Frederick A. Butman was born in Gardiner, Maine in 1820 and also died there in 1871 while visiting his family. He was a landscape and figure painter active from 1857 until his death. He was listed in the San Francisco city directory from 1859 to 1871.
Butman owned a drugstore in Gardiner until 1857 when he moved to San Francisco. From 1860 to 1865 he explored a thousand miles up the Columbia River. Called a “showy” painter, he is said to have sold landscape paintings in California for as much as $8,000 in gold.
He exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1867. He showed On Bear River at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1868, giving his address as New York City. He is known to have sketched in Europe in the summer of 1869.