Tag Archives: Ohio

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.

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

parents of Mame Kaser

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.

Sherman's March to the Sea

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: 52: St. Nicholas–Santa Claus Is on Fire

Christmas-LightsYou don’t believe that St. Nicholas is an ancestor?  Well, having been at this Family History thing for a couple of years now, I know all about documentation, and I have my detailed proof right here–somewhere–buried in the Christmas wrapping paper, or hidden under a pile of Christmas cards, no doubt. But I don’t have time to look for it, since I have a story to tell, and it IS Christmas Eve, after all.

By the way, I make no claims to be related to the flesh and blood man who was playing Santa Claus in this story. But the stories of interesting characters and odd goings on in a small town are part and parcel of my family legacy.

Santa Claus

This COULD be the Santa in the story–but it is not. It is a photo from Flickr.com, by Elido Turco, used with Creative Commons license.

At any rate, since it is time to wind up a year of 52 Ancestors, the diabolical challenge fielded by the No Story Too Small website, I wanted to pass on a Christmas story told by my Mother and Father (Harriette Anderson Kaser and Paul Kaser) about Santa Claus in Killbuck, Ohio. (My cousin Herbert Anderson confirms that the story is absolutely true.) So my 52nd Ancestor story for the year is about St. Nicholas. (You can flip back through all the 52 ancestors stories by following this link).

Harriette and Paul Kaser

Harriette and Paul Kaser 1981

Here is a slightly edited transcript of a conversation with my mother and father, originally recorded and transcribed by my brother, Paul William Kaser around 1980.

Harriette:  Oh, we had a character in this little town [Killbuck, Ohio] we talk about.  Well, there was a man there that lived all by himself and he was about the dirtiest person as anyone ever [saw].  As far as the house he lived in, it was filthy dirty, but he really always wanted to do something for somebody.  At Christmas time he always made popcorn balls for all the kids in this little town.  And he dressed up like Santy Claus, and he went from door to door delivering popcorn balls.

Well, it happened that my brother [Herbert Anderson] and his children were up at our house on Christmas Eve, at my Mother and Father’s home before I was married and I was home too, and in comes this G. with his big basket of popcorn and starts passing it out.  Of course the kids are grabbing.  We had a terrible time keeping them from eating it. and finally because we didn’t want to hurt G.’s feelings, we said we were going to wrap it up and put it on the tree, and that way they could get it the next morning when they got their gifts.

Cousin Herb (the son of Harriette’s brother Herb) was a young boy and he remembered that G. was in a Santa Claus suit, and thought that Daddy Guy, our grandfather, had arranged for him to visit with gifts.  But everyone remembers the dirty popcorn balls.

Harriette tells another story.

He had a habit, [besides] being very, very dirty, of sometimes getting pretty well oiled. [drunk]  And he had this white beard on him [playing Santa Claus] and he went to light a cigarette and the beard took flame and he ended up in the doctor’s office.  He had a pretty badly burnt face.  Well we all felt sorry about that because he was trying to be a nice Santa Claus.

Paul William: How did he dress when he dressed to be Santa Claus?

Paul: Oh, he had a red suit on.

Harriette: Oh, yeah, he had a regular Santa Claus suit.  He spent money like mad when he had it.  He used to always go to Indianapolis to the races, and he had money.  They had oil up on their farm, and he had money to spend.

Now, I’ll wager you never heard about a Santa Claus like that one, did you? For another story about popcorn and popcorn balls and a recipe, click here.

Merry Christmas from me and all the Ancestors. And town characters.