Sharing our Links to the Past
by Wally and Frances Gray

Martin3.jpg (12867 bytes)

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#M28 BUSHMAN, Martin  (AFN:1KC6-4T) and
#M29 DEGEN, Elizabeth (AFN:1KC6-51)*

Martin Bushman:

Born: 1 Apr 1802 Strasburg, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Died: 18 Oct 1870 Lehi, Utah, Utah
Buried: 19 Oct 1870 Lehi, Utah, Utah
Married: 20 Mar 1827 Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth DEGAN (AFN:1KC6-51) They had ten children.

Father: Abraham BUSHMAN (AFN:1S6J-1N)
Mother: Esther FRANKS (AFN:1S6J-2T)

Elizabeth Degan:

Born: 12 Sep 1802 Hollstein, Bassiland, Switzerland
Died: 21 May 1878 Lehi, Utah, Utah
Buried: May 1878 Lehi, Utah, Utah

Father: John Casper DEGAN (AFN:1S6J-31)
Mother: Anna Maria GRAFF (AFN:1S6J-46)

Children of Martin Bushman and Elizabeth Degan

1. (M) Henry BUSHMAN (AFN:1KC7-6B)
11 Dec 1827 Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
     Died: 20 Mar 1828 Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

2. (F) Maria BUSHMAN (AFN:1KC7-7H)
     Born: 21 Jan 1829 Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
     Died: 5 Feb 1829 Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

*3. (M) Jacob BUSHMAN #M14 (AFN:1KC7-8N)
27 Jul 1830 Lampeter Township, Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsyvania
     Died: 25 Mar 1919 Fairview, Sanpete, Utah
     Buried: Mar 1919 Fairview City Cemetery, Fairview, Sanpete, Utah
     Married: 4 Mar 1857 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California, to Charlotte TURLEY #M15 (AFN:1BGL-KK)
*Indicates direct line to Frances McNabb Gray

4. (F) Sarah Ann BUSHMAN (AFN:1KC7-9T)
9 Jan 1833 Strasburg, Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
     Died: 17 Jun 1916 Lehi, Utah, Utah
     Buried: 20 Jun 1916 Lehi, Utah, Utah
     Married: 25 May 1852, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, to Alonzo Donald RHODES (RHOADS) (AFN:215TJ-O3)

5. (M) Abraham BUSHMAN (AFN:1KC7-B1)
14 Jul 1835 Bart/Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
     Died: 25 Mar 1839: Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

6. (F) Elizabeth BUSHMAN (AFN:1KC7-C6)
9 Nov 1837 Bart/Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
     Died: 12 Oct 1846 Iowa

7. (M) Martin Benjamin BUSHMAN (AFN:1CXK-77)
5 Feb 1841 Strasburg, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
     Died: 31 Oct 1927 Lehi, Lehi, Utah
     Buried: 3 Nov 1927 Lehi, Lehi, Utah
     Married: (1) Lucinda Ladelia GOODWIN (AFN:18G6-QM), 21 Mar 1863, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
     Married (2) Martha WORLTON (AFN:1SN9-F7), 2 Mar 1867, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

8. (M) John BUSHMAN (AFN:1BBD-7L)
7 Jun 1843 Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
     Died: 30 May 1926 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
     Buried: 7 Jun 1926 Joseph City, Navajo, Arizona
     Married: (1) Lois Angeline SMITH (AFN:1KC6-1B), 11 Feb 1865, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
     Married: (2) Mary Ann  PETERSEN (AFN:1BBD-8R), 2 Mar 1877, St. George, Washington, Utah

9. (F) Esther Ann BUSHMAN (AFN:1KC7-DC)
     Born: 28 Nov 1845 Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
     Died: 19 Oct 1846 Iowa

10. (M) Elias Albert BUSHMAN (AFN:1CFH-VN)
     Born: 6 Dec 1849 Highland Grove, Pottawatomie, Iowa
     Died: 15 Oct 1925 Lehi, Utah, Utah
     Buried: 18 Oct 1925 Lehi, Lehi, Utah
     Married: 27 Mar 1879, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, to Margaret Laura ZIMMERMAN (AFN:1CFH-WT)

Biography of Martin Bushman and Elizabeth Degen (Based upon Bushman Family History,** compiled 1956 by Newbern I. Butt for the Bushman Family History Committee, pp. 12-15). Additions by second great grandson Elden L. Stewart. (Written by Elden L. Stewart; retyped and submitted by Ella Mae [Turley] Judd.)

**The full name and particulars of the book: The Bushman Family: Originally of Pennsylvania and the Rocky Mountain States by Newbern Butt, main author. Its Family History Library call number is 929.273 B964bn. It is located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building Family History Book Section. It is also on microfilm, FHL 896926, item 5. (In the main library located in the FHL US/CAN Film section.)

Martin, the Pioneer Bushman immigrant to Utah, was raised on a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was an excellent hand at all farm work, so that in slack times, while on the way to Utah and while there, he was always in demand by his neighbor farmers. During his active life he was about six feet tall and weighed approximately 175 pounds. His eyes were blue and his hair light brown.

Martin was married to Elizabeth Degen, daughter of John Casper Degen and Anna Maria Graf, 20 March 1827. She was well prepared for pioneer life. Her mother died when she was four years of age, and her father re-married and had six additional children. When she was 14 years old she came to America with her father. The journey was in an old sailing vessel which was delayed by a calm. The extra cost caused by this delay put them in debt to the Captain, which debt was met by hiring Elizabeth out as a domestic servant for five years. It was here that she learned to spin and weave, and made the clothing necessary in a pioneer community. Martin raised the wool and his wife turned it into clothing. During rush season she aided directly with the farm work.

The first seven children of Martin and Elizabeth were born in Bart, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The next two, John and Hetty, were born in the Bishop Hunter home in Nauvoo, Illinois, and Albert, the baby, was born at Highland Grove, Potawattamie, Iowa.

In the spring of 1840 two elders, Elisha H. Davis and H. Dean, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, came to preach the Gospel in Lancaster County. Both Martin and his wife, Elizabeth, were of a strongly religious nature and investigated the new doctrine whole heartedly, were convinced of its truth, and were baptized. In spite of criticism and ostracism by relatives and friends in Lancaster County, they grew in faith and were filled with the spirit of gathering in Nauvoo, Illinois with the rest of the members of this faith. It is probable that they would have made the thousand mile trip to Nauvoo in 1840, but circumstances prevented this. Their aged parents were without a home of their own, and Martin spent the fall and winter in building one for them. Also they were expecting the birth of their son, Martin Benjamin, and with more time they had hoped to sell their property to a better advantage.

The property was finally sold at a great sacrifice, and provided little more than a team and wagon and the necessary provisions for the thousand mile trip with a family of six. When they arrived in Nauvoo, they found the city crowded with new converts and it was hard to find a place to live. However, they soon found their old friend, Bishop Edward Hunter, who was also of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. The Bishop immediately fixed up and rented to the Bushmans the upstairs apartment of his house. He also rented to Martin his farm which was just east of Nauvoo. Martin's harvests were excellent in spite of the fact that he and his son Jacob spent every tenth day to work on the Temple which was being built in Nauvoo at this time. Soon after their arrival, they met the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Patriarch Hyrum Smith who gave them a hearty welcome to the community. On 12 March 1843, the Patriarch ordained Martin to the office of High Priest and also gave he and his wife Elizabeth a Patriarchal Blessing. The promises and blessings contained therein have extended to us their posterity.

The Bushman family although they prospered and were blessed, experienced along with the rest of the saints, the hatred and mobbing of the enemies of the church, which grew until 27 June 1844 when the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were killed at Carthage jail. This was a terrible shock to the saints but with the Twelve Apostles at their head they completed the Temple the next year and many of them received their endowments. On Christmas day in 1845, Martin and Elizabeth also went to the Temple and were sealed for time and all eternity.

Mob violence continued so that in February 1846 the main body of the saints left Nauvoo for the west. However Martin Bushman, along with a few others, were asked to remain at Nauvoo to plant crops and harvest them to provide food for the many new members coming from the east and elsewhere to gather with the saints. Bounteous crops were raised, but just when they were ready to harvest, the mobbers moved in and drove the rest of the faithful saints away from Nauvoo. Before they left the city, Martin took all of his children into the temple and showed them the baptismal font resting on the backs of twelve bronze oxen. This occasion was never forgotten by the children.

Forced to leave with just a few hours' notice, Martin was poorly prepared to make the five hundred mile trip from Nauvoo to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The trip was made during the wet season of fall and winter, over roads which were often all but impassible. The suffering was intense, and two of their little girls died and were buried in graves without coffins.

After they finally reached the saints at Council Bluffs, Martin was assigned to the nearby settlement of Highland Grove located a few miles east of the Bluffs. He immediately proceeded to build a log cabin for his family. This accomplished, he headed for Missouri where he earned enough provisions to see the family through the winter.

As soon as the crops were planted in the spring of 1847, Martin again went to Missouri to earn food for his family, and left his son Jacob and the smaller boys in charge of the crops.

Martin was an excellent farmer, but the expulsion from Nauvoo and the hard journey across Iowa had left him with almost nothing to continue the journey to Utah. He worked out again in 1849 to earn clothing for the family and returned in the winter. All of the land available was put in crops in the spring of 1850 so that they would be assured of food for the planned trip to join the Saints in Utah in 1851. Jacob and Sarah went to Missouri in order to earn whatever they could to help, and Sarah taught school in the winter. They felt that they were greatly blessed when they were able to start across the plains with a good supply of food, a wagon, two yoke of oxen and two yoke of cows. The trip across the plains was uneventful and their food just barely lasted until they reached Utah.

The Bushmans stayed in Salt Lake City for one week, and then went to Lehi where their old missionary friend, Elisha Davis lived. There were only 30 families living in Lehi at that time. At this place they were welcomed to the use of a vacant log hut which belonged to Abraham Hatch. Martin and Jacob helped with the first harvest in Lehi, and later cut grass for their cattle from the common pasture of the lower field. The following spring he bargained with Hatch for a farm, and built himself a new log home where he lived a short time before he built his adobe home in which they lived until his death. In 1854 he helped built the mud wall around the town.

Elizabeth was a typical Swiss girl, with dark brown eyes and hair, and a stout build. She was five foot four inches tall and 140 pounds in weight. She was exceptionally healthy until near her death at age 76. Considerable of the last 25 years of her life were devoted to work as a practical nurse and midwife. She was exceptionally spiritual in nature, and enjoyed many spiritual gifts, even the gift of tongues which she had spoken ever since she joined the L. D. S. Church. On May 6, two weeks before her death, she spoke the following prayer in tongues. It was interpreted by her old friend, Mary Ann Davis.

"My Father and my God that dwelleth in the Heavens. The father of my spirit and the spirits of all men, look upon me in mercy because I am thy daughter and I feel that I am about to pass the valley and shadow of death, but I fear no evil for thou wilt be my prop and my stay. My mind is as calm as a summer's morning and I have a peace that passeth understanding. Permit me, Oh God, to depart in peace, for my body not to be racked with pain and anguish. Lay underneath me thy arms of love to be my stay and my support.

"Oh my Father, a joy unspeakable fills my breast because I shall soon behold Thy face. Fools have said in their hearts, there is no God, but I know that Thou art the Living God, I have trusted in thee, and have never been confounded. Oh Lord, I have been many years from thy presence, I have endured many trials, pain and anguish of body, but I thank thee for my body thou has given me, for my mission and my work to do upon earth.

"I have done my work and through Thy grace I have kept my body pure and undefiled for which I thank Thee, Oh God. Oh my Father, comfort the hearts of my family and friends which are dear to me. I shall only be separated from you for a little season. In the morning of the resurrection I shall arise without this frail body having an immortal one.

"Oh my Father, a joy unspeakable fills my soul and rapture fills my heart for the veil will soon be rent and I shall behold my companion and children that have gone before me. I shall meet them with joy and not with grief and more I shall behold Thy face and enjoy Thy smiles and Thy presence and bask in Thy favor forever more.

"Oh my children and friends, be true to God and His work and He will take you through the gates of death and there will be a light in the valley for you. My Savior will let me lean on His arm so I will not be afraid nor fear any evil. My heart rejoices in God, my Savior. Although my body has pain and anguish, have faith and pray for me that I may depart in peace and when you lay me in the grave, mourn not for me but rejoice that I am delivered from this body of anguish and if you shed tears, let them not be of bitterness. Be faithful to the truth and all shall be well with you. We shall only be separated for a little season. God bless you all. Oh Lord, grant that my name may not pass into oblivion, but that it may be from generation to generation, because I have tried to keep Thy commandments. Amen."

Elizabeth never rallied or gained her strength from this last illness, but could converse and enjoy the company of her children and friends. On the 21 day of May 1878, she passed away, surrounded by her family of four sons and one daughter.

The Life and Labors of John Bushman Son of Martin and Elizabeth Degen. 

 This is a copy of the edited diary of John Bushman, which was copied by himself from the original diaries into a large journal during the later years of his life.  The book from which this typewritten copy was made is of the ledger type about 8 x 11 inches in size.  The writing was entirely in ink.  The latter part of the journal which records the death, etc. was in other handwritings.  The original from which this copy was made is now in the hand of members of the John Bushman Association, of which Fred Bushman of Salt Lake City, Utah was the Chairman.  [Now in Church Historian’s Office.]

 Copied by the Brigham Young University Library 1935?

 [This bound manuscript is kept in the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Special Collections.  This Life Sketch was found at the end of John Bushman’s journal entries and was retyped here by Ann Laemmlen Lewis, September 2005.  Spelling and punctuation from the original has been retained.]


Written by their son Martin Benjamin Bushman

Martin bushman was born April 1st 1802 in Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania..  US.  He was the son of Abraham and Ester Franks Bushman.  His parents had ten children four boys and six girls.  They were of German descent,  Their ancesters came to America about the year 1753, Martin Bushman received a good common education in his boyhood days, he was raised on the farm, and understood all the branches as carried on in those days, He was a very skillful hand at sowing grain, also at using the sycle to cut grain, and the sythe to cut the grass for hay.  And he spent the winter months in threshing the grain with the flailing their large barns, as there were not Threshing Machines in those days.  He also took great pride in taking care of the cows and horses, and could always get employment in those occupations.  He was a very strong and healthy young man, he stood six foot high, and weighed about 175 pounds, he had light brown hair and blue eyes.  At the age of twenty five he had found it necessary if he wished to be happy in life to have a companion to share joys and sorrow with him.  He found her in the person of Elizabeth Dagen of the same state in which he lived, she was born in Basel Switzerland on the 12th of September 1802, Her Parents were John Casper and Maria Graff Dagen, her mother died when she was an infant therefore she never had a mothers care.  And love to guide her in her youth.  She had a good education in her childhood, then she had to work for her own living, at the age of fourteen she came with her father to America, they had a very long voyage on the ocean and suffered much for food and water.  After arriving in America she was again put out at service to earn her own living, she was a child of good character and strong will power, and was able to work her way along in the community in which she lived.  The experiences she got between the age of 15 and 25 seemed to prepare her for her future life, at twenty five she could read and write and speak the English Language as well as her native language.  She also learned to cook and to do all kinds of household work, she was also very handy with the needle, she was an expert with the spinning wheel, and could spin the wool into yar, and the flax lint into thread ready for the loom.  she could milk the cows and make butter and cheese, she could go into the field and bind up and shock the grain.  and at that age she was strong and healthy, she had black eyes and hair was short in statue but stoutly built, weighing about 140 pounds, she was a good specimen of a Swiss maiden, She accepted the hand of Martin Bushman and they were married march 20th 1827 and made their home near their parents and lived happy togather gaining many of the comforts of life, and had dear children born unto them, living there untill 1840 when some Latterday Saint Missionaries came to their home and brought to them the plan of Salvation as revealed through Joseph Smith the Prophet, They investigated the Doctrine and embraced the same, feeling that it was from the Lord and that it was the only true Church, they concluded to gather with that people, after selling his property and settling of his affairs, and built his Parents a home his Parents nor any of his Relatives joined the Church, he wished to leave them in comfortable circumstances, He bade them all Farewell and took his family and journeyed to Nauvoo Illanoise, they traveled with horse team over the long journey After many hardships and trials they arrived among the Saints in Nauvoo, and they had the privelidge of seeing the Prophet whom they loved and were happy to meet, They rented a farm from Edward Hunter near Nauvoo and went to work with all their energy to make themselves comfortable, every thing prospered in their hands, they were able to feed and cloth their children and they helped to build the Temple the Saints were building at that time.  Every thing was peace and prosperity for three short years then the dark scene was before them, Their Prophet was slain in cold blood their people plundered and in September 1846 they were driven from their homes leaving their crops standing in the fields and every thing else they had only a few things they could put in into a wagon.  A short time previous to this the Mother took her children by the hand and led them to the Temple that they might see it and behold its beauty out side and inside too, that perhaps when they got old they might remember how it looked, it was a place that they had loved and a place where they had recieved their Sacred blessings.  After taking a few things in their poorly prepared wagon and a light team for a long journey, they took their last look at the Beautiful City of Nauvoo and started on their dreary journey through Iowa.  Winter soon came on and they suffered greatly with hunger and cold, They had two of their children die, two girls through exposures they had to endure, one was nine years and one was a year old.  They died but one week apart, they had to be placed in their graves without coffins as there was nothing to be had to make them with, their bodies were lightly wrapped and a few branches of trees laid over their bodies to protect them from the dirt.  The Father and mother greatly mourned their loss but they still continued the journey with the Saints, after much suffering and hardships they arrived in the Western part of Iowa.  They stopped at a small place called Highland Grove near Council Bluffs.  Here again the Husband tried to make wife and children comfortable, he built them a house of logs and covered it as best he could with sticks and dirt,   He then went into the state of Missouri and labored to procure them something to eat, after working for some time he recieved for his pay some corn meal and pork and a few other little things, he then returned to his Family with a Joyful heart that he had procured something to eat for them.  He then took up some land and raised some crops, he stayed there four years and was prospered so he had sufficient to bring him to Utah, in May 1851 he started on that journey, They had one wagon with two Yoke of oxen and two Yoke of cows hitched to it and sufficient provisions to last the family five months.  After traveling five months with tired limbs and glad hearts they arrived in Salt Lake City, they only stopped there one week and then went south 30 miles to Lehi there again they procured land and built them a home.  It was here their early training became most useful to them, it was over a thousand miles to where any of the nessary supplies could be obtained, therefore the only thing they could do was to procure it from the soil, Then it was the husband raised the grain and threshed it, also the corn and vegatables, he also went to the canyon and procured wood to burn and timber for building, he raised sheep that they might have the wool to make into cloth, the wife then in her place knew how to take care of the wool and spin it into yarn and weave it into cloth that she might cloth her husband and children.  In this way they prospered in the land, and they felt to thank the lord for bringing them to this goodly land, and for preserving their lives through all the trials and dangers they had passed through.  They came to Utah when it was a barren desert and in connection with their colaborers the Latterday Saints they made it to blossom as the rose.  They made beautiful homes and nice places of worship.  They lived in Lehi 24 years in peace.  They had ten children born to them six boys and four girls, five of them being alive at his death, the others having passed away.  Martin Bushman departed this life Oct. 10th 1879, aged 68 years, he was an honest upright man and a good Latterday Saint, he received his blessings in the Nauvoo Temple and recieved his Priesthood under the hands of Hyrum Smith being ordained a Hight Priest.  He was an affectionate husband and a kind to his children, he never turned the stranger away hungry.  Elizabeth Bushman survived her husband 8 years, she lived to see her sons and daughter all married, and seen her grand and great grand children, she remained quite healthy almost up to the time of her death, she died May the 21st 1878, aged 76 years she died a faithful Latterday Saint and was pure and undefiled from the sins of the world.  She was a loving wife and a kind mother, she spent much of her time with the sick and afflicted she will live in the hearts of many of her sex for years to come for her kindness to them in sickness and sorrow.

From Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p.785

 BUSHMAN, MARTIN (son of Abraham Bushman, born April 12, 1767, Lancaster county, Pa., and Esther Franks, born Oct. 5, 1764—married Jan. 12, 1788). He was born April 1, 1802, Lascaster county, Pa., came to Utah October, 1851, Capt. Kelsey company.

Married Elizabeth Degen (daughter of John Casper Degen and Maria Graff). She was born Sept. 12, 1802. Their children: Henry b. Dec. 11, 1827, and Maria b. Jan. 31, 1829, died; Jacob b. July 27, 1830, m. Charlotte Turley March 2, 1858; Sarah A. b. Jan. 9, 1833, m. Alonzo D. Rhodes; Abraham b. July 19, 1835, and Elizabeth b. Nov. 9, 1837, died; Martin B. b. Feb. 5, 1841, m. Lucinda Goodwin; John b. June 7, 1843, m. Lois A. Smith Feb. 11, 1865; Hetty A. B. b. Nov. 28, 1845, died; Elias A. b. Dec. 6, 1849, m. Margaret Zimmerman. Family home Lehi, Utah.

High priest. Died Oct. 18, 1870.

Patriarchal Blessing of Martin Bushman

 pronounced by Patriarch Hyrum Smith

12 March 1843, Nauvoo, Illinois

 Brother Martin I lay my hands upon your head, in the name and by the authority given me of Jesus Christ to bless and seal the same upon you, even a blessing according to your linage and rights according to the holy Priesthood, coming down upon your head in these last days of Anti-christ, there was a promise obtained for you to go down in your posterity to come unto you and your father’s house as leaven was put into the measure of meal that shall leaven the lump, or like unto that parable, will the power and spirit of God work in the minds of your father’s house all being of lineage and tribe of Ephriam in which lineage cometh the Priesthood beginning upon your head, in the order of the lineage of the Patriarch, which you now receive.  Under mine hands whereas I ordain you an High Priest after the order of Melchizedec to preach repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ, and the endurance of faith on his name unto the end, therefore you are blessed with the Priesthood which I seal upon your head, that you may bear testimony and minister in that holy order according to the gifts and calling which is in you, and according to the spirit which shall move upon you in the times and seasons that cometh, in the days of your probation, and be blessed in your house, and your habitation, fields, flocks, and herds, and that your name shall be perpetuated through the blessings of the Priesthood as it shall go down upon the heads of your posterity from generation to generation, and as to your days and your years, shall be given you according to your faith, and the desire of your heart and you shall have an inheritance in the lineage of your fathers, even so Amen.

Patriarchal Blessing of Elizabeth Degen

pronounced by Patriarch Hyrum Smith

12 March 1843, Nauvoo, Illinois

 Sister Elizabeth, I lay my hands upon your head and in the name of and by the authority given me of Jesus Christ and by the power given me of the holy Priesthood to place a sealing blessing upon your head even to seal you to everlasting life, from henceforth that your heart may be comforted with an assurance that let what will happen your name is registered in the lambís book of life, and these are the things which you desired to know whether you would be saved, therefore this is thy promise which I seal upon your head for God hath seen the honesty of your heart and hath blessed you according to your integrity and this shall be your witness that when these words shall be read, or you shall read them your heart shall swell with gratitude to God and joy shall spring up in your heart which shall be to you a comforter to you in all your days of probation, it shall be with you as a second comforter as in the testimony of John, which is the promise of eternal life and as to the blessings of your inheritance your house and habitation, fields flocks and herds and the benefits of the Priesthood by which the knowledge of God is obtained in the order of the kingdom of God, shall be in common with your husband, even unto the seal of the covenant, which you have made to be continued in your everlasting inheritance and a crown celestial shall be given in the mansions of your father, and your name be perpetuated and kept in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, these blessings I seal upon your head, even so Amen.

See web site on Elizabeth Degen Bushman at


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