Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: California. Department of Parks and
Recreation. Adherble T.D. Button Collection, San Juan Bautista State Historic
Date (inclusive): 1848-1905
Date (bulk): (bulk 1880-1886).
Collection number: 411.1
3.75 cubic ft.
California State Parks
San Juan Bautista State Historic
P.O. Box 787
San Juan Bautista, CA
Abstract: 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
Physical location: For current information on the
location of these materials, please contact the Monterey District
Curator at 831-649-7118.
The collections are open for research by appointment only.
Appointments may be made by calling 831-623-4526.
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.
Suggested citation of these records is: [Identification of item],
California State Parks, Adherble T.D. Button Collection, San Juan
Bautista State Historic Park, San Juan Bautista, CA.
The papers were donated to San Juan Bautista State Historic Park by
Mr. S. Grant Button in a series of eight accessions btween the years
Prior to the State hiring an archivist, the Button papers had some
good organization work done by a park volunteer. Each item was
individually housed in a mylar sleeve and a typed transcript made for each
letter. The items were then housed in individual hanging folders and filed
in a filing cabinet according to accession. Three binders with copies of
each of the typed transcriptions were made as a finding aid. The binders of transcriptions were arranged chronologically.
The archivist took each item out of the individual hanging folders and rearranged them to match the chronological arrangement
of the typed transcriptions in the binders. Correspondence for each year in the chronology was foldered and the total was
placed in 7 archival document cases. A proper finding aid was produced.
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.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
The Adherble T.D. Button Collection at San Juan Bautista State
Historic Park consists of correspondence to and from Adherble T.D. Button, a
pioneer of southern San Benito County who arrived in California from
his native Pennsylvania in the early 1850s. The correspondence dates
between the years 1848-1904. The collection contains a good selection of
correspondence relating to his work as superintendent of the Picacho
Quicksilver Mine in the 1870s and 1880s, as well as correspondence from
his family members who remained in Pennsylvania. A trio of letters in the
collection from 1905 is addressed to his wife and deal with the
disposition of the estate after Button's death. The bulk of the collection is
dated between 1880 and 1886. There are a number of interesting letters
from a brother of Button who relates his trials and challenges in
joining his brother in California, including a few letters from the voyage
by sea around Cape Horn. In addition, the correspondence to Button from
the New York investor/owners of the Picacho mine are interesting for
their insight into the expectations and demands of the far-flung moneyed
interests in the mining riches of California.
The following terms have been used to index the description of
in a library's online public access catalog:
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Adherble Thomas Dale, 1832 - 1904.
Courts--California--San Benito County--History.
mining-California--San Benito County--History.
San Benito County
San Benito County
Additional information about A.T.D. Button may be
found in the following publications:
Frusetta, Peter C.
Beyond the Pinnacles.
Tres Pinos, CA:
Peter C. Frusetta,
Wielding the Gavel: the story of the courts of
San Benito County from 1874 through 1994.
San Jose, CA: