George L. Butterworth

George L. Butterworth, alias “George W. Potter” and “George W. Patter”, was born 1843 in New York, the son of William and son of Elizabeth (b. 1804) and stepson of Welcome (b. 1783).

According to a statement George made many years after the war, his real name was in fact George Potter. “My own father,” he wrote the Bureau of Pensions in 1906,

died when I was two or three years old, and when I was a little past four years old, my mother married a man named Welcome Butterworth. That I had a brother younger that [sic] I, who has since deceased, and we both assumed the name of Butterworth. There was never any legal change of our names, but it went on and I was known as GEORGE BUTTERWORTH in the neighborhood where we resided.Altho’ neighbors and friends knew that my right name was Potter, I did not go by that name.

When I enlisted in the service of the United States I was but a young man and thoughtless and not knowing that it would ever be any detriment to me in after years, I gave my name as George Butterworth, and so served during my enlistment.

Indeed, Rhode Island native Welcome married New Yorker Elizabeth sometime around 1847 and by 1850 the family was living in Cobleskill, Schoharie County, New York where George attended school with his siblings and his stepfather father worked as a laborer. George’s family left New York and moved westward eventually settling in Michigan. By 1860 George was working as a day laborer along with his older brother Henry and they were living with their mother on the family farm in Sidney, Montcalm County.

George stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was an 18-year-old laborer possibly living in Sidney when he enlisted with his mother’s consent in Company E on May 13, 1861. He was a Corporal present for duty with the regiment in late May of 1863, and also while the regiment was in New York City and Troy, New York, where it had been posted to provide security for the upcoming draft.

While in Troy, according to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, George “got most beastly drunk” along with four other soldiers, although no further details of the incident are known. He reenlisted as a Corporal on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Cascade, Kent County, and was subsequently absent on veterans’ furlough for 30 days, probably at his mother’s home in Michigan. George presumably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February, 1864.

He was wounded on May 6, 1864, during the Wilderness campaign, and subsequently absent wounded, probably in the hospital. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and remained absent wounded through February of 1865. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

George eventually returned to Michigan after the war. By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his mother in Sidney, Montcalm County; next door lived Buel Tousley and his older brother Loren. Buel too had served in the Third Michigan during the war along with two of his brothers.

George eventually settled in Anaheim, California where he was living in 1906 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 1137256).

George died on March 19, 1909, possibly in California, and if so is presumably buried there.