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File: rushacd3
Date: Nov 24, 1999

<<  THE RUSHES OF PENNSYLVANIA >>
Family Anecdotes

 Compiled by Luther Olson


CONTENTS

1. JOHN AND SUSANNA (LUCAS) RUSH
2. JACOB RUSH--NEW JERSEY PATRIARCH
3. WILLIAM RUSH--SOLDIER IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
4. REVOLUTIONARY WAR SERVICE OF JACOB RUSH
5. BENJAMIN RUSH, "THE SIGNER"
6. RICHARD RUSH, STATESMAN AND DIPLOMAT
7. THE DEATH OF ANDREW RUSH
8. CHURCH DISCIPLINE AT MILL CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
9. WILLIAM RUSH & ELIZABETH LEWIS
10. BEDFORD CO., PA PIONEERS/OLD JERSEY CHURCH
 
 



FORWARD

The numerous stories of the descendants of John Rush and Susanna Lucas are fascinating in their description of early life in this new country. Military leaders, founding fathers, politicians, judges, farmers and blacksmiths--this family has them all, and the knowledge of their experiences gives us real insight into life (and death) on the American frontier.

This project began as an effort to make a list of descendants available online to all, but in the process of collating these lists it became obvious that there were many interesting stories relating to the family. It is here that the people come alive and we feel their sorrows, pains--and many joys.

Incidently, I consider this to be one of those projects without end. Readers are encouraged to inform me of any other stories that could be added to this effort. Certainly there are many more descriptions of family members that would be of interest to us all.

Won't you please share them with us. As new information is added it is our plan to update this file periodically.


JOHN AND SUSANNA (LUCAS) RUSH

During the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell fought to assert the power of parliament as opposed to the absolute power of the king. Born of country gentry, he succeeded in persuading many of England's greatest families to follow him. His reign (1649-1659), however, was characterized by the support of a strong strain of
religious Dissenters which included zealous Puritan elements.

The Rushes were Separatists who supported Cromwell while in England and the cause of independence here in America. Capt. John Rush commanded a horse troop in the Puritan army under Cromwell. Family legend indicates that Cromwell judged him among his best officers and he was given the name "Old Trooper".

After the war John began farming and rearing a family. In about 1660 he became a Quaker, holding that persuasion throughout the Restoration, a harsh time for those who refused to conform to the Church of England. When William Penn opened his "holy experiment" for settlement, the Old Trooper, then age sixty three, sold all his holdings.

Like a second Noah, he and his wife, Susanna, gathered together their many grown children and grandchildren, and in 1683 boarded the ship, WELCOME, for America. They settled northeast of Philadelphia in the Quaker community of Byberry, founded by William Penn as sanctuary for this persecuted religious minority.

The number of Quakers grew rapidly and included many of the higher classes, including ministers of the Established Church, army officers and justices. Most notable were Robert Barclay and William Penn. In 1682 Penn created an asylum for this group in the colony of Pennsylvania and thousands of Quakers quickly settled there.

Rush arrived in Byberry just a year later. By 1697, however, the family had become Baptist. Their 500-acre farm in Byberry Township was located twelve miles up the Delaware River from Philadelphia on Poquessing Creek. This was to become the family home for the next five generations.

John was a member of a separatist group of Friends known as the "Christian Quakers," at a time when the Quakers faced much persecution for not joining the Church of England, and (after reaching America) from the Puritans.

Gr.-Gr.-Grandson, Benjamin Rush later wrote

It is sufficient gratification to me to know that he fought for liberty, and migrated into a remote wilderness in the evening of his life in order to enjoy the priviledge of worshipping God according to the dictates of his own conscience.


(I have been told that the Quaker meetings in Philadelphia Co. were called Byberrys.)

(Luther Olson)


JACOB RUSH--NEW JERSEY PATRIARCH

The first known member of our family to be in this state is a certain John Rush, who was reported to be a land owner in Burlington County in 1695-97. Since no other Rush is known to enter the state for another fifty years, we can assume that this John was the son of Old Trooper and Susanna.

John's grandson, Peter Rush, was a land owner in Bedminster Twp.,Somerset Co. in 1753, when his name appeared on the township Day Book. Conrad, a brother of Peter, lived in Lemington, also Bedminster Twp. but moved on to Warren County in 1779 and located on Scott's Mountain, known then as Buckhorn and now called Summerfield.

In 1781 Conrad registered his "ear mark" (method of identifying cattle) in Hunterdon Co. A short time late he migrated west. Jacob, Conrad's son, was born in 1757 in Lamington, Somerset Co. He served in the Revolutionary War a total of one year, eleven months as a private, part of the time as a substitute for his father. He was appointed Ensign and was in the battles of Flatbush and White Plains, being slightly wounded during the later.

Jacob was taken prisoner by the British in October, 1779, held five weeks and, by reason of starvation, enlisted in the British Army. He served 2 months and 17 days until he managed to escape and rejoin the American army in about March 1780.

It was just two months later, on May 21, that Jacob married Margaret Sinkler/Singler, in St James "Straw" Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg, NJ. They are both buried in the St. James Cemetary.

(Notes from THE RUSH FAMILY OF NORTHWEST JERSEY by Pearl Rush Cressman)


WILLIAM RUSH--SOLDIER IN THE REV. WAR

(Affidavit filed March, 1823, by brother Michael, supporting William's application for a pension)

I am the elder brother of William Rush who has subscribed and sworn to the annexed declaration in order to obtain a pension, and am now about eighty-nine years old. During the whole of the Revolutionary war, the said William Rush lived or boarded with me.

I was at that time married and keeping house in Morris County, N.J., and he was an unmarried man. To my personal knowledge he was in the service of the United States during a part of every year from September 1776, to the termination of said war.

The whole military force of New Jersey was divided into two Classes--one of which went out one month and then the other one month and so on alternately throughout the whole Revolutionary struggle. My brother, William, belonged to one of these classes and was always prompt to go whenever his country demanded his services.

I know that my brother on all occasions when he was out was under the command of Gen. William Wines--Col.'s Stark, Luce, Drake and Seeley; also held commands in the militia of Morris County, New Jersey. My brother belonged to a company commanded by Capt. Nathaniel Horton, in which company he was an orderly sergeant for several tours.

I also served two months and a half in the same company and under the same officers. I know also that the said William was out as a substitute one and a half months in the Revolution, viz: one-half month for myself and one month for our brother, Jacob Rush.

I know also that this applicant has served all seasons of the year--summer-winter and fall, yet although I have a good recollection for a man of my age, I cannot pretend to designate the particular months in which he served in any one year, yet I well know that he was out several months of each of the years 1777, 1778, 1779, 1781, 1782, 1783 and also I know that he served for one if not two months in the autumn of 1776, when the British had possession of New York City.

To the best of my knowledge and belief I would have no hesitancy in saying as a volunteer, a drafted militiaman and substitute, all inclusive, William Rush served from three to four months in each and every of the years I have designated, except 1776, when I believe he was out only one or two months.

I recollect this claimant once told me immediately after he returned from a winter campaign, that he had been at Elizabethtown and Amboy and that the detachment had had a skirmish in which they had captured a cart and load of clothing and a yoke of oxen and a horse, and that he had been cheated out of his share of the plunder,

I now recollect many things he told me in these times which he has forgotten. His memory is almost entirely failed and his mind is also fast failing. I suppose the reason why I cannot now recollect the particular times and months he was in the service, results from this, that he was out so often, in so many different years, and only for a month at once--the matters have become so confused in my head that although I recollect the general circumstances, I cannot now descend to particulars. I believe that William Rush served at least three tours of one month each as orderly sergeant, besides losing much time when he was not out in the service, mustering and drilling the Company. And further this deponeth saith not.

Sworn and subscribed this 22nd day of March, A.D., 1834.

Michael Rush, Sen.

(In 1903, William's grandson, Matthias Rush, wrote in his HISTORY OF THE RUSH FAMILY:)

(I) knew and talked with my grandfather prior to his death, and he often told me that he served three months in the militia of N.J. during the Revolutionary War at the time the British overran the state, and further stated many little incidents that took place in the army; there is one thing I remember much of which I will state according to the best of my memory; he saw the Hessian prisoners, they were much cast down, our officers sent men in among them, they were enxious to be sent home. They were told their Prince had sold them: they had no country; stay here, marry our daughters and make this your country.

(From a history of the Rush family, author unknown, found in the Rush folder of the Somerset Historical Society, Somerset, PA)


REVOLUTIONARY WAR SERVICE OF JACOB RUSH

(Jacob's Rev. War record. The first part of these court documents, from the Archives, is of his second wife, Ann McNeill, filing a claim for his pension. They were married October 4, 1827.)

==========

Fayette County
Pennsylvania

Personally appeared on the 10th day of January A.D. 1835 before SAMUEL NIXON one of the appointed Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in & for the County of Fayette JACOB RUSH a resident of Somerset County age eighty years who upon his oath makes the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 4th? 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated.

That in the year 1776 he engaged as a volunteer in the Penna Militia to serve from the first day of December until the 10th of March. This engagement was to come [from] a draft in the company of militia to which he belonged. ________? had been _______? for a draft of six men from each company in the county and on the day of mustering? time? states that if a company of volunteers could be raised for the above period, that is to leave from the first day of December 1776 to the tenth day of March; all the draft would be dispersed with. This was accordingly done [by] the company consisting _________? of young men.

That his Captain who commanded this company was SAMUEL DAVIS and the First Lieut WILLIAM TISSUE and the company attached to Col. GEORGE WOODS' Regt of Penna Militia.

That this deponent was marched from Bedford County Penna to Philadelphia and from there across the Delaware River into New Jersey to place called B________ Ridge not far from New Brunswick and were continued there as a guard to protect the __________tued and watch the movements of the enemy until about the first of March 1777. .........marched to Princeton in order to meet the Virginia troops and to be discharged according to our engagements.

That the Virginia troops came in the evening of the 9th of March and this deponent with the whole company were discharged on the 10th and this deponent returned home.

That in the year 1778 this deponent volunteered under the very same circumstances as before in order to avoid? a draft. The object at this time being to protect the frontier settlements from Indian attacks? This his engagement was to leave from the first of May until the last of October. Six months ----- his Captain was JAMES WILSON and his First Lieut OLIVER DRAKE and was again attached to Col WOODS' Regt.

That he was marched to a station? on Indian Creek & continued there for some time. He cannot recollect how long and was marched from there on the old Penna Road and commenced the erection of a fort but did not complete it.

That they _______? there for some time and performed the whole period of service back and forth on the old Penna Road in Ligonier Valley on Indian Creek and on the Conamaugh.

That their service was that of scouting about from place to place for the protection of the inhabitants and as alarms were very frequent they were kept t_____ing the country about constantly.

That this deporent served as above stated until the first of October when he hired his brother BENJAMIN RUSH as a substitute to perform the remainder of his time which was one month.

That the whole period of his service was eight months and ten days as a Militia man for which he claims a pension.

That he was born in the state of New Jersey on the 19th day of March 1755 --- that he has a record of his age.

That he lived in Bedford County the whole time of his service and continues to live still on the same farm --- now Somerset County. Had a written discharge for his first service signed by Col. WOODS but has lost it long since. For his last service he thinks he received no written discharge.

That he hereby ______? his service pension or annuity whatever except the _______? and declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of the agency of any state.

Sworn & Subscribed this 10th day of Jany 1835 JACOB RUSH

SAMUEL NIXON, Judge

==========

We JOHN THOMAS a clergyman resident of Fayette County Penna and JOHN RUSH of Somerset County do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with JACOB RUSH who has signed & sworn to the foregoing declaration that we believe he's to be eighty years of age. That he has the reputation in the neighborhood where he resides of being a Revolutionary Soldier & that we concur in that opinion.

Sworn & Subscribed this JOHN THOMAS
10th day of Jany 1835 JOHN RUSH

SAMUEL NIXON, Judge

==========

I SAMUEL NIXON one of the Judges in the Court of Common Pleas in & for said County do hereby declare my opinion of this, an, investigation of the matter.

I often ______? ___? ____? ______? _______? by the ___? _______? that JOHN THOMAS who has signed the above certificate is a clergyman and that JOHN RUSH Esq who has also signed the same is a respectable person and that they are entitled to consent? And I do further certify that the said applicant JACOB RUSH is old and infirm and in my opinion unable to attend the Court at the settings?

January A.D. 1835

SAMUEL NIXON, Judge

==========

Pennsylvania Fayette County -- I RICHARD BEESON Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas in & for said County certify that SAMUEL NIXON, Esq is a Magistrate as above & that the above signatures purporting to be his are genuine.

In testimony where of I have here unto set my hand & seal of said Court at Uniontown the 7th day of January A.D. 1835.

RICH BEESON

Proth

Court Records From: NATIONAL ARCHIVES TRUST FUND, Washington, DC 20408 NWDT1

(Thanks to Michelle Quay Hayes, Pittsburgh, PA)


BENJAMIN RUSH, "THE SIGNER"

The Rush name was to become well-known in the commonwealth as "The Rushes of Pennsylvania". The most famous was John's great-great-grandson, Benjamin, who was appointed physician-general under George Washington. He later became one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, his signature just below that of John Hancock.

Born in Byberry, PA, near Philadelphia, Benjamin graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and received his M.D. at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After returning to Philadelphia in 1769, "he became a firebrand of patriotism and one of the original nucleus demanding complete separation from Britain."

"He prevailed on a newcomer to Phil., Thomas Paine, to write a pamphlet--COMMON SENSE. Rush was the instigator and editor, leaving the authorship to Paine."

Once independence was achieved, he was appointed to the Continental Congress in 1776 in time to sign the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin was appointed physician-general in charge of hospital patients in George Washington's army. He was also appointed treasurer of the mint during the administration of President John Adams.

Later in life he worked many years at the Pennsylvania Hospital and became known as "the first American psychiatrist who laid the basis for all succeeding treatment of mental cases." His textbook, MEDICAL INQUIRIES AND OBSERVATIONS UPON THE DISEASES OF THE MIND (1812), was the only one of it's kind when it was published, and "it remained a standard authority in America and Europe for some seventy years."

Benjamin was one of the founders of Dickinson College at Carlisle, PA, and "through his efforts the first Negro church was established in Philadelphia." "He campaigned against slavery, capital punishment, and harmful use of liquor: and he was a consistent champion of the common man."

(Winthrop Neilson, Colliers Ency.)

==========

Responses to my query "What/where is Byberry" on a Usenet genealogy bulletin board included:

"I seem to recall there was a 'state hospital for the indigent and insane' during the early part of the century"
"infamous for its cruel treatment of inmates"
"PA State Hospital--which is now closed was/is in fact primarily known as Byberry", and
"if you're talking to older Philadelphians, be wary when you say you're going to Byberry!"


Undoubtedly, the 19th century was not kind to his legacy, though there is a public middle school in that community named in his honor.

While in the 1600's Byberry was quite a distance from the city, by 1850 the AIS Census index for PA shows Byberry Twp. to be a part of Philadelphia Co. and by 1854 the city and county were consolidated. Once rural, later suburban, it now is within the city limits surrounding Roosevelt Blvd. (Rt. 1) in the northeast part of the
city.

(Luther Olson)

==========

BENJAMIN RUSH--a friend and mediator

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, friends since their younger days, collaborated in 1776 in the preparation of a draft of the Declaration of Independence, which Jefferson later sat down in the summer's heat to compose and write.

These two brilliant men remained good friends during diplomatic missions abroad in the 1780's and in Washington's administration when Jefferson was Secretary and Adams was Vice President. Then a sad estrangement developed through political intrigue, and thus two great men, so alike in devotion to country, became cold and hostile toward each other.

The estrangement lasted through the presidency of Adams and of Jefferson, and continued after they retired from public life--Adams to Quincy, Mass., and Jefferson to Monticello in Virginia. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a warm friend of both ex-presidents, sought to heal the breach between his two friends whom he regarded as the personification of the republic.

His efforts eventually resulted in the resumption of their friendship, which was refreshed during the remainder of their lives by a wise, lively and affectionate correspondence. These letters, fortunately preserved, are still such as to "excite the thoughts of men." Without reserve, they wrote of politics, government, health, children, education, exercise, old age, life, death and the hereafter. What makes these letters so vivid and entertaining to this day are the minds and personalities behind these letters of rare quality, which are an American classic.

Amazingly, the two friends died on the same day, July 4, 1826-- the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and on that day John Adams--sinking toward death in Massachusetts--did not know that Jefferson had died five hours earlier, "Jefferson still lives," he murmured. So he does; so does John Adams; and nowhere so vividly as in the glow of the fascinating letters that had passed between them.

(from the supplement to THE RUSH FAMILY OF THE APPALACHIANS, by John Levi Rush)


RICHARD RUSH, STATESMAN AND DIPLOMAT

Richard Rush, the son of Benjamin, (Aug. 29, 1780-July 30, 1859) was a statesman, diplomat and lawyer. In 1811 he was the Attorney General of the state of PA. and during the same year was named comptroller of the United States treasury by President James Madison. Three years later he was offered a choice of secretary of the treasury or attorney general and chose the later. In 1815 he edited THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES FROM 1789 TO 1815, in five volumes.

He served President James Monroe as acting secretary of state and during this time he "negotiated the Rush-Bagot Convention between the U.S. and Britain on April 28, 1817, which established the limitation of armaments on the Great Lakes." In the latter part of that year he was named minister to Great Britain, during which time "he played an important role in the diplomatic negotiations leading to the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine. In 1825, he was appointed secretary of the treasury.Presidential candidate, John Quincy Adams, chose Richard to be his vice presidential running-mate in the elections of 1828, though they were defeated by Andrew Jackson. In 1847,

President James K. Polk named Rush minister to France.

(Sherman Day Wakefield, Colliers Ency.)


THE DEATH OF ANDREW RUSH

Our story deals with Andrew Rush, his brothers, John and Henry, on the fatal day of June 28, 1812. Andrew had started for a little mill which had been built on Greenville Creek, a few rods above where the Beamsville road crosses the creek on its way to Greenville, OH.

He got his grist and set out to return home. On his way he stopped to make a call on Daniel Potter, who with Isaac Vail, was occupying each his own end of a double log house, which stood between the residence of Moses Potter and the creek. These two settlers from some cause had become fearful of trouble, and had gone down to Miami for assistance to take back their families to their former homes.

Mrs. Potter asked Rush if he was not afraid of the Indians, and he put his hand thru his hair and replied jokingly, "No, I had my wife cut my hair this morning, so short that they could not get my scalp off." About 4 p.m., he left for home, and had proceeded not half a mile when he was shot from his horse, tomahawked and his scalp taken.

Uneasiness was felt because of his not returning home, but all the next day forenoon rain fell steadily, and it was thought he might have stayed with a settler, but in the afternoon, Hiller's oldest son, Rush's brother in law, took a horse and set out to look for him. The boys followed the track made by Rush to Greenville Creek, just above Spice Mill, and there found the body lying on the sack of meal mutilated.

They went hurriedly on to Potter's and the settler who had returned who had heard the news, mounted a horse and set out to spread the alarm. They then hastened to the cabin of Henry Rush, and it was abandoned. The truth was evident, that a panic had seized them all and they had fled for their lives.

Arriving at the cabin of Peter Rush, he there found the hunter, Henry Creviston, who had passed the day in the woods, and now the three men, accompanied by the wife of Peter Rush, Mary (Slaughter) Rush, went to the home of Andrew.

One cannot imagine the terror of the time, the terrible gloomy uncertainty. About 9 p.m. the sky cleared of clouds, the moon rose and James mounted his horse, took up Peter's wife behind him and went home for help, more horses and a gun. All started for the fort about two a.m., and got in safe at daylight

The men were busy all this day putting the cabin in a state for defense, while the body of the murdered man still lay where it had fallen on the bag of meal, and the panic was at its height. So ends the gruesome story of the murder of Andrew Rush.

(as told by Jason Rainey Adamson)


CHURCH DISCIPLINE AT MILL CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH

(The history of Mill Creek Baptist Church, Tompkensville, KY, not only mentions the names of a number of Springers, the very land on which the then new church was to be built was purchased from Ezekial Springer. The same history also records the names of Benjamin Rush, Rachel Springer and their first son, James.)

==========

These members obviously took their religion seriously, for the consequence of misbehavior was pretty stiff by today's standards.
 

"This church has had on its roll both white and colored members. In the early days strict discipline and watch care was maintained over the members. Here are some examples of charges that were brought before the body: Being intoxicated with liquor (March 1799), Adultry (July 1801), Wife whipping (May 1813), Not grinding corn in its turn (Aug 1813), Pulling off coat to fight and threatening to burn powder (Jan 1815), Neglecting business while tending to a mill and letting meal run to waste into the cogpit. Not letting the customers know of it and making use of it. (Sep 1817), Putting a rock in feathers (May 1826) along with non-attendance, dancing and many other things."


The report then includes the observation:

"In all this there is only one colored member ever recorded as having been excluded on a morals charge. This is noteworthy considering the number of cases among the white members that have been brought before the church."
(50th Ann. Edition, THE TOMPKINSVILLE NEWS, Monroe Co, KY.)


WILLIAM RUSH AND ELIZABETH LEWIS

For many Rush descendants, it is this union which is the lynch pin upon which all the maternal generations of her ancestors depend. Is Elizabeth Lewis the daughter of Councillor and Elizabeth Lewis, descendant of kings and emperors, or is she from some other unknown family?

At this point it would appear we do not have the documentation to know definitely one way or the other. Indications that Elizabeth was the offspring of Councillor and Elizabeth come from various sources. She is listed as their child in the RUSH FAMILY OF PENNSYLVANIA PEDIGREE CHART, p. 79, #560.190. Her birth year of 1706 and death year of 1768, as well as her ancestry, may be found in THE RUSH FAMILY OF THE APPALACHIANS), by John Levi Rush who writes:
 

"The English Royal Ancestry of Elizabeth Lewis Rusis from the records of Capt. Nicholas Martiau, Col. George Reade and Col. Augustine Warner. It has been Documented and approved by Magna Charta (Wurtz) and by the following organizations: Order of the Three Crusades, Americans of Royal Descent, The Huguenot Society and Founders of Manakintown, Dames of Court of Honor, Daughters of Colonial Wars and Daughters of American Colonists.
(The Royal Ancestry was contributed by Ziliah Lee Agerton, a Southern cousin and a cousin of the present Queen Elizabeth.)"

Her birth and death dates may also be found in a lineage form of Opal Gladys Smith (Mrs. Henry T. Ford-not THE Henry T.), but, unfortunately, no documentation is given.

Additional documention is on p. 46, RUSH IN PENNSYLVANIA, (Reprinted from THE PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE, No. 3, Vol XVII, Oct., 1893) First paragraph--Descendants of John Rush where we find:

"The following Genealogy is taken from a chart presented to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1880, by Robert Bethell Browne, of Jeansville, Luzerne Co, PA, it being a copy of a record compiled by General James Irvine in the year 1800, and placed by him in the family Bible of his cousin, Frances Bethell, mother of R. B. Browne."
(This added info comes from Ron Gooden, Austin, TX)

Those who doubt this union could cite Sorley's authoritative book, LEWIS OF WARNER HALL, where he states that Elizabeth "became the first wife of John Bolling, but died without issue shortly after marriage." or Sylvia Johnson Rush who in 1968 states "According to information available in the Library of Congress, William Rush was a typical frontiersman and left no record of his family." She also reports that there is a notation in that library to the effect that any positive information regarding William Rush, b 1703, and his issue would be appreciated.

While he may have become a typical frontiersman, William was born in Byberry to two of the more prestigious families of PA, and his birth was called "a great society event." His wedding was in Philadelphia, so it is certainly a possibility that he could have married into a prominent VA family. It must also be remembered that his father and Grandfather Carver were both land speculators in Virginia and undoubtedly spent some time there, so it is likely that all these "prominent" families from PA and VA were at least acquainted.

Meriwether Lewis (a distant cousin of Elizabeth), as he was preparing for his famous expedition in 1803, studied medicine with Dr. Benjamin (Signer) Rush.  (The most common medicine Meriwether received for the trip came to be known as "Rushes Thunderbolts"--a powerful laxative).  William and Benjamin were also distant cousins.  Meriwether was the secretary for President Thomas Jefferson before being asked by Jefferson to lead the expedition.  Jefferson and Benjamin Rush were neighbors on the same street in Philadelphia. Also, there was an Esq. William Lewis (Att. for U.S.) living on the same street as Benjamin. ( I haven't yet been able to establish any relationship).

In addition, both George Washington and Elizabeth Lewis are the descendants of Robert and Mildred Reade, who lived in the early seventeenth century. During the years after the George's death, some members of the Lewis family were living at Mount Vernon with widow Martha Washington, demonstrating the close relationship of the Washington and Lewis family.  Keep in mind that it was Washington who made Benjamin Rush his surgeon general during the Revolutionary War.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, Meriwether Lewis and others in the Lewis family--it would certainly seem likely that these powerful and famous families were all well-known to each other, perhaps for generations--all giving credence to our Elizabeth being the daughter of Councillor and Elizabeth Lewis.

(Luther Olson)


BEDFORD CO., PA PIONEERS/OLD JERSEY CHURCH

William Rush and Elizabeth Ream, along with their eight chiildren were part of a group of eighteen or twenty families of Baptists that left New Jersey to settle in Bedford County (now Somerset Co.) near the present day Ursina. Raised in New Jersey, he was a farmer like his father. It was in the spring of 1770 that they headed for Fort Cumberland in what is now northern Maryland, and then west over the present Route 40.

The men who were the heads of families, as far as can be ascertained were: Robert Colborn, David King, Christopher King, Oliver Drake, William Rush, Andrew Ream, Nathaniel Skinner, John Mitchell, John Hyatt, William Tannehill, James Moon, Edward Harned, David Woodmancy, John Copp, John McNair, Joseph Lanning, William Brooke, Jacob Strawn and Obadiah Reed.

It is claimed they crossed the Casselman River, trekked over the mountains and stopped in the valley of Laurel Hill Creek. Since they had traveled on horseback or by foot, they had brought very few possesions with them. The first thing they needed was shelter, so they built cabins from rough logs, dwellings that had dirt floors. They made their own plows and harrows for farming.

(Thanks to Michelle Hayes for this and the list of family heads)

The book entitled BEDFORD AND SOMERSET COUNTIES compares them to a Biblical event in words that even resemble Old Testament prose.

"Resting here, like the Children of Israel coming out of Egypt into the promised land, they went out to possess it. Leaving their families here , these settlers went forth, each selecting for himself a portion of the land whereon to build a home for himself and his family. By a mutual understanding among themselves each one was to be limited to such quantity of land as he would walk around in a single day, at the same time marking its boundaries by blazing the trees."


On Wednesday, June 14, 1775, five years later, the first church service was held at the home of Moses Hall in Turkeyfoot. This day marks the founding of the Regular Baptist Church of Turkeyfoot, which soon became known as "Jersey Church." Several Rush men attended that first meeting in addition to William, one being his son, Jacob.
 

"These Baptists were of the strictly religious type. To have your name in the church meant something. It was a real recommendation as no triflers were allowed. Absense from meeting meant that a committee would call and see why. If from church services the same. Grievances between neighbors were settled at church-meeting."


Taken from the old church record is the following:

"Resolved that brethren Robert Colburn and Jacob Rush be a committee to site brother Jacob King to attend the next church meeting to be held on Saturday preceding the 3d. Sabbath in March next, to answer for neglect in filling his seat in our church meetings and for the sin of intemperance.
(from THE JERSEY CHURCH THROUGH THE YEARS, by Mrs. A. G. Boughner, reprinted for the 1976
Bicentennial)

Jersey Church, now Old Jersey Church, was the first Baptist church west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was also the first church of any denomination in Bedford County. Many of the early Rush family members are buried in the Old Jersey churchyard.

(Luther Olson)