Samuel P. Bush

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Samuel P. Bush
Born Samuel Prescott Bush
(1863-10-04)October 4, 1863
Brick Church, Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, U.S.
Died February 8, 1948(1948-02-08) (aged 84)
Columbus, Ohio
Resting place Green Lawn Cemetery
Columbus, Ohio
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Flora Sheldon, Martha Bell Carter
Children Prescott Sheldon Bush
Robert Bush
Mary Bush-House
Margaret Bush-Clement
James Smith Bush II
Parent(s) James Smith Bush
Harriet Fay
Relatives George H. W. Bush (grandson)
George W. Bush (great-grandson)

Samuel Prescott Bush (October 4, 1863 – February 8, 1948) was an American industrialist. He was the patriarch of the Bush political family. He was the father of U.S. Senator Prescott Bush, grandfather of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and great-grandfather of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Early life

Bush was born in Brick Church, Orange, New Jersey,[1] the son of Harriet Fay and the Rev. James Smith Bush, an Episcopal priest at Grace Church in Orange. He grew up in New Jersey, San Francisco, and Staten Island, but spent the majority of his adult life in Columbus, Ohio. He married Flora Sheldon on June 20, 1894. They had five children: Prescott Bush, Robert (who died in childhood), Mary (Mrs. Frank) House, Margaret (Mrs. Stuart) Clement, and James.

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 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Bush graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, New Jersey in 1884, 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 position of Superintendent of Motive Power with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.

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.

Bush was the first president of the Ohio Manufacturers Association,[2][3] and cofounder of Scioto Country Club and Columbus Academy. He was an avid sports enthusiast and a skilled carpenter.[citation needed]

Political prominence

In the spring of 1918, banker Bernard Baruch was asked to reorganize the War Industries Board as the U.S. prepared to enter World War I, and placed several prominent businessmen to 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.[4]

Bush served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (as well as of the Huntington National Bank of Columbus).[2] 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.[5] He was once recommended to serve on the board of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, but Hoover did not feel he was sufficiently known nationally.[2]


Bush died on February 8, 1948, aged 84, in Columbus; he is interred at Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.[6]


  1. 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Phillip R. Shriver. "A Hoover Vignette". 91. Ohio History: 74–82.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 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]
  4. "Members of the War Industries Board Organization". U.S. War Industries Board. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office: 39. 1919.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The President's News Conference of August 25th, 1931". The American Presidency Project, the University of California at Santa Barbara. August 25, 1931. Retrieved 2007-02-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Greenlawn Cemetery". Forgotten Ohio. Retrieved 2006-08-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links