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Persons in Official and Private Life Speak Eulogistically of the President’s Military Aide Who Died---A Soldier
Men of the United States army and navy, men who lived under the same roof---the men who knew Major Butt most intimately---spoke feelingly today of the soldier who died that women and children might live after the Titanic had struck.

Mourned by Washingtonians of all walks of life, Major Butt’s worth was most appreciated by his comrades in arms, and it is they who speak most feelingly and with the most authority.


In death as in life, Major Butt and Frank Millet were together, and the heroes' end which the two men chose was that which all who knew them would have expected in the circumstances. It is learned today that it was Mr. Millet who grew insistent that Major Butt take a vacation, and who first planned the trip abroad. Mr. Millet, Major Butt, and Lieutenant Commander Leigh C. Palmer, U. S. N., lived together in the same house until about ten months ago, when Major Butt bought the house at Twentieth and G streets and began to reside with Major Winship and Archibald Clark Kerr, of the British embassy. Major Winship is today in New York. Mr. Kerr went abroad ten days ago.

“Many pictures of Major Butt's mother are to be found in his last home, and the same pictures were on the walls of the house in which we lived together,” said Lieutenant Commander Palmer this morning. “Major Butt was devoted to his mother, whom he brought here to live with him. When she died, he and Frank Millet, and myself lived together for two years. His devotion to his mother while she lived and his affectionate memory of her after her death were always touching. He used to keep referring to the time when she was with him, and it was evident that she was often in his thoughts.”

“Major Butt thought highly of Millet, and the latter of him. On the older man Major Butt leaned for advice and took it, and the two men had a sympathy of mind which was most unusual. None could help admiring either man. Major Butt was a splendid officer. Here in Washington his duties kept him before the public in a social way, and some people naturally thought of him in that connection.

“But the men of the army and navy who knew Major Butt in the Philippines and in Cuba will all tell you that Major Butt was one of the most efficient officers in their experience. He was a quartermaster who knew his work thoroughly and who had a real gift for executive duties.

“It is no surprise to any man who knew Major Butt that he met death like an officer and a gentleman. And none who knew Frank Millet would have expected anything but self-immolation in behalf of women and children.

“Mr. Millet was given to unostentatious charities all his life and he spent nearly all he made on others. He was most eager to help any one in any way. Major Butt's kindliness and desire to be helpful and ability to carry out his desires are almost too well known for comment. We can ill spare such men.”

Testimony to Major Butt's efficiency as an officer comes also from Capt. J. J. Knapp, of the United States navy who knew him in the Philippines and in Cuba when the army of pacification was in Havana.

“I have heard army officer after army officer tell what a good quartermaster Archie Butt was,” said Captain Knapp, “and I saw it with my own eyes. When General Humphrey, now quartermaster general, arrived in Manila, he found Major Butt in charge of land transportation and he was not long in realizing what an efficient aide in this work Major Butt was. It was General Humphrey who brought Major Butt to Washington and the former will feel his loss in a personal way more than any one can tell.

Died a Glorious Death

“Major Butt was an active enthusiast in behalf of others' interests in the Philippines just as he was here, and he was greatly liked for this. He was a moving spirit in the organization of the Cariboas, and kept up his interest in the society after he came to Washington.

“It was a glorious death he died, and the army of the United States will cherish the story as a veritable inspiration for generations of soldiers to come.”

The Caribaos, of which Captain Knapp is the head, or Paramount Caribao, have a song relating to Major Butt, which has always been sung at their annual banquets. This song is worth noting for, while intended in a humorous vein, it emphasizes a side of Major Butt's nature, which is now being spoken of---his willingness to help others. The song ran to the effect that Major Butt had aided everyone in the Philippines, and “now he’s aiding William Taft.”

Newspaper men know well this trait of the dead officer. Many a reporter who would otherwise have returned empty handed found in Major Butt a friend who could and would help. Once he said to a newspaper acquaintance:

“I try never to forget that I was a newspaper man myself and to remember the difficulties reporters experience. It is not easy to fill my present duties with complete fidelity and help reporters at the same time. My post demands silence at times, and it makes my situation not easy to solve.”

But somehow or other, without violating the confidence placed in him, Major Butt generally found a way to help newspaper men, whether at the White House or when meeting them at Union Station, where he had gone to greet some distinguished guest in behalf of the President.

Miss Delia Torrey will share the sorrow over his death. Those who saw “Aunt Delia” greet Major Butt at various times when she came here know that the venerable old lady felt an affection for him almost equal to that for members of her family.

Praises Major Butt

Brig. Gen. Charles F. Humphrey, retired, former quartermaster general of the army, said this morning that “Major Butt’s death was the kind he would have desired. He was a most efficient officer and a gallant gentleman.

“I found Major Butt in Manila when I was transferred there in 1901,” said General Humphrey, “and he was so good a man that when I was made quartermaster general I wanted him in Washington. He became depot quartermaster of the city, and then was transferred to the quartermaster general's office. It was in recognition of his good work that he was attached to the army of pacification which went to Cuba in 1906. Soon after that President Roosevelt asked his services.

“Everyone is aware in Washington how helpful he was to Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, both of whom were most devotedly attached to him. It was no wonder.

“In the Philippines Major Butt was a leader in everything. He was an enthusiastic sport, though far from being led into follies of any sort by his enthusiasms. The army needs such men as he, and will miss him greatly.”

Carter B. Keene, master of Temple Lodge, of which Major Butt was a member, gave expression to his sorrow in a brief eulogy of Major Butt as a Mason.

“There was no man in Temple Lodge," he said, "who was more universally beloved than Major Butt. He took great interest in the welfare of the body and its individual members, and never lost an opportunity to do everything in his power to promote the welfare and happiness of his brothers. He attended the meetings whenever possible, and one of the last things he did before sailing was to file with the secretary a petition for membership from one of his warmest army friends. His death is a terrific blow to Temple Lodge, but his Masonic life was an inspiration."


Mark Baber, USA


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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) DEATH OF MAJOR BUTT MOURNED BY WASHINGTONIANS (Washington Times, Friday 19th April 1912, ref: #4059, published 26 October 2004, generated 14th July 2024 04:36:25 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/death-major-butt-mourned-washingtonians.html