Allison-Antrim Museum

Franklin A. Bushey


Dr. Franklin A. Bushey’s Soldier’s Story begins the same way his brother, Michael’s, did. In 1850, Michael Bushey Sr., a farmer, owned $15,000 worth of real estate in Antrim Township. According to several history sources, it is known that Michael and Frances owned the old “mansion” and property that had once been owned by Col. Thomas Johnston, at 11400 Stull Road, Antrim Township. Johnston served during the Revolutionary War and was the second son of James Johnston Sr., one of the early white settlers in Antrim Township. It was in this mansion house that Franklin A. Bushey was born on October 3, 1840. 2015 will mark the 175th anniversary of his birth.


 Michael and his wife Frances were both born in Pennsylvania, as were their five children – Henry (21), Catherine (18), Elizabeth (15), Michael N. (12), and Franklin A. (9). Elizabeth Scott (15) and John Hochlander (22) were included in the 1850 enumeration of the household. John was a laborer on the farm and Henry, the eldest, also helped with the farming.


 By 1860, Michael and Frances were living in Ft. Loudon. Michael was 60 years old, owned $20,000 of real estate, and at the age of 60, his occupation was “gentleman.” His wife Frances was 53 and only two of their children were still living with them – Elizabeth (23) and Franklin (19) was a medical student. Franklin’s eldest brother Henry H. Bushey (32) was a physician and he and his wife lived in Licking Creek Township, Fulton County. It seems that Henry, as a doctor, had a great influence on Franklin.


 Franklin’s childhood education included common school and a select school. Bushey studied medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and College of Physicians and Surgeons and graduated from the same institution on March 2, 1861. Franklin County first required physicians to register with the county prothonotary in June 1881. Bushey registered on July 19, 1881.


 After the Confederate victory at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, Pennsylvania was in great jeopardy of invasion along its southern border. Because the PA Reserves were fighting with McClellan, Gov. Andrew Curtin called for all able bodied men to arm themselves and, in each town businesses were to close at 3 pm so that the men of the town could participate in military drills. On September 11, 1862, Curtin called for 50,000 men to enroll. The men from the Cumberland Valley responded. Among them was Dr. Franklin A. Bushey. In Chambersburg, on September 17, 1862, Bushey was mustered in as the surgeon of the 3rd PA Militia. Under him were two assistant surgeons and a hospital steward. There were 10 companies in the regiment. In all, the 1862 PA Militia had 25 regiments and a National Guard regiment. 15,000 troops were moved to Hagerstown and Boosnsboro on the fringe of the great battle at Antietam. 10,000 troops were between Greencastle and Chambersburg and another 25,000 were in Harrisburg. The 25th PA Militia regiment was sent to Delaware to protect the DuPont Powder Mills. Upon the retreat of Lee’s Army after the Battle of Antietam, all the men were mustered out on September 24, 1862. Three months later, at Manchester, PA, on December 15, 1862, Dr. Franklin A. Bushey enrolled as an assistant surgeon with the 4th PA Cavalry. He was mustered in on December 15, at Harrisburg. Within the 4th Cavalry there were four surgeons and six assistant surgeons. The 4th PA Cavalry was engaged in the Battle of Gettysburg, the Wilderness Campaign, Sheridan’s Raid, and the Appomattox Campaign. When the war concluded, Bushey was placed in charge of a sizable government hospital in Missouri. His burial card indicates his term of service as April 21, 1861 to June, 30, 1865. Although I have not yet found any Pennsylvania army records, Franklin Bushey was most likely part of the 1861 PA Militia.


 After Bushey returned to Greencastle in 1865, he married Dr. Adam Carl’s youngest daughter, Mary Ellen, who was born on March 1, 1843. They were married on December 27. During his early career in Greencastle, he was associated with the practices of Dr. Adam Carl and his son, Dr. George D. Carl. Mary Ellen and Franklin had two daughters – Elise C., born October 2, 1867, and Bertha, born November 25, 1869. On the 1900 U.S. Census, Lamont Bartle, 10, was living in the Bushey household. He was listed as an adopted son.


 As with Michael N. Bushey, Franklin’s older brother, I have not yet been able to find an 1870 U.S. Census record for Franklin and Mary Ellen. Elise, their two-year old daughter was recorded in the 1870 census as “granddaughter,” within the household of Dr. Adam Carl. When Michael was killed by Indians in 1880, in Saguache County, CO, Franklin had a memorial headstone placed in the Bushey family burial plot in Cedar Hill Cemetery.


 In about 1900, Elise married an Episcopal minister, John C. Grimes. They were living in Williamsport, PA in 1910 and had no children during their 10 years of marriage. Two years later, John and Elise were living in Blossburg, Tioga County, PA. John took his own life on January 27, 1912. Elise returned to her hometown of Greencastle and lived with her widowed father. She passed away in 1933 and is buried in the Bushey family plot, Section O, Lot 28, Cedar Hill Cemetery.


 Bertha married Dr. Morris A. Birely. They lived in Thurmont, MD where they raised their family. At her death on July 22, 1957, she was survived by her son Dr. M. Franklin Birely, and a grandson F. Carter Birely. Bertha is buried in the Blue Ridge Cemetery in the Birely family plot. F. Carter Birley, has put on long-term loan to Allison-Antrim Museum, Dr. Bushey's U.S. Army issued surgeon’s kit, his formal portrait, and a Franklin Bushey family coverlet, woven in Greencastle.


 When men or women were preparing to become physicians, they most often studied under local doctors. In 1882, William H. Brosius studied under Bushey, prior to attending Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. After graduating in 1886, Brosius returned to Greencastle, where he practiced for 10 months before establishing his office in Mont Alto, where he practiced until his death.


 Dr. Franklin A. Bushey’s love of his community and care and concern for his Civil War veterans is very evident from the history of his civic duty. For a long length of time, Bushey was the head of the U.S. Pension Examining Board, in Franklin County. It is said that he knew every Civil War veteran in Franklin County by sight and name, and remembered the regiment and company, in which each man served.


 Bushey was a charter member of the Grand Army of the Republic chapter of the Corporal William H. Rihl Post #438 and was instrumental in its establishment. He served in many positions – commander, secretary, sergeant-at-arms, and he chaired various committees. When Gen. Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885, Bushey penned GAR Post #438’s Resolution of Respect, (page 362). In 1886, he played a vital role in the re-interment of Corp. William H. Rihl’s body on June 22, 1886, at the site where he was killed on June 22, 1863. Bushey was also very involved in the erection of the monument memorializing Rihl, on the site of the Civil War skirmish. On the day of dedication, he was the keynote speaker.


 He became Greencastle-Antrim’s Civil War historian by, “the gathering and preserving of historical data, souvenirs, and traditions of Franklin County,” and by writing historical articles for the local newspaper. Bushey’s office cabinets were filled with Civil War and Indian relics and other items of local history. “His knowledge of the effect of the Civil War on the vicinity of Greencastle was encyclopedic...” From Pennsylvania A History – Biographical, by George P. Donehoo, 1928, Donehoo wrote of Bushey’s character, “A learned and humane physician of the old school, to be relied on always in time of need, a cultured and Christian gentleman, Dr. Bushey was of the finest type produced by this country. His personal characteristics were remarkable, for he retained the appearance and vigor of youth almost to the end of his days. His presence was handsome, his figure tall, slender and erect, and his manner gracious. His interesting conversation made him a social favorite; and his knowledge of local conditions, his good judgment, and his clearheaded common sense recommended him to all as a business advisor.”


In addition to being a charter member and one of the most active members of the Corp. William H. Rihl GAR Post #438, Bushey was also a member of three fraternal organizations – the Knights of Honor and Legion of Honor – both of which had chapters in Greencastle. The Mount Pisgah Masonic Lodge No. 443 was established, on August 26, 1869, in Greencastle. Bushey served as one of the lodge’s officers during the 1880s.





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