The Butler family
The census shows that John Butler was born in Newton Abbot circa 1860, and his wife Elizabeth (née Baker) was born in Ilsington around 1864. They married in 1890 Elizabeth's maiden name confirmed in their children's birth references


In 1891 John Butler, born in Newton Abbot and aged 31, is a crew member on HMS Defiance at Devonport.

Meanwhile his wife Elizabeth, and baby Minnie, are in School Road, Wolborough, Newton Abbot.
1891 census RG 12, piece 1745, folio 140, p2
1891 census RG12, piece no 1700, folio 96, p25

In 1898 the licence of the Sun Inn was transferred from Geo Taylor to John Butler.
Western Times 3 June 1898, p7 col5

A year later Mabel, the Butler's second child, was born.
29th October 1899 - source 1939 Register

Ashburton carnival was revived in November 1912 after a lapse of some years. Amongst the tableau was Mr J Butler's brig, The Saucy Nancy, 'fully rigged and manned with sailors'
Western Times 12 November 1912 p6 col4

See Carnival, under Gathering Together, for a photo of The Saucy Nancy

On New Year's Eve 1915, a night when the Yeo (Ashburn) was running high, Mrs Butler heard cries coming from the river. She called to her husband who 'without hesitation stripped and went into the river' in the dark and pulled out a man named Bawden. Bawden, who was holding on to a water pipe that went across the river,  had fallen into the water about a hundred yards away.
Mr Mitchelmore, of the District Council, said that it 'was a very gallant deed and deserved recognition.'
Western Times 10 January 1916, p2 col3

'In the 1920s the landlord of the Sun Inn was an ex sailor, the father of Minnie and Mabel Butler, two maiden ladies well known for their regular churchgoing. Each morning at 7.45 am they would make their way to church for the early morning service, and Minnie would often deputise for the verger by tolling the bell. If there was to be a funeral she would remember the age of the deceased, and the bell would be tolled the number of years that person had lived. Sadly, due to bad housing and poverty the bell would frequently ring once for an infant. '
Many thanks to Hazel Bray for the above account

1939 Minnie and Mabel Butler are joint proprietors of a stationery and fancy goods shop at No. 14, North St. They are both down as ARP first aid, St John's Ambulance.

The Misses Butler were amongst those supporting 'Spitfire Day' in Ashburton in 1941, which raised £27 10s.
1939 Register
Western Times 6 June 1941, p3 col5

'There were several shops, owned by the people in them who were so friendly, we knew them well.  The Misses Butler, two lovely, smiley ladies owned the wool shop with lots of millinery items and their beloved cats were often on the counter.  They were Sacristans at our Church and also ran the Sunday School. '
Many thanks to Margaret Ledbury and Mary Reeves. For more reminiscences of life at the time, see Growing Up in the 1940s

                                                                 Friends and Family

I have in my possession an album of postcards sent to Minnie and Mabel Butler and their parents. Many are portraits, but there are few clues as to who the people are. Some are addressed to eg 'Aunt' or 'Uncle Jack', but these may be just terms of affection.
I have reproduced some of the cards below in case you recognize them from your own family.

Two postcards feature Ernest - presumably the same person - and both are sent to Mrs Butler. The one on the left was sent from 13 Gwalior Rd., Putney.
The one above says 'Dear Aunt' and is sent from
5, Gladstone Road, Newton Abbot.
Another card, sent whilst on holiday in Sussex, is addressed to Auntie and is from Ern (?), Rose and Elsie.

This postcard was sent to Mrs G Butler, North St, and began 'My dear Auntie'. It was signed Elsie.

Above: Ken with Jonathan on lap; Elsie with Andrew (not necessarily the same Elsie)
The photographs above are both of Freddie, taken in 1922 and 1926. The one on the right says 'To dear Mum, Father and Minnie.' He is not, however, a son of John and Elizabeth - in the 1911 census they have only ever had 2 children.
1911 census RG14, piece no 12726
The postcard above left was sent to Mrs Butler from Annie and Joyce.
The photo above right was sent to Uncle Fred from Joyce aged 5 years in 1927
Above left: Harry F Veale aged 8 years 8 months, Feb 09
Henry Frances Veale's birth was registered in the September quarter of 1900 in the Totnes registration district. His mother's maiden name was Puddicombe.

Above right: Myra Claire 3 and a half months