Thursday, May 29, 2008

Charles and Cora Butler

Cora Melvina Wisemiller and Charles Llewellyn Butler
Lou's paternal grandparents
about 1940

Charles Llewellyn Butler (son of Henry Coddington Butler and Sarah Elizabeth Shockey) was born on Monday 26 May 1870, Lima, Allen County, Ohio, presumably in Perry Township. He was only four years old when his parents moved to Kent, Iowa and in his teens when they moved on to Nebraska, perhaps on the Oregon Trail. He was married on Friday, 26 December 1890 in Lexington, Dawson County, Nebraska, to Cora Melvina Wisemiller.

While in Nebraska (1880's -1908), the Butlers lived near the Platte River and would have witnessed the spectacular flocks of sand hill cranes which stop there each spring (March) and fall (October). The cranes no doubt fed in the fields of their farm, especially on left-over corn from the harvest. The sound of sand hill cranes, especially in these large migratory flocks, is unforgettable. The Platte River was a much grander river in those days. The name Nebraska is an Indian name meaning "flat water", referring to the shallow water of the Platte.

Grandfather Butler came from Ohio, and my Grandmother’s folks came from Michigan. There were very common, good folks. Everyone liked them. Grandma attended the Community Church and was a member of the Christian church.

The Butler Children - about 1905
back: Joseph - Louis Raymond - Sarah
front: Edwin - Bessie - Susie - Jesse - Ida
last child, Beulah, not yet born

Butler Family - about 1915
back: Ida Amanda - Bessie Evelyn- Louis Raymond - Edwin Murel- Joseph Henry - Sarah Edith - Jesse Llewellyn
front: Beulah Alice - Charles Llewellyn - Cora Melvina - Susie Belle

[In Haswell] the schoolhouse was about a block from the house, and we (Lou and his brother Chuck) used to go up there and play on the swings and teeter-totters. That was about all there was to do unless we took a bat and ball and played ball, but usually there was just the two of us and that wasn’t much fun.

Charles Butler was said to have been good-natured, often jolly, but he was often quiet too. He apparently like to just relax, sitting by the pot-bellied stove, and smoke his pipe. A photograph taken in Late December 1940 at their 50th Wedding Anniversary, shows that Charles was a bit plump and bald on top of his head.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Louis Butler, August 1943
Naval Radio School Graduate

World War II - October 1942 - December 1945
In October of 1942 I joined the Navy as it was getting close to the time that I would be drafted and I didn’t want to go into the Army. Jim Shelhammer, Kenny Hood and I enlisted at the same time and left the old 5th Street neighborhood together on 28 October 1942. We went to Denver for our physical exams, and upon passing those, took the Oath of Allegiance to the [United States] Government, and then were sworn into the Navy.

On December 14, 1945 I received my Radioman 1st Class Technician rating. Technician does not mean the ability to work on radios, but that I had special duties as a radioman. I also received my discharge on this day at the Separation Center in Shoemaker, California. They tried to talk us into joining the Naval Reserve, but I wanted no part of it at that time. Since I signed up later, I would have been ahead to have joined then. I left California and headed for home by train on 15 December 1945.

Korean War - August 1950 - February 1951

The summer session
[at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley] was going well until we went back to Pueblo for the 4th of July break, and I received a telegram from the Navy. I was in the Naval Reserve for the money to help get through school. The telegram said that with the Korean War in progress I was needed to return to Adak immediately and not to bother asking for a deferment because my orders were being drawn up and would be delivered very soon. I was going back on active duty as a Communications Technician 1st Class and was told to make plans to depart within the next few weeks.

We took the trailer and returned to 1808 E. 5th Street [to my parents' property.] It was very sad to leave my wife and small children and go back into the service. Leona really wasn’t up to taking care of those four little boys (Lou, 3 ½, Jim, 2 ½, and Tom and Don, 1) by herself. We fixed a few things on the house and got Leona and the boys set up to live there while I was gone. She could be on her own, but close to my folks and with her folks not too far away.

At the end of February 1951 I was discharged and sent home. I received an honorable “hardship” discharge, thanks to Leona’s efforts!

Thanks for your service, Dad.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Young Lou

Unfortunately, neither Dad nor his mother wrote much about his early childhood years. However, we do have a number of pictures that illustrate very clearly that he was a typical little boy.

Louis Edward Butler
September, 1923
Picture taken in the doorway of their home in Haswell, Colorado

Fern Butler, Louis, Mable
Fern was Mable's sister in law, married to
Joe Butler, Jess' brother

"I don't know if this was our home or Uncle Joe's home, but it certainly looks very humble and in need of repair."

Louis, 11 months
"At a family reunion in 1993, Uncle Norman Davis - age 97, told me he had bought me a little dog when I lived in Haswell.
This must be it."

Louis, about 2 years old, 1925

Louis doing tricks on the bike!

"The new bride - Louis Edward"
Written on the picture in his mother's handwriting

Charles and Cora Butler Family Group Sheet

This family group sheet records Lou's father's family. Jesse Llewellyn was the 5th child born to Charles Llewellyn and Cora Melvina Wisemiller.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Memorable Miss Clegg

Margaret Clegg was one of the "hard to forget" teachers Dad worked with during his career as a principal. From time to time he told us these stories about her, and fortunately he recorded them also. Miss Clegg was a very small woman who had taught at Minnequa School when he was there. Dad thought she had retired, but when he was assigned as the principal at Bessemer, she was at that school teaching first grade.

Bessemer School Staff - 1954
Lou Butler, Principal (back row, center)
You'll have to guess which one is Miss Clegg. . .

Lunchtime Naps
Miss Clegg used to go home for lunch. She parked on Spruce St. on the other side of the school, so when the First Grades were dismissed at 11:30, she would often leave for lunch 30 minutes early. Her class would be gone and no one would notice she had left during her preparation period. Then she would often have time for a nap at home since she had an hour and a half for lunch. The only problem was that she would not wake up in time, and the bell would ring before she could get back to school. So her class would be lined up at the door to go in, but when all of the other classes would go into their rooms, her class would still be outside. I would then be notified if I was not on the grounds, and would take her class inside and try to get them started to work. It didn’t really seem to bother her that I was taking her class for her.

Fire Drill

One day I had a fire drill, and we always checked to make sure that everyone was out of the building before we rang the bell to send the classes back into the building. This particular day, I went over to the annex to see that everyone was out, and when I looked into Miss Clegg’s room, the class was still in their seats. I looked around the room and then saw Miss Clegg down on her knees by one of the students’ desks. When I got over to where she was, I saw her trying to untie a jump rope from the legs of a boy. She had him tied to the leg of the desk and couldn’t get it untied! Glad it was just a fire drill!

Asleep at the Desk

Once in a while I would start into the room and all of the children would “shush” me and point to Miss Clegg’s desk where she would be asleep. I would walk around the room and talk to the children about their work and not look her direction. Pretty soon she would be up walking around the class as though she had not been asleep!

Last Day of School

On the last day of school one year the faculty was going out to eat – all but Miss. Clegg. After classes had been dismissed and school was out for the summer vacation for the children, most of the teachers had left for the restaurant. I checked the building, only to find Miss Clegg’s class was still there and she was at her desk making out their report cards.

Last Year She Taught

At the end of the school year, Miss Clegg got checked out several days after the other teachers had gone for the summer. She got all of the essential things done, but hadn’t really left her room in order, and said she would do that in a week or so. She left to go see her family who lived in Kansas. She fell asleep while driving on the highway somewhere in Kansas and was killed in the wreck. When I went out to clean out her room, I found bits of string, little boxes of broken chalk, crayons, and pencil stubs. I filled three large trashcans with stuff I threw out of her closets and desk. I also found many of the books from sets I thought had been lost or stolen, and many books from the library which had not been turned in, and we thought had been lost or stolen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

These are a few of his favorite things

What great memories surfaced when we came across these pictures in Dad's notebooks. He may have taken these pictures for insurance purposes, or he may have just taken them because he wanted to document the everyday pattern of his life. Whatever the reason, enjoy this trip through Grandpa's day.

Water distiller with the juicer in the background

Homemade bread . . .

made in the Zojirushi bread maker

Mom's rolls
He loved them almost as much as he loved her!

Pork ribs and homemade applesauce
- need I say more?

The hats that hung on the wall in his study
I scanned the picture with the notebook paper he'd mounted them on, because I love they way he had labeled each hat.

His computer
He loved technology and was willing to try anything new in that field.

His desk in the study
This was the site of much of his writing and picture organizing.
To me it almost seems to be a sacred place.

The famous notebooks in his study
I will ever be grateful to Dad for his tireless record keeping.
We are certainly the beneficiaries of his passion.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

But they are lovely!

"Jess planted, and I watered and weeded them. But they are lovely!"
written on the picture back in Grandma Mable's handwriting

Grandpa Jess Butler loved to garden, and his yard was proof of that. Spring and summer found the yard filled with hundreds of colorful and sweet smelling blooms.

"Jess wanted his picture with our flowers. "
(He's standing at the corner of the house.)

In addition he had a large [vegetable] garden from which he fed the entire neighborhood.

Jess Butler working in his yard and garden
about 1942

Jess had skinny arms, but he could shovel coal (and dirt!) hour after hour.

So if you are a family member who loves to dig in the dirt, plant and harvest a garden, mulch the flower beds, or even pull a few weeds - you come by it naturally! Thank Grandpa Jess for those great genes - and your resulting beautiful yard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Four Butler Boys

The Butler boys in 1936
Jesse Eldon-9, Delbert Llewellyn-2, Louis Edward-13, Charles Lee-11

Lou was the oldest in a family of four boys. I'll do individual posts on each of the boys, but this will provide the background information.
Some of my favorite photographs follow.

Eldon and Charles - on horse; Louis standing about 1931
A man with a pony came by and wanted to take our picture. This was at the start of the depression and while Mom would have like to have a picture of each of us on the pony, we couldn't afford that. She managed to get one picture with all of us in it.

The boys grow up
Louis and Charles - 1938

Eldon and Delbert - 1938

The Butler family - 1940
back: Eldon, Louis, Charles
front: Jess, Delbert, Mable

So which of the boys do you look like?

Jess and Mable Butler Family Group Sheet

This family group record will help you keep track of Jess and Mable's family - who they are and how you may be related!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cora Melvina Wisemiller Butler

Cora Melvina Wisemiller Butler

At this point I have very little information about Lou's paternal grandparents. However, I have just discovered some websites that may give me more information. Until then, enjoy these pictures and this short entry from Lou's personal history regarding his grandparents.

Cora Melvina Wisemiller was born 3 July 1872, at White Cloud, Brooks Township, Newaygo County, Michigan (Birth Record No. 828, Book 1, page 56). She perhaps got her middle name from her Aunt Jessie Malinna (error for Melvina?) Kimball who was born the preceding December. She was married on 26 Dec. 1890, Dawson County, Nebraska, to Charles Llewellyn Butler. They celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at Christmas, 1940 at their home near Haswell, Colorado. Ila Volk (a distant cousin) describes Cora as "tall and stately appearing and such a pleasant smile."
about 1943

Cora died at 9:30 AM, 22 July 1951 at a hospital in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado. She died from asphyxiation due to myocardial failure, which was caused by Parkinson's Syndrome. She was buried on 26 July 1951 at Haswell Cemetery, Haswell, Kiowa County, Colorado.

about 1951