The Butler's of South Carolina:Information about Benjamin Butler
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Benjamin Butler (b. 1725, d. Bet. 1807 - 1817)Benjamin Butler was born 1725 in Prince William Co., VA, and died Bet. 1807 - 1817 in Newberry, South Carolina.He married Elizabeth Unknown on 1761 in Fauquier or Prince Willliam County, Virgniia.
Notes for Benjamin Butler:
The following information was obtained via internet and writing by genealogist Judith H. Dixon about Benjamin Butler:
Benjamin Butler is believed by several researchers to have been the head of this particular family of Butlers in South Carolina. This supposition is made without absolute proof. It is made because, at least in South Carolina, the other possibilities have been ruled out. Nowhere has been found a list of the children of this Benjamin Butler. Nowhere does Aron, the proven ancestor in the next generation of these Butlers, appear in a document that conclusively indicates "sonship." However, unless Aron himself was the first Butler of this family into South Carolina at an extremely young age, Benjamin seems the most likely possibility. Therefore, the following is information on the Benjamin of Newberry County, SC, and possibly Fauquier County, VA, with the hope that further research will prove or disprove him to have been the "leader of the clan."
Evidence that this Benjamin had his roots in Virginia is shown by an entry in the Newberry County Court Records of July, 1791, which states, "A Power of Attorney from Elizabeth [probably his wife] and Benjamin Butler to James Dillard ordered that the county seal be affixed to the same and sent to the state of Virginia." This is an indication that they had some interest in the state of Virginia in 1791, perhaps in the sale of land or some other legal transaction.1
The first recorded mention of Benjamin Butler in Newberry County, however, was in June, 1789, when he served on a jury. (Minutes of the County Court 1785-1798 compiled by Brent Holcomb) He served twice more after that, both times in 1793. After 1795, no other mention of a Benjamin Butler was noted in the minutes of the county court.1
In the first federal census of the United States, the one in 1790, Benjamin is listed in Newberry County with himself as head of the household, one other male over 16, and four females. The other Butlers in the neighborhood were two more Benjamins, Aron, William, Willis, and Henry.
Henry Butler and one of the other Benjamins were ruled out as part of Aron's immediate family when Henry's 1806 will and some land sales mentioned the said Benjamin (whose wife was named Rachael) and all but one of his other nine children. Aron was never connected by association with any of the eight children, so the assumption is made that Aron was not the ninth child of Henry.2
On 29 March 1794, Benjamin [the subject of this page] deeded much [perhaps all] of his household goods and stock to Willis.(Deed Book C/25) Since no money exchanged hands, this was considered a deed of gift, and the assumption is that Willis was Benjamin's son and legatee. This transaction was witnessed by William Butler and a John Butler. On the 1790 census, Aron is shown as living between Benjamin and Willis, perhaps a clue. Below is the aforementioned from the Newberry County Deed Book C, page 25. :
South Carolina, Newberry County. Benjamin Butler Son of the state & county aforesaid, do bargain, sell and make over unto Willis Butler of the state & county aforesald, three Feather Beds & Furniture & one Roan Mare & one Bay Horse & five head of Cattle & twelve head of hogs & fifty Bushels of Corn & one Iron Pot & a half Dozen of Plates & two Basons & One Shovel & Plow, 14 March 1794. Benjamin Butler (X) (Seal), Wit: John Butler, Wm Butler. Proved by William Butler before Pro. Williams, J. P., 29 March 1794. A True Copy attested to by Wm Satterwhite, D. C., 6 January 1795.
Later, Aron witnessed a divorce for Moses Butler. This would probably have been done for one of the family. Therefore, the other male over 16 in Benjamin's family (1790 census) was probably Moses.2
In the minutes of the Newberry County Court, it was discovered that in February of 1795, four Butlers - Moses, Benjamin (possibly Benjamin, Jr.), Willis, and William - were sued separately by Wadsworth & Turpin for debts. Benjamin "confessed by letter," and the other suits were dismissed at defendants' costs.
From various records, then, it would seem that possible members of Benjamin's immediate family were at least Willis, Moses, William, Benjamin, Jr., and Aron.
It is difficult, because of the existence of so many Benjamins, to ascertain when the Benjamin Butler of this genealogy died. It might have been just after he deeded his goods and stock to Willis Butler. That would make sense if he were making some sort of will. However, Willis moved by 1800 to Greenville County and on the 1800 federal census, he appeared next to a Benjamin, an older man than Willis. On the same census, in Newberry County, there are still two other Benjamins in the same age category as Willis, possibly Benjamin (son of Henry) and Benjamin, Jr. (son of Benjamin). By the 1810 census, there is only a Wm. Butler and no Benjamin in Greenville County. Willis died in 1812.
But what of Benjamin's parents? From where might he have originated? Taking a clue from the Power of Attorney ordered by Elizabeth and Benjamin Butler to be sent to the state of Virginia as mentioned earlier, some research has been done in that state. As of this writing, nothing has been found to prove successfully that the South Carolina Benjamin and Elizabeth did come from Virginia. However, there are indications of possibilities within the records of several Virginia counties, and these are presented here as suggestions for future research.
There is a very well-respected genealogist from South Carolina, now deceased, who left behind a great many manuscripts and files. His name was Leonardo Andrea. Many current professional genealogists consult the Andrea files when they are working on a case. Andrea's manuscripts said he had "occasion to know" that the Butlers came to South Carolina from Prince William County, Virginia. He gave no further proof of his assertion. Prince William County was established in 1730-1 from the King George and Stafford Counties. Fauquier County was established in 1759 from Prince William.
Fauquier County seems at this time to be the most promising. There was a Benjamin Butler who was married to an Elizabeth in the correct time period there. He appeared as a witness in court for a William Crawford and was paid 100 pounds of tobacco for 4 days. Although the Court Minute Books were not dated in an exact manner, the time period was approximately 1760. (Minute Books 1759-1768, p.96) On 13 November 1764, Benjamin was bondsman for the marriage of Thomas Auberry and Ann Fletcher. (Abstracts of Fauquier County, Virginia, Abstracts of Wills, Inventories and Accounts, 1759-1800 by John K. Gott) In 1769, he was a chain carrier along with John Butler at the resurvey of George Williams' land warrant. There appears to be a probable connection between this John and Benjamin; they could have been brothers.3 John Butler had a son William who appeared in several Fauquier County records. By 1785, William was not living in the county.3 It is of note that on the 1794 South Carolina deed of gift referred to earlier on this page in which Benjamin gave Willis much of his personal property, the witnesses to this deed were John and William Butler.
On 27 August 1761, Benjamin Butler bought 70 acres of land in the county from George and Alice Williams for 54 pounds, 14 shillings, & sixpence half-penny current money. (Bk 1/275) George and Alice were later shown to be the parents of his wife Elizabeth. It is not clear whether Benjamin was married or not at the time of the land sale. The Butlers on 25 June 1784 sold what was probably the same land to James Freeman, Jr., for 130 pounds. (Bk 8/274) Of interest here is that when this deed of sale was proven on 21 March 1785, it was done by witnesses. This suggests that Benjamin and Elizabeth may not have been residents of Fauquier County after 1784.3 A possibility is that they moved to South Carolina.
George Williams' very interesting will was entered into Will Book 2, p.112, in 1786. He had a new wife by then, having married a widow several years earlier. He left possessions: to his wife, Ann Williams; to sons Elijah, George, John, and William; to grandsons Richardson and George Williams (sons of John); to daughters Elizabeth Butler, Ann Butler (wife of John), Margaret Freeman, and Catherine Williams; to grandchildren James, George, and Ann Collins, heirs of his deceased daughter Mary Collins; to grandson George Butler (son to John); and to grandson Benjamin Butler, Junior, "if living, if otherwise, to his next younger surviving brother." The exact wording for Elizabeth's portion was, "I give and Bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Butler all that part of my Estate she hath already received and twenty five shillings to be paid out of my Estate by my Executors to her and her heirs forever." The will was made 13 November 1786 and proved 25 December 1786.
There were, of course, other Benjamin Butlers in Virginia at the time period of interest. Culpeper County was established in 1748 from Orange County. A Benjamin Butler was born 7 January 1765 in Culpeper, who enlisted in the military there in 1781 under Col. James Slaughter. This Ben had a brother named William Butler. Neither of these men, of course, was old enough to be the father of Aron, the proven ancestor in South Carolina, but could be his brothers. This Benjamin, in a Revolutionary War pension application, said that two years after the War, he moved (in the following order) to Laurens County, South Carolina; Richmond County, Georgia; Newberry County, South Carolina, for one year; Abbeville District, South Carolina, for many years; finally, to the Tennessee counties of Davidson, Williamson, Carroll, and Henderson. His pension application, S3096, was filed 15 April 1834. The problem with this man being Aron's brother was that he did not live in Newberry County long enough.
In Culpeper County in 1799, a Benjamin Butler was given acres from his father and mother, William and Mary Butler (U/239). The problem here was that the deed book mentioned that Benjamin was at the time living on the Virginia land. His brothers Joseph, Charles, Armistead, and sister Nancy were also given land nearby.
There was some miscellaneous information found which may later provide leads. In the deed default (B/30-31) of Prince William County, a George Williams of Stafford County bought land from a John Fishback. Although somehow the date of the deed was not retained in the research notes, the earliest default of the A books contained deeds for 1732. If George Williams of Fauquier County turns out to be connected to the correct Benjamin Butler, this deed may prove valuable. Ms. Little, the Virginia researcher, reported that Benjamin Butler who was connected to George Williams was living in the area of the Deep Run River. Deep Run flows into the Rappahannock or Hedgeman River on the border between Fauquier and Stafford Counties where they border Culpeper County.3
Secondly, there was a deed dated 5 August 1748 from William Butler and Mary his wife of Prince William County to Joseph Butler of Westmorland County. (L/72-73) There is a connection between Aron Butler and a William and Mary Butler of Newberry County over the estate of Stephen Lewis in 1789. Who knows where small clues of this kind will lead?
Sources: 1Butler, Paul. My Ancestors, Butler, Bumgarner, and Kinsmen of North and South Carolina, 1985.
2The professional research work of Tony Draine of Columbia, South Carolina.
3The professional research work of Barbara Vines Little of Orange, Virginia.
More About Benjamin Butler:
Religion: 1795, Benjamins name appears on the roll of the Bushy CreekBaptist Church, and later on the roll of the Bush River Baptist Church.
More About Benjamin Butler and Elizabeth Unknown:
Marriage: 1761, Fauquier or Prince Willliam County, Virgniia.
Children of Benjamin Butler and Elizabeth Unknown are:
- +Henry H. Butler, b. Abt. 1745, Culpepper County, Virginia, d. 1807, Newberry, South Carolina7.
- +Benjamin Butler, Jr., b. April 06, 1769, d. March 16, 1852, Newberry Co., South Carolina.
- Rebecca Butler, b. Abt. 1769, Prince William County, Virginia, d. date unknown.
- John Butler, b. Abt. 1761, Prince William County, Virginia, d. July 22, 1837.
- +Aaron Butler, b. Abt. 1770, Prince William County, Virginia, d. Abt. 1831, Macon County, North Carolina.
- Mary Butler, b. Abt. 1771, Prince William County, Virginia, d. date unknown.
- Willis William Butler, b. Abt. 1773, Prince William County, Virginia, d. January 31, 1812, Greenville District, South Carolina.
- +Moses Butler, b. Abt. 1774, Prince William County, Virginia, d. November 29, 1829, Greenville District, South Carolina.