This letter was written by Johannes (John) Anthonis Butin (1786-1867), a native of the Netherlands, who emigrated to the United States prior to 1810. He married Anna Coleman in Cazenovia, Madison County, New York, and relocated by covered wagon to Hocking County, Ohio prior to 1820. In 1848, John moved his family again to Jasper County, Iowa. His wife died in 1860.
John Butin wrote this letter to his son Jacob E. Butin (1814-1907) of Logan, Licking County, Ohio. Jacob served as a Quartermaster Sergeant in Co. H., 5th Ohio Cavalry, from October 1861 to December 1862 when he was discharged for disability. Jacob was married to Mary Ann Bowen in 1838. John’s letter to Jacob mentions the military service of another son, Linklaen Butin (1826-18xx), in the California Volunteers.
Addressed to Mr. Jacob E. Butin, Logan, Hocking County, Ohio
Galesburg, Jasper County, Iowa
September 12th 1862
Dear Son & Family,
I take my pen once more in hand to let you all know that we are still enjoying a comfortable state of health and through the country, and say unto you all that we have once more received a letter from your brother Linklaen. The letter was dated the 29th day of June 1862, Tucson, Arizona Territory. He is well and amongst the living and a long distance from us all and a place where we had never expected him to be. He is now twelve hundred & eighty miles from San Francisco. He enlisted last October in the California Volunteers and has been on the move ever since through one of the most forsaken places and country, he says, in the world. There is nothing but thorns, sand, and deserts from 15 to 50 miles without water and has packed their knapsacks all the way. He says our army are in good health considering the warm weather. The thermometer stands from 100 & 20 to 130 in the shade. He says they have all kinds of people there — the Maricopa Indians, the Pimoe’s, the Navaho’s, the Apaches, and the Greasers. They will move when it rains sufficient to them water and start for the Rio Grande.
I have wrote a letter to Linklaen and Francis has also written a letter to him. If you intend to [write] him, you must direct it as follows:
Tucson, Arizona Territory
L. Butin, Company G., 5th Regiment
California Volunteers ¹
A few lines as to that forty acres of land. The men failed in 1857. Mr. Thomas from whom I got the warrant of has gone to the State of Maine — Portland — and will be back to Burlington [Iowa] on the 1st Monday of October. I will again have to be there with all my papers & the receipt I got from them with the letters I got from the land office to prove the identity of the warrant being forge by my paper or letters and then Thomas will trace up from whom they bought the warrant as they bought several hundred forty-acre warrants. If those men are good, I shall stand a chance to get back the money. Mr. Green has gone to Europe. Mr. Thomas, I think, will try to get it out those men they bought the warrants of if they live and worth anything. If not, the chance is small.
John Butin is married and has a boy. Mary Anna was married to one Mariam Woodard some three weeks ago. We are all well. I expect to stay with Ann after this week. Joseph [Hewitt] and lawyer [James W.] Sennet received a commission to raise a volunteer company. ² They have raised their company and moved them to Camp Pope, Iowa City, last week. Joseph came back last Saturday and will leave next Monday for headquarters at Iowa City. So you see the older I get, the more I will have to work to make them confortable and as long as my health is as good as it is now, I am willing to do so for them all. My health never was better yet I cannot do as I once did. Still I do more now in one day than many in prime of life and I hope you will write a letter to Linklaen before long that he may get from some of us which must be a consolation to him in that dreary country.
I have paid Hartwell taxes and got his receipt for the same. We cannot tell yet [what] our taxes will [be] this year. One thing is certain, they will be high enough to support this war. As soon as they make out the tax list, I will let you know about the amount of all that want me to attend. Write soon and give my best respects to Mr. Rochester’s family and also from the Rev. Mr. Salters at Burlington and to our inquiring friends.
So I remain your affectionate father, — John A. Butin
¹ The 5th California Regiment spent its entire term of service in the western United States. In 1862, the regiment marched over 900 miles from California across southern New Mexico Territory to Texas. It remained at Franklin, Texas until mustering out in December 1864.
² Capt. James W. Sennet and Lieut. Joseph Hewitt (1823-1903) were commissioned officers of Co. E., 40th Iowa Infantry. They were organized in September 1862. The 40th saw action in Arkansas and Louisiana during the Civil War. Joseph Hewitt was married to Anna B. Butin (John’s daughter).