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A Butler History:

Ancestors of Thersa Butler

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The most remote of the known Butler lineage was believed to be a man named Herveius Fitz-Walter, the Count of Brion in Normandy, who came into England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. He was rewarded for his services at that time with large grants in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Lancashire. This man was father of a son known as Herveius Fitz-Walter, who had five sons: Theobald, Hubert, Walter, Roger and Hamon.

Theobald, eldest son of Herveius, was made Chief Butler of Ireland in 1172 by Henry II as a reward for his services in the wars with Ireland. The duty of this office was to attend the coronation of the Kings of England and present to them the first cup of wine. It was from this hereditary office that the family took its name. "Butler" is derived through the anglicization of the old French word, "bouteillier", meaning cup bearer or one in charge of the wine cellar. In the 15th & 16th centuries the Butler's duties expanded to overseeing the dining room and the silver as well as the wine casks.

During the reign of Edward III, Tipperary was formed into the "County Palatine of Ormond" under the Butlers. The Butlers were Earls, Marquises and Dukes of Ormond. They also held the titles of Earls of Carrick, Earls of Glengall, Viscounts of Thurles and Skerrin, and Barons of Cahir. In the reign of Henry VIII they gained possession of a great portion of Carlow. Their war-cry was "Butler Aboo!", which was old Celtic for "Victory".

The American Butlers are believed to be descended from James Butler, Duke of Ormond (1610-1688); however, I have only been able to trace them as far back as:

Henry Butler, born about 1535, in Radcliff, Lancashire, England. Henry married Anne Bannister in 1554, and had a son, Nicholas Butler, born about 1555 in Rochester Parish, Hale, England.

Nicholas Butler, the original Butler in this country, was born at Eastwell in Kent, England about 1597. He died at Edgartown, Massachusetts on 13 Aug 1671. He married in England on 22 Jan 1623-24 to Joyce Baker, who was born 30 May 1602. She died at Edgartown in 1680.

Nicholas Butler sailed on the ship "Hercules" from Sandwich, England in June 1638 with 3 children and 5 servants. He is listed as a "Yeoman". He settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts, and became a leading citizen.

The Butler Ancestry of General Benjamin Franklin Butler in America:

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Film #1433987
Item #7

By Blanche (Butler) Ames ; Lowell, MA; 1895
Researched 2 Mar 99, Eastmont FHC, Everett, WA


Nicholas Butler came from Eastwell, in Kent, England. Nicholas embarked with wife, Joyce, three children and five servants, at Sandwich, on the “Hercules” in June 1637. He joined the church and was made a freeman 14 Mar 1638-9. He had a grant of land at Dorchester Neck in 1637 and was proprietor in the great lots in 1647. In 1651 he deputed his son, John, his attorney and went to Martha’s Vineyard, where he died. (History of Dorchester and Watertown)

On 6 Jun 1654 John was chosen by town to be leader of the Company for one year. In 1655 John was chosen leader for one year. He was chosen Constable in 1658-1692.

P.5 [Records of CT, Vol XI, p.463]
“Upon the memorial of Matthew Mitchel, Aaron Mallery, Seth Preston, etc, selectmen in and for the town of Woodbury, Shewing to this assembly that sometime in September 1757, the selectmen of said Woodbury, by and with the advice of the civil authority of said Woodbury, with his family and estates, into their hands; he, the said Butler, took one Malachi Butler, who through idleness, mismanagement, and bad husbandry, being then in a likely way to spend all his estate, and then took an inventory of his estate, which amounted to £179, one hundred of which is real estate, and the just debts then due from said estate and what hath since been expended for his support amounted to £127, 11s., 11d. Lawful money, so that the debts surmount.....Butler yet remains under circumstances no fit to have management of his affairs. Malachi Butler’s g-g’dau, Betsey Morrill Butler, Mrs. Daniel Stevens of Nottingham, NH, born in 1808, is authority.

Malachi Butler was at times partially insane and did many strange and some decidedly queer things. Malachi’s first son, Benjamin, graduated Harvard in 1752, and moved to Woodbury from Windham, CT. Sold property in Martha’s Vineyard in 1758 to John Pease. The first Butler births recorded in the now oldest book of records are the children of Simeon Butler, the eldest born in 1713. Simeon was brother of Malachi.

Zephaniah Butler was Captain in Nathan Sanborn’s Company, in Colonel Lash’s regiment in 1776, and also Captain Amos Morrell’s and Colonel John Stark’s on 8 apr 1777. Captain John Butler, son of Zephaniah and Abigail Cilley was born in Nottingham 17 May 1782.

He married (wife #1) Sarah Bachelder of Deerfield, NH on 5 Jan 1803. Sarah died 23 Feb 1809. Children born to them were:

  1. Polly True...born 8 Jun 1804
  2. Sally...born 11 Mar 1806
  3. Betsey Morrell...born 9 Jan 1808

Married wife #2, Charlotte Elleson on 21 Jul 1811. Children born to them include:
  1. Charlotte...born 13 May 1812, died Aug 1839
  2. Andrew Jackson...born 13 Feb 1815; died 11 Feb 1864
  3. Benjamin Franklin...born at Deerfield on 5 Nov 1818; died 11 Jan 1893

Captain John Butler in 1812 was granted permission to raise a company of light dragoons among neighbors on 23 Jul 1812 by president Madison.


John Daggett came to US in 1630, in Governor Winthrop’s company settled in Watertown, MA; wife #2, Bathsheba Pratt, a widow, married 29 Aug 1667; she died May 1673 at Plymouth. (Governor Thomas Mayhew’s first wife, Martha Parkurst; #2-Grace Paine, widow of Thomas Paine; daughter, Hannah) Thomas Daggett (son) died ~1691; married at Chillmark, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, Hannah Mayhew, eldest daughter of Thomas Mayhew. Hannah was born 15 Apr 1635, Watertown, MA; died in Watertown, MA. Son, Thomas Daggett born ? Died 25 Aug 1726; married Elizabeth Hawes, daughter of Edward Hawes of Yarmouth, died 1733. Daughter Jemimah Daggett married Malachi Butler.

PP. 15-16
Will of John Butler:

  • Son Henry-a gun
  • Son John already inherited
  • Son Thomas, deceased
  • Son Nicholas, all shoemaker’s tools
  • Son Samuel already inherited
  • Daughter Joyce Newcomb Ø
  • Son Onesimus, “my bed & furniture; clothes; ½ sheep; £100 due from John
  • Son Simeon already inherited “his full part”
  • Son Zephaniah, deceased: children Shobal and Sarah
  • Son Malachi
  • Daughter Priscilla Snow
  • Son Gamaliel

Will dated 4 Mar 1722; witnessed 10 May 1722

Thomas Daggett married Elizabeth Hanes, who died 1733. (Thomas died 25 Aug 1726)

  1. Timothy, died 17 Sep 1775, age 85 years; married 6 May 1714 Mary Smith, who died 2 Oct 1781, age 87
  2. Thomas, died 7 May 1783 age 83; married Love Coffin, born 13 Sep 1702; died 4 Oct 1789
  3. Benjamin, died ~1791 age 90; married Margery Holmes, who died 31 May 1783, age 73

    This history will be added to as time permits.

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Web Author: Dianne Elizabeth, © 1999
Phone: (425)343-5507
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Web Site: Dianne Elizabeth's Family History Website, Created July 17th, 1999
Page Title: A Butler History: Ancestors of Thersa Butler
Page Created: April 9th, 2000
Revised: December 20th, 2012