- The 1892 voter registration lists our Charles Butler of 294 S. Morgan St. naturalized in Omaha 1868 and residing in Illinois 22 years earlier (1870). But an 1870 Chicago census for a Charles Butler can't be found.
However, there is an 1870 census in O'Fallons (or North Platte), Harrison Township, Lincoln County, Nebraska for a 24 year old German (Hesse-Darmstadt) Chas Butler soldier accompanying a railroad surveying crew. The commanding officer listed on the previous census page is Captain Lester Walker.
[NOTE: Buffalo Bill is listed at nearby Cottonwood Springs (Ft. McPherson) as Indian scout. His biography indicates "In 1868, Cody was again employed by the U.S. Army as a civilian scout and guide for the Fifth Cavalry. His experience and skills as a plainsman made him an invaluable tracker and fighter."]
The following written by captain Fifth U. S. Cavalry and brevet major U. S. Army Lester Walker:
"In May, 1869, the Fifth U. S. Cavalry arrived at Fort McPherson under General Carr. Eight companies were left here and four companies went to Sidney and Cheyenne. The government was surveying this county at that time and the troops were used to protect the surveyors. Large bands of Indians had left the reservation and were killing settlers and stealing horses. During the summer of 1869 the order from General Auger, commanding the department, was to clear the country of Indians between the Union Pacific and the Kansas Pacific. I was an officer of the Fifth U. S. Cavalry and was in command of the post at North Platte in 1869 and 1870, and was in all the Indian campaigns until I resigned in 1878."
Also in the above web page is and entry by BY MRS. SARAH CLAPP:
"The coming of the railroad through the state, bringing thousands of settlers with household furnishings and machinery for tilling the soil, was of the greatest importance. It was concerning the guarding of that right of way that a writer for the Horse World has some interesting memories and devotes an article in a number in February, 1896, to the stories of Colonel W. F. Cody, Major Frank North, Captain Charles Morse, Captain Luther North, Captain Fred Mathews, and my father, Captain S. E. Cushing. The correspondent was under my father, in Company B, during one of the scouting expeditions, when the company was sent to guard O'Fallon's Bluffs, west of Fort McPherson on the Union Pacific. He tells much more of camp activities and of his initiation into border life than of the skirmishes or scouting trips. He was fond of horses and tells of a memorable race in which a horse of Buffalo Bill's was beaten by my father's horse 'Jack.'"
According to the following:
"[Fort Omaha] Soldiers also participated in the protection of construction crews and mail coaches as well as assisting with road construction, telegraphic services and mapping."
Fort Omaha was built in 1868 the year before our Charles filed for his naturalization intent.
It is likely that Fort Omaha would be a the place for this soldier to file for citizenship. Age 24 would make him born about 1846 instead of about 1842 that the1880 census and about 1843 in the 1896 death records for our Charles indicates. This type of discrepancy is not uncommon with census records.
9 Oct 1871, Sheridan "called to this city [Chicago] companies A and K of the Ninth Infantry, from Omaha" for assistance in the Great Chicago Fire relief effort. It seems natural Sheridan would call upon troops that protected and worked with construction crews. They were relieved on 24 Oct 1871 once civil unrest did not materialize. Our Charles may have been in one of these companies, but was he infantry or cavalry?
The church where Charles and Lena (Rost) Buttlar were married 11 Feb 1872 is mentioned in the following as "apparently served as a first aid station during the Chicago Fire":
Could this Charles Butler, serving as soldier in Nebraska during pioneer times, protecting railroad crew possibly with Buffalo Bill be our Charles Butler. These events make it a compelling story that this is our Charles Butler who met his future wife Lena after the outbreak of the Chicago Fire could be one and the same. However, such a story never was passed down through the generations. But then again, no one knew he was in Omaha either. Maybe his early death made it less likely these stories were passed down.
More data is needed, however, before we can can confirm the connection. Fort McPherson records at the National Archives would be a start: