Butterfield – the way it is remembered

When the railroad built the nation and James Butterfield’s last name became the town’s

According to the Butterfield Advocate Centennial Addition, thank the railroad for the founding of Butterfield. The Federal Government, in efforts to open up the west, granted huge tracts of land to the railroads to spark development. The railroads, in turn, platted town sites at various intervals to entice homesteaders and merchants to settle them. The railroads were the lifeline of commerce, and what was good for the railroad was good for the prairie.

The first homesteaders settled around 1870, giving the hamlet a population of 17 (10 men and 7 women). The railroad was laid in 1871 and the population grew. Butterfield Township was organized on July 2, 1872. The first store was built in 1872, but it was torn down due to lack of business. New stores popped along the main street and businesses began to prosper. In 1875, a flat-house for buying grain, which benefited the farmers was built followed by a lumber yard, general store and grocery store. By 1895 Butterfield had a thriving community of stores, elevators and tradesmen and the township population was over 400. It also had a school and several churches.

Butterfield was incorporated April 5, 1885, and Bern Rempel (who was also responsible for the first store) was elected as mayor.

From where, however, from where came the name of the city? The popular story is based mainly on spicy rumor. The story goes that James Butterfield, an engineer on the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad, was its namesake. The story takes a twist when, as it goes, Butterfield allegedly ran off with the wife of a local resident in 1876. Township residents were so incensed that they renamed the township Nichols Landing. Why was the decision made to change the name to the one they did? Did the romance even happen? The answers to those questions are lost to history.

The story attached to the rumor continues that James Butterfield restored his good name when he became a prominent railroad machinist – and was credited with inventing the locomotive ash pan. After two years, the name Butterfield was restored to what was then a township – and Nichols Landing disappeared as fast and mysteriously as it appeared.

In celebration of the upcoming 50th Butterfield Steam & Gas Engine Show – the Butterfield Threshing Bee . . . or just The Bee . . . following are some photographs from Butterfield’s past – the way we it is remembered:


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HERE WE PLOW. A photograph of Henry Janzen plowing with a 1020 Mogul plow. There is no date on this photo.



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THE ONLY INFORMATION known about this photograph and its story is the name of the man in the photo – Peter Flaming.



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C. A. FRIESEN and J. A. Friesen are threshing with the “Great Minneapolis Moline.”



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NOTHING IS KNOWN about this photograph other than that it was taken of a threshing crew with steam engine powering the threshing rig.



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A CASE “STEAMER” was put to use to move this house at some point early in Butterfield’s history.



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THESE TWO MEN, clad in overalls, are hard at work corn shelling, using the power of an Avery tractor (at right) to help do the job.



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ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPH OF an early era “threshing bee.” That is all the information that can be gleaned from the photo.



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THE MEN (ALONG with some older boys) in this photo are involved in a different type of “bee” – a gravelling bee. The year was 1916.



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A LOOK AT the Butterfield Depot in this undated photo, but more than likely from the early 1900s.



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AS THE WHITE script on the photo states, the date on this photograph is January 2, 1911 at Butterfield, when this train derailed. According to information on the photo, it was 30 below that day when the rails expanded and the train rolled. One man was pinned underneath for hours – and citizens took turns crawling under to keep warming that person.



threshing bee 4THIS IS ANOTHER wintertime in Butterfield photo. A team of horses, wrapped with blankets in order to stay warm, were being used to haul some product packaged and stored in barrels from the railroad depot on a wagon-like cart outfitted with sled runners.


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LOOKING EAST ALONG the railroad tracks as they run through Butterfield.













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THE BUTTERFIELD FIRE Department’s 1912 30-piece band. Front, from left, Wilson Whaley, Art Schweitert, Richard Brubacher, “Polly” Stoutenberg, Rex Brubacher and Earl Sorenson. Second row, from left, Herbert Linscheid, ? Hanson, Walter Schweitert, Earl Anderson, Syver Syverson, Victor Brubacher, Herman Deitrich, Nels Halverson, Ralph Skjie, John Hubin, Cornelius Funk and Jake Schwartz. Standing back, from left, Arthur Johnson, Bernie Rempel, Henry Ewy, Oswald Brubacher, Robert Casey, Mike Schultz, Director Hughes, Frank Anderson, Helmer Mellum and Joe Kohler.



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THIS ACTION PHOTO captured a band marching down a Butterfield street.



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A FEBRUARY 1916 photo of the public school in Butterfield.



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A FAMILY OF father, mother and two daughters in their era automobile in front of a store operated by “Jacob Rupp” that offers for sale groceries and dry goods. On the post card it appears this store preceded The Miller Store.



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A GROUP OF musicians ready to perform in concert in front of The Miller Store. From Doris Menne: I am the oldest daughter of Harvey and Victoria Linscheid. My Dad Harvey was the oldest son of Robert and Erna (Ewy) Linscheid. My parents lived on the Linscheid farm after they were married in April 1950. We lived on that farm until 1957 or 58 when we moved to New Ulm. I do know a few people in the photo of the group ready to do a concert in front of the Miller store. The second from the left in the first row looks like my Grandma Erna (Ewy) Linscheid, the third from the left in the first row for sure is my Great Aunt Sadie (Rupp)Linscheid who was married to Herbert Linscheid who was a brother to my Grandpa Robert Linscheid.The last person in the front row to the left could be my Great Aunt Alma Linscheid who was married to my Great Uncle Hank Ewy OR my Great Aunt Bertha (Linscheid) who was married to Ted Linscheid who was my Grandpa Robert’s brother. In the top row second from the left is my Grandpa Robert Linscheid who was of course married to my Grandma Erna. The third from the left in the top row I think is my Great Uncle Hank Ewy who was married to my Great Aunt Alma Linscheid who was a sister to my Grandpa Robert Linscheid. My Grandpa was also born on the Linscheid farm to my Great Grandparents who were Jacob and Suzanna (Hubin) Linscheid. Glen Linscheid. who was conducting the choir in the below picture of the chorus at the Threshing Bee is my Dad Harvey Linscheid’s cousin. His parents I believe were Ted and Bertha Linscheid. They lived on the farm that was north of town which was across the new Highway 60. It was recently torn down after the owner Alvin Thiessen passed away.



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A 1903 BUTTERFIELD street scene – looking south on Main Street (the photograph apparently taken following a drenching rain).



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AN APRIL 1917 view of the east side of Butterfield’s Main Street, beginning with the general merchandise of “The Miller Store” and heading south.





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THE WEST SIDE of Main Street in Butterfield, looking north.



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LOOKING NORTH IN downtown Butterfield, with Thompson Yards Inc. at left.



butterfield - pete linscheid (saddle shop) 1955
PETE LINSCHEID, WHOSE Saddle Shop is recreated in Pioneer Village in Voss Park, astride his steed on Butterfield’s Main Street in 1955.



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A STREET SCENE in Butterfield, looking east when “old” Highway #60 ran through town, with the D-X station at left marking the corner (now the location of the Triumph State Bank-Butterfield).





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THE BUtTERFIELD COMMUNITY CHOIR in concert (before the construction of the Voss Park Stage), led by Glen Linscheid, in striped shirt at lower right.













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