Tag Archives: Maryland

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.

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.

Slippery Sadie Stout Scott (Sarah)

Sarah “Sadie” Stout 1859-1950

Next to youngest of Isaiah and Emeline Stout’s eight children who survived to adulthood, Sarah, known as Sade or Sadie Stout, lived in three different states during her 91 years. I think of her as slippery Sadie, since she has been hard to find in the records. At first I thought this first picture was Sadie, but I have changed my mind, and now think she is one of the sisters in the lower pictuer.

Martha Stout

Studio photograph of one of the Stout sisters–Mattie (Martha) or Sade (Sarah). Circa  late 1870s. I am inclined to think this is a picture of Martha and the two girls in the picture below are Sarah (Sadie) and Elizabeth (Lib). Mostly because my mother said Mattie was the pretty one. However I cannot prove which is which.

Stout daughters

Perhaps Elizabeth and Sarah Stout. Misidentified by Harriette Kaser as Myrle and Mary Cunningham, but dress style is too old for those girls. (Circa late 1870s)

When Sadie was born on November 29, 1859, the Stouts lived in Oxford Township, Guernsey County, Ohio. Her sister “Lib” was three years older and when Sadie was not quite two, her brother Frank was born. Her little sister Hattie died at the age of three when Sarah was eleven.

After she left home, things get difficult for the researcher. She joined what seems to be an army of Sarah Stouts and Sarah Scotts in southern Ohio and elsewhere around the United States. There even seems to be one Sarah Stout who married an Edward Scott, but still is not the one that I am related to.

The family had moved to another farm, this one in Wills Township, but still in Guernsey County, by 1880, when Sadie was twenty.  The family had shrunk from a total of eleven to five by the Census of 1880.  Their father Isaiah had died, and 50-year-old Emeline was left to care for the farm and family. Brothers Will and George had become doctors, and married. Tom had struck out for the west.

Sadie and her sister Mary, who was sick with a lung disease, were both teachers and still living at home. Lib was still at home, but would be married the following year. Frank was teaching and working on the farm, and would soon leave for Kansas.

When Sadie was 24, (1883) she married Edward Scott (26), whose father had emigrated from Ireland.  The local newspaper, The Daily Jeffersonian, carried a personal notice that “J. E. Cunningham family [Lib and her husband] of Sutton were at the Scott-Stout nuptials.”

At first Ed farmed in Guernsey County.  They had two daughters, Edna, born in October 1884 and Eleanor (Nellie), born in February 1890. The Daily Jeffersonian refers to Ed Scott and family of Quaker City visiting (probably Emeline) on August 27, 1896. The couple lost one other child in infancy.

Sarah Stout - crazy quilt

Emeline Stout’s crazy quilt piece.

I am so accustomed to my female relatives being identified in the employment column as “keeping house” or “none”, that I almost missed the designation of dressmaker. However, another column asks how many months a person was unemployed, and her column says 11. Odd. Did she have a very brief fling at selling dresses? That makes me wonder if her fabrics were not part of that wonderful quilt made by Emeline Stout. In fact, she may have contributed some of the fancy stitching. Of course since it is another ten years before another census, I do not know what she was doing in the first decade of the 20th century, but by 1910 she went back to being listed as “employment: none.”

Between 1900 and 1910, the family moved to Buffalo, West Virginia,  not far south of the Ohio River, where Ed was still farming in his fifties.


Sarah Stout-Buffalo W Va

Town of Buffalo, Photo by
Caroline Frazier

A real estate boom in Bladensburg Maryland somehow caught their attention.  Bladensburg had been the site of a battle during the War of 1812. Two subdivisions called Decatur Heights were plotted in the small town just north of Washington D.C. in 1914 and 1917 and the town experienced an explosion of growth. Ed and Sadie moved to the Decatur Heights neighborhood of Bladensburg and Ed began selling real estate in his sixties.

They were still living in Bladensburg as they turned 70, but in 1940, when Sarah was 80 and Ed 82, they had moved back to Belmont, Ohio to live with daughter Edna.  Edna* had married a minister, Charles Jarrett, from Virginia.

Ed Scott died in January, 1949 and Sadie Stout Scott one year later, both in Barnesville, Ohio.  They were buried in Guernsey County. Ed’s grave is in the Friends cemetery in Quaker City, but I have not been able to find Sadie’s–slippery to the end.

*My mother, Harriette Kaser Anderson remembered Edna Scott Jarrett. She told me that Edna started corresponding with her “after mother died” (Vera Stout Anderson), and that Edna had married a minister and had two sons who owned a radio station in West Virginia. (I have not verified information about the sons.)

How I am related:

Vera Marie Badertcher, who is the
daughter of Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the
daughter of Vera Stout Anderson, who is the
daughter of William Cochran Stout, who is the
brother of Sarah/Sadie Stout Scott.

This has been another post that is part of the #52 Ancestors initiative. To see more participants go to the website that started it all: No Story Too Small.

Research Notes:

  • From Ancestry.com, I gathered information on birth, death, residence, family, etc. from Census and birth and death reports.  
  • Also from Ancestry. com, I accessed newspaper archives of the Cambridge Jeffersonian for the years 1881-1905.
  • Family photographs are in the author’s possession. Butler West Virginia photo is linked to source, the West Virginia Historical Society.