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Major Peter BUTLER


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Rachel Cook MURPHY

Major Peter BUTLER 286,311,312

  • Born: 9 Mar 1789, Pulaski, Lincoln Co., KY 293
  • Marriage: Rachel Cook MURPHY on 25 Jul 1811 in Barren Co, KY; See Notes For Two More Children
  • Died: 24 Jun 1856, Monmouth, Polk Co., Oregon at age 67 293
  • Buried: Jun 1856, Butler-Davidson Cemetery, Polk Co, OR 291

bullet  General Notes:

Peter Butler was born in Pulaska County, Kentucky, and move
d toBarren County, Kentucky, where he married Rachel Murp
hy in 1811. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and Blac
k Hawk War of 1832.
Peter and his family moved from Barren to Warren County Ken
tucky in 1816 and then to Illinois in 1829. Many of their c
hildren were born in Kentucky in Warren and Barren Counties.
In Warren County, Kentucky, Peter Butler built a brick dwel
Peter Butler helped found and survey the town of Monmouth
, Illinois. While in Illinois, Peter Butler served one ter
m as surveyor, county commissioner, one term as sheriff, on
e term in the legislature of the state, and one term in th
e Senate.
The family lived in Coldbrook Township, and there establish
ed Butler Cemetery on the land they owned. It is located i
n the SW quarter of the NW quarter near the W line of Secti
on 31 in Coldbrook Township. Francis Ground, age 2 years
, 9 months, 13 days, is buried there. He is the son of Edw
ard. There are few graves, and all the stones are broken.
The wagon train that left Warren County, Illinois, in 185
3 carried family members called "the Butler Wagon Train" co
nsisted of Peter and Rachel Butler and their grown childre
n: Ira L. M. Butler & wife Mary Ann (daughter of Elijah Dav
Their children Newton, Asa P., Poradine, Augusta P. an
d Margaret Elizabeth Butler and husband, Thomas Hutchinson
Their children James B. and Robert Cascade (born alon
g the way) Margaret Butler and husband, Isaac Smith
Their children Rufus, Silas Wright, Berryman, Flora, a
nd Mary Lizah Butler and husband Edward Ground
Their children William, Robert, Luther, Peter, Frankli
n Pierce
Elijah Davidson Butler, 1824-1858 (married Sarah Elizabet
h Lucas) Elizabeth Hannah (married Thomas Hutchinson) Eliz
a D. Butler (married to Edward Ground) Isaac Butler (marrie
d Sarah Webb), 1831-?
These children stayed in Illinois : James Whitman Butler (m
arried to Mary Ground) John Murphy Butler (married to Eliz
a Smith)
Also on the train was:
Rachel Davidson (Daughter of Elijah, sister of Mary Ann) an
d husband George Deweese. Their children Douglas, Louise, E
lizabeth, Fannie, Lorinda, William (summarized) Account o
f the move to Oregon in Ground-Grounds Family Association N
ewsletter, Vol. II, No. 3:
The men had talked of going to Oregon for some time, elicit
ing comments from family members such as, "If Edward Groun
d and Isaac Smith have not started to Oregon yet, tellthe
m not to talk about Oregon, it is useless to always be talk
ing and never doing."
The families finally sold their lands and met on March 30
, 1853 atMonmouth, Illinois. Peter Butler was late arrivin
g. He had promised to go byand see his son, John, but du
e to a heavy rain and high water, he was unableto do so. T
he women in town were shopping for last minute items, the m
en talking on street corners in the muddy streets, and th
e children running around excited about this new adventure.
The group planned to go to Council Bluffs and there re-outf
it for the rest of the journey. They had ordered supplie
ssent by boat up the Missouri River to Council Bluffs. Th
ere were others traveling with them during the first part o
f this journey. Parts of Iowa they liked, but as a whole
, they did not think it was as good as Illinois.
Ira F. M. Butler writes, "A company started across the plai
ns in the spring of 1853,the heads of the families were Pe
ter Butler, Ira F. M. Butler, Edward Ground, Isaac Smith, G
eorge W. Deweese and Thomas H. Hutchinson, we left Monmouth
, Illinois the 30th day of March and crossed the Mississipp
i River the 31st and traveled across Iowa to Council Bluffs
, ferried across the Missouri river on a large steamboa
t a little above where Omahaw now stands, and struck out ov
er the wild plains with 16 wagons, 72 head of mules and hor
ses, and 51 souls, old and young. The first night after we left


Served as a Major in the Kentucky Sharpshooters Militia, In the
defense of New Orleans in the War of 1812. In 1829 left Tulaska county
Kentucky, came to Warren county Ill. In 1832 Was Captain of Warren
County Company. Was sheriff of Warren County. From Merla Tilley "he served as County Commissioner and County Surveyor(when asked to survey the new town of Chicago, he refused, saying a town built on the swampy shores of Lake Michigan did not possess a future). He was State Representative,and Senator." He and his son Ira led a wagon train of 39 to Oregon.
Moved from Pulaski Co., KY to Barren Co., Ky; served in War of 1812 and Black Hawk War of 1832. Helped found and survey Monmouth, Illinois. In IL was a surveyor, sheriff, mayor, county commissioner, and served in the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate.
Came to Oregon at age of 64, head of the Butler Wagon Train.
Member of the Christian Church.

See notes for Rachel.

"My Great Great Great Grandfather, John Murphy and his wife, Rachael Cooke Murphy's first child, William, was born 16 Feb 1776. William Murphy married Nancy Ferguson. William and Nancy's daughter, also named Rachel, married Major Peter Butler. Major Peter Butler and his wife, Rachael Murphy Butler immigrated from Kentucky to Warren County, Illinois. Here they built a Fort, where all the neighbors gathered when there were Indian uprisings. Later, they, along with Rachel's sister, Margaret and her husband Elijah Davidson, led a wagon train to Oregon. They were pioneers in both Illinois and Oregon." by Don Bowton. Don goes on to say: "In 1928, when I was 12 years old, I lived in Abingdon, Ill. Like most boys in those days, I joined the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 32 Eagle Patrol. Our Scout Master was a man named Rex Shiplett. Myself, along with some 15 other boys, wanted to earn our Merit Badge in bicycling. One of the requirements was to make a 50-mile trip on our bike in 10 hours. Monmouth, Illinois, in Warren County was exactly 25 miles from Abingdon. The round trip would make our required 50 miles. One nice Saturday, we pedaled west from Abingdon over dusty roads, across Cedar Creek, up the hill, thru Berwick, northwest towards Cameron and on to Monmouth. About noon, we stopped along side of the road under a big Elm tree to rest and eat our lunch. We left out bikes and walked out into the middle of a big pasture, there. Our Scout Master showed us the remains of an old log building. The Cabin had been constructed from hand-hewn logs about 10 inches square. What was left of the old structure was only about two feet high, and there was a spring almost in the middle of the old cabin. Max Shiplett told us that at one time this had been a fort where pioneers had holed up when attacked by Indians, the reason that it had been built in the middle of the field was so the Indians couldn't slip up on them. As a boy, I thought that this incident was quite interesting, and now, as I research our family heritage-- I wonder -- could this have been the Fort of our relative Major Peter Butler?" (The Dan who wrote this died in Spokane, WA)
Written by Peter Butler to his children who stayed in Illinois:
Polk County Oregon Teritory August 14th 1853

Dear children

It is with great pleasure that I seat myself this fine morning to inform you by letter that we all arived safe in the willamattee valley on the 5th Aug. after a long tedious journey, we found our friends all well and doing well, and I am sure that we all ought to feel exceeding thankful to our heavenly father for his protecting care over us, for of all our friends notwithstanding so many has crossed the plains, not one of them has died it has not been the case with a great many others. for we have been where they have been buried along the road from the Missorie river to this valley in greate abundance, we had but little sickness in in our train The most of us had a light attack of what is called the mountain fever, but in most cases it only lasted a week or two and even then we could generly go about. I consider that I have been much benifited in praise of health for I have not had an attact of my complaint with which I have suffered so much since I started from home, and if my health continues as it has been since I started I shall feel myself amply compensated for all my trouble and expence which has been considerable I wrote to you at Fort Laramie that Edward Ground had one of his mares stolen by the Indians he never got her, he also had one of his best mares drownded in fall river,my best mule got drownded at the same time and place, I will just tell you how it hapened our loos horses and mules was driven till they got very dry
and when they got to the river about fourteen of them rushed into the water just above the falls the hindmost pressing on those before and in an instant they was all swimming and the water ran very swist which very soon forced them over the falls, my mule and Edward's mare was both forced over a large rock. I believe Edward mare sunk amediately, my mule sank and rose frequently till it got below all the brakers it then swam about a minute and sunk. Edward lost one waggon the one that Bolden made for him it just broke to peaces it was a greate cheat. the above constituted our losses we started with 47 persons in the train and when we reached the valley we had 48 Elizabeth had a fine son on the Cascade Mountains, and although we had to hall her over ten thousand rocks which you would have thought a waggon unable to stand, yet she and the babe are both doing well. You will likely want to know how I like the country. I will just tell you that I have not seen enough of the country to form an opinion yet though I can say that what I have seen is as good or better than I expected to find it. It will cost me a good deal of money to live the first year but after that I believe that I can live as well as I could in Illinois, though I will write my opinion of the country in full as soon as it is formed. John if it would not be too much trouble I would be glad if you would write to me and make a memorandum of the names and amount of each of my notes which I left with you. One thing more if you have not made any disposition of our cattle keep them till you hear from me again. I presume you would like to know how we old folks stood the journey Your mother was considerably fatiagued and worn out but I stood the
trip as well as any of the young men. I drove my buggy nearly all the way myself. After all thare is more depending on the disposition of a person to stand that trip than the Constitution, for if a person cannot accommodate themselves to their situation it will be hard to stand the trip but if they can feel sattisfied to sit down in the mud or dust sunshine or rain and eat what ever they have, then sleep on the ground or in the waggon or any other place which they can get, then the trip will be easy and half the dificuties surmounted. I write this letter to you all for the reason that I have a very poor chance to write I will send it to Joseph with the request to have him send it on to the rest of the boys in Illinois, Joseph I intended to have came by your house but was prevented by
Hutchinson having to return to Oquawka which left me to take care of every thing and it was out of my power to come Thomas went by and did not get to the train untill noon next day in consequence of the high water, which we supposed prevented you from coming atall. You must
write to me as soon as you receive this letter and let me know what you intend to do in relation to mooving to this country and if you do come I will write you some things which you will find to your advantage my sheet is full so I must close

Your mother wishes you all to write often and tell all about all the children and grandchildren and neighbours *Tell us whether your uncle Isaac died in his sences and if so what he said about dying
Give our best love and respects to all our old friends and kneighbours

Your Father
Peter Butler

Bloomington Polk Co. O.T. July 7th 1856

Dear Brother and Sister

it falls to my lot this morning to write a few lines to you to let you know
that our Dear Father Departed this life the 24 of june he was taken sick
on the 9 of june he lived fifteen days from the time he was taken sick
his Disease was the Tipoid Feever we had the best Medical aid that
was in the country but it all done no good

we had a Botanic Doctor and I think he was a verry good one and we
had two Mineral Doctors and one of them is said to be the best in the
Terrytory his funeral was Preached yesterday by John E Murphy at the
Monmouth Schoolhouse we had averry fine Meeting yesterday and the
day before there is nine persons to be immersed to day Elizabeth H
Hutchinson is one of that number

you must excuse me for not writing more this time for the Mail will leave
here before I could write al that I would like to write I would have writen
to you sooner had it not ben that Isaac Butler said he would write to you
but he wrote to Joseph in stid of you we expect Ira F.M. Butler will
administer on the estate this leaves us all in good health except some bad
colds the friends are all well so far as I know except Margret Mason she
is complaining some I donot know is the mater with her you must excuse
me for not writing more but I will promise to write again in a short time

I want you to writ to me as soon as you get this leter it is time I was gone to the office

So no more at present

[to] John M. Butler

E.D. Butler

[It is thought that John M. Butler received the above letter, then sent it
on to a nearby family member (James?) after he added this note to the bottom.]

August the 21

Dear brother and sister this leaves us only tolerable well I want you to
come down if you can to morrow evening I want to see you about the
land suit they have brougt suit for the land Mary the plums is ripe so
you had as well come a long and gether some

John M. Butler
Peter served as a Major in the Kentucky Sharpshooters Militia. In the defense of New Orleans in the War of 1812. In 1829, he left Tulaska county, Kentucky and came to Warren county, Illinois. In 1832 was Captain of Warren County Company. Was sheriff of Warren County served on House ???? (from search)


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

Education #4. 297 One term in Senate, State of IL

Military Record. 310 War of 1812, Mexican & Blackhawk Wars

Military Record: War Of 1812, Mexican & Blackhawk Wars. 310

Move. 297 From Pulaski Co., KY to Barren Co., KY

Occupation #3. 297 One term in Lower House, State Legislature of IL

Occupation #4. 295 One term in Senate, State Legislature of IL.

Occupation. 297 One term Warren Co., IL Commissioner,

Other Facts. 297 Built a brick dwelling in Warren Co., KY

Alt. Birth, 9 Mar 1789, Bowling Green, Lincoln, Kentucky.

Move, 1816. 297 Barren Co., KY to Warren Co., KY

Move, 1829. 297 Warren Co., KY to Warren Co., IL

Occupation #2, 1831. 295,313 One term Warren Co., IL Sheriff

Military Service, 1832. 295 Enlisted in Black Hawk War, was Capt.

Move, 1853. 297 Warren Co., IL to Polk Co., OR

Burial Cemetery, Jun 1856, Butler Davidson Cem., Monmouth, OR. 291

Burial Cemetery, Jun 1856, Butler-Rogers Cemetery. 291

Alt. Death, 24 Jun 1856, Monmouth, Polk Co, OR.


Peter married Rachel Cook MURPHY, daughter of Unknown and Unknown, on 25 Jul 1811 in Barren Co, KY; See Notes For Two More Children. (Rachel Cook MURPHY was born on 2 Apr 1788 in East Tennessee,309,310 died on 10 Jun 1874 in Monmouth, Polk Co, OR 309 and was buried on 13 Jun 1874 in Butler-Davidson Cemetery, Polk Co, OR.)

bullet  Marriage Notes:

There may have been two other children of Peter & Rachel (M
urphy) Butler:
Isaac M. Butler b. 12 Feb 1831, Warren Co, IL d. 1 May 1913
, Los Angeles, CA
married 11 May 1856 Polk Co, OR Sarah Ann Webb. Elija
h D. Butler b. 1824 Warren Co, IL d. about 1858
md. 26 Aug 1846 Warren Co, IL Sarah E. ...
CHAN26 May2003

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