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Mary Prentiss of Grand Island, VT and IN

Mary Prentiss of Grand Island, VT and Salem Twp., Steuben Co., IN
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Fall 2000 and Revised: 19 Oct 2008

1. Mary Prentiss, probably b. c. 1795. The IGI calls her "of North Hero, Grand Isle, VT", but that may only be referring to her husband's possible residence after marriage. However, the 1880 census record for her son, Marvin, says she was b. in Canada. Mary d. 11 Mar 1879, Salem Twp. Steuben Co., IN. The 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana pages 739-740, below, calls Mary a native of the same section "of the country", whatever that means.

She m. Daniel Butler c. 1823 at an unknown location. He was b. in Grand Isle County, Vt., 28 Nov 1793 and d. 19 Dec 1847 in Salem Twp., Steuben Co., IN. Bur in Block Cem., Salem. He was the son of Benjamin Butler and Persis Hutchins per IGI.

Presently known children:

  1. Marvin "Marion" Benjamin Butler, b. 15 Feb 1834 at N. Hope, Grand Isle Co., VT. . . . . . . . . . . [2]
  2. Henry "Prentiss" Butler
  3. Jesse Butler
  4. Loren Butler
  5. (unknown) Butler.

Marvin Butler, in a book about his Civil War experiences, says that the home of his mother, Mary, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. She is listed as head of household in 1850, with Henry and another couple of children, but not Marvin/Marion, who would have been 16.

From the 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana pages 739-740, submitted by Mindee Gleason:

    Henry P. and Marvin B. Butler are sons of Daniel Butler, one of the first settlers of Salem Township. Daniel Butler was born in Grand Isle County, Vt., Nov. 28, 1793. He married Mary Prentice, a native of the same section of country. A friend, Adolphus Town, had settled in Jackson Township, Steuben County, Indiana, and sending back favorable reports of the country,

    Mr. Butler determined to move west and make a home for his family. In the early part of June, 1838, he left Vermont in company with his brothers, Loren and Jesse, and their families, and was four weeks on the route, going to Albany, New York, thence to Buffalo by the Erie Canal and by the lake to Toledo. He left his family at Toledo while he went into the interior and purchased ox teams with which he conveyed his family to Steuben County, arriving in July.

    The three brothers purchased 500 acres on Sections 5 and 8, Salem Township, on which they located and improved farms. Daniel's farm consisted of the east half of the southwest quarter of section 5, and the east half of the northwest quarter of section 8, and the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 8, containing 200 acres, where he lived until his death in 1847. His wife died in 1879.

    They had a family of five children --

    1. Susan Butler, of Angola
    2. Harriet Butler
    3. Henry P. Butler, b. 16 Mar 1831, VT
    4. Marvin B. Butler, b. 15 Feb 1834, VT
    5. Helen M. Butler. She m. David Gillespie.

    Henry P. Butler was born in Vermont, March 16, 1831. He married Phoebe Clark, daughter of Matthew Clark. They have three children --

    1. Melvin C. Butler
    2. Wallace J. Butler
    3. Alberta M. Butler

    In the Fall of 1877 he was elected to the state legislature and served one term.

    Marvin B. Butler was born Feb. 15, 1834. He married Harriet M. Fuller, daughter of Elsley Fuller. They have two children --

    1. Benjamin M. Butler
    2. Harry M. Butler

    The Butler brothers [Henry and Marvin] are among the prominent citizens of Steuben County. Politically they are Republicans, and both earnest and practical temperance men.

    In Ante-bellum days their home was on the line of the underground railroad, and was often the refuge of runaway slaves, many of whom were sheltered and assisted on their way to freedom.

    Marvin B. enlisted August 25, 1861, in Co. A, 44th Reg. Ind. Volunteer Infantry, as a private; was soon after appointed orderly sargent. September 25, 1862, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and November of the same year to 1st Lieutenant. He participated in the siege and capture of Fort Donelson, where his health was injured by exposure and he was sent home on sick leave. He joined his regiment in July, 1862, at Battle Creek. He afterward took part in the battles of Perryville and Stone River, but owing to continued ill health he resigned in May 1863. The following fall he was elected Recorder and served two terms.

    In the fall of 1872 he was elected County Auditor and served four years. He then engaged in the mercantile business in Angola, the firm being Lewis and Butler. Retiring from the farm he returned to the old homestead and is now engaged with his brother, Henry P., in general farming and milling.

    The United Brethren Press published his memoirs, and the press's agent, Rev. E. C. Mason, assisted at his funeral--which was held in a M. E. Church.

2. Marvin "Marion" Benjamin Butler, b. 15 Feb 1834 at N. Hope, Grand Isle Co., VT. According to Julie Mulroy's email of 21 Jun 2000, he eventually settled in Steuben Co., IN. He is almost certainly the Marvin B. Butler who appears in the 1880 census in Salem, Steuben Co., IN, with his wife and family.

He m. Harriet M. Fuller, b. c. 1843, MI, daughter of Elsley Fuller, b. NY.Children of Marvin and Harriet:

  1. Benjamin B. Butler, b. c. 1869, IN. At home in 1880.
  2. Harry/Harvey M. Butler, b. c. 1876, IN. At home in 1880.

In the 1880 census in Salem, Steuben Co., IN, Marvin and Harriet were living next door to Henry P. Butler, probably his brother, who was b. c. 1831, VT, with his wife, Phebe M., b. c. 1839, NY, and their children:

  1. Melvin C. Butler, b. c. 1863, IN. At home in 1880.
  2. Wallace J. Butler, b. c. 1869, IN. At home in 1880.
  3. Mary A. Butler, b. c. 1871, IN. At home in 1880.

Who are Mary Prentiss' Parents?

Butler's memoir relates that Mary Prentiss' father served 7 years in the Revolution. That raises an interesting possibility that Mary's father might be Simeon Prentice who served during the Revolution at least 5 years. In the 1810 census, Simeon is shown with a dau. in the 16-25 year range (1785-1794), Simeon is a brother to Nathaniel Prentice who settled in Noble County. We do not know when or where Simeon died.

With a possible Grand Isle, VT likely place of birth and possible place of her marriage, and although there is a spread of 26 years, she might also be a sister or aunt of Abraham C. Prentiss of Noble County, IN, b. 1821 in VT, about whom we have an article in our Prentice Newsletter. It is also interesting to note that Abraham named one of his children "Marvin Butler Prentiss", indicating a close relationship between the two families.

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