Remembering those who Served from Sutton, New Hampshire


Remembering those who died in the service of our county from Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

I honor and respect their courage to stand ground, giving the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Civil War 1861-1865

George B. Barnard Calvary [notation on memorial first killed in battle]

World War I

Pvt. Ray B. Nelson
Pvt. Ray B. Nelson 1896-1918

Pvt. Ray Brenton Nelson was my paternal Grand Uncle. He enlisted 14 Aug, 1918 and died at Fortress Monroe 20 Nov 1918.


World War  II

1941 – 1945

In honor of those from Sutton New Hampshire who served in World War II

*Willis W Hill Jr.

*Thomas E Johnson

*Edward Loughery

*Clarence K Willey

* Died in service



Mayflower II at Mystic Seaport Museum


Mayflower II
Mayflower II

I recently was invited to view the Mayflower II, currently under renovation at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, at Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic Seaport, Connecticut.

I’m grateful for the invitation from fellow Geneablogger, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, of Nutfield Genealogy Blog. She and her husband Vincent, kindly became my guide and chauffeur for the day. I had not seen either the Mayflower or Mystic in decades. The day turn out beautiful in weather [a few showers,] learning opportunities and overall enjoyment of each others company.

Heather has written a wonderful overview of the Mayflower preservation efforts on her blog site, Nutfield Genealogy. I will not duplicate her efforts.

Vincent and Heather Wilkinson Rojo
Vincent and Heather Wilkinson Rojo

After a warm welcome in the Vistor’s Center we met up with the Plimoth Plantation staff, our host for the day, we proceeded to the Shipyard. While listening to the presentation about their preservation work, I turned around and saw the Mayflower II. Feelings of longing came over me. I still need to find the reported direct line ancestor to the Mayflower. I have found many cousin lines, but sadly, not my direct line.

Mayflower II: My first look
Mayflower II: My first look
Mayflower II: another look
Mayflower II: another look

The Mayflower II welcomed us like old friends.

Heather and Vincent boarding the Mayflower
Heather and Vincent boarding the Mayflower

There is a beautiful view from the Mayflower II of Mystic

View from the Mayflower II
View from the Mayflower II

The preservation crew use old and new style tools in the renovations.

"Tween" Deck 1
“Tween” Deck 1
"Tween" Deck 2
“Tween” Deck 2

The “tween” deck, also known as the gun deck, offers a view of how the Pilgrims lived. Imagine 102 cooking, all the passengers and crew quarters, their belongings, and animals living and the gun in one small space. [They had more room than those aboard the “Arbella” with 125 passengers, and a smaller vessel. This was one of the ships my ancestors came over on ten years later.]

Cooking aboard ship
Cooking aboard ship

The Cooking area is being used for storage during renovations.

Gun Ports
Gun Ports

The gun ports were numbered.


The gun room is located where you saw the Emblem in the photograph above [Mayflower II another look.]

Whit Perry gave a very informative overview of the Mayflower and the Mayflower II.

Whit Perry
Whit Perry

Whit Perry is the director of maritime preservation and operations. He is giving an overview of his crew on the days restoration and work projects.


The Capstan [circular log sharped column in the center of the ship. You can see some of the new live oak boards for needed repairs to the Mayflower II. The haven’t seasoned, yet, to the dark shade you see on the older boards around the ship.

The cargo hold was below the “Tween” Deck via a cargo hold hatch.

Cargo Hold
Cargo Hold
Fore Mast
Fore Mast

To see more views and cut a way views of the Mayflower visit this page “The Mayflower Voyage.” It describes what the ship better than I can is words.

Live Oak from South Carolina 600 years old
Live Oak from South Carolina 600 years old
Live oak history
Live oak history

What is ‘live oak”? Why is it so important in the preservation of the Mayflower II [and even in restoring “Old Ironside.”]?

Richard Pickering, Deputy Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation, tells us that live oak is one of the reasons the restorations take so long to complete. They need to find the Live Oak trees in a size that can accommodate the making of new boards for the Mayflower. This keeps the authenticity of the ship by doing so. It is an ongoing global search to fine them.

Richard Pickering Heather Wilkson Rojo and Vincent Rojo
Richard Pickering Heather Wilkson Rojo and Vincent Rojo

If truly curious:

Please visit:

Heather Wilkson Rojo’s Blog posts about the Mayflower II in dry dock, and her most recent post “The Mayflower II under renovation at the Mystic Seaport shipyard,”

Plimoth Plantation’s website about the Mayflower II,

Watch the Mystic Seaport video of the Mayflower II restoration,

To donate to the Mayflower restoration project go the “The Mayflower II Restoration” web page,

Click on the links embedded in my blog post such as; live oak, the Mayflower cross view and a few others.

I hope the pictorial narrative helps you in better understanding the efforts put into preserving a national monument, The Mayflower II.” It is important that we save our heritage. many building, covered bridges and building have been lost more to decay and neglect, than to any other cause.

Thank you Heather Wilkinson Rojo and Vincent Rojo for you photography, invitation and pleasant company for our day at Mystic Seaport Museum/Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard.

Published under creative common license

June Stearns Butka, “Mayflower II at Mystic Seaport Museum,” Damegussie Genealogy Rants, posted 12 May 2016, (accessed 12 May 2016.)










Week of Remembering Mom and Dad- Day 5


This week I have been honoring my parents, Nelson Stearns and Shirley Pease Stearns, with the remembrance of the Model T Cookie Jar and recipes it cherish and kept for us over the years.


I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen with six of us still living. We always had turns in choosing what cookies where being made. When old enough we would bake them with Mom or it was our turn to do the baking. I loved the many happy memories created during those special baking days. Some days the baking was with my Aunt Eleanor [Stearns Duncan], my dad’s sister and my great Aunt Carrie [Lulu Carrie Stearns Perkins], his dad’s sister.

I first learned to cook and bake on a wood stove, graduated to gas and in later years electric. Each type of stove required recipe adjustments for baking at the correct temperature. Many attempts resulted in burned or uncooked cookies. The burnt cookies were feed to the livestock. The under cooked was either re-baked, if possible or layered with pudding. Nothing was wasted in our household.

Today I close the series with the No Bake Cookies, my brother, Nelson Neal Stearns liked.

Here is an overview of this weeks recipes. The Hermits/Soft Molasses Cookies were the favorite of my Dads, Nelson; my sisters Marjorie [Stearns Stevenson] and Eleanor [Stearns Carne] and one of my choices. [I liked variety. If it was my turn to cook and bake I would choose a new recipe to make. Some were kept for later use and others recipes were discarded. Those were not a big hit with anyone.] My sisters Vickie [Stearns Levesque Junkins], Susan [Stearns Aeschliman] and Eleanor (second choice) liked the Toll House cookies.

I honored my mother’s death anniversary with the cookies she found comfort in those last days of her life, Applesauce/Pumpkin Cookies.

I honored my father’s birthday month with his favorite recipe, that was not a cookie, the Model T Cookie Jar held, Biscuits.

Pleasure from the Good Earth cover

I can not find her handwritten recipes for the two no bake cookies mom made. I did find the type written ones in the cookbook that was created as a fundraiser for a charitable fund. The fund was absorbed into the Lou and Lutza Smith Fund when changes were made in how the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation manged their funds.

no bake cookies

Here is the first recipe: No Bake Chocolate Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

3 cups oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut

Mix sugar, milk, butter and cocoa together in a saucepan; cook 1 minute after butter melts. Add oats, vanilla and coconut. Drop by spoonful’s onto waxed paper. Let Cool. Enjoy.

no bake oatmeal cookies

Second recipe: No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

In a saucepan combine sugar, brown sugar, milk and butter for 3 minutes after butter melts. Add oats, vanilla and raisins. Drop by spoonful’s onto waxed paper. Let Cool. Enjoy.

I hope that my sharing these happy memories bring back memories of your own. I look forward to reading about your journey into cooking with Mom, Dad or any loved one you share memories with.




Happy 38th Anniversary Michael Daniel Butka


Today I celebrate thirty eight years with the love of my life and heart, Michael Daniel Butka. This post concentrates our first year together.

Butka Stearns 1977-1978

This is a page from the scrapbook I created for my husband to celebrate our first twenty five years together. This one page is power packed with memories.

It tells the story in pictures of our first year together. I blogged previously about how we met.

Top photos above the “film strip”are:

The first Apartment we lived in as a couple, 44 Center Grove Road, Randolph, New Jersey. [We did share an apartment in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with his roommate from April to June 1978, Michael moved to this apartment in June while I stayed with a friend on Pease Air Force Base until I graduated from New Hampshire vocational Technical School Practical Nurse program in August.]

Our first Christmas Tree purchased on the way home after spending our first Thanksgiving together with his family in Milford, Connecticut.

The “film strip photos include:

Starting at the top- Taking our vows with the Justice of the Peace in Kittery, Maine, 29 April 1978;

Michael’s family- father, Daniel Zigmund Butka (1928-1987); June Stearns Butka, Michael Daniel Butka; brother, Stephen Paul Butka (1958-2001,) sitting brother-in-law, Daniel DellaGioia and sister, Danielle Marie Butka DellaGioa. Michael’s mother, Loretta Dula Butka was unable to attend. She was caring for her ill mother, Francis Kotch Dula (1909-1986.) Photo taken by my father, Nelson William Stearns (1930-1988.) Photo taken at Sagamore Court Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

My family- June Stearns Butka, Nelson William Stearns (1930-1988) and Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns (1935-2001.) Photo taken by my husband, Michael Daniel Butka on our wedding day at our Sagamore Court apartment.

Blank film strip was in the middle separating our wedding photos from our graduation photos from college.

Michael Daniel Butka graduation photo from New Hampshire Vocational College Technical School Drafting Program.

June Stearns Butka graduation program from New Hampshire Vocational College Technical School Practical Nursing Program.

The bottom photo is Atlantic City, where I took my Nursing State Board Exam.

Our first year together was amazing and eventful. We met in the fall of 1977 at a yearbook committee meeting. Started dating 23 Jan 1978. Married 29 April 1978. Graduated officially June 1978 [I stayed until August 1978 doing my community nursing internship at Pease Air Force base hospital.] We honeymooned in New York City and New Jersey while Michael was interviewing for a job at Bell Lab’s, Whippany, New Jersey. Michael moved first in June and I followed in August to 44 Center Grove Road, Randolph, New Jersey. We started our new jobs, Michael at Bell Labs Whippany in June and I started working in August for Dover General Hospital, Dover, New Jersey as an Floating Nurse until I passed my stated boards. I took my State boards in October and knew the result the week before Christmas. It was a very Happy Christmas, that year. Early in 1978 we found out we were pregnant with our first child [I had a miscarriage in early fall of 1977- in my first trimester.]

Our first year together was a roller coaster of life events, adjustment, lows and highs that provided a strong base, as a couple, for the years to come. Our love, respect, communication and support of each other in the good and bad times has never faulted.

I dedicated this post to the love of my life and heart, Michael Daniel Butka. Happy 38th Anniversary, Mike. I look forward to each and every day we have together. May there be many more years to share.

Love and Hugs,

Your loving wife, June.






Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 4


Model T Cookie gave much support in the end of my mother’s life. It is with a combination of sadness and happiness I write this post. Today is the 15th anniversary of my mother’s death. She made her final Heaven Found journey after many years of fighting cancer. Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns taught us how to accept that final journey with Grace, acceptance, her strong faith and love.

Today, I honor her memory, with the cookie she constantly wanted to eat during her final days. Days where she didn’t eat much at all. If I had these little tidbits ready for her, she would pop them in her mouth with relish and happiness.


The recipe is one of hers that I adapted. I couldn’t find her original handwritten recipe. The recipe was included in a cookbook created during the summer I had six teenagers living with me, ranging from 16-19 years of age. Three boys and three girls. Three of my family and three exchange students. Many happy memories were made during that summer, including the adaption of Mom’s recipe. My adaptations will be in brackets.

Goodness Pure and Simple cover

The Expression of Appreciation included in the book:

“A special thanks to all who suffered through my success and my failure; while trying new recipes and revisiting old ones for this cookbook. A special thanks go to my family-long suffers of my cooking attempts at new recipes: Michael, Tyna, Michael J. [Butka]; Jennifer [Levesque Williams]; my summer daughter from London, England, Andria and my Spanish summer sons, Nacho [nickname, I wish I could remember his christian name] and Ignacio. An extra special thanks to Jennifer and Andria, who both helped with the typing of this cookbook. It was created out of love of cooking and encouragement from family and friends to write one.”

Applesauce [Pumpkin] Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice [pumpkin pie spice]

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar *see note below

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup applesauce [pumpkin puree]

1 cup raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and pie spice. Set aside. Cream together butter, brown and white sugars. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture to just moistened. Add raisins. Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

* Note: I added whey/protein powder and switched the brown sugar to black strap molasses to provide Mom with added protein and aid in maintaining some electrolyte balance. I didn’t put the raisins in at the end because of a texture swallowing issue Mom had. Her oncologist, Dr. Douglas Weckstein, said let her eat whatever she wants.

My mother , Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, taught all her children how to bake and cook. Some of us did better than others.

Week of Remembering Mom and Dad- Day 3


Model T Cookie Jar loves to cherish the memories of the cookies it stored for us. Today is all about my sisters, Vickie Stearns Levesque Junkins and Sue Stearns Aeschliman’s favorite cookie.


Mom’s Toll House Cookie [The link send you to the original recipe]

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Sift flour together: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. Beat creamy 1/2 cup butter; 6 tablespoons each brown sugar and granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat 1 egg. Add flour mixture. Mix well. Stir on 16 ounce package or 1 cup chocolate bits, 1/2 cup ground nuts; drop on well greased cookie sheet. Bake 375 degree for 10-12 minutes.


Tomorrow will be about Mom’s favorite cookie.

Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 2


Today is all about my father’s favorite recipe. The one he always made. It was not cookies. It was Biscuits.

Moms Biscuits

The recipe is my mother’s [written in her handwriting.] Dad [Nelson William Stearns] and Mom [Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns] both used it to make biscuits. Dads always came out fluffier. When the Model T cookie jar was empty, Dad said, “Come here girl, I will teach you how to make those biscuits.”

I spent a day cooking with my father. I still smile when i think about learning how to make the biscuit with Dad. Sadly mine came out like my mother’s, edible but a little dense. Dad stated, “Don’t worry, girl, you learn to have a light hand.” Dad ate those biscuits with happy enjoyment spread with homemade raspberry jam made by his sister, Eleanor May Stearns Duncan.


That little Model T Cookie Jar had many types of cookies and biscuit over the years. I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen. Six of us still living. What type of cookies was made depended on which sibling turn to choose. The cookies were made by my mother and each of us as we learned to cook. I was only in the home for four more years after giving Dad the cookie jar. I went away to Nursing School. I did come home, from time to time, to take care of my parents and siblings when Mom had her first cancer episode and Dad had his Heart attack. [This is a story for another day.]


Make all measurements level [Mom’s way, Dad always just grabbed and mixed.]

2 cups sifted flour

4 tablespoons Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of Tarter

Add 2/3 cup milk all at once stir till the dough follows the fork around the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly flour board. Knead lightly 8-10 times. Pat or roll dough to one inch thickness. Cut and place biscuits in greased pans. Brush top with melted butter. Bake in hot oven 475 to 500 degrees 10 minutes or until done.


Tomorrow’s recipe will begin my sibling’s favorite choices. I will post, in the order of the response, they returned to me when I asked what favorite cookie they enjoyed of Moms.