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John Butler, his father, it may be inferred that the education of the parent had not been neglected. It would seem probable that both parents came from England. A bill of exchange drawn in favour of Jacob Hurd, on Mr. Samuel Storke, for £80 sterling, in February, 1746, would show business transactions of some importance abroad. Another paper leads to the conclusion that the sum was part of a legacy to Mr. John Butler's wife, of several hundred pounds. In an old bill,
John Butler to Jacob Hurd Is charged, cash paid, £190—Gold ear rings,-A gold ring,-Several ounces of silver,--A note of hand for £300, payable six months after date, and cash in full, - With various other charges amounting to £710 10s.
On the breaking out of what is usually called “the Old French War," Zebulon Butler entered the military service of his country, bearing the commission of ensign, in one of the Provincial companies, raised by Connecticut for the crown. On the northern frontier, particularly at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, his ambition was soon gratified, by entering upon a field of stirring and honourable action. So early as 1761, he had attained the rank of captain, and the following year sailed with his company on the memorable expedition to the Havana. In the perils, the glory and the acquisitions of the capture of that important place, Captain Butler shared. Whether his future companions in arms, Captains Durkee and Ransom, served as subordinates in these early campaigns, is not certainly known, but is rendered probable from the fact that both were officers in the Old French War, and the three were in the Wyoming conflicts, early associated in friendship and action together.
Peace was concluded with France, and in 1763, the Provincial troops were disbanded. The emigration of Captain Butler to Wyoming in 1769, and subsequent events, in which he bore a part up to the Revolutionary War, have been fully narrated. Soon after the contest with Great Britain commenced, Captain Butler received the appointment of lieutenant colonel of a regiment in the Connecticut line of the army, and in September, 1778, he was appointed full colonel to the late Charles Webb's regiment, against the will of Lieutenant Colonel Sherman, who intended to have had the regiment.” This extract of a letter from Colonel Thomas Grosvenor, dated 1778, is regarded as important, because it shows the excellent standing and popularity of Colonel Butler, the fall immediately after the massacre, when time sufficient had elapsed for the country and constituted authorities perfectly to ascertain the merits or defects of his conduct on that memorable and trying occasion. When it is recollected that Lieutenant Colonel Sherman, his competitor for the office, was the brother of the distinguished Roger Sherman, and that Colonel Butler was absent while his rival was upon the ground, the commission reflects more than common honour upon the recipient. A brief note to that letter in the hand-writing of Colonel Wyllys, among the most able and excellent leaders in Connecticut, though not very important in the matter contained, is copied because it shows the kind and respectful feelings, at that interesting moment, that prevailed in respect to Colonel B.
" Colonel Wyllys desires his best compliments to Colonel Butler and would hare written, but hopes Mr. Gore will give him an account of our present situation, and as Mr. G. sets out in the morning
begs the colonel to accept this
Samuel Wyllys." After being withdrawn from Wyoming, Colonel Butler served with honour to the close of the contest, and when the army was disbanded, returned to his residence in Wilkesbarre, where he passed the remainder of his life, the prudent but steady supporter of the rights of the settlers, looking confidently to the justice of Pennsyl. vania to settle the existing controversy by an equitable compromise. Such was the estimation in which he was held that in 1787, on the establishment of Luzerne, he received from the Supreme Executive Council the honourable appointment of lieutenant of the county, which he held until the office was abrogated by the new constitution of 1790.
On the 28th of July, 1795, aged 64 years, this gallant soldier and estimable citizen resigned his breath to God who gave it
, and his remains were interred in
the graveyard in Wilkesbarre. Among other marks of respect paid to his memory, a monody of a dozen verses was written, one of which was inscribed on his tombstone.
“ Distinguished by his usefulness
At home and when abroad
Protected still by God.” Colonel Butler was thrice married. First to Miss Ellen Lord before his emigration from Connecticut. The fruit of this union was two children. The late Gen. Lord Butler and Mrs. Welles, consort of the late Roswell Welles, Esq., a lawyer of handsome talents and attainments, who in his day, was judge of the court colonel of a regiment, and several times member of Assembly. One daughter of Judge Welles is living, Mrs. Harriet Cowles, consort of Colonel Cowles, of Farmington, Connecticut. Lord had intermarried with the daughter of Abel Pierce, Esq. Their sons, several of whom are now living, are Pierce, John, Chester, Zebulon and Lord.
Pierce is a farmer on the fine plantation running from the river a few rods above the bridge to the village of Kingston. The Rev. Zebulon Butler is the esteemed pastor of a Presbyterian congregation at Port Gibson, Mississippi. John, Chester and Lord, residing in Wilkesbarre, are amongst its most active business men. Sylvina, the eldest daughter, several years since deceased, was the wife of the Hon. Garrick Mallery. Ruth Ann, the second daughter, is married to the Hon. John N. Conyngham, president judge of this judicial district. Phebe, married to Dr. Donalson, has removed with her husband to lowa.
The second wife of Colonel Butler was Miss Johnson, daughter of the first Gospel minister of Wyoming. Their union was brief, and a son, the late Captain Zebulon Butler, their only child. Of dark complexion, his black eye, when cheerfully ani. mated, was brilliant and pleasing. This son was handsome, and from his extremely fine form, he was eminently attractive. His step was elastic but firm, his head erect, his carriage noble. It was said he was proud. In command of his company on parade, he looked - every inch a man.” Honourable, generous, high-spirited, he seemed to pant for a wider field, and more exciting scenes of action. In rolling the bullet, and other athletic exercises, he had no superior. The writer knew, admired and esteemed him. He was cut off in the prime of life, and his numerous and interesting family are widely scattered: it is hoped prosperously situated.
While on duty at West Point, near the close of the war, Colonel Butler married his third wife, Miss Phebe Haight. Three children, by this marriage, survive. Stuben Butler, Esq., of Wilkesbarre, some time since commissioner of the county, and for many years editor of the Wyoming Herald. Lydia, who intermarried with George Griffin, Esq., of New York. The late Rev. Edmund Griffin, whose accurate and extensive learning, and brilliant talents, gave promise of unusual usefulness and fame, and whose early death was so deeply lamented, was the grandson of Colonel Butler. Mrs. Robinson (whose late husband, Mr. John Robinson, was a direct descendant of the pilgrim minister), is the third child. Their only daughter intermarried with H. B. Wright, Esq., recently Speaker of the House of Assembly. We cannot refrain from the remark, that it is at once curious and pleasing, that two Speakers of the House, and two president judges, have been so intimately connected with the ancient Wyoming sufferers.
The distinguishing traits of Colonel Butler's character were activity, energy, a high sense of honour, a courage moral and professional, that, when duty called, knew no fear.
The Ballad which follows, composed soon after the battle, has never before, that I can learn, appeared in print. Mr. Joel J. Rogers, to whom I am indebted for this interesting relic of the olden time, says, “ Written by Mr. Uriah Terry, of Kingston—so says my father. Copied by Uncle Josiah from a manuscript, Dec. 20, 1785. Sixty years ago." These “ uncouth rhymes” which
“Implore the passing tribute of a sigh," I cannot doubt will be acceptable to the antiquarian.
1. Kind Heaven, assist the trembling muse,
While she attempts to tell
By savage sons of hell.
2. One hundred whites, in painted hue,
Whom Butler there did lead,
Of the fierce savage breed.
And several days it held,
Lay slaughtered on the field.
4. Our troops marched out from Forty Fort,
The third day of July,
The fate of war to try.
5. But oh! alas! three hundred men,
Is much too small a band,
And make a glorious stand.
6. Four miles they marched from the Fort
Their enemy to meet,
To keep a safe retreat.
7. And now the fatal hour is come
They bravely charge the foe,
Which prov'd our overthrow.
8. Some minutes they sustained the fire,
But ere they were aware
Which prov'd a fatal snare.
9. And then they did attempt to fly,
But all was now in vain,;
Was by those Indians slain.
10. And as they fly, for quarters cry;
Oh hear ! indulgent Heav'n!
No quarters must be given.
11. With bitter cries and mournful sighs
They seek some safe retreat,
Till awful death they meet.
12. Their piercing cries salute the skies
Mercy is all their cry: “Our souls prepare God's grace to share,
We instantly must die."
13. Some men yet found are flying round
Sagacious to get clear;
They front they flank and rear.
14. And now the foe hath won the day,
Methinks their words are these : “ Ye cursed, rebel, Yankee race,
Will this your Congress please!"
15. “ Your pardons crave, you them shall have,
Behold them in our hands;
By dashing out your brains.