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Button, Joshua Collins 1840-1916


Posted By: Linda Ziemann (email)
Date: 2/2/2006 at 21:36:08

Akron Register newspaper
Dated August 10, 1916


A sense of loss and sadness came to this community Monday morning with the announcement of the death of one of its oldest and most honored and respected citizens, J. C. Button. For a number of years he was aware of a serious heart weakness and in every possible way fortified himself against it. However, he was in his office every day until about three weeks before his death, and, though in failing health, transacted business in his customary thorough manner. During the last few days of his final illness he was an intense sufferer, and, while he bore the burden with great fortitude and uncomplaining, he frequently expressed the wish that he might find relief in the one way open, for he was prepared and ready to go. Valvular heart trouble was the cause of Mr. Button’s demise, which occurred Monday morning, August 7, 1916, at 4:25 o’clock.

Joshua Collins Button was born in Clymer, Chautauqua county, New York, November 26, 1840, and lived to the age of 75 years, 8 months and 12 days. At the age of four years he came with his parents to the Quaker town of Salem, Henry county, Iowa, and resided there for about ten years, where he attended the Salem Quaker school. His mother was a Quaker by birth and continued in the faith to the end of her life of about seventy years. From Salem he went to Iowa Falls and settled on government land, engaging in farming until about twenty-one years of age, when he became a public school teacher. At the close of his first term news came that the western border of Iowa was invaded by Indians. A call was made for soldiers to go the rescue of the frontier settlements. He enlisted in the North Border Brigade for nine months, serving one month over the time of his enlistment. He again engaged in teaching until the spring of 1864, when there came a call from President Lincoln for more soldiers for service in the war of the Rebellion. Mr. Button enlisted, going directly into army service in western Tennessee. From this service he was honorably discharged September 15, 1864, and on the 15th day of December received President Lincoln’s Certificate of Thanks for honorable service and prompt obedience for heeding his call for more soldiers to aid in putting down the Rebellion in our loved country. After returning from the army he again engaged in teaching. On November 7, 1865, he was united in marriage with Miss Carrie Sheppard, at Hampton, Iowa. For a few years thereafter he was engaged with an older brother in the boot, shoe and harness business at Alden, Iowa. He then decided to move farther west and took a homestead and pre-emption claim in Lincoln county, South Dakota, (the Dakota Territory) a few miles southwest of Canton, in the year 1874. He resided, however, during the winter at Portlandville, now Akron, Iowa, where he finally located permanently with this family. Their first four years here were a continuous struggle against the adversities caused by the ever memorable grasshopper scourge. After the departure of the grasshopper, he engaged in the mercantile business in Akron, having exchanged his Dakota land for a stock of goods. In this business he continued about one year, selling out only a few days previous to the beginning of a long siege of sickness which commenced July 17, 1877, and continued for nearly three years.

That Mr. Button was a real pioneer in the business affairs of Akron is shown by the record that he established the first bank, store, lumber yard, and newspaper (the Portlandville Blade in the early 70’s.) He also developed a successful hardware and implement business here and for several years past has conducted a piano and music store, and it has been one of this greatest pleasures to provide the homes of the community with music, of which he was an ardent lover.

Many in this community owe their success to the financial assistance and advice given them by Mr. Button, who was always ready to lend a helping hand to any worthy person or enterprise. During his residence here he has been identified with the Methodist Episcopal church and one of its strongest supporters. The foe of sin, he has been a staunch advocate of temperance and lent his influence and financial aid toward stamping out the liquor traffic. A monumental work in Mr. Button’s religious activities was the fact that he had taught the Young Ladies class in the Sunday school of the Akron M.E. church from 1880 until about two years ago – a period of 34 years—when, on account of failing health, he turned the class over to an assistant until he grew stronger, but he never regained his strength. Mr. Button was of a literary turn and, among other things, wrote and published a book, entitled, “Button’s Bank,” which has been circulated from coast to coast. The book is published in three sections---the first biographical and historical; the second, selections from his own and others’ writings, and third a symposium of his Sabbath school work, with half-tone portraits of many members of his classes.

Mr. Button is survived by his widow, one son, W. A. Button, of Kansas City, Mo., and a daughter, Mrs. R. J. Hauck, of this city. The surviving relatives have the sympathy of the entire community in their bereavement.

Funeral services were held in the Akron M.E. church Wednesday afternoon and many friends gathered to pay a last tribute of respect. The pastor, Rev. H. W. Mahood, paid splendid tribute to the Christian character and useful life of the departed. As a special mark of respect to one so long identified with the commercial affairs of the town, the business places closed during the funeral hour. Interment was in Riverside cemetery.

A number of friends and relatives from outside cities and towns attended the funeral services. Relatives who came from a distance were: W. A. Button, a son of Kansas City; A. L. Button, a nephew, of Lincoln, Nebr.; Mrs. A. G. Button, a daughter-in-law, of Highmore, S.D.; and Mrs. Addis, a sister-in-law, of Ponca, Nebr.

To the neighbors and friends who so kindly offered their assistance and sympathy during the illness and after the death of our beloved husband and father, J. C. Button, and for the beautiful floral offerings, we desire to express our sincere appreciation. ---Mrs. J. C. Button and Family.


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