December 2017

December 2017
Posted on 12/05/2017

HISTORY QUESTION OF THE MONTH:

What early Butlerville resident spent 50 years working as a stationary engineer?  What was a stationary engineer?

 ANSWER:

Neri Butler was born December 25, 1847, in Amboy, Indiana. He came to Utah in the late 1850s with his father and siblings and settled in South Cottonwood. When homestead grants became available in 1869, he settled on what would become the Butler Bench. In 1870, Neri and his brothers Leander and Philander filed a claim for a water-powered mill near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The mill was in operation until sometime after 1890. He also was part-owner of a steam-powered mill in Brighton. Neri worked at the Granite Paper Mill before it burned down, and moved to Union sometime after 1906. After the death of his wife, Neri lived alone for a while and eventually moved in with his daughter Molly Green. Neri Butler died December 24, 1936.

A stationary engineer, also called power engineer, is one who operates industrial machinery and equipment that provide energy in various forms.  They are responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of this equipment.  The trade emerged during the Industrial Revolution and still flourishes today in many different industries.  Neri’s work with both the water-powered and steam-powered equipment used in the saw mills and at the Granite Paper Mill, certainly required those skills.