Thomas Butler: Birth: ABT. 1770. Death: ABT. 1835
Nancy Butler: Birth: 1796.
William R Butler: Birth: 12 Jan 1799. Death: 14 May 1849
John W Butler: Birth: 1808. Death: 1879
Jacob R Butler: Death: BEF. 1837
Note: Thomas lived in Frederick County, Maryland. He later moved to Bedford County, Virginia. He later moved to Anderson County, Tennessee.
Although William Butler, Senior, was the revered patriarch of the Butler clan, it was his son Thomas A Butler, Senior who paved the way for the families to move from Virginia to Poplar Creek in present Anderson County, Tennessee. Thomas was the initiator and leader in the family. On February 13, 1800, he bought from Charles McClung 1000 acres from the 5,000-acre tract on Main Poplar Creek and parts of Brushy Fork and Mountain Fork of Poplar Creek (Knox County Deed Book F, Volume 2, Page 8). He sold parts of his 1000 acre tract to his father, brothers and sisters who soon followed.
A well-known genealogist, Penelope Johnson Allen, made a comprehensive study of the Jacob Butler line, and stated positively that the Butlers were of German descent. Early Anderson County records substantiate this claim to a certain extent because in many of these documents the name is spelled "Boteler" which may indicate German spelling, or it could be only a spelling derived from a Virginia accent.
On April 4, 1834, Thomas A Butler, Senior, made an affidavit in a Revolutionary War pension application in Anderson County in which he stated that he was born November 11, 1763 in Frederick County, Maryland, and that his parents moved when he was young to Bedford County, Virginia, in that portion which was cut off later to form Campbell County, Virginia. He enlisted as a private horseman during the fall of 1780, and saw limited action at New London, Petersburg, and Portsmouth. He was verbally discharged after this tour of three months. Thomas again volunteered and marched with the army by old Jamestown to Williamsburg and on to the seige of Yorktown. The applicant was under the command of Col. Skipper the night that the British "spiked four of our cannons." In his statement, Thomas says that he was standing beside a man by the name of Vaughn when said Vaughn's head was shot off. He did much labor in throwing up batteries during the seige, and when the British magazine was blown up, he saw the bodies of many British soldiers flying up into the air. After the surrender of British General Cornwallis, he was unable to serve as a guard of the prisoners, and was given a written discharge by Dr. Cogswell which certificate has long since been lost. This abstract contains the high points of the affidavit.
At the end of the affidavit, his aged hand tried to affix his signature, but only the first part is legible, and the Justice-of-the Peace, Robert Galbraith, signed for him and William made his mark.
Alexander Galbraith and Richard Oliver submitted affidavits to the County Court to support the pension application. Four months after the above application, Thomas died (August 31, 1834) and is probably buried in an unmarked grave near the Butler Cemetery.
Thomas erected a saw and a grist mill, and a large iron forge at the confluence of Brushy and Mountain Forks of Poplar Creek. Matthew Rhea states that by 1830, iron produced from this forge and one other on Brush Fork was the third leading product in Anderson County. Although details are not known, the iron works was in operation over a considerable period of time and evidently required the employment of a large number of people for all phases of its operation. Under a Tennessee law passed in 1824 for the encouragement of iron works, Thomas received a grant (No. 16591) for 2,600 acres on the condition that the iron works would be kept in repair and in operation. The 2,600 acre tract was located on the Northeast of the forge and between the property lines of the Galbraiths and the Hoskins lines across the Pine Ridge. This tract was still a part of the Thomas A. Butler estate after his death, and was included in the division of his estate by a Court appointed Commission.
In addition to the 3,600 acres mentioned, Thomas continued to obtain more land by State grrants and by purchase including various mill sites and coal and other mineral lands in Morgan County. He entered the seven-acre tract, later known as the Salt-Well tract, and a one-acre "coal bank) in 1808 which probably the earliest written reference to coal in Tennessee records. Thomas was also the promoter of the Butler Turnpike in Morgan County in 1817 which was to connect Piles Turnpike with the Cumberland Road. Thus, it may be seen that he was a big land and slave holder, and a large-scale entrepreneur of proven ability.
Thomas A. Butler, Senior died interstate and no precise, or official list of his children has been found. Fourtunately, in Anderson County Deed Book J. Page 131, John W Butler, a son of Thomas, sold his one-ninth interest in his father's estate to the remaining legatees and devisees who are named in part.
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