Mary Margaret FABISH was born 12 May 1990 and was the fifth child born to Agnes nee DODUNSKA and Joseph FABICH. She married Joseph Silvan BUTLER in 1919 and they had nine children: Raymond, Frances, Brian, Alan, Silvia, Lavina, Gregory, Mary and Terence.
Their first farm was on Junction Road, after this they then moved on to a 271 acre farm on Toko Rd, east of Strafford on 2 November 1920, with their third farm being a 540 acre block in Huirangi, after acquiring a loan from Newton King.
During the Second World War thing on the farm got even harder.
Two sons, Ray and Brian had joined the Air Force. Ray as a Wireless Operator Air Gunner in a Lancaster Bomber, he came home safely. Brian was not so fortunate. He was a Pilot Officer and piloted a Halifax Bomber; on February 9th 1945 he collided with a Lancaster off the coast of Denmark. His plane crashed into the ocean and there were no survivors. Brian had just turned 21 on 18 December 1944. He is remembered with honour at the Runnymeade Memorial, Surrey, United Kingdom.
Many Polish children arrived in New Zealand just after the war, with the BUTLERS doing their share and looking after some children. One child was kept to work on the farm, Adam Piziol. The Polish children spoke little English, but members of the BUTLER family picked up the language from listening to Agnes Dodunska who would often speak in Polish, but Joseph Fabich always answered in English.
Mary and Joseph retired to Waitara in 1957 to a nice new home in Cracroft Street.
Extract from a newspaper
Joseph Silvan BUTLER (son of Joseph Felix BUTLER)
Being one of 14 children Joseph Silvan BUTLER had a busy upbringing working on the farm etc. Having raced greyhounds but
they got into someone's chooks and animals - that was the end of them. He never owned another greyhound but still always liked them.
Joseph had a team of bullocks and did contract logging. He used to talk of the time when hauling a log out one day how a log rolled and went over a bank. While he geed up the bullocks Uncle Ed whacked the chain with his axe and fortunately the chain broke and the team was saved although he often spoke of the fact that when the log rolled, the bullocks leaned forward and strained to the extent that their feet had sunk many inches into the ground and when the chain broke they fell forward.
After getting married in May 1919 just days after Mary Margaret nee FABISH had turned 19 they farmed on Junction Road in the Inglewood area. They owned two farms, selling one then upgrading to the other making a lot of money (for those days), as land values had increased a lot in the first few years after the war.
On selling the second farm they purchased one of 240 acres at Toko. They worked very hard clearing, stumping and draining the swamp areas. Things were just coming right when a post war slump happened - butterfat price dropped from something like 13 pence a pound to 2 or 3 pence.
It was good land and a good property and still is one of the best farms at Toko today but the banks or someone wanted it and when Joseph missed one payment they did not give him the time to pay more money and they foreclosed on him, even though Joseph offered to stay if the mortgage amount was reduced to a figure that would have been a viable situation.
Then they took a job at Huirangi, Waitara working for Newton King managing 542 acres. They arrived there in a gig with two kids, a few blankets and very little else - totally broke. Newton King had the farm returned to him when the previous owners, the Franks Brothers walked out. In the first two winters 100 cows almost starved - where nowadays 400-500 cows are being milked.
They had been there a short while when one day Newton King himself came to the back of the farm to find them both hard at work, with Mary swinging an axe as good as any man, King straight away said "Joe, you and your wife should not be working like this for me, go and see Charlie Monaghan (solicitor) and buy the farm for £9000 and I will finance it.
From that day on they never looked back. About that time Joseph Fabish gave them a Model T Ford so they could get to church at Waitara. Joseph Fabish was a real kind gentle man who everyone loved; he loved playing cards the priests would come and play cards with him. The roads were nothing more than dirt tracks for the first few miles and in the wet you had to be game to drive up or down the big hill.
They prospered over the years and in 1938 purchased an orange Allis Chalmers tractor - one of the first in the area as everyone just used horse. This tractor was not replaced until 1948 when a 19HP Ferguson was purchased. That Allis Chalmers tractor ended up at Alan John BUTLER'S farm and then was passed on to nephew Alan David SURREY in Huirangi. (It should be mentioned here that Alan began completely stripping anything mechanical from an early age beginning with torches, motor mowers and advancing to tractors at around 10 years of age and then he'd put them together again).
The black period of their life was on the 9th of February 1945 - Brian was reported missing in action after the Halifax he was piloting crashed into the sea off the Danish coast - it was a sad time for all. Brian had a certificate stating that for all of his school life his attendance was 100% he never missed one day in other words every day there was school Brian was there, a very fine record. One of Brian's friends Gordon PEARSE who was fare-welled to go overseas about the same time as Brian was killed in action in Italy about the same time.