Tag Archives: Danville

52 Ancestors #4 Giles Allen Butts, The “Premature”

Giles Allen Butts 1864-1934

Giles was one of those babies referred to as “premature”, except that in his case, he was eight months premature, which is stretching the term pretty far, I would say.  Henry Allen Butts and Ann Marie (Anna Mariah) were married on August 23, 1864.  Giles was born on September 15, 1964.  Both those dates are well documented.

Regardless of the fact that Ann Marie was obviously pregnant when they were married, this was no shotgun wedding.  His letters show that Henry Allen felt deep concern and love for his new wife and for his infant son.

I do not intend to write about all of Henry Allen’s children–my great uncles and aunts, but since he mentions “Allen” in his letters home, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce his first child, Giles Allen. And as I was researching Giles, I found out that I have accidentally fulfilled the challenge of #52 Ancestors to write about “closest to my birthday” by finding someone who was born ON my birthday.*

Although Henry calls him Allen in the letters,  that name did not stick. His relatives called him by the adorable name ‘Uncle Golly’ and he filled in the census forms as Giles Butts or Giles A. Butts.

Giles’ Family Tragedies

Giles was a farmer, like his father. At the age of 23, he married Eva (‘Aunt Abby’) McArter and they lived on a farm near Danville, Ohio.  Some very bad luck plagued Giles concerning his family.  He and Eva had five children between 1888 and 1897, and lost two of them between 1912 and 1928.

In 1912, their 19-year-old son, Raymond Cletus Butts, who was born on my birthday, March 4 (but 44 years before me), died of tuberculosis of the bone.

Elizabeth, the youngest daughter,  married John, the brother of her sister Mary Agatha‘s husband Julius Blubaugh. Elizabeth and John married two years after Mary Agatha and Julius.

In 1928, Elizabeth Rebecca (Butts) Blubaugh died in an automobile accident on her way to St. Luke’s Catholic Church.  She had been married there and most of the family members (including Henry Allen Butts) are buried in the churchyard.

It was  the first snow of the season, on November 25, a Sunday, and the Newark Advocate reported that Elizabeth Blubaugh, of Mt. Vernon died instantly.  Her husband John and two children in the car survived.

Tragedy struck the Blubaugh/Butts family once more when the daughter of Giles’ oldest daughter Rosalie Butts Rick died in an automobile accident in 1955, but Giles did not live to experience that tragedy.

Giles Takes in Motherless Children

According to the somewhat confusing and sometimes erroneous family history of Henry Allen Butts’ family written by Rev. Homer Blubaugh:

After raising their family, Golly and Abby take Ruth Blubaugh, 2-year-old older sister of Otto Blubaugh and his twin, Owen, to raise for 3 years after their mother’s death in 1912.  Otto’s eldest sisters had their hands full raising the motherless infant twins.

When would that have been? If it was after raising their family, you would think it would need to be after 1917 when their youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was married. However he says 1912.  And, remember, their son Raymond (born on my birthday) died in 1912. That may have made them eager for distraction, but on the other hand, it seems strange they would take in young children while they were still mourning his death, or–since he died late in the year, even more strange if he was dying of TB for them to take in children.

Blubaugh lists the children of the ill-fated Elizabeth and her husband John as Catherine, John, Otto J., Carl and Teresa Ann.  Since there is no Ruth, even though there is an Otto, It seems unlikely that this is the family Giles and his wife took in for three years. There were many ties between the Butts and Blubaughs families–neighbors in Knox County.   I have to conclude the mother who died was neither of the two daughters of Giles, but rather another Blubaugh who passed away when the twins were born.Whe wording “Ruth Blubaugh, 2-year-old older sister” means that they were infants and Ruth was two years old.

But I’m not sure, and cannot find confirmation, so once again I’m hoping some cousins will show up and bail me out of this puzzle, just as I hope with George, Henry’s twin.

Giles Allen, my great uncle–older brother to my grandmother Mary Isadore Butts Kaser— died in 1934, at the age of 69, and his wife survived until 1945. They are buried in St. Luke’s Catholic Church graveyard in Danville, Ohio.

*The suggested theme of the week at  52 Ancestors is not a requirement for the weekly story-telling about ancestors, and I generally do not follow the prompts, since I have an agenda of my own. This week’s prompt was “nearest to my birthday.” Since I discovered that Giles Butts son, Raymond, was born on my birthday, I decided to see what other relatives might be close to that date. In fact another relative on my father’s side of the tree, Leroy R. Kaser (1st Cousin 1 X removed) was born on March 4, 1891.  All these are pretty distant relatives, but Jediah Higgens, March 5, 1657, my 7th great grandfather, was close to my birthday.

How We Are Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary Isadore Butts Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Henry Allen Butts, who is also the father of
  • Giles Allen Butts.

Notes on Research

 

  •  Transcripts of a Butts Family Bible provided to me by Jane Butts Kilgore in 2003, owned at the time by James E. Butts. Other carefully researched information on the Butts family was also sent to me by Jane Butts Kilgore.
  • “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” by Rev. Homer Blubaugh, Saint Mary Church, Lancaster, Ohio.  This is a combination of documented and anecdotal information about the Butts family from Ohio. Some was gathered at family reunions. Some is downright wrong, but some is quite interesting. My copy was sent by Butts descendent Helen Findon in 2003. The document says Revised May 11, ’92 – Rev. Homer Blubaugh. Copies in the authors’ possession.
  • Newark Advocate, November 28, 1928, page 3, “Auto Crashes in Ohio Claim LIves of Ten.”
  • Birth, Death and Marriage dates generally from the Blubaugh history, but most confirmed by records found at Ancestry.com

 

52 Ancestors, Letter #1: Dear Wif–Civil War letter to Anna Mariah Smith

Anna Marie (Ann Mariah) Smith 1835-1917

Henry Allen and Ann Marie Butts

I am having great difficulty finding definitive information about Ann Mariah or Annie Smith, my great-grandmother. (To make it even more fun, her mother was Mary Smith–yeah, you try to find the documents for Mary Smith!!) I have Annie’s picture when she was an older lady, and I know that she married my great-grandfather Henry Allen Butts, who wrote to her in these Civil War letters I will be sharing.

However, her name is in question (Anna in some census reports, apparently called Annie by her husband and family, Mary, Marie or Mariah middle name in various family trees. Although I have not discovered a birth record, everyone (including my father’s notes and the 1900 census) agree she was born on April 12 1835 and her maiden name was Smith. Census reports say she was born in Ohio and her parents were born in Maryland. When did she die? My father’s notes say 1915, but the Ohio Deaths index says April 23, 1917.

When were she and Henry married? My father’s notes and other family members and family trees say August 23, 1863. However, the 1900 census, taken in June of that year, says she and Henry had been married 35 years. Furthermore, Homer Blubaugh’s history of the family reports that the marriage license on file at the Knox County Probate Court, they were married on August 23,1864. If that year is correct, they would have been married only one month before the birth of their first son, Giles Allen. This could point to a scandal of sorts, and clarify their accepting attitude when daughter Mame later got pregnant out of wedlock.

At any rate, less than a month after baby Giles Allen (called Allen in his father’s letter) was born, Henry Allen  joined the Union Army. (Enlistment date: October 16, 1864). Three months later, December 18, he writes the first of the surviving Civil War letters to his bride.

Dear Wif, it is a pleasure to me that I em permited to seat myself to anser your ever welcom letter which came to hand yesterday. i was glad that you and dear little Allen was well. your letters found me well and enjoying myself as well as i can enjoy my self better since i herd from you for it hes bin a long time to me.

This Civil War letter is written during the Siege of Savannah.  Henry Allen Butts was part of reinforcement troops joining General William Tecumsah Sherman and after training in Ohio, they had taken steamboats south and  between mid-November and mid-December they marched across Georgia, in Sherman’s destructive March to the Sea. See more about his troop movements here, and details of the 43rd Ohio here.

Henry Allen Butts joined Sherman’s Army in November, in the March to the Sea. From WikiMedia Commons.

i must tell you the reason i did not hear from you sooner we started on this march the 15 of november and landed hear on the 10 of this month we had no comunication all that time but it all right now we have had a hard march over three hundred miles. some nights we did not get time to lay down and hardly time to eat but we ar through and i em glad.

Although Henry Allen is not strong on spelling and punctuation (I have added periods at the ends of sentences for clarity) he gives a vivid picture of his battle experience, and shows us a kind and thoughtful husband.

i did not think that i wold write to you this day for we laid under the rebels fire boath Saturday and Sunday and the shells and balls flew thick and fast. thear was one shell bursted about ten feet from me and broke three of our guns so i begin to think that was coming rather close and i got behind the fortification. i was out on the bank at the time getting a drink. thear was 7 of our regt wonded. none in our company. we came out safe and i hope we always will. i don’t think we will here eny more fighting before Savanah for after the fight last Sunday we moved 15 miles to the right to guard the steamboat landing perhaps we will stay hear some time.

Two days after Henry Allen wrote this letter, the Southern General William Hardee fled Savannah. Meanwhile, the infantry private was glad to stay in one place for a time. We know from historic reports that Sherman’s army was running very low on supplies, and as either the Southerners or the Union army had destroyed most resources, could not live off the land they occupied. I was amused to see that Henry Allen agrees with Erasmus Anderson, whose letters I printed last year, about the Southern sweet potatoes. And obviously missing home, he nevertheless plays down the danger he faces.

Sherman's March to the Sea

Sherman’s Headquarters. Drawing from Harper’s Weekly 1864.

we have a nice camp and plenty of good water and plenty of coffee that is the only thing i like the army for.  this is the most beautifull cuntry i ever seen. it is all sandy land and nothing but pine timber. this is a grate of state for s(w)eet potato we have plenty of them to eat. i wich you had some but you and me will have some wen i come home. i hope that day is not far distant . my dear don’t think hard wen you don’t get a letter for thear is times we can’t send a letter. i will write to you as often as i can.

Henry Allen does not frequently mention other people in his letters. But in this first surviving letter, he does mention “Henry.”  A distant cousin, corresponding with my brother, identified “Henry” as the older brother of Annie Smith Butts. “I. Stull” [Stall] might be a relative of Henry Allen on his mother’s side. I have not identified “Landon,” nor traced Henry or I. Stull (who could be Jerimiah or William Stull, both listed with K Company.)

you stated in your letter that henry had bein home. i was glad to hear that he got home to see his dear littel ones.  you also stated that Ma cs [?} wanted you to come and live with them. i don’t want you to go thear or any other place. you stay wear you ar. i can make enough to keep you without living amoung strangers. i want you to stay wear you ar if i have to pay your bording all the time i am away. i don’t want people to say that my wife had to work out amoung strangers. dear wife i want you to send me four plugs of navy tobacco as soon as you can. the boys is all well. I Stull is with the company. give my love to all friends. landon got a letter.

 As was the case with Erasmus Anderson’s letters, Henry Allen closes with some instructions for his wife and a request for some tobacco so he could roll his own cigarettes.

Note:  According to Wikipedia definition of “Navy Cut Tobacco“: Navy tobacco is a Burley leaf pipe tobacco. In colonial times sailors twisted tobacco into a roll and “tied it tightly, often moistening the leaves with rum, molasses, or spice solutions.” Stored in this way the flavors melded. To smoke it a slice was cut, known as a “twist” or “curly”. Eventually all twisted tobacco, and then pressed tobacco, became known as “Navy” “because of the convenience for sailors and outdoorsmen who favored its compact size “and long-lasting, slow-burning qualities.” Navy Flake tobacco is pressed into bricks and sliced into broad flakes.

From Henry Allen’s Letter, we know that his wife Annie is loved and cared for. The four letters that survive are spaced close together, so I suspect there may have been more. We also learn that she has offered to go to work in someone’s home so that he will not have to pay for her room and board, and that his pride prevents that possibility.

After Henry returned from the war in May 1865, he purchased 12 1/2 acres of land for $400 near Millwood, Ohio. Despite the fact he now had his own place, Henry continued to work as a laborer.  According to family recollections compiled by Homer Blubagh, they had a large vegetable garden and she was well known for her beautiful flowers. She and Henry had five more children. The last child, Rebecca Jane (Jenny), was born in 1874 when Anne was 39. Jenny is the only person of that generation that I remember meeting. I was very young and she must have been in her late 70s when my family visited her in Mt. Vernon Ohio.

Later in their lives, Henry and Annie lived near the grain elevator in Danville Ohio.  From later recollections of relatives, we know that Annie was very devout, frequently walking several miles to church down a country lane, carrying her youngest at the time.

  • Their oldest, Giles Allen, known as “Uncle Golly,” (b. 1864), did not leave home to marry until he was 23.
  • In 1891 their daughter Mary Isadore, “Mame”, “got in a family way” and she and Henry Allen took in Mame’s illegitimate daughter to raise.
  • A year later, her next son, Monas Isaac, “Mon”, (b. 1867), was married, and Mame married Clifford Kaser (my grandparents).
  • Son Francis Cerius,  “Frank” (b. 1872) was married in 1894.
  • Daughter Rebecca Jane, “Jenny” (b. 1874) was married in 1898.
  • The next year, Annie and Henry’s daughter Ann Elizabeth, “Bessie”, who was engaged to be married, died of appendicitis (“inflammation of the bowels”) at the age of 26.

My great grandmother Annie Smith Butts died in April 1917 at the age of 82, and was survived by her husband, Henry Allen Butts.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary (Mame) Isadore Butts Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Ann Mariah Smith Butts.

Research Notes

  • Letters home from Henry Allen Butts. I do not have the originals or copies of the originals. I only have transcripts which my brother obtained from a man named Colopy who had the originals and lived in San Diego. There was a Colopy who was a grand daughter of Ivan Henry Smith mentioned in the letter.
  • Letter from Marie Smith to my brother, Paul William Kaser (1983). (copy in my possession).
  • Hand written notes (circa 1970) by my father, Paul Kaser, made about birth,death and marriage dates .
  • Transcripts of a Butts Family Bible provided to me by Jane Butts Kilgore in 2003, owned at the time by James E. Butts. Other carefully researched information on the Butts family was also sent to me by Jane Butts Kilgore.
  • “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” by Rev. Homer Blubaugh, Saint Mary Church, Lancaster, Ohio.  This is a combination of documented and anecdotal information about the Butts family from Ohio. Some was gathered at family reunions. Some is downright wrong, but some is quite interesting. My copy was sent by Butts descendent Helen Findon in 2003. The document says Revised May 11, ’92 – Rev. Homer Blubaugh. Copies in the authors’ possession.
  • For information on the 43rd Ohio: http://www.ohiocivilwar.com/cw43.html (consulted 1/13/2015)
  • For rosters of Ohio Civil War soldiers: http://www.ogs.org/research/results_ohcwss.php
  • A Compendium of The War of the Rebellion, Vol III, Regimental Histories, page 1599 and page 1517. Relevant copies of pages provided by my brother from library copy.
  • Letter from The War Department,  Adjutant General’s Office to Mrs. Truman Bucklew, Killbuck Ohio, December 6, 1934. In the author’s possession.
  • Application for veteran’s tombstone (from Ancestry.com) and personal visit to St. Luke’s cemetery in Danville, Ohio.

This is the 2nd in my 2015 stories in the 52 Ancestor’s Challenge.

52 Ancestors: #49, The Invisible Aunt Catherine, Illegitimate Child

Catherine Sapp (Butts) (1891-??)

In the small town of Danville, Ohio, St. Luke’s Catholic Church is a long time institution.  In fact, the original St. Luke’s in Danville was one of the oldest Catholic churches in Ohio.  A couple from Maryland, George and Catherine Sapp moved to this area of Ohio, and several families from their Maryland congregation and one nearby–St. Ignatius in Mt Savage and St. Mary’s in Cumberland–followed. The settlement they started was known by their name, and the Sapps donated the land for the first church, a log structure built in 1824.

One of the people who later joined this Catholic Community was  Henry Butts, my great-grandfather, who had been born in 1835 in Pennsylvania. Henry, a day laborer and farmer, fought in the Civil War when it started. He and his wife, Ann Marie Smith Butts were devout Catholics, and there are family stories of how Ann Marie walked to church, many times carrying her small children.

Mamie Butts Kaser mother of Catherine Sapp

Mamie Butts Kaser About 1893– Wedding picture?

So it must have been a great shock for the family when they learned that their daughter, Mary Isadore was pregnant with an illegitimate child. Pictures of “Mame” and the stories that my father told about her give no hint of a rebellious nature.  On the contrary, she looks very meek. How embarrassing it must have been for her to stand in front of the congregation of friends and neighbors with the father of the child, George Sapp as their illegitimate child was christened in 1891.

Was this George a member of the family that had started the church? Judging by census records, he was not a son of the original George and Catherine, and if he was related, I have not been able to prove it, since there are more George Sapps than you might imagine.

The question of why George and Mary did not wed is only one of the many mysteries about K/Catherine Sapp/Butts.  This aunt on my father’s side, is shrouded in mystery.

Why Did George and Mame Not Marry?

Did the Butts disapprove of George? On the christening record at St. Luke’s church, it identifies George as “non-Catholic.” Very strange, if he was related to the family involved with the church. Perhaps he was the black sheep of the family and the Butts family wanted to keep their daughter from him.

Is it possible that the Sapps did not approve of the Butts family?

Was George already promised to another?

What Was Her Name?

Then, there is my mysterious aunt’s name.  The Ohio Birth Records say that her name is Casalena Sapp.  A census report in 1900 has her name as Cathaleen Sapp but in 1910 the census shows her name as Katherine Butts, but since there are Catherines (with a “c”) in both the Butts and Sapp families, Catherine is more likely. (With a bad transcription explaining the “Casalena” and the “Cathaleen”.)

Catherine Sapp/Katherine Butts

Katherine Butts – 1910 United States Federal Census

Catherine Sapp/Katherine Butts

Katherine Butts, dressmaker – 1910 United States Federal Census

One other clue to her name is the fact that my sister’s middle name is Katherine, and my mother explained to me that she was named for “a favorite aunt.”  I always thought that was an aunt on my mother’s side who she referred to as “Aunt Cath” (although her name was really Caroline). My mother did say, “Of course we changed the spelling to “K” because Catherine with a “C” is the Catholic way of spelling it.” And mother was NOT a Catholic. My sister says she always thought it was an “aunt” on my father’s side.

Catherine an aunt? She was really my father, Paul Kaser’s half sister. Apparently the “aunt” part was a family myth that either my father believed, or maintained to hide the illegitimate child.  As my sister points out, my father was very protective of his mother, so might not have wanted to discuss the truth. On the other hand, he seemed pretty open about other things that happened in his family.

That aunt vs sister thing partly explains the confusion about whether her name is Sapp or Butts. Her father’s name was George Sapp, and her mother’s name was Mary Isadore Butts.  Since she was an illegitimate child, her last name was up for grabs. In fact, just two years after C/Katherine was born and baptized at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Danville Ohio, Mary Isadore, known as Mame, married Clifford Kaser and  gave birth to four children, including my father, Paul Kaser, born the year after this picture was taken.

Mame and Cliff Kaser Family 1908

Kaser Family, Irene, Mary I. (Mamie), Keith, Clifford Kaser About 1908

Meanwhile, George and Mary Isadore (Mame) did not want to get married, so when Mame married Clifford Kaser in 1893, and Cliff–apparently not the most tolerant of husbands– did not want to adopt the little girl. So the toddler C/Katherine stayed with her grandmother and grandfather, Henry Allen and Ann Marie Smith Butts. In the 1900 census, the little girl is listed as Cathaleen Sapp, but in the 1910 census, she is 18, listed as a dressmaker, and her name has changed to Katherine Butts.

Where Did She Go?

It came as a surprise to discover her name in this 1910 census, because up until now I had believed the family tale. “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” written for a family reunion by Rev. Homer Blubaugh, says:

“Catherine was not accepted by her stepfather [Clifford Kaser], so lived with Ann and Henry Butts, her grandparents, until age 16.  One night she walked out of Henry’s house without saying ‘goodbye’ and is never heard from again by anyone in the family.  Mame’s sister, Rosalie, was there that evening and remembered her quiet disappearance.”

Rev. Blubaugh’s history is a combination of research from original documents and family hearsay, so the age at which the girl disappeared is not the only thing he got wrong. But disappear she does.  I can find no trace of her after that 1910 census.

How on earth will I ever track down the movements of a young woman who wanted to disappear–particularly when I have no idea what name she might have been using? This is where it would be nice to have a long-lost cousin pop up with a clue as to what happened to Casalena/Cathaleen/Catherine/Katherine Sapp or Butts or some other name she assumed when she left the only home she had known. Help??

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary I. Butts Kaser, who is the mother of
  • Catherine Sapp (or Butts).

Research Notes

  • “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” by Rev. Homer Blubaugh (unpublished)
  • Personal correspondence from Jane Butts Kilgore.
  • Personal correspondence from Mary Vonville.
  • St. Luke’s Records 1829-early 1900. Available through Googlebooks.com for purchase.  I saw the relevant records in person at a visit to St. Luke’s.
  • Birth, death, marriage dates from Ancestry.com various census and other records.