Justus Luke Bush and Sally St. John, second cousins and lifelong acquaintances, married in 1821. Their bedroom, shown here as it may have looked during the early years of their marriage, was their private place, serving an important function in a household whose occupants also included Justus’s mother, two of his sisters and four slaves.
Details of the Bush’s family trade and financial status are evident in the bedroom. Justus Luke Bush inherited the family’s lucrative mercantile and shipping business after his father, David Bush, passed away in 1797.
The financial success of this business is reflected in the fine décor of Justus and Sally’s bedroom, as is the nature of their particular trade. Imported goods such as the striped “Venetian” rug and the English chintz bed hangings are reminders of the access to international goods that Justus Luke would have enjoyed through his work.
A favorite feature among visitors to the museum is the wood paneled fireplace wall. David Bush’s 1797 estate inventory refers to the bedroom as the “blue chamber” because of the paint that once covered this wood paneling. Around 1830, in an effort to bring the bedroom décor up to date with the tastes of the day, Justus Luke Bush had the paneling painted to simulate birds eye maple wood-graining. Today, evidence of the original blue paint can be seen through chips in the simulated wood grain paint!
Significant objects in Justus Luke and Sally Bush’s Bedroom
- Wood paneled wall
- English chintz bed hangings
- Bed warmer