OUR RICHARD BUTLER FAMILY
RICHARD BUTLER (mar. Elizabeth Bigelow)
SAMUEL BUTLER (mar. Elizabeth Olmstead)
MARY BUTLER (mar. Ebenezer Hopkins)
The Butler name is ancient, said to be of Irish origin, although there are also many ancient families of that name in Cheshire and Yorkshire, from which the Irish lines may have descended.
In the peerage of Ireland the name is one of the oldest, the surname being derived from the Chief Butlership of that Kingdom. In 1177, Theobald Fritz Walter, who derived his pedigree from the Duke of Normandy, was created the Chief Butler of Ireland by Henry II, and was possessed of the baronies of Upper and Lower Ormande, as well as of numerous other places. His son and heir, Theobald, was the first to assume the name of Butler in 1221.
Known later as DEACON RICHARD BUTLER, the American ancestor of the Butlers of Wethersfield, Connecticut, came to this country from Braintree County, Essex, England.*
* Richard may have been about 1615, and may have been the son of Steven Butler, born 1580 at Braintree, Essex, England.
The History of Cambridge states that Richard and his brother William, were at Cambridge in 1633.*
* An undated manuscript at the Philadelphia Historical Society by Mrs. Edna Mary Sears Dunning states that he came to America in 1632 on the Ship Lyon to “Cambridge, Massachusetts.” The ship Lyon did arrive from London in Boston as part of Winthrop’s Fleet. However, the researcher has not found Richard Butler on any of the published lists. The ship Lyon made a prior voyage departing London in August 1631 with “about” 60 passengers. That voyage arrived at Nantasket in November 1631. There were a total of 11 ships in Winthrop’s fleet and many of the lists are incomplete.
Another source states he sailed on the ship Hector in 1632 with his brother William. There are no passenger lists for that ship. Richard does appear on the records of Cambridge thus certainly did sail as part of one of Winthrop’s voyages.
Richard became a Freeman there on 14 May 1634, on the same day Rev. Thomas Hooker.
The Butler brothers both removed to Hartford, Connecticut with Rev. Hooker’s “Braintree group”, and he was therefore among the first settlers there. He was a deacon in the First Church of Hartford.
As one of the Original Proprietors of Hartford, his name appears on the east elevation of the Founder’s Monument, in the Ancient Burying Ground at the rear of the First Congregational Church, also called “Center Church”, at the corner of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford, Connecticut.
Founders' Monument, Hartford, Connecticut
All Richard Butler descendants are eligible to be members of the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford (see their link under "Websites").
In Hartford’s first division of land, Richard received 16 acres. His residence was on the south side of Little River, “on the corner where the road from George Steele’s intersects the road from the Mills to the country,” and he owned a house-lot and other lands in Wethersfield.
Richard was twice married. Many references state that the name of his first wife may have been Hannah Banbury. One account states that he came to America, “mourning the loss of wife and infant.”
* Some controversy exists over Richard’s two wives and, consequently, which mother of which children. Click here.
About 1642, Richard remarried, ELIZABETH BIGELOW. She was born about 1606, in Suffolk County, England. The Bigelow Society lists her as a daughter of Randall & Jane Baguley, but does state that she may have been a cousin of John Bigelow, the Emigrant.
William married Eunice, daughter of Tristram Coffin of Nantucket, but when he died in 1648, he had no wife, and gave most of his property to his brother, Richard. In the Will, Richard was directed to pay certain legacies to the children of their two sisters, Mrs. West and Mrs. Winters, both of whom remained in “Old England”, as well as to some friends in Hartford. He also was to give “three-skore pounds” (£60) to the Hartford Church.
Richard performed civil service for his community as follows:
- Juror – 1643, 1644, 1647-48
- Grand juror – 1660-62
- Selectman – 1648-49, 1654, and 1658
- Deputy to the General Court – 1643-44, 1648, 1656-60
- Clerk of General Court – 20 May 1658
Richard Butler died at Hartford in a ripe old age, on 6 August 1684. The Center Church records indicate burial was in the “Old Burying Ground” on Gold Street, near Center Church of Hartford. His will was dated April 2nd, 1677, at Hartford. The inventory of his estate was valued at £564-15-00.
Will of Richard Butler
Dated April 2, 1677, Hartford
Know all men whom it may concerne, that I Richard Butler, of Hartford upon Connecticut river being in bodily health & of sound and perfect memory, doe make & ordayne this my Last will & Testiment in Form & maner as followeth:
I doe give to my sonne Thomas Butler my uper lot in the longe meddow.
2nd I doe give to my sonne Samuel all my meadow land in Wethersfeild meadow.
3, I doe give to Nathaniel my sonne my meddow lot neare the long meddow gate.
4, I doe give to Joseph Butler my sonne all my land in the south meddow.
5, I doe give to my sonne Daniel Butler my now delling house with all apurtenances of building & grounds about it and also I do give to my sonne Daniel my lot commonly caled ten-acres
6, I doe give my 3 daughters Mary Wright, Elizabeth Olmsted and hanah Greene twentie shillings apeice, to be payd out of my moveable estate by my present wife Elizabeth whom I appoint my executrix to this my last will.
Allso it is my will that none of these children aforesayd doe possess or enjoy any of these Lands, or ought else mentioned, but with the consent, death, or change of the mother’s condition, that is, by marrying againe. But if my wife Elizabeth Butler should change her condition & marry againe, then my will is that all aforesd. sonnes & daughters doe possess every one his Legacy and my wife only the Thirds; & for the rest of Cattell and household goods I give them all to my wife, provided as afouresayd she continue in widdowhood; but if she marry again, then to take the third of all, as of the house & Land so of Cattell & household Stuffe; & the rest equally to be divided amonge all my Children aforementioned; & though there may be divers Wills Extant that I have written with my owne hand, yet this is my Last & shall stand written wth my owne hand. I appoint my two sonnes Thomas & Samuel Butler to be Overseers of this my Last will. My will also is that my daughter Mary Wright shall have one feather bed after her mother’s decease.
Written with my owne hand — Richard Butler.
Witness: Samuel Wright, Samuel Butler.
Taken 2 September, 1684, by Paul Peck sen., George Grave.
Court Record, Page 93 – 4 September, 1684: Will Proven.
Elizabeth (Bigelow) Butler died on 11 September 1691 at Hartford.
Will of Elizabeth Butler
Died 11 September, 1691.
Administration to Samuel & Daniel Butler.
Distribution to her children: Nathaniel, Joseph, Daniel, Samuel Butler, Elizabeth Olmsted, Abigail Butler.
Daniel Butler, though a Legatee, made Oath with Mary Butler to the Nuncupative Will of the Decd, that the Estate should be divided equally among her children, and it appearing by the Testimony of Mary Butler that Elizabeth Butler, decd, nere her death did declare that it was her minde that after her death her goods should be equally divided unto her five children, Nathaniel, Joseph, Daniel and Samuel Butler and Elizabeth Olmsted; and Daniel Butler, although he be a legatee, yet affirmed that he heard his Mother say & declare the same as is Testified by Mary Butler, which this Court accepts as the last Will of sayd Elizabeth Butler; whereas there is a debt of about Thirteen & fourteen pounds sayd to be due from Thomas Butler, Adms. to his Father’s Estate, and upon his own proper accot, which debt, this Court, with consent of Samuel Butler, Daniel Butler and Joseph Olmsted, doe remit to the sayd Thomas Butler & to his Brethren & Sisters, onely Thomas Butler to have a double portion of it.
Taken by Samuel Butler & Daniel Butler.
Court Record, Page 34 – 3d December, 1691.
RICHARD BUTLER’S CHILDREN
- Mary Butler was born in 1635. She married 29 Sept 1659, Ens. Samuel Wright of Wethersfield, son of Thomas, b. 1634, in Eng. She died in February 1690.
- Sgt. Thomas Butler was born in 1637. He married Sarah Stone (dtr. of Rev. Samuel Stone) of Hartford. She was born before 1640. They had 11 children. He died 29 August 1688; she died after 5 July 1690. He was Sergeant of the Hartford train band, and a Selectman in 1682, 1683.
- ENS. SAMUEL BUTLER was born in 1639. He married Elizabeth Olmstead, of Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Nicholas and Sarah (Loomis) Olmstead.
- Nathaniel Butler was born in 1641. He married Sarah Green, the daughter of Bartholomew and Jane (Banbridge) Green. He died on 9 Feb 1697/8, “ae. 56 yrs. or thereabouts.”
- Elizabeth Butler was born in 1643. She married (1) Dea. Joseph Olmstead of Hartford, born in 1654, the son of Capt. Nicholas & Sarah (Loomis) Olmstead; had daughter, Sarah. Her grave marker reads: "HERE LIES THE BODY OF LIESEABETH THE WIFE OF DEACON JOSEPH OLMSTED WHO DIED 28 APRIL IN THE 78 OF HER AGE 1729."
- Dea. Joseph Butler was born in 1648. He married (1) Mary Goodrich, the daughter of Ens. William Goodrich; (2) Mary (Bushnell) Miller. Joseph died 10 December 1732.
- Sgt. Daniel Butler was born at Wethersfield. He was married about 1679-1680 to Mabel Olmstead, daughter of Nicholas and Sarah (Loomis) Olmstead. He died 28 March 1692. She married (2) Michael Taintor in August 1697. She died after 6 April 1705.
- Hannah Butler. She married, by 2 April 1677, John Greene. She died after 1703.
Deacon and Ensign SAMUEL BUTLER was born at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1639.
As an adult, Samuel settled in Wethersfield where, in 1668, he was chosen to be Town School Master. He was appointed a Selectman in 1689.
He drew land as a resident householder in 1670. In 1680, his father gave him 27 acres of land in Little West Field (the south side of Jordan Lane). And in 1682, three acres on the east side of High Street Common. In 1694, he drew more lands. I believe one “drew land” in the course of a town division of public lands, dispensed periodically in the course of town settlement.
Upon the death of his father, Samuel inherited all of his father’s meadow-land in Wethersfield meadows.
Samuel Butler married ELIZABETH OLMSTEAD of Hartford, Connecticut by 1665. She was born 20 November 1642 at Hartford, the daughter of Nicholas and Sarah (Loomis) Olmstead.
* Some controversy exists over both the name of Samuel’s wife, and her date of birth. Click here.
Elizabeth (Olmstead) Butler died on 12 or 17 October 1681 at Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut.
Samuel Sen. wrote his will on the 30 December 1692. This was about one year after the death of his mother.
“Ensign Samuel Butler, deacon at Wethersfield,” died on 31 December, 1692, “ye last day of the week, ye last day of the month, ye last day of the year; and, as he had sayd, soe it proved, ye last day of his life”. The Inventory of his estate was taken on the 25th of February 1692/93, by John Wiard and Joseph Churchill, and amounted to £529-07-00.
His son Samuel Jr., the executor, was instructed to pay £5 to his married sister, Mary Hopkins, and £10 to his (probably then unmarried) sister, Dorothy.
Will of Ensign Samuel Butler
Dated December 30, 1692, Wethersfield, Connecticut
In the name of God Amen this 30th Day of December in ye fourth year  of ye Reigne of our Sovereinge lord & lady William & Mary be ye grace of God of England Scotland France & Ireland King & Queen Defender of ye faith etc in ye year of our lord God one Thousand Six hundred ninety two I Samuel Butler of Wethersfield in ye County of Hartford in their magesties Territory and Dominion of new England in America being sick & weake of body but of good & perfect memory, etc....
I Will to Samuel Butler, my eldest son, my Dwelling house & Homelott, with all other Buildings, with the Appurtenances, and also all my Land lying at the upper End of the Great Meadow, and my best Bed but one, with the Furniture, and my Sadle, and also my Great Iron Pott and Trammell, he paying the Legacies of £5 to my daughter Mary Hopkins and £10 to my daughter Dorothy.
Item. I give to my son James Butler my Lott in the Little West Field, 28 acres more or less, and my 2-acre lott at the lower End of the Great Meadow, also my Gunn and Sword.
I give to my son Jonathan my 50-acre Lott in ye Woods, and all my Interest in the Purchased Land in Hartford on the East side of the River.
I give to my son George my 10-acre Lott in the Little West Field, also 8 acres more or less in the Wet Swamp.
I give to my daughter Elizabeth Emmons my proportion of Land in the Indian Purchase on the East side of the Great River in Wethersfield, besides what I have given her already, and also 1 of my bigest pewter Platters.
I give to my daughter Mary Hopkins £5, to be paid by my son Samuel as abovesd., and one of my bigest pewter platters.
I give to my daughter Sarah Butler one of my bigest platters.
I give to my daughter Dorothy £10, to be paid by my son Samuel as abovesd., and my best Bed with all the Furniture, and my Chest. I give her the 2 bigest Kettles, and also one of the Bigest pewter Dishes.
I make my son Samuel Butler Executor, and Benjamin Churchill & Thomas Wickham my Overseers.
SAMUEL BUTLER, Ls.
Witness: Benjamin Churchill, John Welles, Joseph Wright
Inventory value £579-07-00. Taken 25 February, 1692/93, by John Wiard and Joseph Churchill.
Court Record, Page 52 – 2 March, 1692/93: Will proven.
CHILDREN OF SAMUEL & ELIZABETH (OLMSTEAD) BUTLER*
* The order of presentation here is as outlined in the History of Ancient Wethersfield, by Stiles; i.e., males first, females second.|
- Samuel Butler was born at Wethersfield.
- James Butler was born at Wethersfield.
- Jonathan Butler was born at Wethersfield. This child inherited property from his uncle John Biglow Jr., upon uncle’s death in 1721. The inheritance was contested by another nephew of Biglow, but the court decided in favor of Butler and the property remained in Butler hands until the late 1800s.
- George Butler; died unmarried on 5 May 1698. His inventory was £49-11-08, taken on 15 Aug 1698. His estate was divided by agreement among his brothers and sisters.
- MARY BUTLER. She married Ebenezer Hopkins.
- Dorothy Butler; married (-) Kilbourn.
- Elizabeth Butler was born on 20 August 1667; married Samuel Emmons.
- Sarah Butler; married Samuel Buck.
MARY BUTLER was born in 1670. She married Ebenezer Hopkins, of Hartford, on 21 January 1691/92. (The Olmstead genealogy states marriage was 12 January 1691/92.) Ebenezer was born in July 1668 in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Stephen and Dorcas (Bronson) Hopkins.
Hopkins, Timothy. John Hopkins of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1634, and Some of His Descendants. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1932.
On p. 23, footnote b.
On p. 805, Hopkins indicates that descendants of Richard Butler are eligible for membership in the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.
Bigelow, Patricia, ed. The Bigelow Family Genealogy: Volume I: Six Generations of Descendants of John Biglo (1617-1703) of Watertown, Massachusetts (Flint, MI: The Bigelow Society, Inc., 1986) pgs. 3-11. SLC FHL 929.273 B481bf.
Stiles, Henry R., and S.W. Adams, The History of Ancient Wethersfield (New York : Grafton Press, 1904). At SLC FHL 974.62/W2 H2as 1990 v. 1. “Butler”, see Vol. I, pg. 256; Vol. II, pgs. 170-173.
Manwaring, Charles W., comp. Early Connecticut Probate Records, Vol. I (1635-1700). See Vol. IV pg. 286-87 for Deacon Richard Butler (1684); Vol. V, pgs. 420-421, for Elizabeth Butler (1691), and Ensign Samuel Butler (1692). Published 1904. Available on Google Books.
Wilmes, Debra F., comp. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.) “Wethersfield 1634 - 1868”. For birthdate of Elizabeth and Mary Olmstead.
Manwaring, Charles W., comp. A Digest of Early Connecticut Probate Records: Hartford District 1635-1700, Vol. I (Hartford CT: R. S. Peck & Co., 1904) Vol. I, pgs. 420-21. SLC FHL 974.6 P2m v. 1.
Olmsted, Henry K. Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in America (New York: A. T. de la Mare Printing, 1912).
Paige, Lucius R. History of Cambridge Massachusetts, 1630-1877 (Boston: H. O. Houghton & Co., 1877) pg. 32.
Paige, Lucius R. 1849. “List of Freeman.” New England Historical Genealogical Register. Vol. III/1: 89-96. On p. 92, citing Colonial Records (vol. I, p. 79), “‘Rich. Butlar’ made Freeman of Massachussetts Colony on 14 May 1634 (same day Thomas Hooker was made Freeman)”.
Register, Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford (Hartford, CT: 1939) p. 4.
Savage, James. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, etc.. 4 vols. (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co., 1862). Vol. I, p. 321; Vol. 2, pp. 26, 27; Vol. 4, pp. 208, 446.
Torrey, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publ. Co., 1985.
On p. 127, lists Richard Butler’s wives.
Trumbull, J. Hammond. Memorial History of Hartford County, 2 vols. (Boston, MA: Edward L. Osgood, 1886) Vol. I, 233. For a sketch of Richard and William Butler.
Wethersfield Town and Church Records; Wethersford Inscriptions; Mrs. George H. Butler of Cromwell, Conn.
BUTLER WEB SITES
Richard Butler-Elizabeth Bieglow Page, website by Diana Gale Matthiesen.
This website states Richard’s first two children are those of the unknown wife (Hannah Banbury?); the remainder of the children, including our Samuel, are those of Elizabeth Bigelow. First (unknown) marriage before 1635; none given for Elizabeth Bigelow. This website also states that Elizabeth Olmstead was the wife of Samuel Butler, and gives her birth as 20 Nov 1642 at Hartford.
The Butler Family of Cromwell, Conn..
This is my preferred site. This group states Richard was twice married, no dates. Attributes all children as those of Elizabeth Bigelow. They also state “as shown above, she is listed as dying in 1691, but being buried in the 1650’s.” The “as shown above” is simply that, and doesn’t cite the source. Send comments, corrections and requests to cb-info @ cromwellbutlers. com.
The Butler Society.
The Butler Society was founded in 1967 and has published The Journal of The Butler Society since 1968. A Butler Rally is held every three years in Kilkenny, Ireland. Membership fees apply.
OTHER WEBSITE RESOURCES
Bigelow Family Genealogy. Our Folk. Webmaster: by Albert D. Hart, Jr.
Email ourfolk@ renderplus.com for errors. This genealogy has Dorcas Bronson Hopkins as the daughter of John Bronson and Sarah Ventris (which is incorrect; see my webpage for John Bronson).
Bigelow Society website.
Email: rodbigelow @ netzero. net. This website lists Richard’s first four children (including our Samuel) as children of unknown first wife; last four children as those of Elizabeth Bigelow.
Historic Sites at Hartford, Connecticut.
Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford.
A Loomis genealogy website
The publisher of this genealogy remains anonymous. The site states that Elizabeth Olmstead’s husband Samuel, was the son of Richard Butler and Elizabeth (Bigelow) Butler. It also states that Samuel married both Elizabeth and Mary Olmstead, sisters, citing The Barbour Collection as reference, see above under Wilmes.
Wethersfield Historical Society.
Booth, Charles Edwin. One Branch of the Booth Family Showing the Lines of Connection with One Hundred Massachusetts Bay Colonists (New York, NY: Charles E. Booth, 1910) pg. 114.
Booth cited many works, including:
Goodwin’s Notes, p. 212.
Hinman’s Early Puritan Settlers, 1852 ed., pp. 454, 456.
Hartford in the Olden Time, p. 178.
Paige’s Cambridge, pp. 11, 32, 505.
Cambridge Registry Book, p. 11.
Mass. Records, Vol. 1, p. 369.
Bigelow Genealogy, p. 18.
Trumbull’s Hartford County, Vol. 1, pp. 233, 236, 253; Vol. 2, p. 439.
Loomis Genealogy, female branches, p. 15.
Hist. Catalogue of First Church in Hartford, pp. 6, 12, 29, 30.
New Eng. Hist. and Gen. Register, Vol. 9, p. 271.
Supplement to General Register Society of Colonial Wars, 1906 ed., p. 295.
Genealogical and Research Library, located in the Old Academy at 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT. Open year-round Tue-Fri 10A-4P. Also open by appointment. Phone (860) 529-7656. If you have a query and would like to have it answered by mail, put your request in writing and our volunteer researchers will handle it.
Wethersfield Historical Society, 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109. The society, in 1984, sent me copies of the probate records and some pages from Stiles’s work.
Official Website of the
Hopkins-River and Saemann-Nickel Families
This is the Richard Butler Family Page
Much material paraphrased from sources.
Presentation © 2007 Joann River
Last Updated - 14 February 2012
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