Susan Elizabeth Redd Butler was born on 14 December 1880 in New Harmony, Utah. She was the eighth of 14 children belonging to Lemuel Hardison Redd and Sariah Louisa Chamberlin. As a young child she and her family moved from Harmony to Bluff, Utah, a journey that brought with it some trouble. When the family ran out of water, they didn’t know what else to do but pray. Not long after their prayer, it rained, and they were able to refill their empty kegs. After moving to Colonia Juárez, Mexico, Susan attended and graduated from the Juárez Stake Academy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On 12 February 1902, in Colonia Juárez, she married John Topham Butler, and together they had 7 children, Marita, John Wendell, Olga, Karl Douglas Butler, Sr., Hazel, Louise, and Elbert Merwin. They moved to Colonia Morelos, Sonora, Mexico, where they helped to settle the area and she had her first child, Marita. After some time there, the family endured flash flooding, which washed away much of their crops, and which destroyed many homes and household goods in the town. Left destitute, Susan and her family moved from Colonia Morelos to Douglas, Arizona, and then to Lehi, Arizona in 1914, where they ran a store in addition to their farm work. Unfortunately, the store burned down. Moving to Mesa, Arizona, the family planted cotton in hopes of finding success, but that proved to bring bad luck, too, as the market for cotton dropped dramatically, leaving them destitute and in debt again. Next, they tried a dairy farm, until that failed as well. After all this hardship, and 6 more children, tragedy struck once more, and Susan lost her husband, John, to a fire, in 1940. The important thing to Susan through all of her bad luck was how she met her misfortune. Susan developed a love for playing piano while she was in Douglas. She struck a deal with a neighbor, paying for lessons with milk from her family’s cow, and eventually, through her hard work, was able to play hymns for Sunday School, often with a baby on her lap. Eventually, she became good enough to start teaching lessons of her own. In her old age, after all her children had grown up and moved out, she spent her time traveling around the country, in an effort to expand her knowledge and experiences, and visiting every LDS Temple in the world at the time. She died on 25 March 1977 in Mesa, Arizona, at the age of 96.
This folder includes 2 loose leaf pages of notebook paper, upon which is handwritten a short story entitled, “A Thrilling Experience of A Little Girl. A Composition.” It is dated 26 November 1897 and was written by Susie Redd when she attended school in Colonia Juárez, Mexico. Additionally, the folder holds 2 and a half pages of a typed transcript of the same. The story depicts the experience of a little girl, Anita, who’s log cabin is raided by “8 blood thirsty Indians,” who kill her mother and one of her brothers, and severely wound her other brother. After they’ve taken everything out of the house, Anita finds help in the neighboring town, and word of the tragedy is sent to Anita’s father, 11 miles away.