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In this country inherited fortunes, or ancestral honors, have little effect on a man's reputation; but inherited disposition and early surroundings have much effect on his character.

My father's ancestors were from New England. His father, Phineas Butler, came from Saybrook, Connecticut, where the Congregational Churches framed the Saybrook platform. His mother's people, the Pardees, came from Norfork, Connecticut. The Pardees were said to have been descendants of the French Huguenots. Ebenezer Pardee emigrated to Marcellus, now known as Skaneateles, Onondaga Co., New York.

There he died in 1811, leaving his wife Ann Pardee, (known for many years as grandmother Pardee) a widow, with nine sons and two daughters. The eldest daughter, Sarah Pardee, was there married in 1813, to Phineas Butler; and there my father, who was the second of seven children, was born, March 9, 1816.

In the autumn of 1818, Phineas Butler, of whom I shall hereafter speak as grandfather Butler, went to Wadsworth, Medina Co., Ohio. There a settlement had been begun three years before in the heavy timber, and there were only a few small clearings here and there in the woods.

My grandmother came on with her brother the following spring. She had three small children, but they made the journey in a sled, in bad weather, cutting their own roads, and camping in the woods at night. Grandmother Pardee came on later. She was a woman of great energy, and brought up her sons so well that they all became leading men in the communities in which they lived. Grandmother Butler was also a capable, fearless woman, and so calm and firm that it was said no vexation was ever known to ruffle her temper.

Their cabins were built of logs, with hewed puncheon floors and doors; and on the roof, in the place of nailed shingles, were split shakes, fastened on with poles and wooden pins. But grandfather had brought a few nails (made by a blacksmith) from New York, and used them in his house. When a neighbor died they hewed out puncheons to make a coffin, and finding only eighteen nails in the neighborhood, grandfather, by torchlight, pulled fourteen more out of his house to finish the coffin.

Their lives were full of hardship and privation. Grandfather was a famous hunter, and his well aimed rifle sometimes furnished game that kept the neighborhood from starvation. He was dependent on bartering furs at some distant trading post, for his supplies of salt, needles, ammunition and other necessary articles that could not be made at home.

Often, after a hard day's work, he hunted half of the night to obtain coonskins and other furs. Father said that one night grandfather and Orin Loomis were out hunting coons with the dogs, having taken their axes to chop down coon trees, but no guns, when they found a bear, on a small island, in the middle of a swamp. But I find his bear story so well told in the "_Wadsworth Memorial_" that I will quote from that:

"In the fall of 1823, as Butler and Loomis were returning after midnight from one of their hunts, and had arrived within a mile or two of home it was noticed that the dogs were missing. Presently a noise was heard, far back in the rear.

"'Hark! What was that?' said Loomis. They listened awhile, and agreed it was dogs, sure.

"'Orr, let's go back,' said Butler.

"'No, it is too late,' answered Loomis.

"'But,' said Butler, 'I'll warrant the dogs are after a bear; don't you hear old Beaver? It sounds to me like the bark of old Beaver when he is after a bear.'

"Butler was bound to go back, and so they started. The scene of the disturbance was finally reached, after traveling two or three miles. The dogs had found a bear; but it was in the middle of Long Swamp, and the alders were so thick that there was scarcely room for man, dog or bear to get through. This did not deter Phin. Butler, however. They got near enough to find that the bear was stationed on a spot a little drier than the main swamp, surrounded by alder bushes, and that she was determined not to leave it. The dogs would bay up close, when the old bear would run out after them. They would retreat, and then she would run back to her nest again.

"'We can't kill her to-night,' said Loomis, 'we will have to go home and come down again in the morning.'

"'No,' replied Butler, 'I am afraid she will get away. We can kill her to-night, I guess. You can go and hiss on the dogs on one side, and I will come up on the other; and when she runs out after them, I'll cut her back-bone off with the ax.'

"They concluded to try this plan, and came very near succeeding. As the old bear rushed past, Butler put the whole bit of the ax into her back, but failed to cut the back-bone by an inch or two. Enraged and desperate, she sprang upon the dogs, who, emboldened by the presence of their masters, came too close. With one of her enormous paws she came down on old Beaver, making a large wound in his side, which nearly killed him. He was hardly able to crawl out of the swamp.

"The fight was then abandoned until morning, as without Beaver to lead the dogs it was useless to proceed. It was difficult to get the old dog home, but he finally got well. Early in the morning the hunters were on the ground. This time they had their guns with them, but found the old bear was gone. On examining her nest of the night before, her unusual ferocity was explained. She had a litter of cubs, which, however, she had succeeded in removing, and must have carried them off in her mouth. In a short time the dogs had tracked her out. She was found a half mile lower down the swamp, where she had a new nest. Butler's rifle soon dispatched her; but her cubs, four in number, and not more than three or four weeks old, were taken alive, and kept for pets."

Father said that he could remember when they brought the bears home, growling, snarling--the crossest little things he ever saw.

Strange as it may seem, my father did not inherit grandfather's love for hunting. I never saw him shoot a gun, and he has never owned one within my recollection.

Orin Loomis was often heard to say that Phin. Butler was the most courageous man he ever knew. He was quick-tempered, but warm-hearted, and full of fun, and as honest and sincere as he was bold and fearless. One time he was traveling, and stopped at a tavern. The strangers present were discussing the statement that every man has his price, and each man was telling what was the least price for which he would tell a lie. Finally one man said that he would tell a lie for five dollars. Grandfather's impetuous nature could stand it no longer, and he burst out scornfully: "Tell a lie! Tell a lie for five dollars! Sell your manhood! Sell your soul for five dollars! You must rate yourself very cheap!" And then, they said, he fairly preached them a sermon on the nobility of perfect truthfulness, and the littleness and meanness of lying and deceitfulness.

My grandmother was also very conscientious, which was illustrated by the fact that on her death-bed, after giving some good advice to her daughters, she charged them to carry home a cup of coffee that she had borrowed.

An old Wadsworth friend, writing to us since father's death, says of him: "From a boy Pardee was remarkable for his uprightness, and bold and strict honesty, and it was a maxim among the boys to say, 'As honest as Pard, Butler.' He and his father before him were specimens of puritanical honesty and courage, and had they lived in the days of Cromwell and in England, would doubtless have been in Cromwell's army."

Scarcely was the settlement begun when a school was taught in one room of a log dwelling-house. When but three years old, father was a pupil in the first school that was taught in the new school-house, by Miss Lodema Sackett, and continued to attend school a part of every year. Books were scarce, but he was fond of reading, and read, over and over, all that he could obtain.

The Western Reserve was settled mainly by New Englanders, who were intelligent and God-fearing men; and religious meetings were held from the first; printed sermons being read aloud when there was no preacher. A Sunday-school was organized in Wadsworth in 1820.

The most influential man in the neighborhood was Judge Brown, an uncle of "John Brown of Ossawatomie." He was noted for the purity of his life, the dignity of his demeanor, and the firmness with which he defended his views. He was a bitter opponent of slavery, and, what was strange in those days, a strong temperance man. Before leaving Connecticut he had heard Lyman Beecher deliver his famous temperance sermons, and he came to Wadsworth with his soul ablaze with temperance zeal. The community was strongly influenced by him, and father said that he was much indebted to Judge Brown for his temperance and anti-slavery principles.

Even in those early days Wadsworth contained a public library, a lyceum where the young men discussed the questions of the day, and an academy. Father took part in the lyceum debates, though he was said to be slow of speech; and attended the Wadsworth Academy from its beginning, in 1830. One of its most successful teachers was a shrewd Scotchman named John McGregor. Father and several young men from a distance, who boarded at grandfather's and attended this school, spent their evenings studying their lessons, or reading and discussing some good book. Dick's scientific works were among the books thus read.

There were many Lutherans, Dutch Reformers, and Mennonites near Wadsworth, and there was a perfect ferment of religious discussion.

During father's boyhood, Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott had been preaching the union of Christians on the Bible alone, and there was great enthusiasm.

Eld. Newcomb, an honored Baptist preacher, together with my grandfather, and Samuel Green--the father of Almon B. Green and Philander Green--had been reading the writings of A. Campbell for several years. Almon B. Green had been made skeptical by the unintelligible orthodox preaching. But one day, after reading the first four books of the New Testament, he exclaimed, "No uninspired man ever wrote that book." He read on until he came to Acts ii. 38, which he took to Eld. Newcomb, asking him its meaning. "It means what it says," was his reply. In a few days Almon was baptized by Eld. Newcomb, simply on his confession of faith in Christ, without telling any experience, as usually required by the Baptists. Soon afterwards four families, the New-combs, Greens, Butlers and Bonnels, all Baptists, united to form a church on the apostolic pattern. Then William Hayden came with his fiery eloquence and wondrous songs; the people were stirred up, opposition aroused, the various creeds were discussed with renewed energy, and the church grew and multiplied.

But father and his uncle Aaron, who was eight years older than himself, had been made skeptical by orthodox mysticism and the disputes of so many wrangling churches.

In September, 1833, A. Campbell came to Wadsworth to attend a great yearly meeting held in William Eyle's barn. The following account of an incident that occurred at that time, I quote from "History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve."

"An incident occurred at this time which displays Mr Campbell's character for discernment and candor. Aaron Pardee, a gentleman residing in the vicinity, an unbeliever in the gospel, attracted by Campbell's abilities as a reasoner, and won by his fairness in argument, resolved to obtain an interview and propose freely his difficulties. Mr. Campbell received him with such frankness that he opened his case at once, saying, 'I discover, Mr. Campbell, you are well prepared in the argument and defenses of the Christian religion. I confess to you frankly there are some difficulties in my mind which prevent my believing the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.'

"Mr. Campbell replied, 'I acknowledge freely, Mr. Pardee, there are difficulties in the Bible--difficulties not easy to explain, and some, perhaps, which in our present state of information can not be cleared up. But, my dear sir, when I consider the overwhelming testimony in its favor, so ample, complete and satisfactory, I can not resist the conviction of its divine origin. The field of prophetic inspiration is so varied and full, and the internal evidence so conclusive, that, with all the difficulties, the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming in its favor.' This reply, so fair and manly, and so different from the pulpit denunciations of 'skeptics,' 'infidels,' etc., to which he had been accustomed, quite disarmed him, and led him to hear the truth and its evidence in a much more rational state of mind. Within a year he became fully satisfied of the truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures, and apprehending clearly their testimony to the claims of Jesus of Nazareth as the anointed Son of God, he was prepared to yield to him the obedience of his life."

My father was present with his uncle Aaron at that interview with Mr. Campbell, and he too was led by it to listen favorably to Mr. Campbell's clear and powerful presentation of divine truth. He followed Mr. Campbell to other meetings, and listened, read, and investigated until he, too, became convinced of the truth of the Bible.

His uncle Aaron, who is still living, said in a recent letter: "I remember going to meeting with Pardee sometime about a year before I was immersed, when he put some questions to me on the subject of religion, which were very difficult to answer."

In June, 1835, at a meeting held in Mr. Clark's new barn, my father and his uncle, Aaron Pardee, confessed their Saviour, and were baptized by Elder Newcomb in a stream on Elder Newcomb's farm. A brother and sister of A. B. Green, and a sister of Holland Brown, were baptized at the same time. Holland Brown had been baptized the previous week. He walked down to the water with father, and remembers hearing him exclaim, on the way to the water, "Lord, I believe! Help thou mine unbelief." He also remembers hearing Elder Newcomb remark, "Now we can take everything; we have Bro. Butler and Bro. Pardee to fight the infidels, and the Browns to fight the Universalists." Holland Brown's brother, Leonard, and his wife--he had married my father's eldest sister, Ann Butler--had been baptized not far from that time.

Holland Brown relates the following incident, which occurred some time afterward:

"Bro. Butler was away from home, and driving a horse, which, though of fine appearance, was badly wind-broken. At times the horse appeared perfectly sound, and at one of those times Bro. Butler was offered a handsome sum for him.

"No," said Bro. Butler, "I can not take that sum for the horse, he is badly wind-broken."

"Why didn't you take it? the man was a jockey, anyhow;" asked some one in my hearing.

"'Because,' was the ringing answer, 'I think less of the price of a horse than of my own soul.'"

About that time father began teaching school in neighboring districts, which he followed for several years. But all of his spare time was spent in studying the Bible, church history, the writings of A. Campbell, and other religious books. It was at that time that he began committing the New Testament to memory.

Grandfather Butler and Samuel Green were the leaders of the new organization, as they had been of the Baptist Church, in Eld. Newcomb's absence--for he was away evangelizing much of the time. They called on the young people to take part in their social meetings on the Lord's day, at first only asking them to read a passage of Scripture, afterward to talk and pray, and, as they gained confidence in themselves, they were asked to lead the meetings. Thus there grew, in that church, one after the other, within a few years, eight preachers: A. B. Green, Wm. Moody, Holland Brown, Leonard Brown, Philander Green, B. F. Perky, Pardee Butler and L. L. Carpenter.

A. B. Green had been preaching a year or more before father was baptized, but I do not know which of the others began first, nor do I know the exact time when father began to preach, but it was about 1837 or 1838. He was not ordained at Wadsworth, for the church at that time doubted whether there was any Scriptural authority for ordination. He was ordained some six or seven years afterward, in 1844, at Sullivan.

In such times of religious excitement it was not necessary for a man to have a college education, to become an acceptable preacher. But father saw the advantages of a good education, and resolved to attend A. Campbell's school, then known as Buffalo Academy, but which was soon changed to Bethany College. But the means to acquire an education must be obtained by his own exertions.

About the year 1839 grandfather sold his place in Wadsworth, and moved to the Sandusky Plains, a level, marshy prairie, in northwestern Ohio. Part of the Plains belonged to the Wyandotte Indian Reservation, and was opened to settlement, a few years afterward, by the removal of the Indians to Wyandotte, Kansas.

Father and grandfather made sheep-raising their business while there. Father herded sheep in summer and taught school in winter. And, while herding sheep, he finished committing the New Testament to memory. He could repeat it from beginning to end, and even in his later years he remembered it so well that he could repeat whole chapters at once. I never saw the time that any one could repeat a verse in the New Testament to him, but that he could tell the book, and nearly always the chapter in which it was found.

He and his father's family put their membership into the church at Letimberville, some miles distant; and there he occasionally preached.

He sometimes went back to Wadsworth, and on the way back and forth stopped and preached for the little church at Sullivan, Ashland Co. There he made the acquaintance of Sibjl S. Carleton, the daughter of Joseph Carleton, one of the leading members of the church. They were married August 17, 1843; and he never had cause to regret his choice, for she proved to him a helpmeet indeed.

While living there, at the solicitation of his neighbors, he held a debate with a Universalist preacher, to the satisfaction of his friends and the discomfiture of his opponent.

Many parts of the Plains were covered with water, and were musical with frogs in the spring, but in hot weather they dried up, leaving here and there a stagnant pond. I have heard father tell how one of his neighbors tried to break a field by beginning on the outside, and plowing farther in as the land dried up. But the snakes and frogs grew thicker and thicker, as he neared the center. At length the grass seemed almost alive with snakes, and his big ox-team became wild with fright, and ran away, and he could not get them back there again.

Of course, such a country was unhealthful, and father's family was much troubled with sickness. His parents both died; my mother was nearly worn out with the ague; and he not only suffered from poor general health, but from a sore throat, and had to quit preaching. He moved to Sullivan, but without any permanent benefit to his health. He did not at that time attribute his sore throat entirely to the climate, but thought it a chronic derangement that would utterly unfit him for a preacher. Many years afterward he wrote of that disappointment as follows: "For five years I saw myself sitting idly by the wayside, hopeless and discouraged. I felt somewhat like a traveler, parched with thirst, on a wide and weary desert, who sees the mirage of green trees and springs of cool water that has mocked his vision, slowly fade away out of his sight. So seemed to perish my castles in the air. At that time making proclamation of the ancient gospel was too vigorous a work, and too full of hardship and exposure to be undertaken by any except those possessing stalwart good health. If I had been predestinated to the life I have actually lived, and if it were necessary that I should be chastened to bear with patience all its disabilities, then, I suppose, this discipline I actually got might be considered good and useful. If I have been able to bear provocation with patience, and to labor cheerfully without wages, and at every personal sacrifice, this lesson was learned when I saw all my hope dashed in pieces."

In the spring of 1850 father sold his property and decided to go to Iowa. Shortly before the time of starting, my little sister and baby brother took the scarlet fever and, ere long, they were both laid in the old graveyard. Heart-broken as my parents were, they did not give up the long, lonely journey. Father bought a farm in Iowa, and built a log house on it, intending to become a farmer. He and mother united with the nearest church, at Long Grove, sixteen miles distant. Father did not tell them at first that he had been a preacher, but they questioned him and learned the facts. As his health improved he occasionally preached for them.

Eld. N. A. McConnell gives the following account of his preaching in Iowa:

"I first met him at his temporary home in Posten's Grove, in the fall of 1850. During that winter he taught a school in Dewitt, Clinton Co., and preached occasionally at Long Grove. The next spring he attended a co-operation meeting at Walnut Grove, Jones Co., at which he was employed to labor with me in what was called District No. 2. His district included the counties of Scott, Clinton, Jackson, Jones, Cedar, Johnson, a part of Muscatine, Linn and Benton, and west to the Missouri river. He preached at LeClaire, Long Grove, Allen's Grove, Simpson's, Big Rock, Green's School-house, Walnut Grove, Marion, Dry Creek, Pleasant Grove, Burlison's, Maquoketa and Posten's Grove, as well as at numerous school-houses scattered over a large district of the country. He did excellent work in preaching the word. He was not a revivalist, nor was his co-laborer, yet there were a goodly number added to the Lord during the year. I think not less than one hundred. The next year, 1852, the annual meeting of the co-operation was held at Dewitt, Clinton Co. At that meeting the district was divided into East and West No. 2. Your father was assigned to the eastern division and I took the western. His field included Davenport, Long Grove and Allen's Grove, in Scott Co.; Maquoketa and Burlison's in Jackson Co., and Dewitt in Clinton Co. He labored also in Cedar Co., and did a grand work, not so much in the numbers added as in the sowing the good seed of the Kingdom, and recommending our plea to the more intelligent and better informed of the various communities where he labored. You will remember that he held in mind nearly the entire New Testament, so that he could quote it most accurately. I think he had also the clearest and most minute details of the Old Testament history, of any man I ever knew. Nor was his reading and recollection limited to Bible details; for he was very familiar With other history, both sacred and profane.

"I call to mind two sermons that he delivered. One was based on the language of Christ addressed to the Woman of Samaria, at Jacob's well--John iv.: 'Ye worship ye know not what. We know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews.' In this sermon he detailed the history of Israel to the revolt under Jereboam, the history of Jereboam and his successors until the overthrow of the ten tribes, and the formation of the mongrel nation called Samaritans. In this he showed that God's promise--Ex. xx., 'In all places where I record my name, I will meet with you and bless you,' was fully realized by the people of God, and that a disregard of the law in harmony with this promise was followed by most disastrous results. And that the same is true under the Gospel--where his name is recorded, and only there, he now meets and blesses his people.

"The second sermon was on the subject of Justification by faith.' This was doubtless one of the very best efforts of his life. I will not trouble you with the details of this grand effort, since it was published in full in the _Evangelist_ in 1852. The sermon was published, not by his request, but by the unanimous voice of the State Meeting held in Davenport that year.

"I am sorry that I can not give more of the details of his grand work in Iowa."

The winter of 1851-2 was very cold, but father did not stop for bad weather. I remember that when he started to his appointment one cold morning mother cried for fear he would freeze to death. The mail-carrier did freeze to death that day, but father kept from freezing by walking. The next summer was very rainy, and mother was always anxious when there were high waters, for there were no bridges, and father always swam his horse across streams, although he could not swim a stroke.

Then he preached for several years in Illinois, and was gone for months at a time.

In July, 1854, my little sister--for by that time I had another brother and sister--after a brief illness, closed her eyes in death. Fortunately father was at home, to mingle his tears with mother's, over the little coffin.

The next spring father sold his Iowa farm.

Before leaving there an incident occurred that I distinctly remember. The Iowa Legislature had passed some kind of temperance law, and the people were to vote on it at the spring election. Our country lyceum formed itself into a mock court, and tried King Alcohol for various crimes and misdemeanors. Father was appointed prosecuting attorney, and he went at it in earnest, as he always did at anything he undertook. He sent for every man in the vicinity who ever drank, or who had good opportunities to observe the effect of drink on others, to appear as a witness against King Alcohol. The trial lasted three evenings, with Increasing crowds. Father's adroitness in drawing facts from witnesses--often against their will--kept the Audience laughing and applauding. I remember hearing people say that he had mistaken his calling; that he ought to have been a lawyer. On the last evening, When he addressed the jury, he became eloquent. He pictured the terrible effects of intemperance, the ruined homes, the weeping wives, the ragged children. He denounced King Alcohol as guilty of every known crime--of stealing the bread from the mouths of children, of robbing helpless women of everything they valued most, of brutally shedding the blood of thousands, and of filling the whole earth with violence, until the cries of widows and orphans reached to high heaven. When he finished, the house rang with applause. The attorney for the defense tried to reply, but the boys said Mr. Butler had spoiled his speech. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty. The election came off soon afterwards, and people said that it was strongly influenced, in that township, by father's speech.

The next May, mother, my little brother, and I, went to my uncle Gorham's, near Canton, Illinois; while father went to Kansas to buy land, intending, however, to live several years at Mt. Sterling, Illinois, before moving to Kansas.