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Hiland G. Butler


Posted By: volunteer transcriber
Date: 7/26/2005 at 19:28:15

HILAND GEORGE BUTLER. Battle Creek is world-famous for more than one reason, but primarily, perhaps, for its industries, whose product is utilized in every country and every clime. One of the most celebrated of these industries is the Hygienic Food Company, makers of Mapl-Flake, a delectable article known to every well appointed breakfast table. The president of the Mapl-Flake Company is the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this paragraph, an Iowan
by circumstance of birth, but of family long established in this country, his forbears having been distinguished factors in the earlier history
of New England, that cradle of so much of our national history. In the ancestral record are numbered soldiers and patriots, men of prominence in several walks of life and at least one governor, and the subject is as loyal an American as any of them. He is a man of remarkable executive ability, who has made realities out of a number of vast ideas; not, indeed, that his sky has always been set with stars of victory, for he has known adversity in her most unpleasant mood and has conquered her.

Hiland George Butler was born in Allamakee county, Iowa, July 30, 1864. His father was George Ide Butler and his mother's name previous to her marriage was Lentha Ames Lockwood, and Waterbury, Vermont was the birthplace of both. The family was of English origin, and Ezra Butler, the great-grandfather of the subject, was governor of the Green Mountain state. He was born in Lancaster, Worcester county, Massachusetts, on September 24, 1763. In his seventh year his father, Asaph Butler, moved to West Windsor, Vermont. When in his seventeenth year Ezra Butler was for six months a soldier of
the Revolution. In March, 1785, he came to Waterbury, Vermont, with his brother Asaph, next older than himself, and in June of the same year he was married to Miss Tryphena Diggins. He was the first prominent settler in Waterbury, and, though a young man, took a prominent part in all public movements. He built the first frame
house in the town. To him was issued the warrant to call the freemen of Waterbury, in 1790, to organize the town, and at that meeting he
was chosen town clerk. From that time his official life was a remarkable one. From this humble beginning he went through almost every
grade to the chief magistracy of the state. The following table will show in outline the main features of his career:
1794 to 1805 (except 1798) he represented the town in General Assembly.
1807 chosen as a representative and member of the council acting part of the time in one body and part in the other.
1808 again elected to the council, and with the exception of 1813 and 1814 when he was in congress, was annually reelected to this body
until 1826.
1803 elected assistant judge of Chittenden county court, Waterbury, at that time belonging to that county, and reelected the two following years.
1806 elected chief judge of Chittenden county court, and held the office until 1811.
1811 Washington county was organized and Judge Butler was elected chief judge of that county court, and, excepting the two years when in congress, 1813, 1814 and 1818, held that office until 1825.
1806 member of the Council of Censors.
1822 member of Constitutional convention.
1804 and again in 1820 a presidential elector.
1812 member of congress on the Republican general ticket.
1826 elected governor of the state, and was reelected the following year, each time without an organized opposition.
Immediately after his second election, he declined to run again, and at the close of that term retired from official life, having been in
office without interruption from the organization of the town in 1790, often holding two or more important offices at the same time.
In addition to these civil and political offices he was on the committee to fix the site for the first state house in Montpelier; was a commissioner in 1807 to help determine the place and plan for the state prison, and subsequently a commissioner to locate the state arsenal.
From 1810 to 1816 he was a trustee of the University of Vermont.
There was hardly an office of honor or trust in the gift of the people or legislature that he did not fill. In this respect the career of Governor Butler from an unlettered pioneer-(his schooling was limited to six months in his boyhood)-from a hunter and trapper up through
almost every grade of office to the chief magistracy of the state, is a most remarkable one, and has few parallels in history.

Mr. Butler had a religious as well as a political history. His was the first conversion in Waterbury. About a year after he was baptized and united with the Baptist church in Bolton. At the organization of the Baptist church in Waterbury in about 1801, Mr. Butler was ordained as its pastor, and amid the many civil offices he filled, he continued to discharge the duties of this office until within a few years of his death, and that without salary or remuneration. He died July 12, 1838, in the seventy-fifth year of his age.

These are the main facts in the life of the distinguished ancestor of Hiland George Butler. The many public honors and positions of
trust that came to him were won by his sterling traits of character. The public knew that whatever trust might be reposed in him was
safe, and that whatever was given to him to do would be done, and so they always found it.

George Ide Butler, the father of Hiland G., was a very prominent Seventh Day Adventist and was president of that denomination for a period of fifteen years, which is the longest any man ever held that office. He followed Elder James White to the office. He left his native state at an early day and came to Iowa, where he resided until the subject was a youth of eighteen years of age. He then removed to Michigan, where he was elected president of the general conference of Seventh Day Adventists. He was a man of signal ability and has been prominent in several connections, having been president of the old Review and Herald Publishing Company and also president of the Southern Publishing Company, of Nashville, Tennessee, which latter office he retained up to two years ago. He is now seventy-eight years of age and lives retired at Bowling Green, Florida, where he has an orange grove
of fifteen acres, and engages in the raising of both oranges and pecans.

He has resided in Florida for the past twenty-three years. The admirable wife and mother was called to her eternal rest in 1900, and is
interred in that state. There were three children in the family: Annie, the only daughter, died when fourteen years of age. The other two were twin brothers, William Pitt Butler and Hiland George Butler of this review. William Pitt Butler now lives at Berwyn, a suburb
of Chicago, Illinois, and is manager and owner of a one-third interest in the Johnson Fare Box Company and the Johnson Coin Counter Company, of Chicago, Illinois. He was at one time employed in the offices of the old Review and Herald Publishing Company, but has been a citizen of Chicago for the past twenty years.

These twin brothers were educated in the public schools of Mount Pleasant; Iowa, and both learned
practical occupations, Hiland George being a book edge gilder by trade and having learned the work when he was employed by the Review and Herald Publishing Company, at which time he had the contract for gilding all the books they published. He worked for them about six years and then went to Florida, on account of the failing health of his mother, with whom he wished to be in companionship in her last days. In that southern state he lived for three years, and for a part of the time was engaged in the orange business. However, the cold winter of 1903-4 not only killed the oranges, but blasted all his hopes of getting rich in this field of endeavor. To quote his own phraseology, he "went broke on the proposition," and wishing to part
with the fickle south, he sent his wife back home on a passenger train, this consuming all his spare cash, and he himself returned by freight, deadheading his way all the distance back from Florida.

For a time in his younger days he "braked" on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and he knew just about how to "handle the boys" who remained officially ignorant of his presence.
After returning from the "Sunny South," thus ingloriously by freight, Mr. Butler began looking about him for an honest means of livelihood, his courage by no means impaired by the buffetings of fortune. He secured a position with the old Sanitarium Food Company as bookkeeper, and finally developed into manager of the concern and continued in the interest of the Kellogg people until about three years ago. While in their employ he went to England with friends of Dr. J. H. Kellogg, who is his brother-in-law. A Sanitarium Food Company had been started by friends of the Kellogg people in that country and had not proved a success and Mr. Butler was sent to the scene for the purpose of inculcating the element of success into its affairs, and also to straighten them out. He succeeded in this purpose beyond the most sanguine expectations and the British company has ever since been a money maker. In Battle Creek he has had, charge of the Sanitarium Food Company and the Sanitas Nut Food Company, and from these two was developed the Toasted Corn Flakes Company, of which Mr. Butler may be termed the father. He superintended the building
of the Kellogg Toasted Corn Flakes plant in this city, its owner, W. K. Kellogg, also being his brother-in-law, and until quite recently he was
superintendent of the same. He selected its site and made every plan in the way of buildings, etc., to the minutest detail and the world knows
that the concern has proved a success. He made the first toasted corn flakes ever made.

Until October, 1909, he was a stockholder and member of the Toasted Corn Flakes Company, but at the date mentioned he sold out his interests here. He had become inoculated with the desire for the west and he went to the Bitter Root Valley in Montana, where he made himself the possessor of one of the finest ranches in all
the west, this consisting of one thousand acres and from its superb orchards he sold $10,000 worth of apples in one season. He also maintained a splendid dairy, one of the finest and best conducted in all the Golden West. He was very fond of this section of this glorious country of ours, but the climate proved inimical to his wife's health, and in December, 1910, not without regret he sold his ranch for $75,000.
In June, 1911, Mr. Butler returned to Battle Creek and is now connected with the Hygienic Food Company, one of the oldest companies
of its kind in the business. It had, however, been allowed to run down and Mr. Butler's energy and enterprise proved a wonderful asset in
its fortunes. He bought up considerable of the stock and last fall was elected to the presidency of the company, the other officers being H. R. Scoville, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, vice president; Ralph H. Holmes, of Battle Creek, treasurer; and Fred Wells, of Battle Creek, secretary.

That delightful food, Mapl-Flake, is manufactured from both corn and wheat and the business is growing by leaps and bounds, Mapl-Flake proving in its excellence its own best recommendation. With Mr. Butler's brains and genius for telling but conservative advertising, its future is assured.

Mr. Butler is a Mason. He takes no small amount of interest in public affairs and was chairman of the committee of the first antisaloon league, the same putting Battle Creek on a dry basis for the years 1909 and 1910.

On February 3, 1887, Mr. Butler was happily married, the young woman who became his wife and the mistress of his household being Clara Belle Kellogg, daughter of the late John Preston Kellogg, one of Battle Creek's most prominent citizens, and a sister of Dr. J. H. Kellogg, now head of the Battle Creek Sanitorium and a man of
national reputation. Mrs. Butler was born and reared here and received her education in the old Battle Creek College. She is a woman of charming personality and has proved an ideal life companion, as her husband says "she is one of the best women and most satisfactory
companions in all the world." This year they will celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.

They have four children. William Pitt Butler, the eldest son, is associated with his father in the Hygienic Food Company; Mary Adelaide is now in school for girls at Haddonfield, New
Jersey; Ethel Priscilla is a junior student in the Battle Creek High school and is one of the most proficient in athletics of the young women
of this city; the youngest member of the family, George Ide, is also in school here. William Pitt is married, his wife previous to her marriage having been Ethel Reliance Hott, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George S. Hott, of 170 Post avenue, this city. The engagement of these popular young people was announced April 20, 1909, and the brideelect went to Montana, where she met her future husband and was married. They have a small son, William Pitt, born near Stevensville, in the Bitter Root Valley, Montana, the date of his birth being November 28, 1910, and according to his grandfather, the amount of noise he makes would indicate that he is destined to be a great orator in his day.

Mr. Butler takes the usual interest of the well balanced man in outdoor sports and particularly enjoys ice skating, in which he indulges
with his children. In fact, he is willing to challenge any lot of men of his age to a race on the ice at any time, and considers the question
of having a small pair of skates made for his year-old grandson, who enjoys a warm place in his grandfather's heart. The family are all
strict vegetarians and have been such for years.

The Butler family at present reside in a rented property at 125 Garrison avenue, but will
erect a residence of their own within a short time. They are popular as well as important members of society and are renowned for their
hospitality and kindliness. The plant of the Hygienic Food Company is situated at 150 MeCamly street, south.

-source: History of Calhoun County, Michigan; a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests, by Hon Washington Gardner, 1845-1928; page 676-680


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