The Adherble T. D. Button Collection
consists of correspondence both to and from A.T.D. Button, and illuminates a
particular period of history in San Benito County that has long since
disappeared, the mining of quicksilver in support of the gold mining
operations of the Sierras in the great decades of the Gold Rush in
Adherble Thomas Dale Button (1832-1904), a native of Covenant, Erie
County, Pennsylvania, was among the earliest settlers of the Hernandez
Valley, San Benito County, California.
In the late 1850s, Button left Pennsylvania for California, leaving
behind his wife Lucelia, who joined him at a later date. He ended up
initially in Placer County, possibly working as a foreman for a mining
company until the mid-1860s. While in the gold country he and his wife
produced four sons, Ira, Ival, Carroll and Grant. In the mid to late
1860s he moved his family to San Mateo County where he lived and worked in
San Mateo and Redwood City. His son J. Edward was born in San Mateo and
a daughter, May, followed a few years later. While living in Redwood
City, Button worked for the Corte Madera Water Company, a firm that
supplied water to the Atherton area. Assorted documents show that he came
to San Benito County sometime in the 1870s. He either homesteaded or
bought land in the Hernandez Valley. He worked as superintendent of the
re-opened Picacho Quicksilver Mine in the 1870s and 1880s and became an
established and respected figure in the county, serving on the board of
the local school district and as postmaster of the local Post Office.
Button was twice elected Justice of the Peace in 1875 and 1877. He was
instrumental in naming Erie Township, San Benito County, after his
Pennsylvania birthplace. A long time member of the International Order of
Oddfellows, Button died in 1904 at the age of 72 and is buried in the old
Oddfellows cemetery in Hollister, along with most of his family.
Property rights reside with the California Department of Parks and
Recreation. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records
and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please
contact the California Department of Parks and Recreation, San Juan
Bautista State Historic Park.