Courtesy of Jessica R. Radtke
An Old Soldier Passes Away
Ephriam Butler, age 86, an old pioneer of Buffalo County and for many years a resident of Mondovi, passed away last Monday evening at Luther hospital, Eau Claire, as the result of complications following an operation for double hernia which he underwent at the above institution on December 16.
The remains were brought to this city and placed in the City Undertaking Parlors and afterwards removed to the family residence on Franklin street, where the features of the deceased were viewed by many friends, neighbors, and associates. The collection of wreaths and flowers that banked the casket were silent tokens of the esteem in which the departed was held, and perhaps no greater tribute could have been paid the one who has crossed the great divide than the furls of Old Glory, the flag he offered his life for and fought so hard to preserve.
Funeral services were held from the M. E. church at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon with Rev. W. J. Griffiths officiating, taking his text from II Timothy fourth chapter, 6th to 8th verses: For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing.
The obsequies were in charge of the American Legion who, out of respect for the deceased’s high standing in the community and as a member of the now dissolved John W. Christian Post No. 95, G. A. R. magnanimously offered their services in performing what the Boys of 60 would have done had not taps previously called them hence.
Interment took place at the Oak Park cemetery, this city, with military honors that were impressive and in keeping with the soldier who assisted Lincoln in the war of emancipation.
Ephriam Butler was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, June 5, 1845, and was on of seven children born to John and Elizabeth (Uplinger) Butler. Here he passed his boyhood days and on September 1, 1862, was mustered into service in the Civil War. His first glimpse of a battlefield was when his company was ordered to bury the dead nine days after the second battle of Bull Run.
He took part in the battles of Antietam, Scharlotts Town, Fredrickburg, battle of Winchester, and the battle of Gettysburg. On May 5, 1864, he was shot through the right lung, in the battle of the Wilderness and was conveyed to a hospital where he remained until September 1 of that year before regaining his regiment. At the battle of Fishers Gap he was wounded again at which time an incident happened that borders on the miraculous. When shot and shell were thickest he was struck by a bullet that caused but a slight flesh wound. When opportunity afforded an examination it was found that the bullet had torn its way through a small pocket testament that he was carrying the thus averted an injury that in all probability would have proven fatal. This Testament, with its bullet-hole perforation, is now in respect for the deceased’s high stand-souvenir by members of the family. After this episode he took part in the battles of Cedar Creek and Petersburg and continued with his regiment the 139th, on its march to Danville, Virginia, to head off Johnsons army. From Virginia he returned to Washington, where he was discharged from duty on June 20, 1865.
In 1867 he emigrated to Wisconsin, where he took up a homestead in the town of Modena and for a time taught school in the Rockwell District. On May 31, 1868, he was married to Mathilda Elizabeth White, who still survives him and to whom were born eleven children, viz:
Julia Elizabeth (deceased)
William W., Mondovi
Mrs. Thos. Caldwell, Havre, Montana
Richard, Eau Claire
Mrs. Wm. Benton (deceased)
Mrs. E. J. Ryan, Durand
Mrs. Martha Peck, Durand
Roscoe, St. Cloud, Minnesota
Mrs. H. A. Peterson, Spokane, Washington
Deceased was a man of high moral, courage, a good husband and a provider for his family. He never enlarged on honors that were his as is evidenced from the fact that he was promoted to Corporal of his company February 21, 1865, after the Battle of Cedar Creek, but never alluded to his officership as a means of self praise and this little trait was illustrative of the mans principle through life.