Anson R. Butler was born in Gibson County, Indiana, in 1829. He graduated from the Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, but never entered the ministry. In 1852, Butler married Harriet Saunders. They settled in DeWitt, Iowa, where they raised three daughters. During the Civil War, Anson R. Butler served as third sergeant of Co. H, 26th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Returning to DeWitt after the war, he became one of its leading citizens. He was mayor, teacher, and a justice of the peace. Butler died at the home of his daughter Mrs. Reynolds, in Rock Falls, Illinois, on April 26, 1901.