The German contingent of Lancaster township, Atchison county, Kansas, is something always to be reckoned on. Though it has no nominal head, its recognized leader is Henry Buttron, a prosperous and well-known farmer, who disclaims any supremacy among his fellow countrymen, and is in all ways a modest and unostentatious citizen. If he wields any power among his people that power is based on the popular respect for his cool judgment and patriotism, not on any claim to superiority put forth by himself, for he is a characteristically modest man who has no part in public affairs to which he is not invited by his fellow citizens.
Henry Buttron was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, October 12, 1831, one of the five sons of Jacob and Margaret (Zimmer) Buttron and one of only two of the family who came to the United States. His brother, Frederick, is a resident of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where Henry Buttron located upon coming to America, in 1852. In his native land Mr. Buttron had learned the trade of a blacksmith, in which he found employment in the new world. In 1854 he went west, and for two years afterward he worked at his trade at Elgin, Illinois. He made still another move toward the setting sun, and the year 1857 found him occupying a pre-emption claim on section 22, Lancaster township, Atchison county, Kansas. He brought a small amount of money with him, and thus he was enabled to construct a little box house, after which he began the monotonous task of improving a farm. The prospect was discouraging because there was such a failure of crops in 1860 and earlier years, and he found it next to impossible to sustain himself from the proceeds of his claim. He decided to resort to his first dependence, the hammer and anvil, for a livelihood until the sharp corners of nature should be smoothed somewhat by other settlements.
He removed to Atchison county and was employed at his trade by Toni Ray, of the firm of Ostertag & Carmichael and Anthony & Ostertag, consecutively, remaining in the city nine years. Then he returned to his claim, redeemed the unpaid taxes thereon and entered upon an era of progress and prosperity which continued from that date. His homestead is one of the best improved in the township, and his accumulations for the last thirty years have enabled him to add three more quarter-sections of land to his original holdings. In 1882 he erected his commodious residence, which is one of the most conspicuous farm homes in this part of Atchison county.
Mr. Buttron was a member of the Kansas militia during the civil war, and was in the engagement with Price's troops at Westport, near Kansas City, Missouri. Since the war he has watched events closely and has always exerted an influence for the public welfare. His interest in every political question, national or local, has been great and he has always studied the situation carefully and with more than ordinary intelligence. He has cast his vote conscientiously, and if he has acted as adviser to others it has always been in patriotic spirit that has been most creditable to him. His disinterestedness is proven by the fact that he has not sought nor accepted political office, or in any manner profited personally from any political strength which he may have been able to exert.
Mr. Buttron was married in Atchison, Kansas, in 1866, to Rosa Schau, whose father, Andrew Schau, came from Wurtemberg, Germany, and who bore him the following named children: Rosa, wife of Louis Gerhardt, of Atchison; Emma, wife of Charles Kemmer, of Lancaster township; Kate and Jacob, both single; Henry, who married Bertha Kemmer; and Fred, Anna, Carl, William, George and Louis, all of whom are still under the parental roof.