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Samuel P. Bush

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Samuel P. Bush
Bush in 1909
Samuel Prescott Bush

(1863-10-04)October 4, 1863
DiedFebruary 8, 1948(1948-02-08) (aged 84)
Burial placeGreen Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materStevens Institute of Technology (BS)
Occupation(s)Businessman and industrialist
  • Flora Sheldon
    (m. 1894; died 1920)
  • Martha Bell Carter
Children5, including Prescott
RelativesBush family

Samuel Prescott Bush (October 4, 1863 – February 8, 1948) was an American businessman and industrialist. Bush was the patriarch of the Bush political family. He was the father of U.S. Senator Prescott Bush, the paternal grandfather of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and the patrilineal great-grandfather of former Texas Governor and President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. After graduating from the Stevens Institute of Technology, he went on to establish himself as one of the leading industrialists of his era, leaving a lasting impact on history.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bush was born in Brick Church, Orange, New Jersey,[2] to Harriet Eleanor Fay (1829–1924) and Reverend James Smith Bush (1825–1889), an Episcopal priest at Grace Church in Orange. His siblings were James Freeman Bush (1860–1913), Harold Montfort Bush (1871–1945), and Eleanor Bush Woods (1872–1957).[citation needed]

He grew up in New Jersey, San Francisco, and Staten Island, but spent the majority of his adult life in Columbus, Ohio.[3]


Bush graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1884,[3] where he played on one of the earliest regular college football teams. He took an apprenticeship with the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad at the Logansport, Indiana, shops, later transferring to Dennison, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio, where in 1891 he became Master Mechanic, then in 1894 Superintendent of Motive Power. In 1899, he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to take the Superintendent of Motive Power position with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.[citation needed]

In 1901, Bush returned to Columbus to be general manager of Buckeye Steel Castings Company, which manufactured railway parts. The company was run by Frank Rockefeller, the brother of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, and among its clients were the railroads controlled by E. H. Harriman. The Bush and Harriman families would be closely associated at least until the end of World War II. In 1908, Rockefeller retired and Bush became president of Buckeye, a position he would hold until 1927, becoming one of the top industrialists of his generation.[3]

Bush was the first president of the Ohio Manufacturers Association,[4][5] and cofounder of the Columbus Academy. Additionally, he was the co-founder of the Scioto Country Club, a golf club in Columbus, Ohio.[6]

Political prominence[edit]

In the spring of 1918, banker Bernard Baruch was asked to reorganize the War Industries Board during World War I, and placed several prominent businessmen in key posts. Bush became chief of the Ordnance, Small Arms, and Ammunition Section, with national responsibility for government assistance to and relations with munitions companies.[7]

Bush served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (as well as of the Huntington National Bank of Columbus).[4] In 1931, he was appointed to Herbert Hoover's President's Committee for Unemployment Relief, chaired by Walter S. Gifford, then-president of AT&T.[8] He was once recommended to serve on the board of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, but Hoover did not feel he was sufficiently known nationally.[4]


Personal life[edit]

On June 20, 1894, he married Flora Sheldon (1872–1920), the daughter of Robert Emmet Sheldon (1845–1917) and Mary Elizabeth Butler (1850–1897). Her maternal grandfather was Courtland Philip Livingston Butler (1812–1891), a member of the Livingston family. Together, they had five children:

His wife, Flora, died on September 4, 1920, in Narragansett, Rhode Island, when she was hit by a car. He later married Martha Bell Carter (1879–1950) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[citation needed]

Bush died on February 8, 1948, aged 84, in Columbus.[3] He is interred at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.[18]


  1. ^ "Stevens Remembers Samuel Prescott Bush and His Entrepreneurial Spirit". Stevens Institute of Technology. December 4, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2023.
  2. ^ Bush's obituary in The New York Times, February 8, 1948, incorrectly stated that he was born October 13, 1864, on Staten Island, New York City.
  3. ^ a b c d "SAMUEL P. BUSH, 83, A STEEL EXECIJTIVE [sic]; Ex-Head of Buckeye Casting Co. Succumbs in Ohio – Once on War Industries Board". The New York Times. February 9, 1948. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Phillip R. Shriver. "A Hoover Vignette". Ohio History. 91: 74–82. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009.
  5. ^ Many sources, including Bush family biographer Kevin Phillips, erroneously state he was first president of the National Association of Manufacturers, which was founded in 1895.[1]
  6. ^ Bush, George W. (2014). 41: A Portrait of My Father. London: Ebury Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 9780553447781. OCLC 883645289.
  7. ^ "Members of the War Industries Board Organization". U.S. War Industries Board. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office: 39. 1919.
  8. ^ "The President's News Conference of August 25th, 1931". The American Presidency Project, the University of California at Santa Barbara. August 25, 1931. Retrieved February 26, 2007.
  9. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees (June 26, 2010). "Prescott S. Bush Jr., brother and uncle of U.S. presidents, dies at 87". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Kaushik, Sandeep (October 20, 2004). "Bush relatives use website to show support for Kerry". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Abcarian, Robin (January 18, 2005). "An oath and a reunion". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  12. ^ "Margaret Bush Clement; Bush's Aunt, 93". The New York Times. June 2, 1993. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths CLEMENT, SAMUEL PRESCOTT BUSH". The New York Times. May 13, 2007. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  14. ^ Archives, Manuscripts and. "LibGuides: Yale Officers: Calhoun College". guides.library.yale.edu. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "Cross Family Tree". December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  16. ^ Times, Special to the New York (August 26, 1959). "Banking Appointment Is Backed". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  17. ^ "Trade Company Elects President". The New York Times. July 17, 1963. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  18. ^ "Greenlawn Cemetery". Forgotten Ohio. Retrieved August 7, 2006.

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