Thursday, July 20, 2017

Newtown's "Smed" and his bride, a Marine Corp legend


This is an unknown picture I have taken in the mid 1950's in Delco. Looking for a location. Please spread the word.


Note: Marine Corp. legend, Smedley Darlington Butler [1881-1940] was born in West Chester, but lived his retired life in Newtown Square. He is one of the very few military men to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice. He was already considered a rising star when this funny and interesting article was published in the Chester Times in 1905.


 Captain Smedley Darlington Butler and How He Wooed and Won



Quaker Boy Who Won Fame and Honor as a Soldier, But surrendered When He Met the Attractive Young Woman Who is to Become His Wife Some Time About Easter time

            Captain “Smed” Butler, who laughed at bullets in Cuba, in the Philippines said in China, at last has received a wound which he confesses is no laughing matter.
            One little dart let fly by Cupid has pierced him through and through.  For the first time in his youthful but strenuous career he has yielded to the enemy.  Cupid now “marks time” for him, and he marches willingly under the new banner, for the rosy god, mindful of Captain “Smed’s” patriotic services, has added stars and stripes to his useful device.
            The Quaker City of Philadelphia especially rejoices, for it was there that the fatal dart was sped, on behalf of Miss Ethel Conway Peters, there that both the gallant young captain and his bride-to-be live, when at home and are best known.
            But the wedding, which is to occur about Easter, will be quite a national affair, as is natural, considering that President Roosevelt is one of the young war hero’s most ardent admirers.
            Congressman Thomas H. Butler of Pennsylvania, father of the young captain, will be the last to deny that, in this instance, Cupid has covered himself with glory. It is an old Quaker family, to whom the paths of peace are dear.  The recruiting officers of the Pennsylvania National Guard knew this, and when the Spanish-American war became a certainty, and Smedley Darlington Butler, barely more than sixteen years old, applied for enlistment on his way home from school they promptly rejected him.
            TOO MUCH FOR HIS QUAKER, SIRE – Young Butler took his rejection very much to heart, but he was not altogether discouraged.  He saw in a newspaper several days later that there would be a competitive examination at Washington for lieutenants in the marine service.  He announced to his father that he would enter this competition.
            Congressman Butler gazed severely at his sixteen year old son and attempted to remonstrate with him.  Finally, after every argument had failed, he said:
            “Well, Smedley, if thee insists upon taking the examination, I shall use my influence to have thee turned down.”
            “If thee should attempt to do anything like that,” replied the boy, his eyes flashing, “I serve notice on thee that I shall run away and join the regular army.”
            That ended the paternal objection.  Smedley went to Washington, took the examination and in a class of more than two hundred passed second.  He received a second lieutenant’s commission and was assigned to duty on Admiral Sampson’s flagship, the New York.  At Guantanamo he was one of the gallant band of marines that fought to bravely against the Spanish sharpshooters, and he was on the New York when Cervera’s fleet was destroyed.
            This was the sort of stuff – even at the age of sixteen – that Cupid was “up against.”
            But the foundations were laid long before that.  The Quaker strain seemed to have skipped little Smedley altogether.
            When not more than four years old the baby had been transformed into a boy with a passionate love for tin soldiers and toy cannons.  Toys he had of all descriptions, but those suggesting war were the favorites.  He was a manly little fellow.  At six he took a long western trip with his grandfather, and came back more wide-awake than ever.  He developed eager interest in all papers, periodicals and books which contained pictures of battles.  He bought toy pistols and read of war.
            A BASEBALL HERO, TOO – He had a fine opinion of his muscles, and loved to exercise them.  Before he was eight years old he organized a baseball club, with the backyard of his home for a field.  Mrs. Butler preferred to keep her boy with her and so permitted his friends to take possession of the house.  When the little fellows wearied of baseball they had prize fights in the backyard, always with Smedley as the leader – for he never failed to demonstrate his right to that position.
            His first soldering was in the First Presbyterian Church as a member of the Boys’ Brigade.  He enjoyed the drill, but was as yet silent about his ambition to become a real soldier.  It was understood that he would read law with his father.
            He attended the Friends’ School and was captain of the ball team of the school.  They had a high sounding name, and so one day a club of Westtown farmers challenged them to play.  They went to Westtown, and the farmers saw, to their surprise, that the club was composed of youngsters, nine and ten years old.  They were disgusted, and at first declined to play.  Unfortunately for them, they finally consented all unaware that Smedley, as pitcher, was a “curve ball” artist.  Afterwards he declared that the farmers were so tall that he could not throw a ball over their heads; the farmers on the other hand, found it impossible to hit the ball, as thrown by the juvenile pitcher.  Rather than be beaten by children, they chased the boys off the field after losing three innings, and the little fellows did not wait for a train home, but walked the four miles.
            At Haverford Smedley was captain of both the baseball and the football teams, and played halfback.  He was selected to play halfback on the interacademic team.  In one of these games there occurred an injury which resulted in remarkable proof of the boy’s pluck.  He broke the muscles of his elbow in a scrimmage.  They set over the joint and held the arm in a V-shape.  The doctor said he would administer chloroform and operate.
            HEROICALLY HIS OWN SURGEON – The boy decided he knew a better way.  As the train came into Haverford station he caught the rear rail and permitted himself to be dragged along the platform.  He said it hurt badly, but it straightened the arm.  After repeating this for two or three weeks the arm gave it up and stayed straight.
            This kind of a boy was a genuine acquisition to the Marine Corps.  He was not yet seventeen when first under fire in Cuba, and not yet nineteen when he won his lieutenant’s regalia as a strategist in the Philippines.
            It was here this his courage was put to the severest of all tests.  It was guerilla warfare, with unseen foes and ambushes – the sort of war that makes cowards of the bravest.  After what he did in the Philippines they were glad to take him to China, where the Boxers were killing missionaries and threatening the legations.
            From China the cables flashed the news that at the storming of Tien Twin, Lieutenant Butler was in the thick of the fight.  In the face of severe fire from the Boxers he rushed forward and rescued a wounded comrade and was himself was severely wounded.  For this act of gallantry young Butler was commended to the British War Department by General Forwood.
            It is reported that when Butler fell, shot through the thigh, his brother lieutenant picked him up from the ground and carried him to a place of safety in the rear.  The two youngsters must have been pretty well to the front on the firing line where Colonel Liscuts fell at the head of his troops.  It was probably his last words, “Don’t retreat, boys.  Keep on firing!” that added to their impetuosity.
            LIKE A STORY FROM KIPLING – When Butler went down in a heap, Leonard was close at his side.  They were chums.  It is not difficult to picture these two, scarcely more than children with the song of the Mauser in their ears sparring them to superhuman effort.
            You remember Kipling’s story, “The Drums of the Fore and Aft?”  Well, this was Jakin and Law were young blackguards, cockney “Tommies” from the London alums, while Butler and Leonard were the sons of gentlemen.
            Leonard, staggering under the weight of his comrade must have presented a fine target for the enemy.  When the two boys reached the rear there were two cases for the surgeon.  Leonard was shot in both arms, and one has since been amputated.
            Notwithstanding his wound, Lieutenant Butler went in with the allied armies to Peking, and participated in all the engagements around that city.  He was again wounded here, but refused to go to the rear and was chosen to carry a message to Minister Conger, a duty which he successfully performed in the face of the greatest danger had difficulty.
            Soon after this he was attached with the dread disease, typhoid, and was in the hospital many weeks.  He was sent home finally from the Philippines, with other convalescents, on the transport Grant.
Having fully recovered his health, when the revolution in Panama broke out he was
ready for active duty and was consequently immediately dispatched to the isthmus, where he did much toward restoring order an inculcating a wholesome fear of the American soldier in the breasts of the natives of that country.
            Since Captain Butler’s return from the Isthmus of Panama he has been stationed at League Island Navy Yard, and here is where Cupid’s dart found him.
            Captain Butler is of the type of hero which women most admire, and being young and handsome as well, it is but natural that despite his youth, there has been more than one rumor of fluttering feminine hearts on his account, but they were all promptly declared without foundation, until Miss Peters appeared on his horizon.  This is said, on good authority to be a case of love at first sight, and a most romantic attachment which is sure to culminate happily.
            SEEN EVERYWHERE TOGETHER – They have been seen much together during the winter at the most exclusive dances, halls, teas and receptions which have been given in Philadelphia, and have everywhere attracted the greatest attention.
             Captain Butler comes from distinguished Quaker stock.  On his mother’s side of the house, the Darlington, the family belonged to the Hicksites branch of the Society of Friends, and he is a grandson of former Congressman Smedley Darlington for whom he was named.  ON the paternal side of the house, which is orthodox, he is descended from Noble Butler, who came to America with Penn in 1682.  Both families have been prominent in Chester County for generations.
            The lucky beauty who has ensnared the “fighting Quaker’s” heart in fatal ambush moves in the most exclusive circles of Philadelphia.  She is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Peters who reside in the center of the fashionable section of the Quaker City, at 1101 Spruce Street.
            Miss Peter’s family has been prominent in the affairs of her native city since Colonial times.  Her grandfather was the late Samuel M. Felton, sometime president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad, and her grand-uncle, Cornelius Conway Felton, was at one time president of Harvard University. 
            Miss Peters is pretty and a great favorite in the younger set in society, in fact, in every way a most suitable bride for the young captain.  She has spent some time abroad, where her sister, Miss Edith M. Peters is well known as an artist, whose work in miniatures is greatly admired and usually passes a part of each winter in Atlanta, the home of her father’s family.

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