John F. Butler is the youngest of the children of Jonathan and Martha (Russell) Butler, and was born in Marlow, June 14, 1831. His father, who was a farmer, died when John was twelve years of age, leaving him chiefly to his own efforts to provide the means for his support and education, which he accomplished by jobbing, teaching district and writing schools during his vacations, receiving also substantial aid from the best of mothers. He received his preliminary training in the district school and at Marlow academy, “Tubb’s Union” at Washington, and under the private instruction of Prof. Wood, of Marlow, and was fitted to enter college when about nineteen years of age. He then reluctantly decided not to pursue a collegiate course, and commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Marshall Perkins, of Marlow, attending a course of medical lectures at Dartmouth college in 1852, and in 1853 entered Fremont medical school, in Boston, Mass., visiting the hospitals in and around the city daily. In the ensuing winter he attended a course of lectures, and graduated in the spring of 1854, from the medical department of Harvard university. He commenced the practice of medicine and surgery at Chesterfield Factory, where he is still actively engaged in his profession. December 17, 1857, he married Julia Quimby, daughter of Rev. Silas Quimby, of Lebanon, N. H. She died August 19, 1861, followed in a few weeks by her infant son, Arthur. January 17, 1863, he married Celia A. Brewster, of Lowell, Mass. Both ladies were educated at Tilton seminary, and were persons of refinement and worth. During the Crimean war, soon after he commenced the practice of his profession, he was offered the appointment of surgeon in the medical staff of the Russian army, by the Russian ambassador to the United States, but declined the service. In the spring of 1864 he was commissioned by Gov. Andrews Asst. Surgeon of the 39th Regt., Mass. Vols., of the 5th Army Corps, then moving on Richmond through the Wilderness, and joined his regiment before Petersburg, Va., serving in the field till the war closed, being present at the surrender of General Lee and his army at Appomattox. He was also for a time acting surgeon of the 16th Regt., Me. Vols., and surgeon in charge of the 88th Regt., Penn. Vols. In politics he is a decided Democrat. At the annual election in 1874, his fellow-townsmen elected him representative to the general court, and re-elected him in 1875. During his thirty-four years of medical practice in Chesterfield Factory and vicinity, with generous sympathy he has rendered his services as readily to the poor as the rich, never asking, but often refusing, remuneration. With due appreciation for his many favors, he was sent the following: “With your permission, your many friends from this village and vicinity would be pleased to put a portrait of youself in the forthcoming Gazetteer of Cheshire County, not only as a tribute of the regard we have for you, but as a deposit for ourselves.”
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