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Douglas County Roots


W. H. Bush's Business Card from Hindsboro, IL circa 1912.

The other day my grandmother Sharon Schwengel shared with me a newspaper clipping regarding Douglas County History. It was specifically about her great-grandfather, William Bush. I did some digging here is how history unfolds from William's parents to present day:

  • John P. Busch was born on April 14, 1701 in Schwaigern, Wurttemberg, Germany. He married Anna Maria Busch. They had one son, Christopher (who is noted here as having the last name of Bush), who was born on June 2, 1735.

  • Christopher married Hannah Davis and together they had nine children, including William, who was born in July 1763 in Pennsylvania.

  • William married Elizabeth Bush and together they had 12 children, including John, born on April 1, 1802 in Hardin County, Kentucky.

  • John married Sarah Ann Cofer and together they had seven children which included Erasmus Barnett, born on October 18, 1835.

  • On September 17, 1857 Erasmus married Margaret Ann Moyer. Together they had seven children including William H., who was born on April 1, 1859.

  • On January 1, 1882, William married Lola E. Mulliken. Together the couple had eight children including Stella Fern.

  • In 1906, Stella married Charles Elihu Conner. Together the couple had 10 children including Clyde Edgar (my great-grandpa - who I always have and always will refer to as grandpa-great).

  • In 1935, Clyde married Marie Belle Barbee. Together they had two children, Charles "Chub" (to whom I refer to as my Uncle Chub) and Sharon Kay (my sweet grandmother). Marie is my middle name - a tribute to my great-grandma Marie. I shared one of her recipes here. She passed away in 1982, the year before I was born. In 1983 Grandpa-great married Juanita McCoskey and they remained married until he passed away in 2012 at the amazing age of 96.

  • Sharon married Phillip Wesley Schwengel on August 23, 1959. Together they had two children, Lorri Lynn (my mother) and Kenneth Edgar (my uncle).

  • Lorri married Ronald Earl Kenny on August 30, 1980. Together they had two children, Natalie Marie (me!) and Valerie Nicole (my sister).

Now that I've shared my Douglas County connection (or at least one of them) here is the rest of the story about William. In the Douglas County History article that my grandma Sharon shared with me, William was noted as being a well-known auctioneer and respected citizen of Hindsboro, Illinois. His father, E. B. Bush was one of the earliest settlers in the Bowdre Township. William was raised on a farm and went to the Bowdre country schools. In addition to being a renowned auctioneer, William also dealt in broomcorn with Duncan & Tarbox of Arcola, IL and was also an undertaker. In addition to his various professional endeavors, William was active in fraternal organizations including membership with the Masonic and IOOF fraternities and was a Modern Woodsman of America. In this article I learned that he was recognized as a "man of good business ability" and served several terms as deputy of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Hindsboro and senior deacon in the AF&AM Lodge at Hindsboro. He also served three terms as constable of Bowdre Township and managed the Douglas County Telephone Exchange, which was located within his Hindsboro residence.


William's business card, shown above, included the following on the back, "THE BEST IS ALWAYS THE CHEAPEST. And auctioneers are no exceptions. When you are in need of a salesman, the price for his service should be the last thing considered for the man that understands his business will pay his way and leave you a profit. Here is my record hung up Dec. 18th, 1912. Amount of sale $5,549 time of selling 340 minutes, number of sales made 388, average time per sale 52 7-12 seconds, average amount of each sale made, $14.30, range of sales from 10c to $550.00. If above work meets your approval I will appreciate your business. I go where I am called, distance cuts no figure with me. Yours Truly, W. H. Bush."


I love digging deep into my family roots, learning about my ancestors, and connecting my present day life with the people and places of the past. Bringing all this information together is so interesting! It builds such a strong connection with my community and encourages me to be more active and more supportive of the places and people around me. It also explains why I have a Masters of Public Administration and am a member of so many boards and organizations - it's in my blood!