The mysterious Buttrums

George’s father and mother were James “Jim” William Buttrum, born 1 May 1845 in Georgia or Alabama, and died 21 December 1930 in the Watters District, Floyd County. He is buried at Snow Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. He married Ann Pruitt, possibly Mary Ann, born October 1861 in Georgia and died before 1910. There is a good deal that is unknown about them, and the census data contains several conflicts.

The Buttrum family first certifiably appears in the 1900 census for Ridge Valley, Floyd County. Ridge Valley is just west of the Watters District and includes Armuchee, where several relatives live today.

The husband and father of the family, Jim Butram, Pearl Grace’s grandfather, is missing in this record. The head-of-household is his son, John W. Buttrum. Other family members include John’s wife Maggie, 21, and their sons James, 2, born October 1897, and William, 1, born March 1899.

Also in the household are James’ wife and Pearl Grace Hall’s grandmother, Annie Pruitt Buttrum with her other children Della, Thomas, George, and Homer.
In the 1910 census, George is still living with his brother, John W., and Maggie, but now in Adairsville, Bartow County, along with their brother Thomas, and John and Maggie’s children.

It is in 1910 that George’s father Jim first appears with members of the family. He is living with his daughter Della Garland, in the Watters District (Shannon), Floyd County. They are probably living near Snow Springs Baptist Church, which is in a rural area south of Highway 140.

By 1920, both George and Thomas have married and have families. They are both living in the Watters District (Shannon) on the "Rome Adairsville Road," which I assume is Highway 140. George’s household consists of himself, his wife, and five of their children, including
Annie 7, Mamie 6, Pearl 5, Rosa Lee 3/12(?) months, and a son still living, 13 months. With them is James W. Buttrum, listed as Jim, George’s father, 69. Three houses away are John and Mag Buttrum and two children, a boy and a girl. The text, including the daughter’s name and their ages is pretty illegible on my copy.

By 1930, the family of George and Fannie Mae have moved to Trimble Hollow Road in the Lily Pond District in Gordon County. Lily Pond is just north of Adairsville. Their children are Pearl G. 15, Rosa Lee 13, a daughter still living 11, Elisha Williams 9, daughter still living 5, and a son still living 4. James W., 81, is in the household. According to Gladys Hall-Smith's-aunt still living, Jim later moved in with Della because he was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and was terrorizing the girls. The two suffering the worst were probably Pearl and Rosa Lee, and it is probably not coincidental that they both got married in 1930, and their eldest daughter, Annie has married Jim Hall, Robert Jasper "Bob" Hall's brother.

The move to Lily Pond proved fateful for Pearl Grace Buttrum and Robert Jasper Hall. In 1930, he was living there with his brother Jim’s family on Trimble Hollow Road. That year they married on a hill, possibly McGill Mountain, just east of I-75, the highest point in that area. In the census, the Buttrums and their daughter Mamie, married to Lewis Campbell, are listed adjacent to the Trimbles.

In the Watters District, the Buttrum’s lived near Snow Springs Church off Highway 140 between Adairsville and Highway 53. There is a Buttrum Road off Highway 140 named for the family.

The mystery of Annie Pruitt

When Annie first certifiably appears in the census in 1900 in the Adairsville District, Bartow County, she is separated or divorced from Jim and is living with their oldest son, John W., his wife, and his brothers and sisters. Her husband Jim first certifiably appears in the 1910 census living with their daughter Della in the Watters District of Floyd County. Records before these two dates are not clear.

It is possible that Jim and Annie are the William, 30, and Mary A. Butram, 22, living in Cleburne County, Alabama in the 1880 census. They have a son, John W., 2. The only variance is that Mary A. is 22, not 18, and both William and Mary A. are born in Alabama of parents born in Georgia. In the 1900 census, Annie says she was born in Georgia, as does Jim in 1910.

So, is Annie the Mary A. in Cleburne County, Alabama in 1880, or someone new? Ironically, that is the least of the mysteries involving Annie Pruitt Buttrum.

Sometime after 1900, Annie leaves her family and takes her youngest child Homer with her. Her granddaughter still living said she divorced James and, “She left when George was two-years-old and took a baby with her.” The baby was definitely Homer, but he was a little older, born in 1895. George was older, too. She said her father, George, never knew his mother, but George was born in 1891 and would have been at least nine when she left. She said all he could remember was that “she took the baby and left. She was never heard from again.”

What’s more, in the 1910 census, when Jim first appears in the records, he is listed as a “widower,” which of course means Annie is dead. A search for Annie Pruitts or similar sounding surnames born 1860-62 in Georgia in the 1870 census proved inconclusive, as did a search for Homer Buttrum or Pruitt after 1900. Homer would have been only 15 in 1910, but he is not with any members of the family.

The children of Jim Buttrum and Annie Pruitt

1. John W. Buttrum, born 12 April 1878 in Alabama and died 23 September 1948 at the age of 70, probably in the Watters District, Floyd County.  He married Maggie M. (probably Marguerite), surname unknown, born 28 November 1878 in Tennessee of parents born in Tennesee. She died five days after her husband, on 28 September 1948, at the age of 69. They are buried in the Snow Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

They had seven known children:

– James “Jimmie” Buttrum, born October 1897.

– William Buttrum, born March 1899.

– Eva Buttrum, born 1902.

– Beulah Buttrum, born 1903.

– Carl Buttrum, born 1905.

– Marvin Buttrum, born 1906.

– Clyde Buttrum, born March 1908 or 19 July 1909. Clide A. Buttrum, born 19 July 1909 and died 14 July 1928 at the age of 19, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Buttrum, is buried at the Snow Springs Methodist Church Cemetery.

At Snow Springs, there are also these others who could be related:

–  Claud R. D. Buttrum, born 4 June 1911 and died 11 June 1917.

– Margurite Buttrum, 14 May 1916-9 April 1919.

– Lois Buttrum, 14 July 1920 - 5 September 1921.

R. C. Buttrum, 17 April 1919-15 June 1922.

Note that the first two could be other children of John and Maggie since they were born and died between censuses. Lois and R. C. died after the 1920 census was taken, but are not in John and Maggie's household.

2. Della Buttrum, born 7-30 June 1886 in Georgia and died date unknown. She married Isom Garland. They had these known children: Charlie born 1907, and May born March 1908.

3. Thomas Buttrum, born 1889 in Georgia and died date unknown. I have no further information on him.

4. George W. Buttrum, born 3 June 1891. He married Fannie Mae Carnes. They are the parents of Pearl Grace Buttrum, Gladys Hall's mother.

5. Homer Buttrum, born 1895. He disappeared with his mother sometime between 1900 and 1910.

Some issues with the census records

Compounding the difficulty of determining just who Annie Pruitt is are the census records themselves, which are very confusing. As anyone who has searched census records, or other historical records knows, errors are fairly common. Often the people giving the information are illiterate or apparently uninformed, and sometimes the census takers appear illiterate, too! In the census, penmanship varies from the elegant to the horrible, the names, year of birth, and states of birth for children and their parents often vary from one census to another, and transcribers of the data, unfamiliar with the families, often make mistakes. The name Buttrum proved particularly difficult for both enumerators and interpreters of the census data. It appears as Butterman, Beetham, Battrum, and Butram. The latter is the oldest spelling and is pretty consistent in the family before 1900. For the Buttrums in particular, the census records contradict themselves in two instances:
1. In the 1900 Lily Pond census, John M. Buttrum is born in Alabama of parents born in Alabama, but, in the 1910 Adairsville census, he is born in Georgia of parents born in Georgia. (The same thing occurs to Maggie, who is Tennessee across the board in the 1900 census and all Georgia in 1910). Yet in the same 1900 census in the same household, Annie is listed as John’s mother, but she is born in Georgia of parents born in Georgia. So how can she be John’s mother if his mother was born in Alabama? There is nothing in family history to indicate that Jim Buttrum married twice.
2. In the 1900 Lily Pond census, and the 1910 Adairsville census, Thomas and George W. are both born in Georgia of parents born in Georgia, but in the 1930 census at Lily Pond, George W. is born in Alabama of parents born in Alabama. However, George’s father James, 81, living with them, is said to have been born in Georgia of parents born in Georgia. This is consistent with the 1910 census when he is living with his daughter Della Garland, and in the 1920 census when he is living with George and Fannie Mae. Yet, if Jim was born in Georgia and George W.'s father was born in Alabama, how can Jim be George W.’s father? And, again, there is nothing in family history to indicate that Annie Pruitt married twice, either.

Like I said earlier, it is not uncommon for such information to vary from one census to another, but these two instances are the first in my experience in which a census record contradicts itself.

There is other evidence of a Buttrum connection between Northwest Georgia and Cleburne County, Alabama, which is just over the state line from Carroll County, Georgia, and it appears the family moved back and forth, perhaps several times. Papa Hall and Pearl Buttrum once moved to Alabama to live with relatives for a short period in the 1930s.

In 1870, William Butrum, 20, is living with his father James, 44, born in Georgia, and mother Lucinda, 38, also born in Georgia, in Township 13, Range 11, Cleburne County, Alabama. William is the right age to be Jim.

Also, in Township 15, Range 12, Cleburne County in 1870 there are four Buttrum families living as neighbors, one of whom, James Buttrum, 48, has a daughter named Della. All these Buttrums are probably related, I have included them in the census records for future researchers.

In the 1840 census, there is a James Butram 40-50 years old with three boys living in Carroll County, Georgia, ages 10-15, 15-20, and 20-30. James the father of the 1870 William, would be about 14, so he could be the youngest boy, born 1825-1830. The father, James, would have been born 1790-1800. The couple had a girl 5-10, and a daughter 20-30. The wife is 40-50.
There is also a big cluster of Butrams in Rhea County, Tennessee in the 1830 census, including one named James, born 1790-1800, but nothing else links us to them.

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