MS 605 - The Martha Butman Collection
|Title||MS 605 - The Martha Butman Collection|
The Martha Butman Collection consists of correspondence, family historical and legal documents, newspaper clippings and literary writings of Martha Butman and her descendants. The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Ruth Colburn on July 5, 1991. Mrs. Colburn continues to search for additional documents on the family and periodically places what she discovers with the collection.
The collection is open to the public, however, literary rights to the collection remain with the donor and her children until July 1, 2041, at which time they enter the public domain.
Martha Butman was born in Milan, Ohio in 1825. Her parents, John and Caroline Butman had migrated to Ohio in 1820. Martha was the fourth oldest child; her siblings were Thomas, Maria, John Jr., Myron, Julia, Bruce, Fannie and Carrie. Martha became a business woman in Milan, Ohio, but her local fame came on March 4, 1851, when she left Dr. R.C. Rutherford, at the altar, publicly refusing to marry him. The event was followed by letters written by Martha, Rutherford, and others interested in the event which were published in the local newspapers.
In 1856, she married John Seneca Brown. She divorced him in 1866, returning her name to Butman. In the years they were married, the couple had two sets of twins, Ada and Vera Ida in 1858 and Emma and Ernest early in 1860, and a daughter, Emily, in late 1860. Martha continued to manage rental properties, including homes, barns, and warehouses.
Martha lived in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and California before settling in Waterville, Minnesota. She was listed in her obituary as an original settler of this town. She died on January 29, 1894.
Additional family and genealogical information can be located in the collection, specifically in folder one, "The Martha Butman Story."
|Scope and Content|
The Martha Butman Collection consists of transcriptions of most of the letters in the collection along with genealogical information compiled by the donor and entitled, "The Martha Butman Story." Also included in the collection are the original letters, newspaper clippings and the literary writings and family information on Martha's descendants.
The letters provide detailed insights into the lives of women who settled and lived in the Midwest. The majority of these letters are dated from 1845 to 1851. Of particular interest are the letters from Martha's cousin Nancy (Nan) who attended Free Soil meetings, furthered her education, was involved in women's rights, and discussed in great detail the restrictions placed upon women during this time period.
Other events chronicled in these letters include outbreaks of scarlet fever, measles and smallpox in Ohio in 1849, medicinal uses of cocaine, wagon train business trips to the far west, academic careers in the mid-1880s, church events, San Francisco architecture and the introduction of cable cars during the 1880s. Also of interest is a letter from a relative, Edward Fiske, that details customs, language (including phonetic spellings), religion and medicine of the Illinois area Native American tribes in 1899.
Genealogical information is included on Martha's daughters and their families along with literary works of daughter Vera Ida Brown Fiske.
Includes "The Martha Butman Story," a transcription of letters and genealogical information, compiled by Martha's great granddaughter, Ruth Colburn.
Includes original letters written to Martha Butman from various friends and relatives, as well as correspondence of Martha's daughters. The letters date from 1845 to 1937. A detailed inventory of the letters follows this inventory.
Includes letters published in local newspapers regarding Martha's public act of refusing to marry R. C. Rutherford. These letters were published during March 1851.
Includes various financial documents of Martha Butman, legal and genealogical documents on Martha and her family and the literary writings of her daughter, Vera Ida Brown Fiske.