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AUTHOR:  Melba Cooper Finley (edited and vetted by Cheri Todd Molter)

An Oral Tradition, told to my mother, Mary Sue Carswell Cooper, by her grandmother, Julia Adeline Butler Carswell, who was born in 1861 or there about (See note below). Julia’s father, Erwin Jackson Butler (from Enola) was serving in Company D of the 11th Infantry, N.C. State Troops when he returned home to see his wife and children. He was desperate to see his family. He deserted and took the chance to visit with them. His wife, Tilley (Matilda Elizabeth Smith Butler), had him hide in the barn. When she went out to milk the cows, she took him food and spent some time with him. Food was very hard to come by for the soldiers. The children stood in the doorway of the house watching while their mother went out to the barn. They had six children at the time. One evening when Tilley went out to the barn, their father came to the door waiting. The children were standing in the doorway of the house when some men came out of nowhere and shot their father while he was waiting for their mother. Erwin did not die but returned with them and served out his time.

It is stated in his records that he returned on Sept. 20, 1864 and made a good soldier. After the war, he returned home, and he and Tilley had several more children. They had a total of thirteen. After Erwin’s death, he was buried at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Enola. He was my great-great-grandfather.

Note: I’ve attached a news article about Great-Grandmother Julie Adeline Butler Carswell Williams. According to its author, my great-grandmother claimed to have been born in 1849, but I think she was mistaken. All the records point to her being born between 1860 and 1863. (Click images to enlarge.)

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