Over a year ago I was searching online newspapers and searched through Lisbon, Iowa for my Butler family. Tobias Butler and Bridget Burke were the parents of my great-grandfather William Edward Butler. Tobias was from County Tipperary, Ireland. William Edward Butler was the father of Marjorie Butler Ralston.
You will have to click on the links to open the PDFs.
In this first PDF of the newspaper from 1898, there is an obituary for Tobias’s only daughter, Elizabeth. She was the wife of Thomas Clark and was born in Dixon, Illinois on 22 OCT 1860. She married Thomas on 15 JAN 1882 in Lisbon, Iowa. They had 8 children, only 3 survived to adulthood. She was interred at the Catholic cemetery in Lisbon. You will see on the left column that Tobias of Cedar Rapids and R.A. (Tobias’s son) of Sioux City, Iowa came in for the funeral.
In this next one in the Lisbon Sun, dated 23 DEC 1887, the bottom left column has a snippet on Tobias Butler. His house near the train depot burned down, the family escaped, but all property, money, and bushels of potatoes were lost. A new house was planned to be built in spring.
3 AUG 1894 The Lisbon Sun reports that William Butler and family of Belle Plaine are visiting with Tobias Butler. Top of second column on left.
22 APR 1898 The Lisbon Sun reports that Tobias, living with his daughter Elizabeth in Lisbon, went to Cedar Rapids to spend the summer with his son. This would be my William Edward Butler. My grandmother used to tell stories about Tobias going from one of his children’s houses to another, and that reportedly, he liked living at her house the best. That her mother, Bridget Carroll Butler, was the kindest to him. Keep in mind that my grandmother loved her parents very much; they were extraordinarily kind, loving, and good.
You will note that Elizabeth died at the end of this summer, having been ill for one year (see first link).
From The Lisbon Herald, second column, middle:
“Tobias Butler died early this morning
at the home of his son John near
Stony Point. Tho funeral will be held
to-morrow at 10 o’clock in tho Catholic
church. Mr, Bntler was born in Ireland
and came to Lisbon a number of
He died on 5 MAY 1899.
From The Lisbon Herald, middle column:
Tobias Butler, ono of tho oldest set
tlers in this section of the country, died
at the home of his son, John, last Friday
morning, at the age of ninety.
Mr, Butler was born in County Tipperary,
Ireland, and came to America
in 1834, and settled in Illinois. He
came to Lisbon in 1866, and has been a
resident of this place ever since. In
1830 he married Miss Bridget Burk
who preceded him to the great unknown
a number of years ago. To them
was born six children, five sons and one
daughter. Of these, four sons remain
to mourn his departure. They wore all
present at the funeral to pay their last
respect to a loving father.
The funeral services were held in the
Catholic church, at 10 o’clock Saturday
forenoon, conducted by Rev. Father
Hartigan of Marion. Interment in
You will note in left column, RA and Will Butler both came in for the funeral.
I’m not sure how much of the information above in the obit is accurate. It does tell me he is buried somewhere in Lisbon, Iowa.
From Jan 1898, left column:
“Tobias Butler, who has been in quite
feeble health for the past -few years,
fell Saturday and received quite a severe
From Jan. 1898, second column to left:
“R. A. Butler, of Sioux City, spent a
few days in town this week visiting his
father, Tobias Butler, who has been ill
for the past few months. Mr Butler is
a conductor on the Sioux City and
Northern Railwav, from Sioux City to
Garretson, S. D. He has worked up to
a fine position and is taking good care
From The Lisbon Sun, May 1899:
“The Death of Tobias Butler.
At the advanced age of ninety
years, Tobias Butler died on Friday,
May 5th, 1899, at the home of his son
John Butler, south of Lisbon. Tobias
Butler was an old settler at Lisbon,
having come to this locality in the
year 1866. For many years he was an
employee of the C. & N. W. railway,
and his home adjoined the track.
He came to America in 1834, from
the place of his birth,—County Tipperary,
Ireland. He resided in the
State of Illinois about twenty-two
years, and there married Miss Briget
Burk. To this union were born five
sons and one daughter. The wife
passed away many-years ago, and recently
the daughter preceded the
father to the spirit world; death also
claimed one son. The four sons remaining
are Richard, a railway conductor at
Sioux-City; William, a car repairer
for the C. & N. W. railway,
at Cedar Rapids; Thomas and John,
farmers in the vicinity of Lisbon.
These sons were all present at the
funeral, which was held at the Lisbon
Catholic church, on Saturday,
May 6th .Rev.. Father Hartigan, of
Marion, officiated. Burial occurred
at the Catholic cemetery, Lisbon.”
This is a great obituary. We have the information that he was married in Illinois. Where he was employed for many years. Where his sons are employed in 1899. Etc.