Beginnings: Edith Laraway Bushnell

Louis' future wife, Edith Laraway Bushnell, was born on 18 June 1892 southeast of Malvern, Mills Co., Iowa, in a settlement called White Cloud. She was the fifth of six daughters and one son born to Elisha William Bushnell and Anzo Etta Read.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, about Edith's middle name. Family legend has it that Edith had a different middle name upon her birth, and that someone outside the Bushnell family had promised a financial reward for using Laraway as a middle name. However, no known financial heritage befell Edith or the Bushnells. As it turns out, there were several Laraway families living in Glenwood, the county seat of Mills County, Iowa, that perhaps Edith's parents knew and admired. A more likely explanation is that her father Louis' grandmother's maiden name was Laraway and Edith's parents chose to use that for Edith's middle name.

Both Elisha (also known as 'Buck' or 'Lish') and Anzo Etta (called Etta) had come from farm families. Anzo's parents had come to Mills County, Iowa, about 1871, and Elisha's family came to Mills County about 5 years later. Their family farms were located about 3 miles south of Malvern. They were married on 4 January 1882 in Malvern, Mills Co., Iowa, at the home of future "in-laws” James L. and Charlotte Talbott. The marriage ceremony was conducted by Rev. Wallace who was Charlotte's uncle. The newly married couple lived in Carson, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa, and White Cloud, Mills County, Iowa, before moving to Malvern, Mills Co., Iowa.

Abandoned farmstead of Jesse H Read, Anzo's father. Figure at left Kendra Jones Garrett, Anzo's great granddaughter, photo March 1980

Abandoned farmstead of Jesse H Read, Anzo's father.
Figure at left Kendra Jones Garrett, Anzo's great granddaughter, photo March 1980

Three generations of Anzo and Elisha's descendants at the old Read farmstead. L-R: Daughter Ruth Bushnell; Great great granddaughter Megan Garrett, age 8; Great granddaughter Kendra Jones Garrett.

Three generations of Anzo and Elisha's descendants at the old Read farmstead.
L-R: Daughter Ruth Bushnell; Great great granddaughter Megan Garrett, age 8; Great granddaughter Kendra Jones Garrett.

In 1892 Elisha Bushnell engaged in business with B. L. Byers, C. E. Holmes, and S. E. Wainwright forming the Malvern Implement Company. In 1899 this was changed to Talbott, Bushnell and Wortz. In December of the following year Elisha with W. C. Wortz purchased the business which sold buggies, harnesses, and implements. The business was called Wortz & Bushnell, which apparently continued until the death of Elisha Bushnell.

Bushnell Family, undated, probably about 1900 Back Row, L-R: Edith Laraway; Bertha Maude; Mary Permelia; Mertie Viola Front Row, L-R: Elisha William; Ruth Ethlyn; Anzo Etta

Bushnell Family, undated, probably about 1900
Back Row, L-R: Edith Laraway; Bertha Maude; Mary Permelia; Mertie Viola
Front Row, L-R: Elisha William; Ruth Ethlyn; Anzo Etta

1900 United States Federal Census, Malvern, Mills Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Age: Sex:    Place born: Occupation:
Bushnell E.W. 41 M WI Implement Merchant
Etta 37 F IA
Myrtie 17 F IA At School
Bertha 14 F IA At School
Mary 11 F IA At School
Edith 7 F IA At School
Ruth 5 F IA

Elisha was appointed deputy sheriff for the eastern part of Mills County during the term of office of Sheriff William L. Tubbs. He continued in this capacity under the next sheriff William Morgan. In 1906 he became a candidate for the office of sheriff, but was defeated at the county convention. He was defeated for the same office in 1908 in the general election. Elisha William was elected Sheriff of Mills County, Iowa, in 1910 and moved the family to Glenwood. He was re-elected in 1912 and 1914 and "was perhaps the best known man in Mills County” at this time.

1910 United States Federal Census, Malvern, Mills Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Age: Sex:    Place born: Occupation:
Bushnell Elisha 53 M WI Owner, Implement store
Ettie 47 F IA
Bertha 23 F IA School Teacher
Mary 11 F IA At School
Edith 17 F IA At School
Ruth 14 F IA At School

Edith attended school in Glenwood, Mills Co., Iowa, beginning in 1910, graduating from Glenwood High School in 1912 at the age of 20. There were 22 members of the class of 1912. Commencement ceremonies were held at the Opera House in Glenwood. Her class colors were green and white and the class flower was American Beauty.
Edith was short, being only four feet and eleven inches in height. She had a contagious laugh and was further described as somewhat flighty.

Edith Laraway Bushnell Undated photo, possible high school graduation photo.

Edith Laraway Bushnell
Undated photo, possible high school graduation photo.