When the two sons of Francis Bushnell arrived on these shores in 1635, the land of opportunity was in its infancy.  Barely fifteen years had passed since the Mayflower had landed and there were new cities to be formed.  When Francis arrived in 1639, he and his sons helped to establish the town of Guilford, Connecticut.  Francis dug in his roots on land that the town fathers had purchased from the local Indian tribes.

From there, Bushnell descendants have had a part of the creation of the American Nation, and have helped it thrive beyond even their own imaginations. Bushnells have served in all its wars; some with significant contributions. David Bushnell invented a one-person capsule that could be submerged, with the intention of blowing up enemy warships—the forerunner of submarines.  Two U.S. Navy sub–tenders have been christened with the name USS BUSHNELL, in his honor.

 Cornelius Bushnell commissioned the first metal-sided warship, the “Monitor” and saw it used by the nation’s Navy during the Civil War, although the Navy never officially owned it.  Cornelius was also instrumental in building the Union Pacific Railroad.  Bushnell, Nebraska was named after him.  The states of Florida, Illinois and South Dakota also have cities named Bushnell.  Other Bushnells have been educators, scientists, inventors, authors, jurists, military officers, and many physicians.  Nolan Bushnell helped introduce the age of high technology when he developed “Pong”, the first computer game, and the whole world knows of the famous Bushnell line of quality scopes and binoculars.  The City of Hartford, Connecticut knows well the theologian, Horace Bushnell and another Connecticut daughter, Candace Bushnell is a nationally known author.

The name of Bushnell is among those inscribed on the Vietnam memorial, and in another event in the national news, Benny Bushnell was murdered during a robbery at a bank in Utah where he worked.

So writing a brief history of the Bushnell Family is also a history of America, since we have been its builders and defenders from the beginning.  The family has added a professional impact to society while emigrating to all states of the nation.

Prepared for the 1st International Bushnell Family Reunion – July, 2007