William and Mattie (Hawkins) Butler – At Rest

group shot
Photograph by James Edward Williams – a corner of the Harmony Missionary Baptist Church Community Cemetery.
James Edward & Samuel Williams - cousins.
James Edward & Samuel Williams – cousins with cameras.

My husband and his cousin recently attended an extended Williams/Butler family reunion in Arkansas. This reunion has been going on for 43 years, although not every year has seen a reunion, most have. While there they photographed some of the grave stones in the Harmony Missionary Baptist Church Community Cemetery in Sparkman, AK.  The two headstones featured in today’s post are of my husband’s great grandparents.  William and Mattie (Hawkins) Butler were the parents of 13 children that lived to adulthood. One of those was my father-in-law’s mother, Annie Willie Butler. Today I am sharing the grave stones. Soon I will be posting what I have learned in the records about the Butlers and their family.

Photo by Samuel Williams. October, 2013
W.M. Butler       Photo by Samuel Williams. October, 2013.  What does the sign at the top stand for? And the words at the bottom?
"At Peace - Mattie Butler" Photo by Samuel Williams. October, 2013
“At Peace – Mattie Butler” Photo by Samuel Williams. October, 2013.  I only wish I could see the dates at the bottom because I don’t have them!
Homecoming Sunday at Harmony taken about 1993.
Homecoming Sunday at Harmony taken about 1989.

20 thoughts on “William and Mattie (Hawkins) Butler – At Rest

    1. The difference between the condition of the two really makes me wonder because he died in 1921 and she was still alive in the 1940 census but you would think her’s was much older than his. Different kind of stone? She oversaw his stone? He left instructions? The family had fallen on harder times? Guess I will never know but I wonder about it.

  1. The men were probably so happy to photograph the headstone, they didn’t think about how important the dates are to the family historian.

    1. That’s what it was. My husband took a photo of the same photo and also left the leaves and pine needles there. He was surprised when I mentioned it to him. I guess everybody doesn’t know the ins and outs of cemetery photography.

      1. You have to admit our cemetary photography was lacking perfection as well… I think it’s an art to be developed over time…

        1. You’re right, ours weren’t perfect and it was also because we were so happy to be there photographing at all. When do we go back to Montgomery and do it over?

  2. I am from Sparkman Arkansas and my mother, uncle, grandparent, and many cousins are buried in this cemetery located on the Harmony Missionary Baptist Church grounds. The cemetery commonly is the home where most of the Butler’s, Williams ,and extended family members rest.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Do you go back often? Or do you know somebody there who would go move the leaves aside and see what the dates are on Mattie Butler’s stone? I would be so grateful!

      1. Hi there, I go to Arkansas every summer during the month of July. My dad (Columbus Butler) still lives there. He goes to the cemetery quite often, his parents and wife ( my mother) is buried there. I will talk with him about her death and see if he remembers. Will keep you posted.

        1. Hi Karen! I wanted to make sure it was you as I didn’t recognize the new name. Glad you are in on this conversation!!

  3. When the Williams Butler Reunion was started it also included Sunday service at Harmony Missionary Baptist Church. The church and cemetery are on land donated by the Butlers. The church’s Family Day was born as a result of the Williams Butler Reunion and continues to this day on the second Sunday in October each year.

    There are so many memories of loved ones in the family cemetery including ones you might remember: Uncle Eunice; Uncle Bernice; Aunt Era; Uncle Sam; Uncle Oliver; cousins Harry and Carrie Butler; and Frances Butler to name a few. What history!!

    1. I remember going to that service. I also saw some people in the photograph outside of the church that are no longer with us. And how young those still here were 20 years ago. Time just keeps passing. What history it is indeed!

  4. Good luck with the leaf removal..it might solve your problem. I wonder if she was buried there or iit’s an in memoriam only.

    Have you googled gravestone symbolism? This one looks pretty specific. How about just extracting that part and uploading it somewhere, but where???

    1. I think she was buried there. I think the leaf removal will do it. May have to wait until the next Williams/Butler reunion though.

      I haven’t googled gravestone symbolism but I will try that.

  5. Hello Kristin,

    Your ancestor was a member of the Mosaic Templars of America, based in Little Rock. This was one of the oldest and largest benevolent societies, apart from the Masonic groups. Membership in M.T.A. provided all members headstones upon their death. The 3 v’s in the circle stand for the Veni, vidi, vici, which is Latin for “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

    I have more links and data for you if you need it. The words at the bottom reflect the name of the local chapter of the Mosaic Templars that Wm. Butler participated in before he died.

    Hope this helps. I also posted a video on your Facebook post.

  6. Thank you to everyone responding to this post. I have learned even more about my family and appreciate the lessons. Consevella, I did not know the reason we were worshiping at Harmony Baptist Church. The facts you share make it even more special. Health issues and other circumstances have caused me to miss our October Williams/Butler Reunion for the past few years. These postings help so much, but nothing beats being there.

    I did not learn that my Dad was a Mason until his death. Now, I learn that my great grandfather was a Mason too. I wounder who else in our family is a Mason?

    I pray we can make it next year. I look forward to more information.

  7. Interesting information about the Mosaic Templars. I had chills as I read that information. The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame is housed in the restored Mosaic Templars Building in Little Rock. Our first cousin, Dr. Sterling Williams Jr. was inducted in 2008 and our uncle, Dr. Samuel Williams in 2009. Their photographs are on adjoining walls allowing us to take photos with family members in between. Can’t wait to share the photos!

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