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 James Burton Rushforth

James Burton Rushforth

Davis County, Utah, USA
Death 1 Nov 1906 (aged 48)
Davis County, Utah, USA
Burial Kaysville, Davis County, Utah, USA
Plot 8-2-A-6
Memorial ID 123334 · View Source
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James Burton Rushforth was born 31 March 1858 in Kaysville, Davis County, Utah. He was the second son of Samuel and Rosemond Burton Rushforth. When he was small he fell into a tub of lime and was badly burned on the back and down one leg. His mother nursed him back to health with olive oil. He had to use crutches and as the burns healed it seemed to pull him a little to one side.

Sometime later his mother sent him and his sister Eliza to Aunt Isabella Smith's (his mother's sister)home two miles away to borrow a boiler. A blizzard came up and froze their fingers that held the boiler. They both had stubby fingers on opposite hands.

James had no opportunity to go to school and his mother and father taught him to read, write, and cipher (Math). James enjoyed acting, dancing, and music. He could play a base horn, accordian, violin, and mouth organ.

Phoebe Merrill came out to Kaysville from her home in Salt Lake City. She was visiting with friends when James met her. A short courtship took him to Salt Lake to ask Phoebe's widowed mother for Phoebe's hand in marriage. The mother assured him he could marry Phoebe when he had a home to take her to. He bought an adobe house from Levi Payne. This home was south and west of Kaysville. In this home 8 of their 9 children were born.

The couple was married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah on 20th March 1884. Their first child, Mabel Merrill, was born at Phoebe's mother's home in Salt Lake on 7 February 1885. The second child, James was born 26 April 1887. He was blessed the first Sunday in June. James went up the canyon to the coal beds to get coal. While he was gone the baby became ill. There were no close neighbors and no doctors and Phoebe, the mother knelt at the bedside watching and praying over the newborn. He was buried the Sunder after he was named.

Parley LaVaun joined the family 22 August 1888 and Anna followed 16 October 1890. She died the day after her fourth birthday. Edna Isabell was born 13 November 1892 and Phoebe Merrill came along two years later on 25 November 1894. The 26th October 1896 saw the birth of Mary (Mayme), followed by Ruby on 10th July 1899 and Merrill on 25 May 1903.

In 1881, James began to be handicapped with asthma and as the disease progressed, he had more trouble lying down. He would sit with his head leaning on his arms paced on the back of a high backed chair. Phoebe made a bolster so he was almost sitting up when he went to bed.

During the summer he worked on a thresher and harvested grain all over the country north of Kaysville. He ate and slept with the other threshers as they moved from farm to farm. Charles Burton said, "He was always livening things up with his jokes and pranks while working on the header and thresher."

James's daughter, Phoebe writes, "My sister Mayme and I ran to meet Dad as he was returning from the barn on the eve of the great east wind of 1906. He took us each by the hand and stopped to listen. 'We're going to have a ripper tonight', he said, and I became conscious of the wind roaring in the mountains. It began soon. I half awoke one and heard him tell mother that the big poplar tree was down. The next morning he carefully cooked us an egg for breakfast, extinguished the fire and then put us back to bed to keep warm. I layed and watched the roof lift on the north side until I could see daylight. Then as the gust died down, it would settle again. In the afternoon, the wind died down. When we could go out we saw that father had propped the north wall with poles. The shingles were all off on the east slope of the roof. Our hay was gone and everything else that was loose. Father was ill. As soon as the neighbors could they came and gathered what hay they could and father could not help them. He feared a storm so began shingling the house. He nailed a bit and laid on the roof and rested a bit until the house was shingled."

November 1st, 1906, about two weeks after the wind storm, father arose, dressed and fell unconscious across the bed. He died that afternoon. He was buried in the Kaysville Cemetery.
Written by his granddaughter Dorene R. Jones




  • Maintained by: Karen Bennett
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 123334
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Burton Rushforth (21 Mar 1858–1 Nov 1906), Find A Grave Memorial no. 123334, citing Kaysville City Cemetery, Kaysville, Davis County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Karen Bennett (contributor 47068078) .