George Butler was born in Richland county on July
9, 1844, being the son of Samuel and Nancy (Baker) Butler, both natives of
Muskingum county, Ohio. George Butler's father and mother were married in
Ohio, where three children were born to them. They came to Illinois in the
year 1842, making the trip overland in wagons, being four weeks on the
journey, and they endured the customary hardships of that tedious system of
travel, arriving in German township, Richland county, Illinois, in
September, 1842, and entered two hundred acres at the government price of
one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre, all timber land, on which stood
one small log house and a log stable capable of housing two horses; these
had been erected by Gabriel Reed, who had taken a squatter's claim on the
place, for whose good will and the improvements Samuel Butler paid the sum
of sixty-five dollars. He had to go to Palestine on horseback to make entry
of the land and was but twenty-four hours ahead of a man named Lathrop
(since deceased) who intended making entry of the same place. Samuel Butler
having successfully entered the land proceeded at once to clear and improve
same. He moved into the log house, and a few years later built a double log
house, and erected other buildings. Wild animals and game, including wolves,
wild turkey and deer, were in abundance. Mrs. Samuel Butler died November
11, 1860, aged about sixty years. Her husband survived her about twenty
years, dying November 14, 1880, aged eighty. Both are buried in Mount North
cemetery, in German township. Our subject remained in the paternal home
assisting his father and mother until the Civil war broke out, when he
enlisted July 9. 1861, though not quite seventeen years of age at the time,
having obtained his father's consent to fight for his country. He was sent
to St. Louis and was attached to Company E, Eleventh Missouri Infantry,
under Captain Levenston. He was then transferred to Cape Girardeau,
Missouri, for a course of training of three months. He was ordered from
there to the front where he participated in some of the historic battles of
the conflict, such as Island No. 10, at Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing,
Corinth, Mississippi; the battle of Iuka; Holly Springs, and the siege of
Vicksburg, in which he was wounded by a shell striking him in the side,
which broke several ribs and inflicted other injuries. He remained for only
two or three weeks in a field hospital, and again returned to his regiment
with which he remained in active service until mustered out at St. Louis,
Missouri, on January 23, 1866.
George Butler then returned home to his parents in Richland county, and again took up his agricultural calling in which he continued until his marriage which took place on March 2, 1869. On that date he married Buleau Burnell in Richland county. His wife was a native of Richland county, being born there on August 6, 1850. She was the daughter of Hizer and Sophia (Sumner) Burnell. Her father was born in Ohio, and her mother in Lawrence county, Illinois. The former came with his parents from Ohio, when only a small boy. They settled on a farm in Wabash county, where his father died when he was still young. His mother survived her husband for many years, and married a second time a Mr. McMullen, who afterwards died. Mrs. Butler's father continued to make his home with his mother until he married Sophia Sumner, about the year 1845. He then settled in Lawrence county for three or four years, after which he came to Richland county and entered one hundred and sixty acres of land in Preston township, where he remained until his death, August 26, 1854, being buried in Springfield cemetery, Lawrence county. Mrs. Burnell married secondly in March, 1865, William Musgrove, and came with her family to reside in German township, where she remained until her death. William Musgrove, the stepfather of the subject of our sketch, died January 13, 1895; her mother born July 21, 1826, died April 24, 1903. Both are buried in Butler cemetery in German township. Mrs. Butler's parents had a family of three children. They were, besides herself, Quintes and Mulford, who died in childhood. Her mother by her second marriage had seven children, namely: Symmia, deceased; Andrew; Mauzella, deceased; Filina; Effie, deceased; Warren and Erdie, deceased; Buleau Burnell remained at home with her parents until her marriage in 1869.
From the money which George Butler received and saved while serving in the Civil war, he bought eighty acres of raw timber land in German township. On this he built a log house and made a clearing on the land and at the time of his marriage moved with his wife into the place where they lived for several years. About the year 1882 he sold the land and changed to another farm in German township in which they now reside. Their property now consists of three hundred and sixty-two acres of the choicest land, all of which is in German township. In 1888, the subject of our sketch had built upon his land a two-story house of seven rooms, which cost about two thousand dollars.
Our subject and wife are the parents of four children, only two of whom grew to maturity, one dying in infancy. The others are Bertha E., Burton E., and Bennie H., who died aged seven years. Bertha E. is the wife of Harvey Stoltz, residing in Zalma, Missouri, where Mr. Stoltz is engaged in the moving and transfer business; they are prosperous and are the parents of three children, Marrietta, Hester and George. Burton Butler married Glennie Bauman; they reside on a portion of his father's property in German township and are very successful; three children were born to them, Lady June, Trall and Katie Jean.
George Butler in his early years attended only the subscription schools, but never continued in attendance for three months altogether. Owing to his heavy farm duties and his enlistment in the army at the age of seventeen, his schooling was almost entirely neglected. He did not even learn to read at school, and never held a pen in his hand. These necessary accomplishments he had to acquire in after life through self-study. His wife met with much the same experience during her early life, although she is now well able to read and write.
George Butler is a member of the Bourier Post, Grand Army of the Republic No. 92, at Olney, Illinois. In politics he has always been a Republican. His first ballot for President was cast while in the army and went to Abe Lincoln. He has always taken an interest in local politics, and served as Road Commissioner for over nine years in German township, and as School Director for over thirty years. He and his wife and all members of his family are regular attendants of the Methodist church.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 382-384.