Friday, January 10, 2014

Hometown Hero: Morrison Butcher, Co. H, 114th USCI

Morrison Butcher was allegedly 25 years old when he enlisted in Company H, 114th United States Colored Infantry on June 29, 1864, in Lexington. He was born in Franklin County, Kentucky, and gave his owners name as Ed Crockett. Since Crockett did not sign Butcher's enlistment papers he apparently did not give the 5' 9" Butcher permission to enlist.

I was unable to find an Ed Crockett in the 1860 census, but did find a Richard E. Crockett, who may be the same person. Richard E. Crockett was listed as 32 in that census and lived with wife Sarah, and children Samuel, Belle, and Florence. Crockett also owned two enslaved individuals, a 34 year old male and a 22 year old woman, who lived in one slave dwelling. Slave ages - and likewise USCT ages - were notoriously inconsistent and therefore it is possible that this Crockett's 34 year old enslaved man was Morrison Butcher. It is not know if the listed enslaved man and woman were married.   

Morrison Butcher enlisted as a private, but his commissioned officers must have noticed particular qualities of leadership, as he was promoted to corporal on February 28, 1865. Butcher received a 60 day furlough in August 1866, but he had been demoted back to private the previous month.  He was mustered out with the rest of the 114th at Brazos Santiago, Texas, in April of 1867.

Butcher returned to Franklin County, Kentucky after his service was over. He appears in the 1870 census as a 35 year old brickyard worker and married to Mary Butcher, 33 years old. Is Mary possibly the slave woman listed on Richard E. Crockett's slave schedule? In the Butcher household were children Mary Belle 13, and Louisa 9, both of whom were attending school. Also, younger children, Eva 5, Henrietta 2, and John 2 months are listed.

1880 still found Morrison Butcher in Frankfort, and again, his age is inconsistently listed, this time as 39. Morrison was now employed as a fireman at a distillery. Mary Ann 35, kept house, and stepdaughter Molly was a washer and ironer. Daughter Lou [Louisa] was a 17 year old servant, and Henrietta was 12. Granddaughters Kitty Tom was 5, and grandson Burley was 1 month old.

Morrison Butcher was still a distillery fireman in 1900 at 60 years old. Mary was listed as 40, and son Perry Butcher 20, was a coachman. In 1910, only Morrison and Mary lived in the household. He was 74 and had no occupation listed, and Mary was a 50 year old washerwoman.

Morrison died on September 15, 1912. His birthday was listed as May 7, 1839, making him 72 years old if correct. His father's name was James Butcher and his mother's name was Lucy. His father had been born in Anderson County, Kentucky. Morrison Butcher's cause of death was determined by the coroner as gangrene and rheumatism.  

Not only is Morrison Butcher remembered with a military headstone in Frankfort's Greenhill Cemetery, his name is proudly engraved as well on the Franklin County Colored Soldier's monument that is prominently displayed near his grave.   

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