Monday, July 10, 2017

From Mary & Coreta. June 6, 1918

Centerburg, O.
June 6. 1918
Dear Uncle: -
       How are you by this time?  How is Ray & Howard?  I am just fine.  Mr. VanSickles colt soar is about all well. grandma and grandpa come over to our house the 4th and Aunt Florad & Uncle Clint& Myrtle and her two children..
       Do you have anything good to eat? Floyd went bare footed yesterday and he is crying because his feet hurts.  I will pick strawberries Friday.  John Reed and his family is coming to our house Sunday. Tell Ray to write to me if you please.  Doris Frost come over to play with me to-day.  Any more of your filling coming out of your teeth?  Why don't you get your picture and send it to us.
        Write soon.
                         Mary Geiger
                     Soldier John Butler

Fredricktown, Ohio
June 6, 1918
Hello John, 

          I received your letter today and was glad to hear from you.  I was down to Aunt Bell's today.  She said dhe got a letter from Ray yesterday. She wants me to help her a few days while there are some men boarding there  The men are going to build a bridge there by their house.   called up Alice Hood to talk to Grandma, but she and Grandpa were over to Mamma's.  Uncle Clint & Aunt Flora, Myrtle and two children were over there too.  All of Annie's and I are going over home on Sunday.  Last Sunday I stayed here they had company their names were Springers.  Mr. Springer was in the war with the Philippines.  They live now on Tom Hood's place.  Last Saturday night Annie said Kenneth Trease went past here with a gitl beside him. And a boy and a girl in behind.  Then Sunday Mildred said he went on past their house.  The girl was running Treases machine and Kenneth had his arms around the girl and there were two girls and boys in the back seat.  Have Treases wrote to you yet?  Grandma told Mamma and Mamma told me thatshe had got my grade card and I had passed to High School. A "F r e s h m a n" next year am I!   
        I guess Edith likes you pretty well doesn't she and I'll bet you like her. Mamma said someone was inquiring about me and I asked her who it was.  She said it was Ora Hall.  He asked Ennice,  I will take your advice and Mamma's and let Kenneth Conway be. I was over to Strumps on Sunday.  Helen went to work at some stylish people in Fredricktown.  I guess she gets $5 a wk. What are you doing?  Aunt Bell said Ray was washing some dishes. They got his letters Monday,
        I have been making a shortcake. I have also been parching.  That was a dandy little picture you sent me. I wish you would have your picture taken in your uniform and send it to me. I think you are having better things to eat than we are having at home.  Strawberries are .20 a qt.  Annie got a letter from Guy.  He was well. He said his (truck?) was so large you drive a ford in backend and have plenty of room to work around it. If you can read this writing you are going somewhere.  It is getting dark and I can't hardly see. I will have to close.
        Write soon.
             Good bye

B.B.U.C.Y.S.K.                                                                            S.W.A.L.X!
B.B.U.C.E.T.D.O.Y.H.                                                                 X X X X X
Make this out and send it.
P.S. Mr. Trucx was here today to buy rags..

Ray Dale Butler, veteran of WWI.  His father is Henry Butler, uncle to Rose.  His mother Sarah A. Hulse died in 1909. His step-mother is referred to in the letters as Aunt Bell

William Shephard with Rose Butler and
their son Floyd Shepherd
Anna Scarborough Reed.
She is a 1st Cousin to Rose Butler

Rella Alonzo Hatton married to Amy Estella Butler.
Stella is Rose's sister. 

Donald D. Hatton (Rella & Stella's son) with Mary Elizabeth Geiger and Coreta Mae Geiger (Rose Butler's daughters)

 I contacted Donald's son,  Don J Hatton who passed in 2016,  to share these photos.  In return, he sent me the letters I am sharing with you.  They were in an old box in his basement.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Bloomfield Ohio - May 31, 1918


Dear brother, 
         Received your most welcome card today.  Our mail man did not make his trip yesterday so we didn't get any mail. I am glad you are feeling better. Some days I am better then bad again. But able to still dig. Coreta went to Anna's last Wed. morning.  Haven't heard from her since. The rest here are allright.
          Floyd said at Sun. he wished Johnny would come and cut his hair.  I don't know what made him say it for you never cut his hair.  Johnny, that fellow that worked on the pike called banty, he is over in France. Then that heavy set fellow has gone that worked with them too. Dada and Mamma are very lonesome came home with me Sun. morning stayed until Tue. morning, but dada would go home at night.
          Coreta got her card promoted to High school.  Don't that sound good.Willie started in to plowing corn this after noon. It will certainly rain for it is so very warm.  Johnny,  I got my dress and Floyd's shoes were allright only a little large.  Mary was in here talking so I made some mistakes.  I called up Stellas a little while ago.  Our folks are there.  Mamma said Dada was getting uneasy. Wants to go home to get the mail.
           Mrs. Taylor said Herman called her said he believed he would enlist for all the boys are going.  He will be 20 in June.  How is Ray and Howard.  Are they any ways near you?  I felt sorry for Ray.  He kissed me good bye. Poor boy no mother's kiss. Floyd and Mary is sending these roses to you.  The dark one is Mary's the other is Floyds.  Ennice is helping Verner Conway this after noon.  How do you like your wrist watch.
          Well I expect you are tired of this so I will close.  Hoping to hear from you soon.

                             May God bless and protect my baby bro.
Your sister

P.S. Saw in Gilead paper where 60 boys from your place goes to camp Sherman.  Maybe Johnny.  XXX

Fredericktown Ohio - May 1918

May 29, 1918

Dear Uncle:

          I expect you are getting acquainted with the camp by this time. I am down at Annie's now. I am feeling fine and hoping you are the same. Supper is over and I am upstairs and think I will go to bed.  I stayed alnight up to grandmas Tuesday night and I mowed the yard.  I expect you see the Ohio River  Mrs. Holland wanted me to pick strawberries for her, but I was going to Annie's. Mary and Ennice I guess are going too.
          When grandmas was over to our house she got so tired of hearing the blackbirds she took a piece of brick and throwed at it and killed it so that it dropped out of tree.  Anna and I cleaned Guy's room this after noon.  I am writing on papa's suit case.  Do you know Kenneth Conway?  He is Gales' Conway son his mother is a sister to Ernest Tuttle.  He asked Mable how old I was.  He said he would make a date with me if I wouldn't turn him down. Ruth said that they weren't counted nothing.
           Do you know that "live for ever" that Grandma put on a wood house of me and Opy we are right together?  Hall's have got one better from Opy.  He is just fine and has a good job.  Geneva Mead is working in Gilead and now Grace runs with Florence Haycock and Claude Hines. Have you got your suit on yet? 
           Mary got a bump on her head Tuesday night running the little chickens in till it knocked her down. Ennice has got his hair cut close to his head.  Till you can't see a bit hair on his head only a little bit on top of inch long.  Today Iva made some candy to send to Zulauf.   I have not wrote to him yet and I don't think I will either. I expect you cannot read this writing I have.
          I guess Clyde has gone.  Some man seen him go through Galion.  Harold Musen has enlisted. I guess Willie is going to help Uncle Henry thru harvest.  Aunt Bells was over to Uncle Willies Sunday and she said grandpa and grandma was there.

Johnny Butler     L  M
 Edith Hulse       L  F

Love - I knew it long ago.

I soon will have to go to bed.         Good bye.

I guess I will be here for a while longer so write soon as you can.


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Meet the Butlers

I suppose I should have introduced you to our main characters.  Say hello to the Butlers.  This family photo was taken about 1897 given that John appears to be 3 years old.  His parents are George and Augusta Butler and his siblings are Stella, Rose and William.  They live in South Bloomfield NJ. 

John and William are a little older here.  They are closer to the age when John will be drafted for WWI.  This photo is the size of a thumbprint.  I suspect it may have been taken at a fair.

Coreta and Mary Geiger are Rose's daughters.  They are standing here in front of Grandma and Grandpa Butler's house.  From 1901-1908 they lived in Sparta, Ohio (once born) with Rose and Louis Geiger.  Louis is an engineer who works on bridges and is frequently away from home.  In 1908 Rose and Louis divorce

Rose remarries in 1913 to William Shepard. Coreta refers to them as Momma & Papa.

And finally, we have Coreta.  This looks to be about the correct age when she wrote what seemed to be her first letter to Uncle John away at war.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Old Letters 1918-1919

I am fortunate to have in my possession many old letters dating from 1918-1919. The letters were written by my Great Grandmother and her mother, Rose Butler, to Rose's brother during World War II.  I am sharing these letters as part of  our collective history. I will do my best to post these in order.  In between the letters I will locate relevant photos of names and places mentioned.  

Centerburg, Ohio
Feb. 18,1918

Dear Uncle,

     Mamma had just got a letter from you and she is going to write to you so I thought I would write also. I have the sore throat real bad. I went to the doctor. He gave me two kinds to dissolve on my tongue.  I don't know much to write. I made out a order to Sears Roebuck to get me a summer dress of changeable silk.  I was at Grandma's and stayed all night. Mamie C. came down.  While she was there your mother-in-law called up. It is getting my bed time.  Papa and Mamma have went to bed. I just got through getting my lessons. I wish you would come home pretty soon. 

Friday night at the Sparta Gym, at the Opera House there is going to be a basketball game a double header.The Marengo Grammer Room and Sparta Grammar room is going to play against the Marengo High School and Sparta High School. Last Friday night Sparta went to Fredricksburg and Frederich put us one score that wasn't much. We sure have got good players who are -  captain Homer Wilson, Merle Culiver, Hoy Weaver, Langstaff Fern Mitchel when Langstaff don't play Ansel Hulse takes his place. 

Well I am studying Latin so I will give you some. This is what Edith says to you.  The Translation will be on the back of this paper.

1. Nunquam ero miser tecum 2. Ego te amo. 3. Amasne me?

1. Never shall I be miserable with you. 2. I love you. Do you love me?

Well I will close now.  Your niece, 

OXXX many more            

Nine Years Later

The years have flown by haven't they?

The kids are almost adults now with my oldest studying in Paris this summer.  As they are beginning their own adventures, I'm wondering if it is time to dust myself off and pursue a few of my own.  Over the last nine years I dove into my work with a focus on taking care of the family.   I wonder if perhaps I veered off course and forgot to take care of myself along the way.

My wake up call was the M word - merger. I've known for 9 months that my company will be merging with two others.  Operations will not begin for another nine months.  I see chaos building in the coming months.  Following the rising tension there will be relief. Reminds me of the preparations each hurricane season.  There is always an exciting frenzy accompanied by a biting dread for what may come. Will this be the year that landfall will wreck havoc over my memories?  Will we relive Hugo once again? Or will the storm turn in the last moments and follow the curve of our barrier islands out to sea?

I will know soon in which direction the tides will turn for me.  I am excited about the possibilities that come with change and I look forward to the relief that comes with knowing that I will eventually settle down to another comfortable routine with Dadsy at my side.