the Civil war, he
owned five slaves; three males ages 21, 16 and 10 (Stewart Bush, born about 1850 in Kentucky)
and two females ages 13 (Amanda Bush, born about 1848 in Kentucky) and seven (Eliza Bush,
born about 1852 in Kentucky). It is likely that the mother of these slave children was Harriet
Bush, a slave of William's who died in Lyon Co., KY on 13 Mar 1854 of typhoid fever.
On 4 Oct 1861, about five months after the beginning of the Civil War in Ft. Sumter, SC, Willie
joined a large contingent of young men from Grayson Co. who joined the Confederate army in
Sherman, TX. This group made up Company C of the 9th Texas Infantry. Among those who
joined that day were Willie's younger step-brother Lorenzo C. Bush and his cousin Lorenzo S.
Sivells. Willie and his brother Lorenzo both were enlisted as sergeants in the company. The
9thTexas camped for training in Fannin Co., TX and then eventually was assigned to the Army of
Mississippi and marched to Little Rock, AR and then on to Memphis, TN. Official reports
indicate that sanitary conditions were poor and sickness was rampant within the regiment.
Willie's regiment saw it's first action at the battle of Shiloh on 6 Apr 1862. According to a letter
by Edwin Moore, one of the men in Willie's company, Willie was one of the first men in the
company wounded in the battle of Shiloh. According to the official reports, Willie received a
wound in the neck. In the letter Mr. Moore described Willie as "a brave man" and "a splendid
soldier". When he returned to his unit after the injury at Shiloh is not certain. However, he was
back with the unit at least by September 1862. He fought with his company at the battle of
Murfreesboro on 31 Dec 1862 and was slightly wounded again in that battle. The nature of that
wound is not known.
In May 1863, Willie became very ill and was left at a hospital in Yazoo City, MS. He was listed
as sick and in the hospital the rest of that year. Eventually he was transferred to a hospital in
Macon, MS. On 5 Dec 1863 he received a 60 day furlough to go home and recover from his
illness. Still having connections and relatives in western Kentucky he went there to recover. He
visited his uncle, Edmund Woods who married his mother's sister, in Caldwell Co., KY and stayed
there sick for about two months. He told a friend there that he did not think that he would ever
be able to return to the army because of his health, but that if he regained his strength he planned
to return. He was never well enough to return to service.
It may have been on this trip through western Kentucky that he met his wife, Lucy Ann Grasty,
daughter of John M. and Cynthia Grasty of Rockcastle, Trigg Co., KY. Or perhaps they were old
friends from his youth in Kentucky. The Bush and Grasty families lived throughout the area
around they Lyon/Trigg County line. Rev. John Aiken married them on 21 Nov 1865 in Trigg
During 1870, Willie and Lucy were living in Rockcastle, KY. Also living in Rockcastle at that
time were Lucy's parents and a number of Willie's Bush and Osborne cousins. By late 1870 or
early 1871, Willie and Lucy were living in Grayson Co., TX with Willie's father and step-mother.
On 10 Sep 1870, Willie enlisted in the Frontier Ranger Scouts of the Texas Rangers (likely to
fight Indians). He was discharged on 20 Jan 1871. In 1880, the family was also living in Grayson
Co., TX with his father and step-mother. Willie and Lucy Bush had five children: Edmund Bush,
born about 1869 in Trigg Co., KY (apparently he died in childhood); Christina A. Bush, born 4
Apr 1871 in Grayson Co., TX; John Henry Bush, born 26 Sep 1874 in Grayson Co., TX; Alice
Lena Bush born 15 May 1877 in Grayson Co., TX; and Iva Bush, born 15 Jun 1885.
While in Texas, Willie helped his father run quite a significant farm consisting of 300 acres worth
about $1,500 in 1880. The farm had 110 acres tilled and 190 acres of wooded land. In 1879, the
farm included 20 acres of corn (100 bushels produced), 38 acres of oats (1,040 bushels
produced), 16 acres of cotton (eight 450 pound bales produced), 1 acre of apples (70 trees, 10
bushels produced) and 2 acres of peaches (70 trees, 140 bushels produced). The livestock
included one horse, three mules, 22 head of cattle, 21 hogs and 13 chickens. The livestock
produced 200 eggs, 100 pounds of butter and 13 calves.
Willie, Lucy and their children moved back to Trigg Co., KY (probably in about 1890) where the
daughters were eventually married. Their son, John Henry Bush, moved back to Grayson Co.,
TX and was an engineer for the Katy Railroad.
Willie died on 13 Feb 1905 at age 67 after a long illness. His headstone in the Baker Cemetery in
Trigg Co., KY memorializes his service with Company C, 9th Texas Infantry. His obituary in the
Princeton (KY) Leader was as follows:
W. I. Bush A Highly Respected Citizen of Lamasco Died of Consumption
W. I. Bush, an old and highly respected citizen, of Lamasco, died Monday morning at 9 o'clock
of that dread disease consumption. He had been in a lingering condition for some time and his
death was not unexpected by his family and many friends.
Mr. Bush was a member of the Christian Church and was known far and near for his most
exemplary life always having a kind word for those with whom he came in contact. He leaves a
wife and several daughters and one son to mourn his death.
His remains were laid to rest Wednesday afternoon in the Baker graveyard at Rock Castle.
Lucy died on 22 Jan 1920 in Trigg Co., KY. She is buried in the Farm Cemetery at Rockcastle,
Trigg Co., KY.
For more information on this family, visit my Bush Family Website at:
©Ron Brothers and Mark A. Eitzen, All Rights Reserved, 1999.
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