North Carolina Newspapers

THE PILOT, Southern Pinea and Aberdeen, North Carolina
Friday, February 22, 1935.
Traveled 14,000 Miles To
Story of Oil Wells in
(Continued from page 1)
tile newspaperman are too well
known in his adopted state to need
re-capitulation; it is his early life
and fascinating experiences aa a
newspaper man that this sketch is
to be built around. I had the pleas
ure of visiting Mr. Butler in his
charming home, Valhalla Farm, tuck
ed away beneath the towering oaks
and majestic pines at the edge of
the Writers’ Colony in Southern Pines.
Here I met his gracious wife and
equally charming daughter, Helen,
who ably assisted him in giving me
this story of his unique activities be
fore he conquered his “wander lust”
and settled under the pines and dog
wood of Carolina.
Bion H. Butler is the son of Mary
and Lieut. Col. Butler of Western
Pennsylvania, and his family consists
of his wife and three children who,
as he whimsically remarked—" . . .
are an improvement on the old folks.”
He began to learn to set type in 1869,
and by 1874 was publishing a coun
try newspaper in Pennsylvania. Kiit
the desire to go places and see things
became so insistent that in a few
years he began his career as a drift- ‘
Ing printer, and in this manner his
itinerary carried from the Great!
Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Also, '
in this manner, he filled his active
mind with a vast store of useful i
knowledge, not alone of places and
things, but he gained a most com
prehensive understanding of people ;
which later proved invaluable in his
work as reporter, free lance and ed-
itorial writer. '
Lured To The West !
When asked to give some specific
incidents of his early work as a !
wandering reporter in the days when
responsibility sat lightly on his care
free shoulders, Bion Butler settled
ccinfortably in his chair and thus
began his reminiscences: I
“About fifty years ago l was asso
ciated with Captain Rule when he ^
established The Journal in Knox- i
ville, Tenn. Later I was with Colonel
Collyar on The Nashville American
in Nashville. But I did not stay
either place very long as I wanted
to go further west. The stories I
had read and the vivid accounts I :
had heard of that, to my thinking, j
magic region so fired my imagination ;
that I was simply forced by an in- |
ner urge to go and see for myself.
Well—” said with a smile—“I found '
out plenty, and for awhile lived quite '
a hectic life. I wish that I could tell i
you of the many and varied exper- I
iences I had in the land of bucking
bronchos and purple sage, but it ,
would require an entire newspaper j
to take care of it. Suffice it to say
that I set type in the Territories, i
and was in Texas when that country '
was still raw and new, the home of i
the cow men who realized that the j
quickness of the trigger finger was ;
their chief asset. j
“Also,” he went on with his story, |
“I was a foreman of The Carson Ap- ’
peal in Carson, Nevada, a half cen- j
tury ago, in the days of the great ]
Comstock silver boom when fortunes !
were literally made overnight. Men;
rode to dizzy financial heights on '
,the silver wave of prosperity that
burst when the gold standard was
introdui,ed, dashing them on the bar
ren shore of *dversity almost as
quickly as the money had been |
made. I was in New Mexico and j
Arizona in the eighties in the hec- I
tic days of ‘Billie the Kid,’ of ‘Wheel
er, the Cutter,’ and several other
citizens of that type who were very
prominent in conducting the affairs
of that period of swift justice and
hemp rope necklaces. But that period
of intense activity was what taught
me to look out for myself—and the
lesson has proven valuable.”
As Industrial Editor
By 1893 he grew tired of a wan
dering life and returned to his home
state, Pennsylvania, where he be
came attached to The Pittsburgh
'Times as Industrial writer; his va
ried experiences in the raining sec
tion of the West made him peculiar
ly fitted for this position. His ac
quaintances with the American in
dustrial world, especially in iron and
steel, oil, gas and coal, those major
products which made Pittsburgh an
industrial center of the world, gave
The Times outstanding promii\ence in
the manufacturing and business af
fairs of the country.
Industrial developmeat came to be
the special province of Bion Butler,
so when the oil fields of the Caspian
sea country created a desire for in-
Bion H. Butler, Editor of Pilot, jfiLISHA KENT KANE
Uading Citizen, Dies at 77\ pjES AT HIS HOME
Hospital Charity Ball Plans Call
For Varied Program of Features
Devoted Latter Years of His
Life to LTpbui'ding of Sand
hills Territory
(Continued from page 1)
California. Nevada, picking up news
paper or tramp printer jobs as he
went, but always with the craving
for information on all manner of sub
jects uppermost in his mind. Thus he |
built up a store of knowledge which
few men possessed. He could talk '
authoritatively on a multitude of sub
Bion Butler and his wife stepped
off the one lone passenger car, at
tached to a freight train, in South
ern Pines in the late nineties. They
were looking for ihe ideal place to
build their home. And it was while
here that one day Mrs. Bu-tler, back
from a horseback ride, said to her
husband, ‘I’ve seen the place and
I’ve bought it.” Their picturesque
homestead, "Valhalla,” out East Con
necticut avenue toward the Fort
Father of Mrs. Howard Butler
Had Been Frequent Visitor
Here For 40 Years
Tag Day
School Library To Benefit
From Proceeds of Sale To
morrow in So. Pines
By MLss Sarah Goggan
' i Tag Day! You who live in Southern
Elisha Kent Kane died at his home Pines, have you come to associate
in Kushequa, Pa., on Monday. ' that day as an annual event for the
Mr. Kane had been for forty years . Southern Pines School ?
a visitor to Southern Pines. His first j Even though 1934 was the first
trip this way brought him to Aber-1 year this was observed here, patrons
deen in a transaction with the Aber- j and friends responded so gladly and
deen and Rockfish Railroad, then ’ well that the pupils and faculty of
building out over the hill towards the the school are entering upon the same
Raeford section. More than thirty: undertaking in 1935 with glee, feel-
ycars ago the family made a prac-' ing that you will respond in the same
tice of coming to the budding South- friendly and interested way.
ern Pines community every winter, j Last year the money received was
They had arranged to come this win- ' spent for athletic uniforms. Although
ter when Mr. Kane’s sickness, which each boy and girl received benefit
In a newspaper office the symbol ^as now proved fatal, prevented. Mrs. from this in an indirect way, this
“30” means the end of the day’s Kane at his death was in the hospi- year the money is going to be spent
work. It comes at the end of the last seriously ill.
Fred Kibler’s Casa Nfovans and
Local “B. O.’s” To Furnish
The Music
I so that each boy and girl can very
Bragg Reservation, ha.s been their | jteni received on the telegraph in-1 Mr. Kane was the son of Gen. directly enjoy the benefits.
I Thomas L. and Dr. Elizabeth D. : And you ask how can this be?
i Kane who, with her tw’o sons and buying new books for our high
! their families. Dr. T. L. Kane and school and elementary school librar-
Dr. Evan Kane were winter resid- Standardization of the elementary
residence since. There they have rais
ed their three children, and there
Bion Butler has woven the stories
which have told the world the glories
of the Sandhills.
Editorial Dutie.s
During the days when Josephus
Daniels was serving his President,
Woodrow Wilson, as Secretary of the
Navy, Bion Butler wrote the editor
ials for the Raleigh News & Observ-
of the North Carolina Press Associa
tion, later refusing the presidency
juEt as years before in Pennsylvania
he had fought off numerous efforts
to elect him to public office. He was
publicity manager of the North Car
olina State Fair at one time. A few
years ago he was awarded the loving j of wild land which cm ....
cun at that time annually presented ^^I’aced the great oil and coal and personal pleaj^ure and entertamment.
- ^ - . - . - . i lumber fields and the creation of ■ These will include many well-known
ents of Southern Pines a number of school library is one of the goods of
years ago. Gen, Tom Kane was a > present school year,
pioneer in the development of north ' ^ selected and representative
western Pennsylvania where he se- library for children of elementary
cured the opening of thousands of school age will contain today some
. hundreds of books suited to their
. At other times he wrote feature by the Kiwanis Club for the man who
articles for Mr. Daniels, serving as
had done most for the Sandhills. A I enormous industries. Elisha
erixTort in Viics ■ tvHue IS Lxic imniesaKC oi nis uncie, ^
the predecessor of Ben Dixon McNein,te^onaldmner^^^^^^ generation to generation as well as
in turning out a Sunday feature each j honor at the Highland Pines Inn
week. He has w’ritten much for the about five years ago, and Mr. Butler
Charlotte Observer, for other state presented with a gold watch by the
papers, for magazTnes-all in addi- citizenry of Southern Pines. He , Literature has had a long struggle
tion to his constant grinding out of honorary member of
valued and interesting material for , Club and was recently elected a life
such local papers as the Sandhill | I'leniber of the Southern Pines Cham-
Tourist, here, the Moore County News Commerce,
at Carthage, the Hoke County Joiun- i Shunning the limelight himself,
al at Raeford, the Sandhills Citizen' Bion Butler was probably sought af-
of Southern Pines; later The Pilot, ter for guidance by more men in the
which Stacy Brew'er founded in Vass
and of which Mr. Butler became the
first editor. He was a frequent con
tributor to the Pinehurst Outlook,
and up to a few years ago did much
publicity work for Pinehurst. Since
the sUrting of the Sandhills Daily
News a few years ago he has written
an editorial every day lor that pa
per, published through the winter
season here. He never mi.ssed an edi-
discovery in the past. The name of "’i^ its unique and independ-
Kane is not unfamiliar to people over value is not yet fully recognized
the world. The Kane Basin is found the curriculum. The children’s own
in every geography, the General, stumbling efforts during their early
Kane highway traverses the state of school years must be richly supple-
Pennsylvania, the city of Kane *^i®nted in order to secure that hap-
which the family established is a Py introduction and sustained ac-
well knowTi summer resort and its quaintance units choice books which
industries large and famous, one of i *s conducive to developing a love for
great, the rich and poor, the banker | unjted states naval vessels bears i reading and taste in selection.
the name of Elisha Kane. Mr. Kane wise teacher once said, “There
carried on a gigantic lumber opera- some children who are born read-
tion in northern Pennsylvania in ers. You cannot keep them from
connection with oil and gas and rail-1 books. If the nearest book is miles
road and brick and tile plants that they will find it and read it.
manufactured a special type of brick *^here are some children who will
and tiles and pottery for home and never read. But the great majority
foreign markets. His holdings in j children are open to influence and
forefront of affairs ihan any man in
this section. The great and the near
and the colored tenant farmer took |
their troubles and their problems to
him, for they knew him as a valued
friend and counsellor. He was in fre
quent correspondence up to the time
of his death wnth members of the
United States Congress, with leading
geologists in the country, for geologj'
tion until his health upset the sche-{ was a favorite study with him; with 1
dule two or three weeks ago and
then only for a few' days. One of his
editorials appeared in the same is
sue of the paper that carried the re
port of his death yesterday morning.
And some of the editorials in this is
sue of The Pilot were written this
week by Mr. Butler. He died in har
Wrote Two Books
Bion Butler was the author of two
books, “The Church on Quintuple
Mountain,’' and “Old Bethesda, the
Church at the Head of Kockfish,”
published two years ago by Grosset
& Dunlap, an interesting story of this
section. Another book, “The Tramp
Printer,” is in manuscript and will
in all probability he published post-
He was at one time vice president
prominent financiers; with men in i
, thouSand.s of acres of
all walks of life. They valued his
opinions and his knowledge. In his
quiet way he had much to do with the
shaping of politics in Moore county.
He was true to his candidates so long
as they were true to the public.
The heart of the community goes
I out to Mrs. Butler and to the children,
j Helen, Howard .^nd Cyrus. Howard
Butler suffered the double bereave
ment this week of the loss of both his
father and father-in-law. The news
of his father’s death was broken to
hini over the telephone while he was
completing a 60C-mile motor trip to
Kushequa. Pa., there his wife’s fath
er, Elisha Kent Kane, a frequent visi
tor to Southern Pines over a long per
iod of years, died on Monday of this
week. They turned around and started
i back on receipt of the sad message.
He married Zella Hayes of Du
Bois, Pa., and they have five chil
dren, Mrs. Howard M. Butler of
Coal Glen and Southern Pines,
Mrs. Edgar Johnson, and Vir
ginia Kane of Kushequa, all of them
widely known throughout this sec
Everything that can be done to
make a party a roaring success hsis
been done by the finance committee
of the hospital auxiliary which is
sponsoring the Charity Ball on
February 26.
Fred Kibler’s Casa Nova orchestra
will play, and all know what excel
lent dance music that is. At inter
vals during the evening the Casa
Novas will be relieved by the local
amateur orchestra known delicately
as the “B. O.’s,” consisting of Mrs.
Herbert Vail, Herbert Vail, Bob
Page, John Leland, and Liv Biddle.
Tables will be set up in the big
main lobby of the club. An accor
dion player has been engaged to
wander about among them, playing
any tune anybody asks for. The
dancing will take place in the regular
ballroom. Specialty acts and stunts
have been arranged to entertain be
tween dances.
Mrs. Myron Marr and Mrs. Percy
Thomson will be in charge of a “take
a chance” booth, where the custom
ers may win a small fortune or lost
their shirts. Donald Sherrerd will
act as official barker to lure suckers
ini Tickets for chances are on sale
now at the Carolina Hotel, and can
be bought anytime before the ball,
and at the booth during the ball.
Our well known .artists, Walter
Kent classics not originally written for chil-
Dingley, jr., are going to contribute
posters of various kinds, amusing,
decorative, and even sketches of lo
cal celebrities, which can be bought
at auction. The bidding is expected
to be hot and heavy because these
attractive and original posters are
goin<j to be just what you’ve been
looking for to liven up some parti
cular corner of a room that has never
looked just right I Livingston Biddle
and a committee will act as floor
managers. There are so many at
tractions going on at once that this
committee was thought necessary to
see that things do not overlap too
much, and to keep the ball rolling
merrily and smoothly.
Bridge tables in a secluded place
will be in readiness for everybody
who wants to play.
Tickets for this gay three-ring cir
cus, are $5.00 for a couple, and $3.00
for a single person. Supper i« not
included in this, but the Club Grill
will be prepared to serve supper.
Don’t forget I February 26, at the
club. This is an event you can’t af
ford to misa. And besides the fun
you’ll have, think of how much good
your money will do for the hospital.
The finance committee consists of
the following; Mrs. H. M. Dingley,
chairman; Mrs. Leonard Tufts, Mrs.
Mjrron Marr, Mrs. C. T. Crocker,
Mrs. Percy Thompson, Mrs. Eber-
hard Faber, Mrs. Heman Gifford, and
Mrs. Clarence Rudel.
Kane is the namesake of his uncle, ^ren, but appropriated by them from
ploration at one time bore the re- best books of leading contem-
cord of farthest north and whose ca- Po^ary writers who have written es-
reer was one of the most spectacul- pecially to the young.
included whether or not they grow up to be
industrial readers will depend entirely upon in-
; fluences brought to bear upon them
in early life.”
When the girls, boys and faculty of
Southern Pines School approach you
with a red tag tomorrow, Saturday,
O’Neill Kane of Kane, E. Kent Kane., be as
much as possible.”
more snow.
“Baku is a city of about 130,000
people. It was originally a walled
city, and contains many interesting
formation from that quarter of Asia- j words, taken from the first account
tic Russia, The Times sent him over | he had published in The Times on
there to investigate the situation, j March 2, 1896;
This wa.°, the longest trip at that j “On Monday, January 6, on reach
time ever made by a newspaperman , ing The Times office I found await-
for a single item of information, cov- j ing me a summons to the managing
ering 14,000 miles and leading down j editor’s office, which, when answer-
through Turkey when that war-rack- {ed at 2:30 o’clock, brought forth an
ed country was bloody with the Ar- j assignment to start for New York at
menian massacres. |8:30 that evening, thence to sail for
A storm on the Black sea, through i Russia to investigate the Baku oil
English language was practically use
less, served to spoil the connection, towers and buildings. For a bun- ANNIVERSARY WEEK
with the Black sea steamer, and I ® • THE CAROLIN.\ THEATRES
got away late enough to be tossed Possession, being early in its oc- |
about several days on the nastiest' pupation by Russia a penal colony.: week marks the anniversary
piece of salt ^^ater in the orient dur- ,
ing the storms that raged so severe- , outgrown the limits of the great
ly, destroying over 100 lives and surrounded the orig-
sinking many vessels. The dangerous settlement, although the
and trying voyage had an end at last,,
and Baku was reached with slight
which he sjiiled 700 miles going out,
destroyed shipping, wrecked wharves
in the harbors and otherwise did
fields. The growing scarcity of the
territory available for the seeker af
ter Pennsylvania oil and the rapid de-
much damage. As it was some six ' clir.e in stocks in the past two years
weeks after he had passed through had caused the producer to look
this terrible storm center before he with more or less rear toward Rus-
got back to where he could cable ' sia as a possible competitor in the
The Times office, there was much | world’s market, and The Times de
uneasiness felt, because the editors termined to learn by personal visit
knew that he was due to be in that to the wells and refineries just what
vicinity when news of the storm the American producer should anti
drifted over the wires. But in spite cipate. In a general way the Ameri-
of storm at sea and the fact that he ' can producer had been aware of a
was snow bound in the Caucas moun- threateningg danger rrom the Rus-
tains for days, he succeeded in get- sian field, but as to detail it had been
ting his story and scooped the world i hazy and clouded with doubt.
wall, some 30 feet high, still stands
in excellent condition.
“Baku is nearly 100 feet below the
level of the Caspian sea, which is
salt water with no outlet. Its c^st
skirts the city situated on a slight
rise above it. The oil wells are drill
ed to a depth of from 300 to 1,500
feet below the surface, and were it
not for the clay in the loose sand the
sea would percolate into every well
drilled: for some of them are but a
few feet distant from the beach. ;
While Baku is the center of the oil
field, there are no wells in the city,
but on the contrary are situated in
four separate poiuts in its vicinity.
Sion, for our train was stuck in the
worst snow that had fallen In the
Caucasus mountains in 25 years.
These mountains reach a height of
of the opening of the Carolina Thea
tre at Pinehurst and of the opening
of the re-modeled Carc<ina Theatre
at Southern Pines.
“A glance at the program in both
theatres will convince anyone that
the attractions are worthy of the oc
casion,” said Manager Charles W.
Picouet yesterday. All of them are
from 3,000 to 3,500 feet, the lowest ’ outstanding entertainment and par-
summlt crossed by tfce T’^ms-Cau
I casus railroad at Pomi being nearly
3,000 feet above sea level.
! .. Seven Days in Mountain Pai»s ..
I “Seven days we lay there in a
mountain pass, unable to move the
; length of the train, fearing an aval-
j anche, economizing fuel and many
; long miles away from civilization.
I While I did not know it at the time,
I occupied a state room with the press
censor. Prince Bariatinsky, a most
excellent fellow If he is a press cen
sor, and a thorousrh gentleman. The
The man who has not seen a ; prince was the only man who could
Russian well flow oil cannot have
speak English, but as he was pretty
a conception of what 150,000 barrels , busy caring for his party, providing
a day means. It w'as my fortune to
see the Zoubaloff well doing its 160,-
000 barrels a day, and the sight was
a revelation to me. While I stood
beside the stream that flowed away
from the derrick the Tartar guards
on the Asiatic development. His story “I reached New York In time to stood beside me, and would not allow
as written was the first definite In- sail on the magnificent American
formation from that then new oil liner, the St. Paul, just after she had
field which became a close second in , killed nine men by explosion of her
point of production to the United \ pipes, emd just prior to her Inglor-
States. Fifty thousand extra copies ious grounding on the Long Branch
of The Times were printed on the sands. But the fates were kind to
morning the first story appeared; in i me for a starter, although they made
the afternoon, that same day, calls | it up later on. Delay In London to
came In for another thirty thousand, get my passports vised made me miss
It was the newspaper event of the i the train I wanted and permitted me
industrial world. And the plate.® were , to catch one that was snowbound
kept for a considerable time. * j two days in the Balkan mountains.
Satis For Russia | That horrible detention in a land of
The remainder of the .«toiy had 1 Turks, hostile to Americans since the
best be told in Mr. Butler’s own! Armenian outbreaks, and where the
me to go too close lest the treacher
ous sand might slip and I should fall
rations, and trying to get the train
out of the snow, there was not time
for much conversation with him.
“Seven miserable days we stayed
in the snow, getting one meal a day,
the snow falling furiously all tho
time. At length 6,000 men succeeded
In opening a channel through which
the train proceeded with just enough
into the stream of oil and drown, fuel to reach the next station, seven
Luckily for the American, two or'
three things stand In the way of the
full development of the Russian oil
field, such as Insufficient transporta-
miles distant. There we found more
fuel, and so on through 30 miles of
a canal dug In the snow, worked a
way to freedom, dodging landslides
tion of the product to the markets of j and avalanches In the steep moun-
the world, and the superior energy
and hustle of the American for a
market for his oil.
“In due time the task was finish
ed, and with a glad heart I turned
my face westward again. In 24 hours
detention, except a few hours in some
tains all that distance.
“For a few days luck was my way
again, but the culmination was reach
ed when In New York bay, the New
York, on which I returned to Amer
ica, went in the mud off Swinburne
Island. Still, in spite of the mishaps,
ticularly suitable for our patrons. It
is our desire to make this week a
landmark in the history of the two
theatres ar»d we mvite all to co-oper
ate with us to the extent of making
It a special go-to-the-theatre week.
“If you believe that we have done
our utmost, even if we have not al
ways succeeded, in giving you the
best attractions available, we would
appreciate the opportunity to welcome
you at our Anniversary programs.
(Continued from page 1)
leaves a vacancy that will be hard
to fill. His eminent knowledge of the
section and his ability as a counse
lor placed him in a field of his own.
The entire town grieves over the pass
ing of Mr. Butler.
Miss Florence M. Brown of Roches
ter, N. Y., who has been the guest
^f Miss Alice May Holmes, left Mon
day night for Washington.
Miss Eleanor Lawrence of New
York is a guest of Mr. and Mrs. L.
L. Biddle.
that at times looked dangerous and
twice perilous, I landed back in Pitts
burgh, and The Times has the story
I traveled 14,000 miles to get. But,
I most emphatically declare, that win
ter is not a good time to go to Rus

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