Tag Archives: Henry Allen Butts

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

 

Civil War Vittles: From the Vegetable Garden

I can’t think about a particular ancestor without wondering about what they ate. For instance, while my great-grandfather,  Henry Allen Butts, was in the Union Army, marching through the South under General Sherman, his wife Anna Mariah Smith Butts was at home with an infant son.

It sounds like she was  boarding with another family, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she helped out with the family vegetable garden and with the cooking.  After all, she had a reputation within her family for her own vegetable and flower gardens after Henry came home and they had their own place.

vegetable garden

The vegetables she grew were not just a hobby–they were essential to feeding a family during the Civil War and during the recession that followed the war.  So I went back to Lady Godey’s Civil War cookbook to see if I could learn what Civil War era wives were doing with vegetables.


The book, Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book, edited by Lily May Spaulding and John Spaulding, is a gold mine of information for a mid 19th century kitchen. The chapter on vegetables alone can keep you busy for hours just reading.

One of the entertaining things about this book is that it gives all kinds of helpful hints about cooking. Most of these admonitions still apply, although we have learned that some of their “hints” are actually detrimental.  The chapter on vegetables starts with general instructions on cooking all kinds of vegetables–wash them well, boil them and drain them. But I particularly enjoy the warnings generally headed “Bad cooks….”

Bad cooks sometimes dress them with meat, which is wrong, except carrots or cabbage with boiling beef.

So now you know. Don’t go cooking your meat with your vegetables.

On the other hand, serving them on the side takes judicious combining.

Potatoes are good with all meats.  With fowls, they are nicest mashed.  Carrots, parsnips, turnips, greens and cabbage are eaten with boiled meat; and beets, peas and beans are appropriate to either boiled or roasted meat. Mashed turnip is good with roasted pork.

potatoesSince potatoes are good with all meats, I decided to check what they suggest doing with that most common vegetable. Interestingly, baking vegetables doesn’t enter the scene–everything is boiled. Maybe a little sauteing–or frying. And Grilled? Far in the future.

The entry comes from 1863

Many good cooks are bad managers of potatoes, and this esculent, which in most houses is served every day, and which is so popular in many families as to be often the only vegetable at table, requires much care in the cooking.

After a run to the dictionary to find out what “esculent” means–something edible–I eagerly read along to see what “good cooks” do better than “bad cooks” when it comes to potatoes. The advice makes great sense.  The detailed instructions boil down (pun intended) to allowing them to stay hot and dry out after boiling to make them mealy rather than mushy.  In fact, the author of that advice is intent on serving the potatoes hot and recommends serving a few at a time so that “relays of hot dishes of them may be ready to go in with every fresh course with which they are at all likely to be required.”  That makes perfect sense, and I intend to follow the advice to drain the pan and put the potatoes either in a dry pan or in the oven to dry out after boiling.

But there is more to the life of a potato than boiling–so what else to they recommend? I’ve added the year the recipe appeared in Godey’s.

Potato Balls– 1863 (I swear these are really Tater Tots! And they DID eat catsup during the Civil War.)

Saratoga Chips

Saratoga Chips, Photo from Flickr used with Creative Commons license

Potato Chips -1865 (Invented by George Crum in Saratoga Lake, NY in 1853, but rarely if ever mentioned in home cooking books until Godey’s.)

Potatoes Mashed with Onions – 1862 (More of a suggestion than a recipe–just boil the amount of onions you would like and mix with the mashed potatoes.)

New Potatoes A La Francaise – 1867 (The recipe notes “In Italy olive oil is used rather than butter, but butter is really preferable.”)

Potato Salad, Hot – 1861 and 1865 (I have no doubt that Anna and her fellow German descendent families in Ohio made hot potato salad. The dish is described as “A wholesome and pleasant dish for spring and early summer.”)

Sweet Potatoes A L’Allemande – 1867 (Although I thought this meant sweet potatoes, the editors say you should use white potatoes. They say the ‘sweet’ refers to the sugar used in this tart-like dish.  I would like to try it with sweet potatoes also, however.)

So that’s how Annie may have cooked her potatoes if she got tired of boiled.  Next week–more vegetables from Annie’s garden.

If you want to see what the soldier’s were eating during the Civil War, I had several pieces about that last year when we were reading Erasmus Anderson’s mail. Just follow the links to his letters and above or below each one, you’ll find something about Civil War Food. Your favorite was Civil War Rations: Hardtack and O. B. Joyful.

Note: There is an Amazon link here to help you if you’d like to get your own copy of the Lady Godey’s Book Civil War Recipes. You should know that anything you buy from Amazon through these links earns me a few cents, even though it costs you no more. THANKS for your support.

 

52 Ancestors: #3 George Butts–Family History Mystery

George W. Butts, 1834-1863 (?)

When I wrote about my great-grandfather Henry Allen Butts last week and week before last, I was not sure that I had identified his twin brother George. Some  evidence says that he may be George W. Butts, and I at least know a little bit about his short life if he IS George W. Butts. On the other hand…..

George, George, George–who are you?

Twins

These are NOT the Butts brothers. These are twins from 1886 in a photo from the Green County Pennsylvania Photo Archive. Used with creative commons license.

Records abound for George Butts’.  Unfortunately, few of them match the known birthplace and dates of my great-uncle George, my great-grandfather’s twin brother. WARNING: Inside baseball ahead.  If your eyes glaze over at the details of tracking family history, you may want to skip to Henry Allen’s letter home.

Even though I have  not been able to find official baptism and birth records for a George OR a Henry Allen Butts born in Louden, Franklin County, PA, the Butts family Bible that lists “John Henry Augustus born 29th November 1834,” says, “George was born on same day five hours apart. Was baptized January 15, 1835 by Priest (He ? en.).”[As I mentioned in the article on Henry Allen, the family histories are all consistent in saying that John Henry Augustus became Henry Allen. Census reports confirm both boys born in 1834/35.]

The fact that there is no further record in the family Bible, while others in the family have spouses listed, and some have children listed as well, lends credence to the fact that he died young.

The 1850 Census taken in St. Thomas Township, Franklin County, PA shows the family as follows:

  • Jacob Butts, 25 (Miller)
  • Catherine Butts, 21
  • Frederick Butts, 20 (Laborer)
  • Thomas Butts, 17 (Laborer)
  • Henry Butts, 15 (Laborer)
  • George Butts, 15 (Laborer)
  • James Butts, 10
  • Ellen [Esther?], 52

This list of the family members and their ages is confirmed by other sources. Apparently their father died between 1840 and 1850 and all the boys except the youngest must work to support the family.  Their mother Esther, would have been 52 at that time.

Interestingly, in the same township census there is also a George Butts, 16 years old, born in 1834 [Census ages are frequently a year off because the census taker calculates from birth year rather than taking into account birth month]. This George Butts is living as a laborer with the Jacob Huber family.  I imagine it is quite possible that both families would list him with them, as laborers worked on a seasonal basis. So while he was literally with the Huber family at the time of the census, his own family considered him a permanent resident.

Great Uncle George, are you George W.??

Union Army Soldiers

Drawing of Union Army soldiers lining up for soup. Click for more information. Citation below.

There are several men named George Butts in the Civil War rolls of Pennsylvania. A distant cousin who shared her research with me ten years ago, believed that George W. Butts is buried in a Church yard in Franklin County PA. That man’s birth date is almost correct on the tombstone  the aforementioned cousin tied together that deat with the George W. Butts listed on Union Army rosters.

George W. enlisted in the 3-month volunteer 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment, Company C on April 20, 1861 and was mustered out with his company on July 26, 1861.   Later in 1861, a George Butts enlisted in the 77th, but he is not designated as George W. Butts. Unfortunately the Veteran’s Burial Card from National Archives found at Ancestry.com says that George W. Butts was born in 1841. (with the same death date that we have for George W.)

George W. Butts, Civil War soldier, is buried in a Lutheran Cemetery in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania, Plot #294.  The tombstone, according to the Butts cousin says he died May 21, 1863 at 28 years, 3 months and 22 days old.  That does not quite match up with either the Butts family Bible or the Veteran’s Burial Card, which says he died at 21 years old. Furthermore, we know the family was Catholic and he was baptized by a priest, so why would he be buried in a Lutheran Cemetery? That as well as the birth date shown with the death record casts  doubt on George W. being the correct George.

All of this points to the fact that I probably spent a couple of days pursuing the wrong George.

Uncle George, Are You George M??

The History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865, lists a George M. who enlisted 9 October 1861 as a Corporal in Company F, 77th Infantry. Again, this is Henry Allen’s company, and it seems logical that the twins would enlist in the same company at the same time. However, the list includes no further information to help track George.

So there we are. Stuck. He was born a twin to Henry Allen Butts on a known date in a known place. I know his parents’ names and that he was working as a laborer at the age of 15 to help support his widowed mother and her large family. Everything else is speculation. Do you have more information on George Butts? Where do you suggest I go next?

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary (Mame) Isadore Butts Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Henry Allen Butts, who is the twin brother of
  • George Butts

Civil War Photo Citation: Forbes, Edwin (1839-1895). Life Studies of the Great Army. A historical work of art, in copper-plate etching, containing forty plates, illustrating the life of the Union Armies during the late Rebellion. New York, E. Forbes, 1876, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University

Research Notes

  •  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.
  • History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-5; Prepared in Compliance with Acts of Legislature, by Samuel P. Bates, Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71.Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library, 2005
  • Birth and death records researched on Ancestry.com in this case yielded mostly dead ends.