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Madera Biographies: BUTIN

   JOHN L. BUTIN, M. D.  The genealogy of the Butin family is traced to France, whence during the perilous year following the revocation of the edict of Nantes a Huguenot family of that name fled to Holland.  The head of the house, Peter Butin, left a large fortune and lands in France and sought safety on the island of Katsand, Holland, where, as in his native land, he followed the occupation of a chemist.  In search of land where freedom of religious faith was offered, as well as an opportunity to earn a livelihood, he came to America and settled in New York State.  With him came his son John, who had been born during the residence of the family on the little island near Holland.  Some years after coming to this country he settled in Logan County, Ohio, and there followed farm pursuits.  Later he became a farmer and large land owner near Burlington, Iowa, where he died.  Next in line of descent was William Butin, a native of Ohio, and in early manhood a farmer near Burling, Iowa, but later a resident of Jasper County, that state, where he improved a farm near Newton and laid out the village of Galesburg.  At the time of his death, which occurred in Jasper County, he was sixty-five years of age.

   The marriage of William Butin united him with Nancy Scott, who was born in Alton, Ill., and died in Iowa, leaving three children, namely:  Layton, a resident of Nebraska; Emma, who lives in Oklahoma, and John L. of California. Levi Scott, father of Mrs. Butin was born in Cairo, Ill.  As a boy he went through a thrilling experience, when his parents were massacred by the Indians and he alone of all the children escaped.  During early manhood he took part in the Black Hawk scar.  At one time he owned the land now occupied by the city of Jacksonville, Ill., having entered the same from the government.   A later location was at Alton, and from there he went to the vicinity of Burlington, Iowa, where he conducted a farm.  He built by contract a part of old Fort Des Moines and was otherwise connected intimately with the pioneer days of Iowa.  When the first wagon train entered the Willamette Valley, Ore., in 1843, he was among the emigrants and settled on the Tualatin plains.   When the Indians became troublesome he was among the settlers who formed a company and fought to defend their homes and children.  During these skirmishes he was twice wounded by Indian arrows.  From the earliest period of his residence in the west he was prominent in public affairs in Oregon.  One of the most important services that he rendered was as a member of the first territorial legislature.  He carried on a store at Scottsburg, built the first mill there and discovered Scott’s Pass, over which he piloted the United States troops.  At the time of his death, which occurred in Eugene, Ore., he was ninety-six years of age.  His wife had died in Iowa many years before.

   At Burlington, Iowa, on the 4th of July 1855, John L. Butin was born, and grew to manhood on the home farm in Jasper county and received his primary education in country schools.  For two years he was a student in the University of Iowa at Iowa City, after which he began the study of medicine under Dr. Fayler of Newton, Iowa.  His first course of lectures were taken in the medical department of the University of Iowa and later he was a student in the Northwestern Medical College at St. Joseph, Mo., from which he was graduated in 1882 with the degree of M. D.  For a time he engaged general practice at Dorchester, Saline County, Neb., and from there in 1891 came to California, since which year he has been a practitioner at Madera.  In point of years of active professional work, he is the oldest physician in this city.  For one term he acted County health officer.  At the time of the organization of the County he was an enthusiastic supporter of the movement whereby it was separated from Fresno County.  At different times since coming here he has invested in land, and now owns more than eight hundred acres, divided into three farms, all near Madera and all tillable farm land.  A portion of the property is under irrigation and is utilized for the raising alfalfa.  In politics he is a Democrat and fraternally holds membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Madera.

   While residing in Saline County, Neb., Dr. Butin married Dr. Mary Ryerson, who was born at Wilton Junction, Muscatine County, Iowa, being a daughter of Richard Ryerson, of Holland-Dutch extraction.  From his native locality in New Jersey Mr. Ryerson moved to Iowa in early days and settled on a farm.  Years later he removed to Nebraska and there died.  Excellent advantages were given to his daughter, who was graduated from Wilton College, and also, is 1882, from the Woman’s Medical College of Chicago.  For a year she was engaged as intern at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago.  Returning to Nebraska, she engaged in practice there and for one year was honored with the vice-presidency of the Nebraska State Medical Society.  At this writing she hold office as County health officer, and it is said that she rivals all former incumbents of the position in the intelligent discharge of its duties and the care with which she guards the public health.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 432.

Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.


Dr. and Mrs. John L. Butin have been practicing medicine in Madera since coming to the city in 1891. Dr. John Butin is a large landowner of the county was for many years president of the First National bank, of which he was one of the founders, and he is today the chairman of the board of the bank. Dr. Mary R. Butin was county health officer of Madera for thirteen years. During that time many modern sanitary methods were introduced into the county and established on a legal basis.

John L. Butin was born at Burlington, Iowa, July 4, 1854. His maternal grandfather crossed the plains, fought Indians and finally settled at Eugene, Oregon. His paternal grandfather owned part of the site of Burlington, Iowa. Later the family moved to Jasper county, Iowa, where John Butin spent his boyhood. He received his M. D. degree from the Northwestern University at St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1882. Then he practiced at Dorchester, Nebraska.

Mary Ryerson was born in Iowa, near Wilton, Muscatine County, of a family that had removed from New Jersey. Early becoming interested in a medical career, she attended the Women’s Medical College, Chicago, and graduated in 1881. Their first practice was in Dorchester, Nebraska, where she met Dr. Butin and married him.

From the History of Fresno and Madera Counties, 1933, Joseph Barcroft, editor for Madera County.

Last update: August 29, 2000
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