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
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
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,