IRA BUTLER has been a Kansan for the past sixteen years, and all that time has been spent in the Brownell community of Ness County. His more active years were spent in Wisconsin, where he developed a successful business as a general agriculturist and stockman. It was not lack of success but climatic reasons that caused him to leave Wisconsin and come to Kansas. His physician had advised him to seek a drier and different atmosphere, and in his prospecting he was led to Western Kansas and finally decided upon Ness County. He has been exceedingly well satisfied with his selection of a permanent residence and has found both health and profit in this community.
Mr. Butler was born in Shelby County, Indiana, March 1, 1838, has had a long and active career and has now reached the age of fourscore. His father, William Butler, a native of New York State, was a teacher in his early years, subsequently became a farmer, and was also in the grain business in Wisconsin. In 1846 he moved his family to Wisconsin and in 1878 came to Kansas, taking a claim in Barton County, where he died in 1880, at the age of sixty-eight. William Butler married Eunice Stone. Her father, Capt. Ashbel Stone, was a soldier and captain of a company in the War of 1812. Captain Stone was a resident of New York State, but he died in Shelby County, Indiana. Mrs. William Butler died in 1852, and of her three children the only one that reached maturity is Ira Butler. William Butler married for his second wife Mary Soul, who became the mother of ten children, and of the eight still living one is in Kansas, one in California, three in Minnesota and three in Wisconsin.
Ira Butler from the age of eight years lived in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. That was a pioneer district when the family moved there, and he grew up practically on the frontier and his education came from such local schools as existed at that time in that state. On reaching his maturity he started out for himself as a farmer in Green Lake County, and he was prospered beyond the average and brought with him considerable capital to Kansas. In the early days of his experience as a Wisconsin farmer his dependence was placed on wheat, just as it is in Ness County today, but before he left the state the farmers were more and more engaging in dairying and hog raising.
On coming to Ness County Mr. Butler bought land at Brownell, and has employed his efforts chiefly to the raising of wheat, feed and stock. Of his ten quarter sections one half is now devoted to crops and his improvements have added some considerable value to his land.
He was one of the organizers of the Brownell State Bank and is now its president and one of the directors. He is also a stockholder in the Brownell Hotel Company, and has always been willing to contribute to the advancement of the town, including donations to the churches and other worthy enterprises.
Mr. Butler was brought up under republican influence, and in 1860 cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has never been active in politics beyond casting his vote, though in Wisconsin he served as treasurer of his home township for ten consecutive years. He and his wife are members of the Free Will Baptist Church.
In Green Lake County, Wisconsin, August 17, 1859, Mr. Butler married Miss Alice Westover. She was born in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, June 30, 1840, a daughter of Austin and Mary (Smolk) Westover. Her parents were natives of New York State, and her father, who followed farming for the most part, was killed by the Indians while carrying the United States mail in Montana. Mrs. Westover died in Rochester, Minnesota. Her children were: Mrs. Butler; Ellen, who married William Lindsley and died in Reno County, Kansas, leaving children; John, a resident of Nebraska; and Caroline, wife of William Hare of Rochester, Minnesota.
Mrs. Butler was educated in the common schools of Green Lake County, Wisconsin, where her parents were early settlers. She lived at home until she began keeping house as Mrs. Butler. To their marriage was born one child, a daughter, Eunice Ellen. She died when less than a year old.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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