Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Josiah Butterfield. Josiah Butterfield

1795 - 1871

  • Born 1795 Dunstable, Massachussetts
  • Married Polly Moulton 1819; one child
  • Baptized 1833
  • Ordained Elder by 1836
  • Ordained Seventy 1836
  • Set Apart as a President of the Seventy 1837
  • After wife's death, married Margaret Lawrence 1840 or 1841
  • Excommunicated 1844; later rebaptized
  • Died 1871 in California

    Josiah Butterfield was the son of Abel and Mercy Butterfield. He was born 13 March 1795 at Dunstable, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He Married Polly Moulton 30 October 1819 and  the couple had one known child: Josiah. He is known to have resided in Buxton, Maine between 1820-30.

    Brother Butterfield was baptized in Maine 1 October 1833 by John F. Boynton and Evan M. Greene.  Following his baptism he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, about 1834 where he worked on the Kirtland Temple. He Received a special blessing 7 March 1835 for the work he performed on Kirtland Temple. Elder Butterfield was ordained an Elder before 1836. He was ordained a Seventy in 1836.

    Josiah became a charter member of and owned stock in Kirtland Safety Society January 1837 and owned property in Kirtland 1837-38. He was set apart as a president of the First Quorum of Seventy 6 April 1837  under the hands of Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith. Perhaps unusually he also functioned as a member of Kirtland High Council; simultaneously as a Seventy. As the winds of apostasy swirled about Kirtland, he remained loyal to the Prophet and faithful to the Gospel. Thus he assisted in leading the Kirtland Camp to Missouri 1838. As they traveled through the country, Elder Butterfield, together with others, was arrested by a county sheriff near Mansfield, Ohio, on a charge connected with "Kirtland Safety Society Money," and committed to jail. The brethren, who were thus deprived of their liberty, were discharged the next day by the court Sitting in Mansfield, as no bill was found against them.

    Elder Butterfield was expelled from Missouri 1839 by Governor Lilburn Boggs' infamous and indefensible "Extermination Order."  When the Saints were expelled from Missouri, Elder Butterfield enrolled his name among those brethren who covenanted to assist the poor to remove from that State. After leaving Missouri he then located at Bear Creek, Adams County, Illinois in1839.

    Elder Butterfield's wife, Polly, died 28 October 1840 at Bear Creek. Elder Butterfield then married Margaret Lawrence (mother of Sarah and Maria Lawrence).  Shortly after this a conflict arose between Butterfield who would have benefitted from his new wife's inheritance and the Prophet Joseph Smith who seemes to have represented the daughters. The matter came to a head on March 28, 1843, when as The Prophet writes: "Josiah Butterfield came to my house and insulted me so outrageously that I kicked him out of the house, across the yard, and into the street."

    Notwithstanding the disagreement over the Lawrence estate, Elder Butterfield was appointed to preach in Maitre in April 1844. Apparently he remained disaffected with the leadership of the Church and was excommunicated 7 October 1844. The vacancy caused thereby in the First Council of Seventies was filled by the appointment of Jedediah M. Grant, to be one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies. Josiah Butterfield was later rebaptized. He received his endowment 20 January 1846 in Nauvoo Temple.

    Butterfield did not travel west with the saints but remained in the mid-west until about 1850. He then moved to California by 1853. On his way to California with a herd of stock, he visited Fort Herriman, Salt Lake county, Utah, where his nephew, Thomas Butterfield, resided. At that time he explained to his relatives that his faith in "Mormonism" was as strong as ever.In California he married Clarinda by whom he fathered two known children: Mary and Charles.

    Josiah Butterfield died in March or April 1871 at either Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California or in Monterey County, California.

   History of the Church, Mutiple citations; see index.
   2005 Church Almanac, p. 70
   Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.254
   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p.192
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1

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