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8/27/2011 at 11:36 AM

Brig.-gen. Franklin George Butterfield, A.M., of Derby Line, Vt., a resident member since 1912, was born at Rockingbam, Vt., 11 May 1842, the son of David and Elmira Ward (Randall) Butterfield, and died at Derby Line 6 January 1916. His great-grandfather, Wilh'am Butterfield, born about 1695, was a minuteman at Lexington in 1775, and his grandfather, also named William, fought at Bunker Hill.

He was prepared for college at the academy at Saxton's Kver, Vt., and for two years was a student in the Class of 1863 at Middlebury College; but he left college in 1862 to enter the Union Army as a private in Company A, Sixth Vermont Volunteers. He was promoted successively to the rank of second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain, and lieutenant-colonel, and was in command of a regiment when he was only twenty-two years old. For a while he served on the staff of Brig.-Gen. Lewis A. Grant. When first lieutenant, in 1863, he received for his bravery the Medal of Honor.

At the close of the War he entered general mercantile business at Saxton's River, but his place of business was burned out in 1877. He then studied law for three years. In 1878-1880 he was judgeadvocate-general of Vermont, with the rank of brigadier-general. In 1880 he was supervisor for Vermont of the Tenth Census of the United States. From 1880 until 1892 he served as a chief of division in the Department of the Interior, at Washington, D. C. In 1892 he returned to his native State and went into business at Derby Line with his brother, Col. Frederick Butterfield, as a manufacturer of machinists' tools, becoming vice-president and manager of the Butterfield Company.

In politics General Butterfield was a Republican, and was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1898 and to the Vermont Senate in 1910. His religious affiliations were with the Congregationalists.

He was an officer in various manufacturing, commercial, and educational institutions, a Mason of the thirty-second degree, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the University Club of Washington, D. C., and the Home Club of Derby Line, Vt. In 1880 Middlebury College conferred on him the degree of A.M., "in recognition of his courage and bravery as a soldier and his honorable career as a citizen of Vermont."

General Butterfield was one of the best-known men in Vermont, and he was held in the highest esteem by reason of his upright character and the service which he had rendered to his home community, his State, and the Nation. "He was one whose heart was ever responsive to the needs of his fellows, and who gave with generous large sympathy of the means at his disposal, and with his giving gave himself to help forward every good cause."

He married,Republican, Maria Smith Frost of Saxton's River, daughter of Benjamin and Phebe Ann (Smith) Frost, who survives him, together with a son, Benjamin Frost Butterfield, and a daughter, Esther Elmira Butterfield.

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This soldier was awarded the Medal of Honor

Frank George Butterfield

Rank and Organization: 1st Lieut., Co. C, 6th Vermont Infantry.

Place and date: Salem Heights, VA, 4 May 1863.

Entered service at: Rockingham.

Born: 11 Mar 1842, Rockingham.

Died: 6 Jan 1916.

Buried: Saxtons River (MH), Saxtons River.

Date of Issue: 4 May 1891.

Citation: Took command of the skirmish line and covered the movement of his regiment out of a precarious position.

BUTTERFIELD, Franklin George, of Derby Line, son of David and Elmira Ward (Randall) Butterfield, was born in Rockingham, May 11, 1842.

He attended the common schools and Saxtons River Academy, and entered Middlebury College in 1859. Entering the army in the fall of his junior year he did not graduate with his class. After the war of the rebellion, however, Middlebury College conferred on him the degree of Master of Arts. October 4, 1861, he enlisted at Middlebury as a private in Co. A, 6th Vt. Vols. He was promoted successively to 2d lieutenant, 1st lieutenant, captain, and, on October 21, 1864, to lieutenant-colonel, commanding the regiment, at the age of twenty-two years. Having been seriously wounded, he was obliged to relinquish his command and tendered his resignation. He served with his regiment, which was a part of the "Old Vermont Brigade, " in the 6th Army Corps through its campaigns in Virginia with the army of the Potomac, participating in all its battles up to 1865. He was first in battle at Lees Mills, April 16, 1862, where he distinguished himself by carrying off the field Capt. E. F. Reynolds of Rutland, who had been mortally wounded. Later in the Peninsular campaign, he was mentioned in general orders for conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Golding's Farm and also two days later at White Oak Swamp, both engagements being a part of the seven days' fight. During the year 1863, including the Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Mine Run campaigns, he served as an aid-de-camp on the staff of Maj.-Gen. Lewis A. Grant, commanding the Vermont Brigade. In May of that year at Banks Ford he again attracted notice by his bearing under fire. The following year, at the battle of the Wilderness, though his command was literally cut to pieces, he brought off his surviving troops in good order, and was promptly engaged with the enemy in the advance at daylight in the following morning. Throughout his service his conduct was such as to win the commendation of his superiors, and he was awarded a medal of honor from Congress "for gallantry at Salem Heights." The general commanding the army, in making the recommendation, said: "The record of Lieutenant-Colonel Butterfield is an exceedingly brilliant one, his conduct on several separate occasions well merited a medal of honor, but the affair of May 4, 1863, is probably the one most worthy of such special recognition, since Colonel Butterfield not only displayed there his accustomed bravery, but also soldierly qualities of a high order."

After the close of the war, the Legislature of Vermont in joint assembly unanimously elected him judge advocate general of the state, with the rank of brigadier-general, as a recognition of his faithful service with his command and his gallant conduct in the field.

From 1865 to 1877 he was engaged in mercantile pursuits at Saxtons River. In August, 1877, he commanded a brigade of veterans at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the battle of Bennington. In that year he returned to his original intention, broken up by his army service, the study of law. In 1880 he was appointed by President Hayes supervisor of census, and had charge of the state of Vermont in the taking of the tenth census. On completion of this work he was selected by the President, the Secretary of the Interior, and Gen. Francis A. Walker, superintendent of the tenth census, to take charge of the investigation of the alleged census frauds in the state of South Carolina. Leaving Vermont early in November he remained in South Carolina till Feb. 1, 1881, when he returned to Washington and made his report. A previous investigation had been made which had proved unsatisfactory. General Butterfield's report settled this vexed question to the entire satisfaction of all parties. He was urged by General Walker to remain in Washington to assist in completing the work of the tenth census, and consented. In 1882 he was transferred to the Bureau of Pensions, where he served through all the various grades and became a principal examiner in July, 1884. In 1890 he was made chief of the special examination division and during that year had three hundred and fifty special agents in the field and an office force of upwards of one hundred. Finding the work much in arrears, he brought it up to date and in a period of three years had reduced the expenditure of that division in the handsome sum of $426, 000. In 1888 he formed business connections in Vermont and in July, 1892, after great reluctance on the part of the Secretary of the Interior and Commissioner of Pensions, his resignation was accepted, and he returned to Vermont to devote his entire time to private business. He is associated with his brother, Col. F. D. Butterfield, under the firm name of Butterfield & Co., in the manufacture of taps and dies and other thread cutting tools at Derby Line.

General Butterfield is a charter member of Lodge of Temple, No. 94, F. & A. M., of Bellows Falls; a charter member of Abenaqui R. A. Chapter No. 19 of same place, of which he has been High Priest; member of Hugh de Payn's Commandery Knights Templar of Keene, N. H.; member of E. H. Stoughton Post G.A.R. of Bellows Falls; has been a member of the Department and National staff; is a charter member of the Vermont Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, having previously been one of the officers of the District of Columbia Commandery of Washington, D. C.; member of the District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, having served as vice-president of the same, and for several years one of the board of managers and was a member of the National Congress of the order; was vice-president of the Society of the Army of the Potomac in 1893, and is also connected with various other social and military societies.

On June 1, 1866, he married Maria Smith Frost, only daughter of Benjamin and Phebe Ann (Smith) Frost. They have two children: Benjamin Frost (U. S. Consular Agent at Stanstead, P. Q., born April 25, 1867), and Esther Elmira (born August 4, 1871).


At the battle of Salem Heights, the Second Brigade, Second Division, Sixth Army Corps, made a charge on Marye's Heights, near Freder- icksburg, when one of the regiments was thrown into confusion, breaking away from the line. This caused a gap in the charging columns and jeopardized the success of the attack, the blame resting entirely with the colonel of the regiment. Repeated efforts to reform the line failed. Finally Lieutenant Frank G. Butterfield, of Company A, Sixth Vermont Infantry, was entrusted with, and assumed the grave responsibility of moving the regiment without the consent of the colonel commanding, bring it back into action in its proper place, in the midst of a fierce battle, and under a galling fire of artillery and infantry. The officer in command of the brigade, General L. A. Grant, thanked and commended the lieutenant, and placed the colonel under arrest.

The day following, May 4th, the Sixth Army Corps was under fire all day. At dusk the lines were shortened and upon a new line being formed near the river at Banks' Ford, General Grant made the startling discovery that the Sixth Vermont Infantry was missing, possibly captured. Lieutenant Butterfield would not believe that his brave Vermonters had been made prisoners, and General Grant sent him to search for the regiment. At last he found his comrades in a strong position several hundred yards in front of the original line of battle. They had repulsed a charge of the enemy, and, charging in return, had been carried far from the original line by their impetuosity and valor. In the meantime, however, the enemy had already attacked the new line. Heavy cannonading sounded from the rear of the Vermont regiment. Colonel Barney, commanding, was loath to retire, but, of course, fell back with his regiment. Lieutenant Butterfield took command of a skirmish line, covered the retreat, and saved the regiment from destruction.

At Lee's Mills a few weeks before the incident above recorded, Lieutenant Butterfield was forced to fall back over the Warwick Creek with his command while under a fearful fire from the enemy. He and Captain E. F. Reynolds, of Company F, Sixth Vermont Infantry, were the last to retreat. The captain fell, and here it was that Lieutenant Butterfield displayed true comradeship. He assisted the wounded officer across the creek, where in midstream he fainted. But the lieutenant would not desert him. He held his head up above water until he had reached the other bank with his load, only to find that his comrade was dead.


Lieutenant, Co. A. 6th Vermont Infantry.

Highest rank attained: Brlg.-General, U. 8. V.

Born at Rockingham, Vt., 1842.

Senator Franklin G. Butterfield

The following Sketches appeared in The Brattleboro Reformer during the session of the Vermont Legislature in IQIO-II R 1919


PROBABLY Orleans county has fewer insurgents than any other district in the state. They make a great noise about their regularity up in Orleans. The majority of the natives of that county would rather get a soft thing in the way of a political berth than to work for a living. Even the old guardsmen who have stood against the crib for years to the exclusion of many a worthy youngster with an appetite insist on coming back and trying the trick over. To attempt to make a census of those from Orleans county who have partaken of the pap from the state and federal teat would require a large volume. Some of the bunch who have separated money from the public strong box have been mediocre in quality while others have carried credentials that entitled them to stand near the throne of the real pazazas. It is with the latter type that this sketch deals. Though he was born in the county of warriors in the town of Rockingham and has been a citizen of Derby only 18 years Franklin George

Butterfield Senator Butterfield has tasted of everything he could get his lips upon and some more. You needn’t leave F. George out when you’re picking up skirmishers to make a raid on the glory heap.

While credited with over 68 years he is one of those individuals who

carry such little things as three score years lightly. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the senator does not make a mess or a task of

carrying any of the official burdens which have been saddled upon his broad shoulders since he emerged from the gloom and entered the area of the calcium many years ago. He is college bred and it was “Old Midd.” that gave him his degree. He has a war record gained as a member of the 6th Vermont. He has many titles besides his A. M. He has been a captain, lieutenant-colonel, and a judge advocate general. He has got about a bushel of gilt badges, and belongs to so many military and other organizations that he sometimes gives one a grip of the Big Poo Bahs when he intends to use the simple handshake of a common citizen.

In 1898 F. George was a member of the legislature. While many of the old guard who made up the lower branch at that session have passed from the scene and the doings of that body have been mostly forgotten there are still a few who recollect how near Franklin G. came to getting in bad during those days. He was looked upon as a cake of ice by many of his col- leagues and only adroit work upon the part of his friends put Franklin in right with the bunch. Actually he is a prince of good fellows and a conversationalist that holds an audience. It is safe to say that Senator Butterfield’s stock of stories about the boys who wore official regalia and pulled off highbrow stunts in days agone

is about the best that can be located in the north country. While his facial makeup does not resemble Napoleon, his carriage bears a striking resemblance to the man with the cocked hat so familiar in history. He is a member of the railroad committee of the senate. It has been suggested that he was placed upon that committee because he is able to explain the difference between riding in an ordinary passenger coach and a Pullman parlor car. The senator is strong on the social string, and while he looks like a giant Brownie when arrayed in a claw-hammer coat he is a genuine Beau Brummel. He is a manufacturer of wooden things and though he lives on the Canadian line is so much of an

American that he is always willing to serve his country whenever there is an opening. In 1880 he had charge of counting the citizens of

Vermont. In Montpelier he lives as becomes a senator from Orleans and eats at the Pavilion. He drew one of the choice seats in the senate, No. 4. While Senator Butterfield belongs to no end of societies he is a very democratic individual and talks in a breezy way with everyone who wants to tell him a story. He is one of the type of Vermonters who put stress upon blue sky, pure water and climate. If the legislature should decide to select an official press agent to exploit Vermont it would not make a mistake if it selected General Butterfield as an advisor to the department of publicity. Though he lives near the north pole the general knows lots of things about the rest of the world, and it is safe to gamble a small amount that he is in touch with a sufficient number of the politically inclined in different parts of the state to keep informed of the range of the political pulse. He might be called a relic of dynasties that have crumbled, yet his tentacles have not become benumbed and he is ready to receive the mantle of public office when- ever there is a sufficient amount of embroidery attached to match the rest of his career. He is making money. As he strolls about the office of the Pavilion he makes an imposing picture. He will always be

General rather than Senator to his friends, for to associate F. George with anything but gilt requires a long draught upon the imagination.





8/27/2011 at 11:38 AM

Lawrence W. Murphy

Above info FYI

8/27/2011 at 11:39 AM

Some info has been moved to the "Timeline" Tab

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