Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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Buttner Family

 

Herman C. Buttner 
Herman C. Buttner (1859-1912+) was born at New Orleans in July 1859.  Family lore relates that he studied Classical music in Austria when it was characterized by emotional expression.  Buttner’s grand piano had an inlaid mother-of-pearl, key lid inlaid, which was positioned in the drawing room.  Herman was a troubled man and during his spells with emotional stress would often play his piano hysterically!(Walterine V. Redding, June 2002  par Louise Emma Buehler) 
In December 1891, Herman C. Buttner commenced a grocery business on Iberville Drive, in the rear of the family home.  Miss Midge Towne, a resident of Belle Fontaine, was employed by Mr. Buttner to clerk in November 1895. (The Biloxi Herald, December 19, 1891, p. 1 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 1, 1895, p. 3) 
In the 1898 Ocean Springs Business Directory, Frederick Buttner and Herman C. Buttner advertised as follows: 

 

F. Buttner & Sondealer in Groceries, hardware, crockery, etc.LOW PRICES-GOOD GOODSAlso fine domestic wines of Concord, Herbermont, ScuppernongGrapes by the gallon-unrivaled for beauty, age, and bouquet.Shipments made to all pointsCorrespondence Solicited * Wholesale and Retail Dealers in IceFree Delivery

On April 17, 1906, Herman C. Butter was adjudicated insane by a jury composed of six free-holders in Jackson County, Mississippi.  He was committed to the East Mississippi Insane Hospital at Meridian, Mississippi.  No further information.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 1512-April 1906)

Buttner home-Church of Christ 
 In September 1891, Frederick Buttner erected a two-story home on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Iberville.  It had a large brick cellar to store and age his wine.  Buttner’s fruitful vineyard had allowed his wine production to increase each year.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 18, 1891, p. 2) 
 The Buttners home was situated on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Iberville.  It was sold to Louis A. Lundy (1876-1941) in May 1913, by Commissioner Fred Taylor after the litigation, John Hoffman et al v. Herman Buttner, was adjudicated in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 3185, November 1912 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 249-250) ) 
Mrs. Alberta Mae Lundy (1885-1962), the widow of L.A. Lundy, sold her property to Hunter H. Kimball in March 1947.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 96, pp. 395-396) 
In June 1956, Roy P. Childers, Hugh B. Henry, Charles O. Calton, and Joyce J. Mitchell, Trustees of the Washington Avenue Church of Christ, acquired the Buttner-Lundy property for $12,500, from Hunter H. Kimball (1893-1972), a Jackson realtor, who later settled at Gulfport.  Mr. Kimball had converted the structure into an apartment rental.  The congregation of the Church of Christ refurbished and reconfigured the old home to their requirements for worship services.  It was anticipated that the church would be open for services in mid-1958.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 96, pp. 395-396 and The Ocean Springs Record, March 27, 1958) 
The Buttner-Lundy house was demolished circa 1960, to erect a new sanctuary for the Church of Christ.

Wine and grapes 
Winemaking at Ocean Springs for the most part was a folk art, but during Reconstruction and later, some of the local scuppernong grapes provided the basis for a cash crop as well as for manufacturing a sweet, indigenous wine.  In August 1880, merchants paid local boys $.25 per bushel for collecting the scuppernong fruit.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 20, 1880, p. 1) 
Although the old Dane, Christian Hanson (1810-1900), had been making wine at his Bayou Puerto home for decades, it was the arrival of Parker Earle (1831-1917) and Frederick Buttner to Ocean Springs, that energized the cultivation of grapes for the fruit as well as commercial wine making.  John J. Riehm (1846-1936), another German immigrant, sold fruits, vegetables, and fine scuppernong wine at Ocean Springs in the late 1890s. 
In September 1892, Frederick Buttner related in a journal interview the following about his career as a vintner:

I was the first to introduce in Louisiana the grape with the view of producing wine.  I was stigmatized as a lunatic, but within three years from the planting of the fruit, and that is now some fifty years ago, I have gathered between six and seven hundred pounds, the next year over 4,000 pounds and the year after I made over 500 gallons of wine. At once everybody wanted to plant grape vines.  I used nothing then but the Hebermont and still pin my faith on that variety, although this year I have been most successful with the Concord and have produced a wine from this variety that on opening a bottle the bouquet from such permeates the room and which is of a most delicious fragrance seldom met with in the general run of so-called varieties. 
An experience of years not only on the coast of Mississippi has demonstrated to me that the varieties that are sure and natural to this section are the Hebermont, then the Concord and Cartly, and the native scuppernong.  With assiduous attention and a perfect knowledge of vintage you are bound to produce wines that no other section of the world can begin to equal for perfect bouquet, taste and exquisite flavor.  Remember this is predicated on an experience in Europe as well as America, and an absolute experience of near half a century.  Much of our production is shipped abroad, but that is a mistake.  The entire product should be made into wines.(The Biloxi Herald, September 3, 1892, p. 1)

In 1894, Fred Buttner began vending his wine in Biloxi.  He was described by a local journalist as “the pioneer wine maker of the coast”.  Buttner’s  three-year old scuppernong wine was described as “of a superior quality and possesses a rare bouquet seldom met with in a wine made from the native grape of this coast”.  Much of Buttner’s wine production was sold to people in the North and West.(The Biloxi Herald, May26, 1894, p. 8 and June 30, 1894, p. 8) 
After the 1897 grape harvest, which Mr. Buttner declared a vintage year, he planned to make Champagne next year.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 19, 1897, p. 3) 
 Fred Buttner expired at Ocean Springs on January 28, 1903.  He was survived by his spouse, Marie Louise M. H. Buttner, and son Herman C. Buttner.  Buttner’s corporal remains were sent to the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs for interment.

Buttner estate 
In July 1911, Marie Louise Munsch Buttner legated that her estate, real and personal be divided equally among her heirs-at-law: Herman Buttner, a son; Louise Hoffman Costley Buehler (1879-1965), a granddaughter; Marie E. Hoffman Fayard (1884-1951), a granddaughter; John F. Hoffman III (1886-1967), a grandson; Charles W. Hoffman (1889-1972), a grandson; and Loretta Litolff (1898-1980), a great granddaughter.  F.M. Dick (1857-1922), was appointed as executor of her estate.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 3131-July 1912) 
  Mrs. Buttner passed on July 19, 1912 at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Although no record exists for her burial, it is assumed that her corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery adjacent to her late husband, Frederick Buttner (1826-1903), and son John F. Hoffman (1852-1906), who preceded her in death, and have tombstones there.