Pioneers and Prominent People of Saskatchewan
In 1900, 20-year-old George Butterfield still lived on his father's farm in Forest Prairie Township in Meeker County, MN. The Butterfield farm was very near the farms of Julia Turck's married sisters, Elizabeth Peitz, Anna Kramer and Millie Schreiner. Julia may have met George in the course of visiting her sisters.
George applied for a 160-acre homestead in the former Doukhobor Reserve near Kamsack, Saskatchewan in 1907. Because of the paperwork necessary to vacate a previous claim to the homestead, it was February of 1908, the same month in which he and Julia were married, before his application was approved. He built a house on the SW 1/4 of Sec. 6-29-31 (W1st) in March of 1908 and he and Julia moved onto the homestead in June. Using primarily oxen, they broke 20 acres in 1909, and by 1911 had 65 acres of tillable land. Their homestead inspection reports indicate they had 5 head of cattle in 1908, 8 in 1909, and 10 in 1910; in 1911 they had 5 horses and 2 cattle. In addition to the house, they had fenced the entire homestead, drilled a 24-foot well, and built a stable and granery. Their first baby, Harold, did not survive, but by the spring of 1912, they had one living child (Lloyd). George became a naturalized Canadian citizen in order to qualify for a homestead patent. They received the patent on their Kamsack homestead in April of 1912.
The Butterfields left their Kamsack homestead and purchased a 320-acre farm northeast of Norquay, Saskatchewan, a farm that was mostly cleared and which had a good house and barn. The Butterfields moved to this farm in March of 1919, according to a letter George wrote to his sister in November, 1918. In that letter, he described its location as "4 1/2 miles from [Norquay], 1/2 mile to school." Their youngest child, Viola, was born on that farm in 1921, while all of the older children were born on the Kamsack homestead. The farm was named Poplar Grove Farm because of the poplar trees around the south side of the house. The Norquay farm consisted of the SW and SE quarters of Section 26 of Township 34, Range 1W of the 2nd Meridian.
George is believed to have been a progressive farmer. In 1915, an insect-borne viral disease called "Swamp Fever" began to infect and kill horses. Having learned that mules were less susceptible to the disease, George Butterfield returned to the U.S. to purchase a number of mules. He is known to have paid the Canadian government $500 to import the mules, and was one of the first in his district to make use of mules. Two mixed teams of horses and mules appear in a harvest-time picture taken on George's Kamsack homestead at about this time or shortly thereafter. George is also believed to have been the first farmer in his district to raise Ayrshire dairy cattle and the first to own a car.
George traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and underwent an operation there in January of 1915. Julia and the children appear to have accompanied him to Minnesota, as descendants of Julia's Meeker County relatives recall being told of her visit at that time.
George Butterfield died of stomach cancer in 1923 at the age of 43. George left a will and in it left his entire estate to his wife, Julia. At the time of his death, George owned both his original Kamsack homestead and the 320-acre farm near Norquay. An inventory of his personal property included 8 horses (some of whom were perhaps mules), 11 horned cattle (perhaps the Ayrshires) and a 1917 Ford touring car..<