Butson Family Newsletter
Issue Number 1
Fall 1979

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Last updated: January 25, 1998
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The entire issue is on this one page, so that you can search or print the entire issue. NOTE: There are two maps that are referenced. These have not yet been added to the page, but they will be.

Here are internal links to the articles:

  1. BUTSON: What's in the Name?
  2. Descendants of Solomon Butson and Jane Keam / Kame
  3. The Past: A Brief Overview of the Butsons of Canada
  4. The Present
  5. Letters

BUTSON: What's in the Name?

The name Butson is extremely rare. In England, it historically occurs mostly in Somerset, then Devon, and then Cornwall (see map). Only two Butson families are known in Canada, two in the United States, and one in Australia and New Zealand, for example. The name has not been in any of the many books I have searched on English surnames.

The nearest to a derivation found thus far is in John Geipel's "The Viking Legacy." He cites (169) the Domesday Book, the 1086 list of his subjects by the Norman King William, which lists BATSEUN (from the Norse batsveinn=boatswain). Geipel lists this as one of several Domesday references to Scandinavian names derived from occupations. He cites (198) BOESON as similar-. His map (178) of the distribution of English family names ending in -son shows only 2 each originating in Cornwall and Devon and 4 in Somerset; unfortunately the actual names are not given. My work on derivation of the name continues.

The spelling of names, until the recent past, was inconsistent. Thus the Butson families of East Budleigh, Devon show up in White's 1850 directory of Devon as BASTIN. Other possible spellings are numerous and include legitimately distinct names: BOSTON, BUXTON, BOTSON, BOSTON, BATSEN, BATSIN, BUDSEN, BUTTSON, and more. Rare as it is, BUTSON research is difficult because of the many variants.


Descendants of Solomon BUTSON ------- Jane KEAM / KAME
  1. Mary Ann/Keam/Kame BUTSON (1817)
    • Spouses: Hamley, John SHERIN/SCHIRM (1861)
      • Surnames of Descendants: HAMLEY
  2. Thomas BUTSON (1821-1846)
    • Spouses: none known
      • Surnames of Descendants: none known
  3. John BUTSON (1822)
    • Spouses: Elizabeth HARPER (1849), Fanny WOOD
      • Surnames of Descendants: ARMITT, BALLAM, BUTSON, DEAKIN, FREEMAN, GILBERT, HARVEY, HOLLAND, HOWE, KERSLAKE, LEUTHEUSER, LOUCKS, MERKLEY, MORRISON, NIXON, SHADICK, SMITH, VIVIAN
  4. William BUTSON (1824)
    • Spouses: Susan ADAMS
      • Surnames of Descendants: BALLARD, BANNERMAN, BASSO, BUTSON, DOBSON, GIFFELS, GUYITT, HOUCK, IBBITSON, IRELAND, KRITER, MAC EWEN, MAC TAVISH, MITCHELL, NEVILLE, NORTON, O'BRIEN, OSBORNE, RYBARSKY, SALOVAARA, SAVAGE. SCARLETT, SINCLAIR, SMITH, TOMSONS, TRUSZ, WAINWRIGHT, WELDON, WILSON, WITTINGTON, WITTON
  5. Nicholas BUTSON (1826)
    • Spouses: Mary Ann ADAMS (1848), Mary MALYON (18 61), Anna Maria BURDGE
      • Surnames of Descendants: BUTSON, DOBSON, HEDDON, NORRIS, ORCHARD, PARSONS
  6. Charity Keam/Kame BUTSON (1827 - 30)
    • Spouses: George BECKET
      • Surnames of Descendants: BECKET
  7. Henry BUTSON (1831)
    • Spouses: Sarah, Mary WILSON ( 1868)
      • Surnames of Descendants: CUNNEA, JOHNSTON, RUSSELL, SHAEFFER, STANGEL
  8. James BUTSON (1832)
    • Spouses: Rebecca FIDGET (1860)
      • Surnames of Descendants: ATKINSON, BUTLER, BUTSON, CAMPBELL, CHARLTON, COOK, COOKE, COULSON, CUMBERLAND, CURTAIN, DUNN, GIDY, GRAVER, HAMILTON, HEWITT, MC INTOSH, MC MULLEN, MC NEE, MILLION, SCOTT, SIMPSON, WILLOWS, WISEMAN
  9. Robert Keam/Kame BUTSON (1835)
    • Spouses: Sarah Elizabeth FIDGET (1859), Lydia BRAWN
      • Surnames of Descendants: BURTON, BUTSON, COPP, EULER, FOX, HALLETT, HOSKINS, KING, PRINGLE, ROWE, SMITH, WALL

The Past
A Brief Overview of the Butsons of Canada

Only two Butson families are known to have come to Canada: Solomon's about 1840 and Cecil's about 1880. Both came from Cornwall: Solomon from St. Blazey, Cecil from Penzance. However no relation is presently known between the two families.

Solomon, his wife Jane Keam (or Kame), and their nine children settled at Oshawa, Ontario. Cecil, who became the father of seven children, settled in the area of Midland and Penetanguishene in Ontario.

I. Solomon Butson's Family (see chart)

The family's history is best considered in two geographic groups.

1. Oshawa, Brooklin, Reach, Prince Albert, Port Perry, Lindsay, and Sundridge, Ontario

The family remained in the Oshawa area, moving gradually north. Solomon and Jane, both born in the 1790's, were buried in the 1860's and 1870's between Brooklin and Columbus. Thomas died, apparently unwed, at Oshawa in 1846. Nicholas lived and died near Brooklin; most of his descendants are nearby. Robert is buried in Prince Albert; most of his descendants are nearby.

Henry is lost. (DOES ANYONE HAVE INFORMATION ON HENRY OR HIS FAMILY?) He witnessed Nicholas' first marriage in 1848, was married and had daughters Emma and Mary Jane by his wife Sarah. In 1868, he married Mary Wilson at Reach. He was last thought to be in Lindsay about 1890. His only known descendants are in Chicago.

William died at Sundridge, where some of his descendants remain. His descendants have spread far, many to Canada's west.

2. Hibbert Township

Three branches of the family moved in the 1850's-1880's to the Huron Tract, west of Stratford, Ontario. Mary (Ann/Keam/Kame) is lost. (DOES ANYONE HAVE INFORMATION ON MARY OR HER FAMILY?) Her husbands' names were Hamley and Sherin/Sherein or Schirm. Her only two known descendants live in Staffa. John moved in the 1860's. He is buried in the Staffa Cemetery. Many of his descendants are in the area, though some branches have moved west. James is also buried in Staffa, where most of his descendants are not far away.

But what of Charity? DOES ANYONE HAVE INFORMATION ON CHARITY OR HER FAMILY? She married in 1848 to George Becket. In 1861, they lived in Whitby Township with one child, Clarissa.

II. Cecil Butson's Family

Cecil's children were Lloyd, Albert, Roy, Harold, Vida, Mona, and Ronald. All but Mona remained in the Midland-Penetanguishene area; Mona moved to Hamilton. Albert's descendants own the Butson Motel at Renfrew; his descendants are named Anderson, Butson, and Haines. Harold's son lives in Ottawa. I need more information on this family.


The Present

This column is intended as a record of vital and other events of Butsons and Butson descendants. Since a complete family record is important, please send any such information; it will not be published if you so indicate. Send news of births, marriages, deaths, moves, awards, gatherings, etc.

  • Thomas Butson, of New Zealand, until recently had a regular column in the New York Times, after having previously worked for a newspaper in Ontario. One Ontario Butson descendant still has a copy of a book review of "The Memoirs of Pancho Villa" from the 25 September 1965 Toronto Daily Star by Tom Butson. Perhaps this was his piece.
  • Hugh Butson, of Ontario, was the subject of an oral history interview on his experiences in World War I.
  • Alton Thomas Butson, of Miami was the only Butson in recent years to appear in Who's Who. He is a Mathematician.

Letters

I am terrible at correspondence. This newsletter is partly intended as a response to the letters many of you have sent: I did not forget.

  • Mrs. Margaret Butson of Toronto (21 May 1977) wrote about her husband's ancestry. He is Arthur Edward Butson.
  • Thomas Butson of Brooklyn, NY (3 March 1978) wrote about his ancestors who left Newquay, Cornwall for Australia about 1850 and later moved to New Zealand.
  • Mrs. Laura Phoebe Deakin of Sault Ste. Marie (1979) has written several times on the descendants of John Butson (of John of Solomon--see article this issue).
  • Lois Heddon (20 February 1978) wrote a valuable letter on the descendants of Nicholas Butson (of Solomon). She and Misses Effie and Grita Brawn, also of Oshawa, Ontario, provided me with an interview in 1977 on Robert Butson (son of Solomon).
  • A. L. Rowse of St. Austell, Cornwall (13 November 1977) is a well-known historian and probably the world's foremost Shakespeare scholar. He has written several histories of aspects of Cornwall, including one of St. Austell. He confirms that Butson is not a Cornish name and that it does not appear in the chief Cornish books. This agrees with my findings of the earliest (1500's) references to the name in Somerset and only later in Devon and in Cornwall in the 1700's.
  • Cameron and Ellen Vivian of Staffa, Ontario (1977-1979) have kept up a correspondence but were absolutely marvelous in their generosity in 1977 when I traveled to Ontario in search of Butsons. They have made all of this possible.
  • Thomas R. Butson of Lindsay, Ontario (27 February 1977) wrote on his ancestry. I have regretted the iron-clad schedule which prevented me from meeting him in 1977. He is a cousin (1st) of Margaret Butson's husband (see letter above).

Please note the following regarding e-mail.
  1. This really is a low priority for me right now. So I may take quite a while to answer your e-mail. But someday, I will get around to it.
  2. I am NOT planning to publish another issue. If you are interested in taking over the work of the newsletter, please click here and let me know.
  3. Please include "Butson" in the subject of your note, since I am receiving e-mail on several different subjects, and this will help me to sort things out.
  4. Once you have read all of the above, please send comments to WWJohnston@aol.com.

Newsletter 2

 

Copyright 1998 by Wesley Johnston
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