|Born||June 4, 1824
|Died||December 23, 1913
Asahel Bush (1824–1913) was an American newspaper publisher and businessman in Salem, Oregon. As publisher the Oregon Statesman newspaper, he moved the paper to Salem when the territorial capital moved to that city. A Massachusetts native, Bush became the first official printer for the state of Oregon, and his estate is now a city park.
Asahel Bush was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, on June 4, 1824. His parents, Asahel Bush, Sr. and Sally Noble Bush, were of English descent. The younger Asahel attended public school and later Westfield Academy, then at the age of 17 moved to Saratoga Springs, New York where he became an apprentice printer. Bush later worked for a newspaper before studying law. He passed the bar in 1850 in Massachusetts, but soon left for the Oregon Territory by ship, taking the Isthmus of Panama route.
Bush arrived in Oregon in late 1850 at Portland and settled in Oregon City. Once his printing press arrived, he started the Oregon Statesman newspaper in March 1851. In 1853, the capital was moved to Salem and Bush moved the newspaper there as well, where it would later become the Salem Statesman Journal. At this time newspapers were partisan instruments used to further political parties. Bush’s use of his paper gave him the nickname of “Bushy Bush” and he often sparred with the rival party’s newspaper The Oregonian edited by Thomas J. Dryer. Though he defended slavery, he supported the Union during the American Civil War. In 1859, Bush become the first official printer for the state of Oregon. He left the newspaper business in 1863 when he sold the newspaper.
In 1867, Bush along with William S. Ladd founded the Ladd and Bush Bank in Salem. Ten years later Bush would buy out Ladd and become the sole proprietor of the financial institution. He remained active in politics and was a member of the state Democratic Party’s central committee, including time as the chairperson, and in 1892 was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
Later life and family
In 1854, Asahel Bush married Eugenia Zieber of Salem, with whom he would father four children Sally, Eugenia, Estelle, and Asahel III who would be known as A. N. Bush. Eugenia was the daughter of one of his printer employees, and she would die at the age of 30 in 1863. Bush served as a trustee of Willamette University and as a regent to the University of Oregon. Asahel Bush II died on December 23, 1913 at the age of 89 in Salem and was buried at Salem Pioneer Cemetery. His estate is now preserved as Bush's Pasture Park and his home, Asahel Bush House, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.
- Oregon History Project: Asahel Bush Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved on December 1, 2007.
- Asahel Bush. Salem Online History. Retrieved on December 1, 2007.
- Asahel Bush. Salem Pioneer Cemetery. Retrieved on December 1, 2007.
- Bush House Museum, Salem Oregon
- Images of the Bush House from Salem Public Library's Oregon Historic Photograph Collections