Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

NELSON GARRETT BUTLER. The farmers of this generation are learning that with the change of climate and general conditions in the Ozark region they must employ somewhat different methods in tilling the soil, learning, among other things, that continued cropping exposes the land to various weaknesses of the particular crop that is grown, and as no two crops extract the same proportion of plant food, the continually grown crop is bound to lessen the available fertility of one or more of the principal soil constituents. Rotation has the effect of making available all of the plant food element, and as the average soil is generally well supplied with fertile material, depletion will come that much sooner unless proper steps are taken to maintain the principal soil ingredients. These and many other problems of modern farming are well understood by Nelson Garrett Butler, a farmer of Republic township, Greene county.

Mr. Butler was born near Ozark, Christian county, on a farm, October 24, 1857. He is a son of Benjamin and Emily (Morland) Butler, both of whom came from Michigan to Christian county, Missouri, in an early day or during the Civil war period, and shortly after locating here Mr. Butler joined the Union army, and was in a number of battles, serving several years, during which he contracted a disease which disabled him, resulting in his discharge from the service. He returned home, but soon contracted smallpox which caused his death in March, 1862, and about a month later his widow also died. They were the parents of eight children, namely: Frank is living but his whereabouts are unknown; Will is engaged in farming in Oregon; Norman lives in Oklahoma; Fernando is deceased; Benjamin lives in Republic township; Nelson G., subject of this sketch; Mrs. Mary Myers lives in Oklahoma; the youngest child died in infancy. The parents of the above named children were living on our subject's grandfather's farm at the time of their deaths, and Nelson, G. Butler continued to live with his grandfather for some time, then went to make his home with an uncle when about seven years of age, with whom he remained until he was ten years of age, when he went to live with an older brother, remaining with him about a year, after which he went to live at the home of Matt Martin and there he remained about six years, then came to Greene county and hired out to James Decker, but after a short time hired to Thomas Rose, for whom he worked two years, also worked for G. W. O'Neal two years, then went to California and lived in that state four years, working on a farm. Returning to Missouri he located in Cedar county, and a year later came back to Greene county and once more took up his abode at the O'Neal home. Mr. O'Neal moved to Republic to look after his lumber yard there, and left our subject in charge of his farm. Later Mr. Butler rented Mr. O'Neal's farm and operated it for five years, and while there purchased eighty acres of land in section 13, Republic township, built a comfortable home thereon and moved into it. He has managed his affairs in a successful manner and is now owner of a productive farm of one hundred and seventy-six acres, on which he carries on general farming, and stock raising.

Mr. Butler was married on September 12, 1886, to Martha Britain, a daughter of James and Eliza (Wade) Britain. The father was born in this county, but the mother's birth occurred in the state of Georgia, and from there she came to Greene county, Missouri, when she was a child. She is one of nine children, named as follows: George, deceased; Nancy, deceased; Thomas, deceased; James lives in Republic; Martha, wife of our subject; Eliza is the wife of Albert White, of Republic; Harvey is deceased; Harry and Laura, twins, the former lives in Pond Creek township, this county, and the latter is deceased. Mrs. Butler received her education in the common schools of Pond Creek township, where she grew to womanhood. Our subject received his education in Christian and Webster counties.

Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Butler, namely: Elsie is the wife of Sam Brown, of Pond Creek township; Nadie is the wife of George O'Neal, of Republic; Maude is the wife of Ed. Mooneyham, of Pond Creek township; Frank lives with his parents and helps work the home farm.

Politically Mr. Butler is a Republican, and has always voted this ticket in national affairs since reaching manhood. He and his wife and daughters are members of the Missionary Baptist church at Hopewell.


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