Among the citizens of Celtic origin who have become thoroughly Americanized and closely associated with the farming and stock raising industry in Kansas is P.E. Butler of Lyon township. Mr. Butler has also gained prominence at the bar as one of the able attorneys of Cloud county. He has fully borne out the reputation of that class of energetic men of Irish nativity who have risen conspicuously in business, social and professional circles.
Mr. Butler was born in Dublin, in 1838. His parents were Timothy and Ann (Nolan) Butler, both born in the city of Dublin. In 1847, they emigrated to America and settled in Madison, Wisconsin, where Mr. Butler was educated in the common schools. His father died March 24, 1865; his mother died August 12, 1854. There was a family of nine children, all of whom died in infancy except three sons, two of whom were killed in the Civil war, John F. fell on the day of the assault on Vicksburg and George W. died at home from a gunshot wound received in the United States service. Thus Mr. Butler is the only remaining member of his father's family.
At the breaking out of the war he enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry, serving his adopted country four years, two months and three days. His regiment was under the command of several noted generals - Halleck, McClellan and Grant. He was with Major N.P. Banks on Red River and Major General E.0.C. Ord at Mobile, Alabama. He was in the following regular engagements: Peach Orchard, Virginia; Port Hudson, Jackson, Champion Hills, Mississippi, Black River Bridge, and the assault on Vicksburg, September 22, 1863, and Fort Esperanza, Texas; Mr. Butler always had a desire to visit Texas but not in that capacity. He had an arm broken and received a wound in the foot at Fort Blakely, Alabama. He witnessed the fall of Mobile.
Prior to the war Mr. Butler had read law in the office of George B. Smith. After his return home he pursued his studies in the office of Welch & Kissam, attorneys of Madison, Wisconsin, at the same time teaching school. In 1869, he emigrated to Iowa and one year later to Kansas where he secured his present farm, his original homestead, when there were but few settlers in the present community and where a few buffalo were still passing and numerous antelope.
Mr. Butler continued his pedagogical following which assisted him out of many financial straits. He taught two years in No. 47; this district was organized in 1873. They voted bonds and built a one thousand dollar stone school building. The first board of officers were D.J. Fowler, director; Thomas Butler, treasurer, George Billings, clerk. Mr. Butler taught three years in District No. 6, one year in No. 22, and one year in No. 58. In 1894, he was admitted to the bar of Kansas, and the same year received the nomination from the Populist party for county attorney of Cloud county, but Mr. Butler was on the wrong ticket, and in 1901, when he ran for representative. At both elections he polled a large vote but the party was not in favor.
Mr. Butler was married April 4, 1869, to Miss Mary E. Hughes, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and emigrated with her parents to Wisconsin, when she was seven years old. Her paternal ancestors were of Irish origin, while her maternal ancestors were English. Her mother's father was a distinguished Episcopal minister.
To Mr. and Mrs. Butler have been born an interesting family of nine children, all of whom are living and occupy places of prominence. His daughters are exceptionally bright and intelligent women and very successful as educators. Mr. Butler has given his children the advantages for acquiring an education and they have improved them to the utmost. The children are: Josephine is the wife of Wilford Menard, and they reside in Chicago. She is a graduate from the Salina Normal school and was a successful teacher in this state and also in Michigan. Kate, the second daughter, has occupied a place in the eighth grade of the Concordia high school for a number of years. She taught in the country districts and one year in the Beloit schools and is one of the few teachers of Cloud county exempt from examination, holding a state certificate. Timothy J. holds a position in the census department. He was a student of the Agricultural College of Manhattan one year, of the Madison Wisconsin University two years and graduated from the law department of the Kansas University in 1899. He graduated from the University of Washington in diplomacy and jurisprudence. While finishing a course at the Columbia Law School, he is filling the position in the census office with the ultimate intention of following the profession of law. Margaruite, wife of Walter B. Davis, a Cloud county farmer, was also a teacher. Frances, who has been a teacher for a period of five years, is now employed in District No. 58. Belle, a graduate of the Concordia High school, class of 1901, will follow in her sisters' footsteps and teach the present year. Rosa, a school girl in attendance at District No. 47, has given her attention to music rather than teaching. Clara, graduated from the common schools in 1901, and is now a student of the Concordia high school. Eugene, a bright lad of twelve years, completes the family.
Mr. Butler owns two hundred and forty-five acres of ground which is mostly wheat land. In an exhibit at the World's Fair in Chicago, in 1893, he was awarded a beautiful bronze medal for the best quality of red winter wheat. Mr. Butler along with Mr. Collins, who was interested in the exposition, selected a bushel of wheat. His exhibit was taken from bulk in the granary just as it was threshed from the machine. The yield per acre was thirty-four bushels, weight sixty-one and one-half pounds. The award was one of twenty-nine received in the state on threshed wheat, and one of two that came to Cloud county, which was not included in the wheat belt at that date.
Mr. Butler with his family live in a commodious, imposing, two-story residence of twelve rooms. He has a small but well bearing apple orchard. In March, 1880, he brought into the country one of the first herds of Shorthorn cattle. The family are members of the Roman Catholic church. Mr. Butler is a member of the Society of Elks, of Concordia.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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