John S. Butler 
Click on name for Bio


of Chesterfield Township
Article written by my GGG Grandfather , copy sent to my Grandmother 12/14/75 from my Aunt Gladys Pickett, after the funeral of her brother Wade. Aunt Gladys remembered that there were 7 or 8 of these articles but she could only find 2 at the time. Transcribed and submitted by Donna Jahn, as written. ? indicates unable to read word written.
Contributed by Donna Jahn
As Related by the Late John S. Butler of Chesterfield,
and Published in The "Fulton County Tribune" date Sept 13, 1907

I was a born at Lyons, Wayne county, New York, May 18, 1824 and when about nine years old I came with my father, Asa H. Butler, to Cleveland, Ohio. Soon after arriving there, I was bound out to a farmer by the named of Alanson Briggs who came to this country in the fall of 1834 and bought a large tract of land from the government and built a house. This house was built on what is now known as the J. H. Turner farm in Chesterfield township. Having built his home he returned to Cleveland and in the early spring of 1835 moved his family here. The trip was made over land and it gave me my first experience of pioneer life. Mr. Briggs was very wealthy and his object in coming here was to establish an Indian trading post. He brought with him a large stock of merchandise. I say a large stock of merchandise, and so it was for those days, but it would make a small showing by the side of the stock carried by some of the stores of the county today. I do not know exactly how long we were making that trip, only that it took weeks.  In crossing the black swamp we did not travel more than four or five miles in a day. Our teams would frequently get stalled and we would have to find a settler to pull us out. In addition to bringing a stock of merchandise, Mr. Briggs brought a lot of cattle with him and many and many a night I roamed through the woods looking for the cows. I was then "John, the choreboy," and as you can well imagine there was plenty for a boy of my age to do.

Mr. Briggs was a very busy man and sometimes he would be gone away from home for weeks at a time and during his absence the care of the store fell upon me. Our only customers were the Indians and in a short time I could talk the Indian language as readily as I could the English. The only playmates I had for nearly a year were the little Indian boys and our chief pastime was shooting at a mark. As I grew older I acted as Indian interpreter on many occasions and when the government transferred the Indians to the West I helped the government agents in closing up their contracts with the Indians and getting them together for transportation.

"When I came here we knew of no white person living in the country nor did I see a white person until the fall the same year Mr. Briggs located here. One October day some Indians came into the store and told Mr. Briggs that they had seen a white man. Owning a large amount of land he was anxious to sell to any speculator or settler who was looking for an investment or home, and so he had me find out from the Indians what the white man was doing, but I was unable to make them understand what I wanted to know. A few days later Chief Winameg accompanied by one or two of the Indians who told us the "whiteman," came to the store and I could understand what I wanted to know. The Chief had visited the store many times and had learned a few English words and when I asked him if the "whiteman" was a trader or not, he shook his head and said, "Whiteman build wigwam." I knew then that it was a settler and that he was building himself a home. I asked the Chief to tell me where to find him. To answer this question seemed to bother him.  He walked away and sat on a stump and seemed to be lost in thought. In a little while he came up to me and taking me by the arm led me to a section corner stone which the government surveyors had planted a few years before, pointing at the stone and then pointing in a certain direction he made a certain number of motions with his arm, then stopping and pointing in another direction, he again pointed at the stone, made two motions with his arm and said, "There Whiteman." We knew that each motion of the Chief's arm meant a mile and the next day Mr. Briggs and myself started out to find our neighbors. We followed the courses given us by the Indian and as we came to the end of the last mile as marked by the Indian we looked off to our right and saw a settlement. We received a hearty welcome into this home for we were the first white people that they had seen in over a year. This was the home of Chesterfield Clemons, the man after whom Chesterfield township was named.

Mr. Clemons had moved his family into this wilderness the fall before we came here and so was the first permanent white settler in the township. My wife, and by the way she is a daughter of Chesterfield Clemons, remembers well the day that she with her parents in an emigrant wagon, stopped in the woods where her father said that he had bought a farm. It was on the eighth day of October 1834. There was not a stick of timber cut on the place, neither was there any kind of building to cover them shelter or protection. The family lived in this wagon until a log house could be built.

As Related by the Late John S. Butler of Chesterfield,
Published In "The Fulton County  Tribune" date Sept. 20, 1907

"Although a boy but thirteen years of age, I remember well the first election ever held in Chesterfield. It was held in Briggs' store July 19, 1837. It was at this meeting that the township was organized. Briggs was a very wealthy man for those days and he had many papers to sign that required an acknowledgement before a justice of the peace and the nearest justice was at Sylvania, so each time he had to make this long trip. To avoid this inconvenience and to make it more convenient for the settlers to transact business, he and Clemmons set out to have the township organized. I can seem to hear those pioneers, now, discussing township organization. Finally a day was set and word was sent to all the settlers to meet at Briggs' store and this they did on the date given above. Every body was enthusiastic over the organization and when it came to proposing a name for the new township all agreed that it should be called 'Chesterfield" in honor of Chesterfield Clemons, the first permanent white settler in the township"

"Dover and Gorham townships were not organized at this time and under the law the settlers of these townships were allowed to vote in Chesterfield. There w-- ? ? ? ? at this election. Gersham Livsay, Gorham Cottrell and John B. Roe were judges of the election and Alanson Briggs and Jesse Oles were clerks. All of these men have long since gone to their reward and of all those who attended that election in 1837 none are left save me. Mr. Briggs was elected clerk and as there was no one in the township qualified to administer an oath of office, Mr. Briggs went to Sylvania and was sworn in and upon his return home administered the oath of office to the other newly elected officials. At that time each township had three school examiners and at this election Alfred C. Hough who in after years became prominent in the affairs of the county, was elected one of the school examiners."

"In the summer of 1838 the first school house in Chesterfield was built. The government had set apart for school purposes section sixteen in every township, and in locating the new school house it was decided to build it in this section. It was located in the northeast corner of the section, a short distance south of what is now known as the 'Hawley" cemetery. It was a crude affair but it was the best we could do in those days. It was built of logs and roofed with clapboards which those early pioneers had split out of logs cut from trees in the adjacent forest. In the end of the building was constructed a large fireplace which was to warm the entire room. Many a log was carried in and rolled into the fireplace by the teacher and big boys. The desks were puncheon, logs split in halves with the flat side turned up, fastened to place driven into the side of the walls. The seats were made of this same material into which legs were driven. There were no backs to these seats. Neither were there seats in the center of the room as there was no place to fasten a desk. The teacher by his water beech rod, reigned in this room as an absolute monarch."

"But those days are gone forever and while it affords my wife and I much pleasure to live them over and over again, since the lapse of nearly seventy years, we are heartily glad that our grand children and all the children of this beloved an prosperous county of ours which we have helped to build out of a dense forest and ague and fever laden swamps, possess all the advantages to get a complete education that they do today. Little did we believe in those early days that all this could be possible, in so short a time, but the Great Father of us all has permitted us to live on and see it all and we are ever grateful for it."

"As I was bound out to Mr. Briggs, I did not get much time to go to school. During the years of thirty-seven and thirty-eight I entered the United States mail as I have told you. Mr. Briggs took the contract and as I was bound to him I never knew what he required for my services. He was gone a great deal of the time and in his absence I had charge of the store so that my attending school in the old school house was somewhat limited. About all we were taught in those days were included in the three R's-Readin, riting and rithmetic."

"It was while carrying the mail from Sylvania that I saw the greatest event of my boyhood days-the building of a railroad. During the summer of 1838 a company was building the Pontiac & Detroit railroad from Toledo to Adrian and were at work at Sylvania. The rails were flat bars of iron fastened to the ties and the cars were at first drawn by horses. I recollect seeing the first steam engine pulling three or four cars. The settlers came for miles and miles to see it. Few would believe it possible, that an engine on a smooth rail could pull a load as heavy as itself. They scouted at the idea and declared that the wheels would just slip around on the rails and that it would be impossible to move such a load. So when it was announced that a steam engine pulling a train of cars would pass over the road we all turned out to see the wonder. You can imagine our surprise and amazement when an engine pulling four or five cars pulled up to the station. We could doubt no longer for there stood the monster with its load."

"It is useless for me to describe the engine for nearly all have seen at expositions the type of engines used then. Suffice it to say that the engineer and fireman stood on a platform attached to the back part of the engine. There was no covering over them and wood was fired for their fuel."

Copy of John S. Butler's Obituary/article/card of thanks.
No Date shown he died: 1907
Transcribed and submitted by Donna Jahn. as written

Borne To The Tomb

The funeral of John S. Butler was held at the church at Inlet Monday forenoon at 11 o'clock, Rev. W. H. Shannon of this village, conducting the service. The church was filled to overflowing by old friends and neighbors of the deceased, in spite of the threatening weather of the morning. The clergyman spoke feelingly of Mr. Butler and his words of eulogy found a ready response in the hearts and minds of those present-for they had know this grand old an for many years, some of them from young manhood. These old friends had been associated with Mr. Butler for many years and held him in high esteem. Mr. and Mrs. Scott Roos and Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Wade sang, and Miss Mary Agnew presided at thte organ. The burial took place in the Hawley Cemetery in Chesterfield and the remains were followed to the final resting place by a large number of friends.

Mr. Butler is survived by his aged wife and four children, as stated last week and by 16 grand children and 19 great grand children. All but one of the grand children were present at the funeral. Mr. and Mrs. Elwin Richardson of Cleveland, the later being a great-grand child, were also present.

Friends from Wauseon, Morenci, Lyons and from nearly all the surrounding towns were among those who gathered to pay their last tribute of respect to this aged pioneer.

The following gentlemen officiated as pall bearers: Henry Philipper, Robert and James Bachman, John Garow, Leon Lee and Willis Patterson.

Card of Thanks. - We desire in this way to thank our friends who so kindly assisted us during the sickness and after the death of our husband and father, also the donors of flowers, Rev. W. H. Shannon, and the singers. -Mrs. J. S. Butler (Lovina Clemmons), U.G. Butler, E. J. Butler, Mrs. Mort Taylor (Fannie Butler), Mrs. D. L. Beebe (Eunice Butler married David L. Beebe). 

Article written by my GGG Grandfather , copy sent to my Grandmother from my Aunt Gladys Pickett, transcribed and submitted by Donna Jahn as written, ? indicates unable to read word written.

This is a photo enhancement of the newspaper microfilm copy a top of page


Pioneer Days:  The Lone Indian ? Early History of the County

by ?Uncle? John Butler

 Fulton County Tribune ? September 27th, 1907

Transcribed and submitted by Glenda Bair

Family of Chesterfield W. Clemons

Chesterfield W. Clemons, b 4-24-1798 NY 
m 1821 Fannie Downing b 5-17-1803, Chesterfield d) 9/15/1842 44 yr 4 mo 21 d. Fannie Downing Clemons m 2nd Honorable Samuel Gillis

Children: (6 Daughters)

1. Sallie Ann Clemmons   b) 1823. . Shown in 1850 Census with the following children: Samuel b)abt 1842, Phineas b) abt 1844, David b) abt 1845, Mathias b) abt 1847 and Alfred shown as 6 months old.

2. Lucretia Clemons Hough b) abt 1824 
m August 20, 1843 to James Hough b abt 1819, they had the following children: Fanny M. b) 4-4-1846, Jerome b)8-15-1853, Clarence A. b) 9-12-1850, Clara J. b) 8-15-1853, George J. b)1-31-1856, Adella L. b) 2-18-1858, Frank D. b)5-16-1860, Effa R. b) 3-13-1863, Eva E. b 3-13-1863 and Viola E. b) 4-17-1868

3. Lovina S. Clemons Butler b)1828 d) 1909
m June 14, 1846 to John S. Butler, they had the following children: Richard A. b) 4-30-1848 d) 3-10-1849, Wilfred C. b) 2-4-1850 d) 4-8-1880 m around 1870 Amanda Swartz b) 5-22-1853 d)2-5-1944 widowed & remarried Unknown Crosby b)11-21-1842 d)10-24-1932. Known child of Amanda and Wilfred: Velma Butler b) 8-11-1870 d)3-6-1964 m Elwin A. Richardson b) 4-2-1859 d) 9-13, 1937, 2nd George Ritter Velma & Elwin had 3 or 4 children. Elwin had children from previous marriage to Anna Sheldon Richardson. I think Velma & Elwins's children are as follows from family information: Milton Butler Richardson b) 5-22-1897 d)8-14-1945 m Ethel Grace Mobberly 12-23-1923 2nd husband of widowed Ethel is Kenneth Smethers.,Ethel Marie Richardson b)1-3-1896 d)2-5-1964, Wade Richardson b)7-21-1900 d)1-30-1970, Gladys Richardson b)? d)? (other Richardson children were son-Ray Richardson and daughter unknown Richardson.

4. Eunice Clemons Dean b) abt 1830 
m James S. Dean b) abt 1822 shown with the following child in 1850 census: Vestus-b) abt 1848

5. Lucinda Clemons Gillis b) abt 1834 
m Delevan C. Gillis b) abt 1828 shown with the following children in 1860 & 1870 census: Emily b) abt 1853, Darwin b) abt 1857, Cyrus b) abt 1859, Belle b) abt 1861

6. Rosetta Clemons Clarkb) abt 1836 
m Gideon Clark b) abt 1823 shown with the following children in the 1850 & 1860 census. Not shown in 1870 Fulton Co census. George b) abt 1850 1month in 1850 census, Roxanna b) abt 1846, Orville b) abt 1850, Clemins b) abt 1850 (Orville & Clemins both show 10 yrs old in 1860 census), Julius b) abt 1857 and Albert b) abt 1860

Family Geneolgy Clemons, as collected through articles written by John Bulter, Arcticles sent to me by M. Lozer and 1850, 1860 and 1870 Census records. Also, information written/ collected by my Grandmother Richardson Smethers. 
Chesterfield W. Clemons
b April 24, 1798 NY,  d) Sept. 15, 1842 at age 44 yrs 4 mos 21 d

Contributed by Donna Jahn

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