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Edwin Welsh Bush Collection

Identifier: A-0334

Scope and Contents

The diary kept by Edwin Welsh Bush documents his journey from Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee to Texas in 1852. Bush entered the state by way of Pendleton’s Ferry and then made his way through Milam, San Augustine, Melrose, and Nacogdoches. The diary also contains notes written about travels through Texas and return trips to Tennessee between 1853 and 1854. Interesting anecdotes include Sam Houston’s railroad speech in Nacogdoches June 14, 1853; the Fourth of July in Melrose; the appearance of gubernatorial candidates in Nacogdoches July 6, 1853; Bush’s organization of a school in Melrose August 1, 1853; and shipwrecking on a return trip to Tennessee. Pages 1-45 are about events in 1852, pages 49-78 describe 1853, and pages 78-125 document 1854.

The collection has a handful of land, probate and oil lease deed documents, as well as a book of family funeral notices and obituaries.

Edwin W. Bush also wrote two letters to the ‘Nacogdoches Chronicle’ in 1854 from Washington Co., Texas. Use the microfilm at the archives, April 4, 1854, page 2, column 5.


  • Event: Donated 9/9/2019

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Edwin W. Bush was born in either 1819 or 1829 in Kentucky to Willis A. Bush (born circa 1795) and Malinda Welch Bush (born circa 1805). The discrepancy in Edwin W. Bush’s birthday occurs between the 1850 census (20 years-old) and the 1860 census (42 years-old).

The 1850 Census shows Edwin W. Bush was a merchant in the family business, W. A. Bush and Son, and lived with his parents and seven siblings at Gallatin in Sumner County, Tennessee. Edwin’s older brother, Christopher Bush, lived in Texas and passed away in 1852. Christopher was a Mexican-American War veteran and land speculator. Edwin took a three-month trip to Texas in October 1852 to look after his brother’s business interests. He traveled all over East Texas, visiting at least thirteen counties. Edwin made a yearlong second trip to Texas between April 1853 and May 1854. This time he spent most of his time in Nacogdoches County. Bush even taught school in Melrose for four months between May and December 1853.

Edwin W. Bush immigrated to the town of Rusk in Cherokee County, Texas in the mid-1850s and was the mayor there from 1856 to 1857. Bush placed an advertisement in the Houston ‘Weekly Telegraph’ from June to July 1857 looking for “50 Agents” to sell a book called “Bible Defense of Slavery.” He listed his profession in the announcement as druggist. The 1860 Census showed him to be single, living on the farm of George P. Driver, owning one male slave, and working as a “general agent.” The census indicates that he owns $2,500 in real estate and $4,600 in personal property.

It is unclear whether Bush served in the Civil War. The book ‘Cherokee County, Texas in the Civil War’ suggests that he was a lawyer for the Trans-Mississippi Department, but his name does not show up in the National Park Service’s “Soldiers and Sailors Database” or other service indexes. Several newspaper articles in the 1880s refer to Edwin W. Bush as “Major Bush” and he is no.50 on the 1893 roll for the Ross-Ector Camp no.513 at Rusk of the United Confederate Veterans.

After the war, census (1870, 1880) and directory information (as late as 1887) indicate that Edwin W. Bush was a practicing lawyer in the Rusk area. One directory in GoogleBooks from 1875 shows that he had a partnership with Robert McClure and co-owned a law office at Palestine in adjacent Anderson County. Also of note, Bush authored a petition with the state legislature in 1873 opposing the creation of a “Dillard County” out of Cherokee County.

Edwin A. Bush passed away at Linn Flat in Nacogdoches County in 1898.

Sources: The United States Censuses for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 on ‘Family Search,; ‘The Portal to Texas History’,; Ogreta W. Huttash, “Civil war Records of Cherokee County, Texas,” Volume 1 (Jacksonville, TX, 1982), page 71; Linda Ericson Devereaux and Kathryn Hooper Davis (compiled by), ‘Cherokee County, Texas in the Civil War (Nacogdoches, TX: Ericson Books, 2005), page 74; and C. T. Nall, “The Texas Diary of Edwin Welsh Bush, 1852-1854,” ‘East Texas Historical Journal’ 5, no.2 (October 1967), 94-100,


0.05 Cubic Feet


This collection consists of 11 items. Nine of the items are described in three folders and housed with other collections in a banker's box. There are two items in an oversize bundle. The collection is organized at the item-level.

Guide to the Edwin Welsh Bush Collection
Kyle Ainsworth
November 2019
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository