The Busenbarks were a family of German Jews. On a pedigree chart we have going back only to the early 17th Century, are shown four generations born in Prussia, so no doubt there were more further back born in the same area. The name was Busenberger, then Busenberry or Bosenberry, and finally Busenbark. The first one of the family in our line to be born in America was John Busenberger, who was born in Amwell Ts., Hunterdon Co., N.J. about 1730. Next in line was William Busenberry, or Busenbark, born about 1775 in New Jersey. William moved to New York State as a young man. He first married a woman named Rhoda who died at the birth of her first child. He later married Sarah and they were the parents of 15 children. Their names and birthdates follow:
Asher, 1796, Harland, Niagra, New York; John, 1798; Isaac, 19 Nov. 1801, Romulus, Seneca, New York; George, 1803; Sarah (twin), Harry (twin), 1805; John, 1806; Annie, 1807; Rebecca, 1808; Peter, 1809, Daughter, 1810; Elizabeth, 1811; Jane, 1813; Polly, 1815; Peter, 1816.
The father of this family died in New York about 1845. The mother also died in New York in 1846.
In 1824 Isaac married Abigail Manning, who was born in New Jersey in June of 1807. Her parents were Nathan Manning and Sara Leech (or Leach). The family lived just four miles south of the Peter Whitmer farm where the L.D.S. Church was organized, so they were some of the first to hear the true gospel. Isaac and his wife Abigail and three children were baptized into the Church by John Smith, uncle of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in May 1842. The next four children were baptized in the years 1848 and 1849. There were twelve children in the family as given here:
Sara Jane, 2 Mar 1825, Romulus, Seneca, New York; Louisa, 25 May 1827; Mary 14 Aug 1827; Henry Daniel 14 Dec 1831; Harriet, 2 Aug 1834, Hartland, Niagra, New York; Margaret Alice, 19 Dec 1836; Lucinda, 29 Apr 1839; Elizabeth, 1840; Martha, 1842; William Isaac, 25 Dec 1845, Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Ammie Eliza, 7 Sep 1849, Honey Creek, Pottawattamie, Iowa; Isaac, 18 Dec 1851, On the Plains, Iowa.
The family left the state of New York in 1842, where they had comfort and security and where their people had been wealthy land owners; but Isaac was disinherited because of the new religion. They moved to Nauvoo, Ill. where the body of the church was located and lived there in Iowa for about four years. Isaac received a Patriarchal Blessing from Hyrum Smith, the brother of the Prophet. While in Illinois they experienced the same persecution as the rest of the Saints. In February of 1846 they left Nauvoo, being driven out with the others, crossing the Mississippi River on the journey west. They stayed a short time at Sugar Creek, Iowa, then moved on to Honey Creek, near Council Bluffs, Iowa. They stayed in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and in Winter Quarters, across the Missouri River, in Nebraska. This is now Florence, Douglas, Co., Nebraska.
On June 18th, 1852, the wife died and the six months old baby, Isaac, died, and were buried in the old church cemetery at Winter Quarters. In the last part of June, 1852, Isaac and seven children started for Utah. Two of the children had died and the three oldest daughters had married and had gone west previously. Seven children and no mother to care for them made for a trying time for all concerned. We can now only imagine all the hardships they went through on crossing the plains and mountains to Utah. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley on 17 September 1852 and were advised to settle in North Ogden, Weber Co., Utah. Here Isaac found his oldest Daughter, Sara Jane, who had married Newton D. Hall, and Ira Rice, the father-in-law of Isaac's two daughters, Louisa and Mary, who had married Asaph Rice. Perhaps they too were there as we are not truly sure on that point. Before too long, the records say about 1853, Isaac was married for the second time to a woman from Kentucky. Her maiden name was Lovina Patterson and she had first married a man named Woolsey. She had joined the Church in the east and had crossed the plains earlier. She had three children by her first marriage and five children were born to her and Isaac. Their names an birthdays and places follow:
Lovina, 1854, North Ogden, Weber, Utah; Malina, 16 May 1856; John, 25 Mar 1859; Sarah, 3 Aug 1862, Providence, Cache, Utah; George, 29 June 1864.
In May of 1859 the Busenbarks had been called to help settle another farming community in Cache Valley, named Fort Providence, and later the name was shortened to Providence. His Hall and Rice families were here also. It is interesting to follow these three families and see how many times they followed the same trails. Sometimes they were together and at other times they followed along much later. And now, seven years after coming to Cache Valley they were all three again called to help settle a far outpost of Brigham Young's empire. This time it was the Cotton Mission in southern Utah and northern Arizona. John Busenbark, the oldest son of the second marriage, gives a short account of their trip and their life in that region. He states, "We had two yoke of cattle, a pair of mules, and two wagons when we left Cache Valley, in Utah for Southern Utah. They traveled very slowly and scarcely more than ten or twelve miles in a day, due to the poor roads. At. St. George we were instructed by Apostle Erastus Snow where to locate. The Busenbarks were to go further south and help settle the Muddy Valley. We located at West Point." This settlement is now long abandoned. It was below the now station of Moapa on the Union Pacific R.R.
Isaac Busenbark said to get flour they would go down to St. Joseph, which was 15 miles east of the California Crossing, to a burr mill where the wheat was ground. He also said they fed the team on wild willow sprouts and cane and grew along the Muddy River. There were many Piaute Indians living along the river at this time, and ten white families at West Point. John Busenbark also stated that they had very little to eat, the climate was warm, and they grew some wheat. They ate roots and greens made from thistles. The family lived in the Muddy Valley for two years and then decided to go to Garfield County, Utah, traveling by way of Pahranagat Valley, and to the town of Panaca, which was a few miles south of the mining town of Pioche, Neveda. Here he met two men, Raymond and Ely, who were the owners of a big mine in Pioche. They also had many cattle, so when they learned that Busenbark was a stone-mason, they asked him to stay and work for them. Being in hard circumstances, he was glad to obtain work. He stayed here about one year, building a stone corral, the walls of which were five feet high and the corral covered in all about five acres. Isaac Busenbark worked at many trades besides being a stone mason, he could make keys, barrels, big wooden bowls, and all sorts of cooper work. They left here (Pioche area) and went back to Meadow Valley where they stayed for a short time at Bullionville (near Panaca) where a small smelter had been built and some of the Pioche ore was processed.
He next went to on to Parowan, Iron Co., Utah, stopping for a short visit with his wife's sister, Eliza Miller. Then they finally went on to the place they had started for, Panguitch, Garfield, Co., Utah. They first lived in a fort built to protect them from the Indians. It consisted of a schoolhouse, Liberty Pole, and a number of small log huts with dirt roofs and dirt floors. They lived as before in their wagon box until they could get logs for a house. An old fashioned burr mill was established to grind grain. Fishing was good in Panguitch Lake. Isaac Busenbark, like many of the early pioneers, helped to settle several places. In Providence, Utah it was said of him that he always took the counsel of Church leaders and authority over him. He lived at Panguitch about six years and died there on 19 Nov 1876, and was buried in the old cemetery.
Written in or near 1955 by a great-great-granddaughter, Zelma Mathews Miller. Rewritten and material added by Marguerite Rice Lyman in 1971.