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General Richard Butler Chapter, NSDAR

“On the evening of February 26, 1920, about 35 ladies met at the home of Alma Sherman Phillips, Second Street, for the purpose of organizing a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Rebecca Cook of Cooksburg County, organizing State Regent was presented and spoke in regard to the importance of any work undertaken by the chapter.  The suggestion was made by Rebecca Cook, approved by the chapter, that Alma Phillips fill the office of organizing regent and as such name officers:  Alma Phillips appointed:  First Vice Regent, Juliette Campbell; Second Vice Regent, Gertrude MacKinney; Registrar, Emily Doanes;  Recording Secretary, Minnie Gillespie; Treasurer, Nancy Mateer;  Historian, Helen Heiner;  Corresponding Secretary, Emma Christie; Chaplain, Rose McNees.”

from the minutes of our first chapter meeting

General Richard Butler 

General Richard Butler was born in the Parish of St. Bridget’s, Dublin, Ireland, April 1748. He was the oldest son of Thomas and Eleanor Parker Butler. Thomas Butler and Eleanor Parker were married in 1741; and in 1748, when Richard was five years old, they came to America.

Very few facts concerning the personal family affairs of General Richard Butler seem to be on record. His will, dated September 29, 1785, recorded in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, mentions his wife, Mary, and children, William and Mary, and is simply a statement of property bequests.  Some were around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and others in the eastern part of the state.

If the facts concerning the personal home life of General Richard Butler have been left unrecorded, the friends and historians have been generous in their praise of him as a leader, soldier, and a friend of the Indian.

About the year 1770, Richard and William, one of his five brothers, settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then a small village, and entered into partnership as Indian traders. When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1776, he entered the Pennsylvania line as Captain of the 2nd Pennsylvania Battalion. In 1777, he was transferred to Morgan’s Rifle Command as Lieutenant Colonel. He took active part in the battles of Saratoga, Monmouth, Stoney Point, and Yorktown. On account of his prior service, he was designated to plant our flag upon the British Works at the surrender of Yorktown. One writer said of him, “He was a brave and intrepid soldier, quick to perceive duty, and as quick to perform it, and possessed in a high degree the attachment of his men, and the confidence of his Commander-in-Chief, General Washington.

General Richard Butler was on the commission to hold treaties with the northern and western Indians.   In performance of his duties, he was located at Fort Stanwix, Fort McIntosh, and in 1785 at Miami, Ohio. During this period he kept a journal of his expeditions which was

published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1847 in a publication called “The Olden Times.”

General Richard Butler was prominent in securing the formation of Allegheny County and was appointed Lieutenant for the county in 1788. Later he was made one of the Judges of the Courts of Allegheny County, from which position he resigned to become a Representative to the Assembly from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. At that time, Butler was still a part of Allegheny County, as it was not made a separate county until 1800 and was named for General Richard Butler nine years after his death.

In 1791, General Butler was made second in command with the rank of Major General of the Army organized by General St. Clair for an expedition against the Indians and commanded the right wing of the American Army on the Miami River, where he met his death. According to a Butler County history, Major General Richard Butler fell at St. Clair’s defeat at what is now known as New Miami, Ohio, in the southwestern part of the state, on Nov. 4, 1791. Several years after this battle with the Indians, Cornplanter, the noted chief, returned to General Butler’s widow the Medal of Cincinnati which was on his person when he was killed.

In the Butler County Court House, there is a copy of the Fort Stanwix Treaty with the Six Indian Nations, by which Butler County was purchased for $292.30. General Richard Butler was one of the commissioners of the United States who negotiated it.

On the front of the Butler County Court House is a tablet erected in 1917 by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission and the Pennsylvania State Society Daughters of the American Revolution in memory of General Richard Butler.

General Richard Butler Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is honored to remember the man for whom our county, our city, and our chapter have been named.

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