Butler, Pardee, one of the pioneer clergymen of Kansas, was born in Onondaga county, N. Y., in 1816, a son of Phineas Butler, an old Henry Clay Whig. In 1819 the family removed to the Western Reserve in Ohio, where Pardee united with the Christian church, and in time was ordained to the ministry. In 1855 he removed to Kansas and entered a claim about 12 miles from Atchison. It is said he also owned property in Missouri opposite Atchison. On Aug. 16, 1855, while waiting at Atchison for a boat to go east on business, Mr. Butler met Robert S. Kelley, assistant editor of the Squatter Sovereign, and in the course of the conversation remarked that he would have become a regular subscriber to the paper some time before but for the fact that he disliked its policy. Kelley replied: "I look upon all free soilers as rogues, and they ought to be treated as such." To this Mr. Butler replied that he was a free soiler and expected to vote for Kansas to be a free state, whereupon Kelley angrily retorted: "I do not expect you will be allowed to vote."
Nothing further was said at the time, but early the next morning Kelley and a few other pro-slavery men called at the hotel and demanded that Butler subscribe to some resolutions which had been adopted at a recent meeting, one of which was as follows: "That we recommend the good work of purging our town of all resident abolitionists, and after cleansing our town of such nuisances shall do the same for the settlers on Walnut and Independence creeks, whose propensities for cattle stealing are well known."
Butler was a man of positive views and undaunted courage, and naturally refused to sign a resolution so contrary to his opinions. The mob then seized him, blackened his face, placed him upon a raft and set him adrift upon the Missouri river. Phillips, in his Conquest of Kansas, says that a flag was raised on the raft bearing the inscription: "Eastern Emigrant Aid Express. The Rev. Mr. Butler, Agent for the Underground Railroad. The way they are served in Kansas. For Boston. Cargo insuredunvoidable danger of the Missourians and the Missouri river excepted. Let future Emissaries from the North beware. Our hemp crop is sufficient to reward all such scoundrels."
Holloway gives a different account of the inscription on the flag. He says: "A horse was represented on the flag at full speed with Mr. Butler upon him; a negro was clinging behind him, while Mr. Butler was represented as exclaiming: 'To the rescue, Greeley, I've got a negro!' Over the painting was printed in large letters 'Eastern Abolition Express.' The other side of the flag bore the following inscription: 'From Atchison, Kansas Territory. The way they are served in Kansas.'
Whichever account regarding this flag may he the correct one, it is certain that Mr. Butler was thus ignominiously banished from the territory where he had chosen to make his home. But if his assailants thought for a moment that he would remain away permanently they reckoned without their host. He soon returned, perfected the title to his claim, and continued to live in Kansas until his death, which occurred at Farmington, Atchison county, Oct. 20, 1888. He was again maltreated by a mob led by his old enemy, Kelley, on March 30, 1856, when he was given a mock trial and sentenced to hang, but this decree was changed and he was given a coat of tar and cotton wool. At the same time he was informed that if he ever appeared in Atchison again he would be put to death. Even this did not dampen his ardor for the free-state cause. He never shirked what he conceived to he his duty, and he contributed in no small degree to making Kansas a free state.Pages 265-266 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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