Piecing Together the Butler Puzzle is volume 8 in the Jacksonport Historical Society's series Jacksonport Through the Generations . The family pioneers, James and Maria Gallagher Butler, were both born in Ireland but met and married in Canada. They immigrated to Door County in the 1870s. The home they built in West Jacksonport, along with other family homesteads, is still in use.

James and Maria had eleven children. Their oldest son, Thomas, and his German-born wife, Mary Gaeth, raised a family of thirteen in Jacksonport on a farm on Junction Road. Later Thomas and Mary moved to the house, surrounded by a white picket fence, that stands in the center of the village on Highway 57.

Through marriage the Butler family is linked to a long list of familiar names in Door County: Acker, Crerie, Herrbold, Higgins, Hogan, Horne, Rankin, and Zatlin, to mention just a few.
In addition to numerous photographs dating as far back as 1891, the book includes passages from the reminiscences of various family members. These include Thomas and Mary's son Frank, their daughter Ellen Butler Zatlin, and their son Harry's daughter Hope Butler Pearson. Also prominent in the book are the memoirs of Madeline Philipps Butler, wife of James and Maria's grandson Francis James; Madeline and Francis James’s son Francis Joseph, and Francis Joseph's daughter Kathy Butler Getman.

Extensive archival research for Piecing Together the Butler Puzzle was undertaken by Madeline and Francis's grandson Joe Klapatch. Much of that research is brought to life thanks to Ellen Butler Zatlin's collection of postcards from the early 20th century, letters she treasured from her mother Mary Gaeth Butler, and her lifelong accumulation of photographs. But most of those photographs are unlabeled, and because of great silences between branches of the family starting in the 1920s, the challenge of piecing together this Butler history was formidable. Nevertheless, descendants of James and Maria Gallagher Butler, who reside not only in Door County but in Washington state, California, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, New Jersey and Maine, collaborated in helping Phyllis Zatlin assemble the Butler puzzle pieces.

Piecing Together the Butler Puzzle is available from the Jacksonport Historical Society Jacksonporthistory@charter.net. Price is $20, plus shipping and handling. It is also sold at the Craft Cottage and Bley’s Grocery in Jacksonport and at bookstores in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, and Baileys Harbor.


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