The Family of Samuel Butler and Sarah Ann Flack

Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler, son of Samuel, is the immigrant ancestor of this branch of the Butler Family. There is some discrepancy among the various American sources concerning Samuel's date of birth and death. According to the information found in Samuel's death certificate, he was born on February 16, 1839 at Cambridge, England. He died at the age of eighty-five years, five months and eighteen days on August 3, 1924 at Capac, Michigan. From Samuel's obituary it appears that he was born on March 4, 1839 at Bottisham, England. He died on August 22, 1924 at Capac, Michigan. Further confusion is added by the inscription of Samuel's tombstone which records his life span as from March 10, 1839 to August 22, 1924. He is buried in Downing Cemetery at Deckerville, Michigan.

It appears that Samuel, together with his sons Richard and William, arrived in America on March 20, 1880 aboard the steamship Hecla, which left Liverpool, Lanceshire, England on March 6, 1880. Sarah and the rest of the children appear to have arrived in American on July 12, 1880 aboard the steamship Spain, which sailed from Liverpool. Samuel first settling in Dryden, Michigan where he worked on the farm of his brother, William. In 1881, he removed to Deckerville where he first worked at a local lumber mill. He later purchased and worked a large farm outside of Deckerville. Samuel is reported to have donated twenty acres to the town for the establishment of a cemetery in the memory of Alonzo Downing. Samuel was sexton of the cemetery for twenty years.

In the 1880 United States census return for Dryden Samuel is living with his brother, William. His occupation is given as farm laborer. In 1900, Samuel and Sarah are living in Marion Township, Sanilac County, Michigan. His occupation is given as farmer. In 1910, Samuel is still living in Marion Township. In 1920, Samuel is living in Oxford Village, Michigan with his daughter, Elizabeth.

It is interesting to note that Samuel does not appear in the 1871 England census returns for Bottisham. However, it appears that his family was enumerated in St. Andrew the Less of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. In this census Samuel’s occupation is given as innkeeper. The family was living on Hills Road. The census list May, William, Annie, Samuel and Richard as children.

On July 20, 1861, Samuel married, by banns, in the parish church at Bottisham, England to Sarah Ann Flack, daughter of Richard Flack and Elizabeth Pollendine. Witnesses to their marriage were William Benstead and Lydia Flack. Sarah was born on May 22, 1840 at Bottisham, England. She died on February 25, 1907 at Deckerville, Michigan. Sarah was buried in Downing Cemetery at Deckerville, Michigan. Sarah was sixty-six years and nine months of age at the time of her death. This would seem to indicate that she was born on May 25, 1840. However, the family bible clearly states May 22, 1840 as the date of her birth.

Samuel declared his intention to become an American citizen on January 21, 1896 at the Circuit Court of the County of Sanilac, Michigan before James Lane.

Samuel and Sarah had nine children.

  1. Elizabeth Frances May Butler was born on May 9, 1862 at Cambridge, England. She died on 27 September 1930 at Oxford, Michigan.
  2. William A. Butler who was born on September 5, 1863 at Cambridge, England. He died on October 23, 1931 at Kearney, Nebraska.
  3. Annie Butler was born on March 3, 1865 at Cambridge, England. She died on November 4,1924 at Detroit, Michigan.
  4. Samuel Butler was born on January 8, 1867 at Cambridge, England. He died from scarlet fever on November 10, 1870 probably at Cambridge, England. He is buried in the Mill Road Cemetery at Cambridge, England.
  5. Eleanor Butler was born on February 7, 1868 at Cambridge, England. She died from scarlet fever on October 29, 1870 at Cambridge, England. She is buried in the Mill Road Cemetery at Cambridge, England.
  6. Richard Fredrick Randall Butler was born on May 25, 1869 at Cambridge, England. He is reported to have died in the early 1950's at Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The date of his death is presently unknown. He is reported to be buried at Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. When his father died in 1924, Richard is reported to have been living in Barkersville, British Columbia, Canada. It is known conclusively that Richard went to the Klondike where he was the owner of Discovery Claim at Bear Creek. He is reported to have taken some $15,000 worth of gold in a single day with one payload of earth alone washing out $600 in gold.

    Richard, in partnership with Alex McDonald, owned and operated a claim on Upper Bonanza - No. 34. Here he developed a return-sluice system which enable him to run his claim when others had water problems. He also employed the largest centrifugal pump in the area and one summer's output reached as high as $15,000 to $20,000.

    On August 11,1897, Richard and John Whitney entered into an agreement with Alfred Harper. They agreed to pay a total of $6,500 [$500 cash and $1,500 on or before July 1, 1898] The agreement was to purchase a "one-half interest in and to Placer Mining location No. 8 below Discovery on Hunker Creek, Hunker Mining Dist. N. W.Terr. Canada".

    On July 15, 1900, Richard entered into an agreement with Thomas McMullen for interest in or to several mining locations. On January 22, 1901, because of financial difficulties, Richard entered into an agreement with Edgar A. Mizner. This agreement assigned Richard's rights in the property obtained from Thomas McMullen to the Alaska Commercial Company.

  7. Jesse Samuel Butler was born on February 21, 1871 at Bottisham, England. He died on May 7, 1955.
  8. Harry J. Butler was born on October 5, 1875 at Bottisham, England. He died on October 18, 1965 at Highland Park, Michigan.
  9. Grace Eleanor Butler was born on September 17, 1878 at Bottisham, England. She died on January 1, 1917 at Deckerville, Michigan.

Samuel married a second time on September 5, 1914 at Sandusky, Sanilac, Michigan to Mary Ann Mason, nee Glen, a widow. Samuel was seventy-five and Mary Ann was sixty-five. This information was found in the Return of Marriages for Sanilac County, Michigan.

Sources:

  1. Dawson Daily News - Golden Clean-up edition.
  2. Research by Judith Breshears of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.
  3. Gold agreements made by Richard Butler on July 15, 1900 and January 22, 1901.
  4. Copy of the Butler Family bible in the possession of Vernon Butler of Detroit, Michigan.
  5. Copies of the death certificates for:
  6. Obituary for Samuel Butler.
  7. No. 412 of the Banns of Marriage from the Bottisham Parish Records.
  8. No. 231 on Page 116 of the Marriage registration for 1867 from the Bottisham Parish Records.
  9. Return of Marriages for Sanilac County, Michigan for:
  10. Letters from Vernon Butler of Detroit, Michigan dated June 25, 1983 and August 8, 1983.
  11. Research by Don Allen of Deckerville, Michigan.
  12. Declaration of Intention for citizenship for:
  13. “The Samuel Butler History” by J. S. Butler.
  14. Letters dated July 5, 1951, July 10, 1951 and July 14, 1951 from Harry J. Butler to Jessie May Shrader, nee Butler.
  15. England census for:
  16. United States Federal Census for:
  17. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 as found at http://www.ancestry.com for:

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Written and Edited by Harry Gruss.
Revised February 15, 2010.

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