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MS 1023 - Butler-Everett Family Collection

Introduction

The Butler-Everett Family Collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Lee and Dorothy Newcomer in 2005. The 3.5 cf collection primarily consists of correspondence between members of the extended Butler and Everett families and acquaintances. There are also a number of letters concerning various aspects of the Free Will Baptist church, to which the Butler family practiced an active membership. Dating from 1830 – 1906, the materials within the collection cover several notable events in American history. In addition to correspondence, there is a small amount of other material related to the families, the Free Will Baptist ministry, and the general time period.

No restrictions exist on the use of the material within this collection and duplication is permitted for research purposes. A small number of the original letters are too fragile to be handled. In these cases, the letters have been photocopied and the copies have been placed in the corresponding folders. The collection was arranged and described by graduate student archival assistant Rebecca Denes in April, 2013.

Biographical Sketch

John J. (J.J.) Butler was born in Berwick, ME on April 9, 1814 to Nathan and Adah Butler and died in Hillsdale, MI, on June 16, 1891. Research indicates that he was one of at least three children, and correspondence between his brother Oliver and sister Louisa Thompson appears within the collection. J.J. Butler became a member of the Free Will Baptist church in 1829 and was ordained as a reverend in the church in 1845. Butler was a professor of theology and sacred literature, as well as a traveling preacher. He taught at various institutions related to the church and retired from a professorship at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI in 1883 after a teaching career that spanned four decades and several states. J.J. Butler was also an active editorial contributor to “The Morning Star,” a Free Will Baptist newspaper that was founded by Moses Cheney, father of Bates College founder Oren B. Cheney. J.J. was an active member of the Free Will Baptist ministry and was closely aligned with the church on social matters including slavery and temperance.

In 1844, J.J. Butler married Elizabeth Everett, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Everett. Elizabeth (Everett) Butler was born on March 20, 1818 in Denbigshire, Wales and died on April 11, 1877 in Hillsdale, MI. The eldest of eleven children, Elizabeth came to the United States as a young child with her family and settled in Remsen, NY. There is correspondence between Elizabeth and nine of her siblings in the collection, one brother is absent. Present are brothers Lewis, Edward, Robert Jr., and John Roberts; and sisters Mary, Cynthia, Anna, Jane (Jennie), and Sarah. Elizabeth’s father Robert was a major figure in the Welsh Congregational Church in New York State and a prominent and outspoken abolitionist, as well as the publisher of the Welsh religious and anti-slavery publications, “Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd” and “Y Dyngarwr.” Along with their father, Elizabeth and her siblings were active in the church, with strong sentiments towards temperance and abolition. Prior to her marriage to J.J. Butler, Elizabeth taught and served as the principal of the Clinton Seminary in Clinton, NY.

Together, J.J. and Elizabeth Butler had three children, John Henry, Elizabeth (Lizzie), and Harriet (Hattie). John Henry was born on October 1, 1849 in New York state, and died on January 31, 1933 in Cleveland, OH. As an adult, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a reverend and professor of Latin at Hillsdale College. Later in his life, John Henry settled in Portage County, OH, the birthplace of his wife Amanda (Azia). The couple had one son named Clarence. Lizzie was born in September, 1851 in New York and her date and place of death is currently unknown. She married Frank Sands and the couple had one daughter named Claire. Hattie was born in 1855 in New Hampshire and died on June 20, 1920 in Ludington, MI. She married Holden Putnam, a preacher and native of Medina County, OH. Records indicate that couple had one child, a daughter named Elizabeth.

Scope and Content

Due to the timeframe that the materials within the collection cover, there is a wealth of information to be found within. This collection provides researchers firsthand accounts of historical and religious movements and events. J.J. Butler was very active in the Free Will Baptist ministry and there are dozens of letters from various colleagues and acquaintances that are related to the church. Both the Butler and Everett families were involved in the temperance and abolition movements; mentions of both can be found throughout the letters in the collection. The American Civil War also plays a prominent part of many letters written during the 1860.

Letters particularly of note include those written to J.J. Butler from an acquaintance who discusses the possible outcomes of the 1832 presidential election between Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. A letter from the same man the following year describes watching Jackson and his troops travel through Concord, NH. After the start of the Civil War, Elizabeth received July, 1861 letter from her sister Jennie that included an insistence that, “we can have no peace without first destroying slavery,” and a letter that follows two years later from another sister, Cynthia, discusses men being drafted to fight in the war. Perhaps the most important of these wartime letters was written to J.J. Butler by an acquaintance who lived on Roanoke Island. The 1864 letter describes the fear and horror of witnessing a confederate attack on Plymouth, NC. These examples are only a small sampling of what exists in the collection, which is comprised of hundreds of letters.

Also important to highlight is the folder of letters written to J.J. Butler from Oren B. Cheney, another member of the Free Will Baptist ministry, from 1833 – 1866. Cheney is best known as the founder and first president of Bates College in Lewiston, ME. Though their correspondence was not consistent over the years, it would appear that Butler and Cheney were at least casual acquaintances and later worked together within the Free Will Baptist church.

The Butler-Everett Family collection is an incredibly important collection for those studying 19th century America. The sheer volume of material available within the collection and the years that it spans make this collection invaluable for research. The extended Butler and Everett families and many of their acquaintances were prominent members of their communities and within the churches and movements that they belonged to. While this information is reflected in the collection here, much more information about the history and activities of the extended Everett family can be found in collections held by other institutions. The Newberry Library of Chicago, IL holds a large collection of papers related to Elizabeth’s father and siblings, Everett Family Papers, 1794-1949 (http://mms.newberry.org/html/Everett.html), and the Kansas Historical Society holds a smaller collection concerning Elizabeth’s brother John Roberts, The John Roberts and Sarah Maria Everett Papers (http://www.kshs.org/archives/40340). While this collection does contain material that is related to these outside collections, the Butler-Everett Family collection is primarily concerned with J.J. and Elizabeth Butler and their children.

Finding aids for both of these collections are also available in the first folder of the collection research files, along with other information such as grave locations and relevant census copies. The remaining five research files contain a calendaring project completed by donor Lee Newcomer.

Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE – TO J.J. BUTLER FROM OREN B. CHENEY
1833 – 1866
One folder, arranged chronologically
Correspondence written by Bates College founder Oren B. Cheney to J.J. Butler.

CORRESPONDENCE – TO AND FROM BUTLER FAMILY MEMBERS
1833 – 1882, n.d.
Eight folders, arranged chronologically
Correspondence written to and from J.J. and Elizabeth Butler to various members of the immediate and the extended Butler family, primarily between the couple and the families of Oliver Butler and Louisa (Butler) Thompson.

CORRESPONDENCE –TO AND FROM EVERETT FAMILY MEMBERS
1834 – 1884, n.d.
Sixteen folders, arranged chronologically
Correspondence written to and from J.J. and Elizabeth Butler to various members of the immediate and the extended Everett family, primarily between the couple, Elizabeth’s parents, and her many siblings.

CORRESPONDENCE – TO AND FROM BUTLER CHILDREN
1854 – 1906, n.d.
Ten folders, arranged chronologically
Correspondence written to and from John Henry Butler, Lizzie (Butler) Sands, and Hattie (Butler) Putnam. Includes letters written to and from J.J. and Elizabeth Butler, as well as those from members of the extended Butler and Everett families.

CORRESPONDENCE – TO J.J. BUTLER FROM VARIOUS
1830 – 1891, n.d.
Forty-three folders, arranged chronologically
Correspondence written to J.J. Butler by a variety of colleagues and acquaintances. Much of these letters concern various aspects of the Free Will Baptist ministry and the related educational institutions, particularly Hillsdale College. One folder contains several letters of donation to build a memorial to Reverend Jeremiah Phillips on the Hillsdale campus.

CORRESPONDENCE – TO ELIZABETH (EVERETT) BUTLER FROM VARIOUS
1835 – 1868
Seven folders, arranged chronologically
Correspondence written to Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from a variety of colleagues and acquaintances. Many of the letters were received during her time as principal of the Clinton Seminary.

SUBJECT FILES

SUBJECT FILES – UKNOWN ORIGIN
[18--?]
One folder
Handwritten list detailing what items should be packed by a missionary and his accompanying wife.

OFFICE FILES – UKNOWN FREE WILL BAPTIST EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION
1855, 1857
One folder, arranged chronologically
Three examples of recommendation letters written on behalf of students intended to join the Free Will Baptist ministry and one example of an application for aid available to “indigent students.”

INDIVIDUAL FILES – BUTLER AND EVERETT FAMILIES
1855 – 1873, n.d.
Two folders, arranged chronologically
Assorted materials related to various members of the Butler and Everett families, including the business card of Dr. Mary Everett and the report cards of John H. Butler.

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

MANUSCRIPTS – VARIOUS
1832, 1844, n.d.
Three folders, arranged chronologically
Poetry handwritten by J.J. Butler and by Sarah Everett, one booklet of multiple sermons written by J.J. Butler with some noted with date and location.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

LEGAL DOCUMENTS – FRANCIS O. SANDS
1847, 1864
One folder, arranged chronologically
Legal documents belonging to Francis O. Sands, possible father-in-law of Lizzie (Butler) Sands.

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS – J.J. BUTLER
1861 – 1891, n.d.
One folder, arranged chronologically
Various handwritten statements, bills, and receipts addressed to J.J. Butler regarding home mortgages, orders for publications, donations to aid societies, payment for institutional fees, and payment for services rendered.

PRINTED MATERIAL

PRINTED MATERIAL – ENVELOPES
[18--?]
One folder, arranged by type
Small collection of printed educational or informational envelopes with text and/or images, including anti-war and pro-temperance.

PRINTED MATERIAL – GOVERNMENTAL
1864
Two folders, arranged by type
Printed material released by the state government of New Hampshire declaring a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise,” and from the federal government encouraging participation in the 1864 presidential election.

PRINTED MATERIAL – GENERAL
1836 – 1884, n.d.
Five folders, arranged chronologically by type
Promotional and informational materials related to Hillsdale College, Bowdoin College, the Free Will Baptist Ministry, numerous businesses, and religious societies and institutions.

Inventory

Box 1

Folders

  1. To J.J. Butler from Oren B. Cheney, 1833 – 1866
  2. To J.J. and Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Oliver Butler and family, 1833 – 1855
  3. To J.J. and Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Oliver Butler and family, 1856 – 1882, n.d.
  4. To J.J. Butler from Nathan Butler,1833 – 1849
  5. To J.J. Butler from Aaron Hodgson (Cousin), 1833 – 1842
  6. To J.J. and Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Louisa (Butler) Thompson and family, 1845 – 1864
  7. To J.J. and Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Louisa (Butler) Thompson and family, 1866 – 1868, n.d.
  8. From J.J. Butler to Oliver Butler, 1833 – 1838, 1855
  9. From J.J. Butler to Nathan Butler, 1834 – 1855
  10. From J.J. Butler to Robert Everett, 1849
  11. From J.J. Butler to Elizabeth (Everett) Butler, 1851 – 1858
  12. From J.J. Butler to Elizabeth Butler and Children, 1863
  13. From J.J. Butler from Elizabeth (Everett) Butler and children, 1866 – 1867
  14. From J.J. Butler from Elizabeth (Everett) Butler and children. 1869 – 1883, n.d.

Box 2

Folder

  1. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Robert and Elizabeth Everett, 1834 - 1845
  2. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Robert and Elizabeth Everett, 1849 – 1876, n.d.
  3. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from John Roberts Everett, 1840 – 1875
  4. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Mary Everett, 1840 – 1875, n.d.
  5. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Jennie Everett, 1840 – 1861
  6. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Jennie Everett, 1862 – 1884, n.d.
  7. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Robert, 1848 – 1856, n.d.
  8. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Sarah Everett Everett Jr., 1852 – 1869, n.d.
  9. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Cynthia Everett, 1853 – 1864
  10. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Cynthia Everett, 1867 – 1876, n.d.
  11. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Anna Everett, 1856 – 1875, n.d.
  12. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Lewis Everett, 1856, 1875, n.d.
  13. To Elizabeth (Everett) and J.J. Butler from Edward Everett, 1866 – 1867, n.d.
  14. From Elizabeth (Everett) Butler to Robert and Elizabeth Everett, 1839 – 1859
  15. From Elizabeth (Everett) Butler to J.J. Butler, 1842 – 1867
  16. From Elizabeth (Everett) Butler to Robert Everett Jr., 1855
  17. From Elizabeth (Everett) Butler to Mary Everett, 1864
  18. From Elizabeth (Everett) Butler to children, 1866 – 1873, n.d.
  19. To J.J. and Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from various Butler family members, 1833 – 1869, n.d.
  20. To J.J. and Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from various Everett family members, 1861 – 1891, n.d.

Box 3

Folders

  1. To and from John H. Butler, 1854 – 1869
  2. To and from John H. Butler, 1870 – 1873
  3. To and from John H. Butler, 1873 – 1885, n.d.
  4. To and From Lizzie (Butler) Sands, 1854 – 1906, n.d.
  5. To and from Hattie (Butler) Putnam, 1863 – 1882, n.d.
  6. To and from extended Butler family, 1848 – 1854
  7. To and from extended Everett family, 1848 – 1866, n.d.
  8. To extended Sands family, 1864, 1899, 1904
  9. To and from unrelated individuals, 1834, 1854, 1866
  10. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1830 – 1832
  11. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1833
  12. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1834
  13. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1835

Box 4

Folders

  1. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1836
  2. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1837
  3. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1838
  4. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1839
  5. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1840
  6. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1841
  7. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1842
  8. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1843
  9. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1844
  10. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1845
  11. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1846
  12. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1847
  13. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1848
  14. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1849
  15. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1850 – 1851
  16. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1852
  17. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1853

Box 5

Folders

  1. To J.J. Butler from Various,1854 – 1855
  2. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1856
  3. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1857
  4. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1858
  5. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1859
  6. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1860
  7. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1861
  8. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1862
  9. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1863
  10. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1864
  11. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1865
  12. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1866
  13. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1867
  14. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1868
  15. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1869
  16. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1870
  17. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1871
  18. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1875
  19. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1878 – 1882
  20. To J.J. Butler from Various, 1884 – 1891
  21. To J.J. Butler from Various, n.d.

Box 6

Folders

  1. To J.J. Butler from Donors for Hillsdale College Monument to Rev. Jeremiah Phillips, 1880 – 1881
  2. From J.J. Butler to Various, 1848, 1868
  3. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Various, 1835 – 1840
  4. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Various, 1841
  5. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Various, 1842 – 1843
  6. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Various, 1844 – 1848
  7. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Various, 1852 – 1858
  8. To Elizabeth (Everett) Butler from Various, 1857 – 1868, n.d.
  9. Handwritten guidelines for Missionary Clothing, [18--?]
  10. Recommendations and aid applications for Free Will Baptist students (Institution Unknown), 1855 – 1857
  11. Materials relating to the extended Everett family, 1855, 1870, n.d.
  12. Report Cards/School Information for John H. Butler, 1865 – 1873, n.d.
  13. Poetry written by J.J. Butler, 1832
  14. Booklet “Sketches of Sermons” by J.J. Butler, 1844
  15. Poetry written by Sarah Everett, [18--?]
  16. Francis O. Sands Legal documents, 1847 – 1864
  17. Financial material and correspondence, 1861 – 1891, n.d.
  18. Obituary of Sarah Colgrove Everett, 1864
  19. Decorative/Informational printed letter envelopes, [18--?]
  20. Proclamation for “A Day of Thanksgiving & Praise by New Hampshire Gov. Joseph A. Gilmore, 1864
  21. Union Congressional Committee election mailer, 1864
  22. Material related to Bowdoin College, 1840 – 1869
  23. Hillsdale College brochures and flyers, 1857, 1879
  24. Promotional & informational material for religious societies and institutions, 1836 - 1879
  25. Promotional & sales material for various businesses, 1857 – 1884, n.d.
  26. New England Free Baptist Convention program April, 1876
  27. Assorted Correspondence – FRAGILE – Do not Use
  28. Assorted Correspondence – FRAGILE – Do not Use
  29. Assorted Correspondence – FRAGILE – Do not Use
  30. Collection Research File
  31. Collection Research File
  32. Collection Research File

Box 7

  1. Collection Research File
  2. Collection Research File
  3. Collection Research File

Box 8: Oversize

Folders

  1. Correspondence – Letter to J.J. Butler from W.M. Baker, 18—(Date illegible)
  2. Correspondence – Letter to J.J. Butler from D. Marks, 1842
  3. Subject Files – Employment application of Alexander Dick, A.M. to Toronto University, 1851
  4. Legal Documents – Copy of State of Maine “Act to Incorporate the Trustees of Parsonfield Seminary, 1833
  5. Print Material – “Panorama of the Bible” broadsheet, 1874
  6. Print Material – “Proctor & Quibob’s Combination Troupe” broadsheet, 1872
  7. Print Material – “Graham, Perry & Co. Real Estate Loan Ag’ts” broadsheet, n.d.

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