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History Lives Here Text

The Butler Family is Counted

No onecaught up with the William G. Butler family in the 1830 census. In the 1 840federal census (see pp. 421-424) they are recorded as living in Newark (laterSaugatuck) Township. In addition to William G. Butler, the first settler inAllegan County and the founder of Saugatuck Village, the 1840 census includeshis second wife, Eliza, and two young children, and two alder children from hisfirst wife, Mary, who had died in 1835.

William G.and Emily Butler


By 1850 Butler wassuffering from financial difficulties stemming largely from the Panic of 1837,when land speculation and federal manipulation of currency caused widespreadfinancial embarrassment even to many who had been quite wealthy. Unable to paythe taxes on most of the property he had owned in Saugatuck Village andenvirons, Butler moved his family to a farm in Manlius Township which he sharedwith John Barrager. Others in the Butler family include his third wife, Emily,and ten-year-old James G. Butler, the son by his second wife who had died in1843. A daughter, Lucy, by his first wife, married in 1849 {see page 431}.Living next door to the Butler-Barrager household is English-born James Harriswho had been a blacksmith in the Singapore and Saugatuck lumber mills. Noticethat the census taker records that Butler still owns

$5000 in real estate.


William diedas the result of a logging accident in 1857 and by the 1860 census Emily is living in Allegan,next door to the hotel. with the Dawson family. She is 51, and, although nooccupation is listed, she might have assisted with the household or the hotel.


Emily Butlerdied in 1864.

James G.Butler

In 1860James G. Butler fifth line from the top) is 21 years old and his occupation islisted as "Surveyor." He is living in what is described as a"Sailor's Boarding House" but which appears to be the Smith hotel inSaugatuck, at the northeast corner of Mason and Butler Streets. Young James isshown as owning $10,000 worth of real estate and possessing $500 of personal property.He would shortly leave for service in the Union Army.

After his Union Army service was over James G. Butlerreturned to Michigan only long enough to marry Margaret Leggat of Grand Havenin 1868 and moved to St, Louis, Missouri, where he was engaged in the tobaccobusiness. In this 1 870 census his occupation is listed as "Keeps Tob.Facty" and his real estate holdings amount to $75;000, a large sum for thetime. The couple employed one German-born "domestic servant" and hadadditional boarders.


In 1880 theyhad moved to Grand Avenue in St. Louis. James' occupation is listed as"Tobacco Manufacturer." He and his wife. Maggie, had no children, butin 1880, Nellie L. Butler, described as a niece, was living with them. Thiscould not be a child of any of his brothers or sisters, because her parents arelisted as both born in New York, and none of the Butler children were. She isprobably related to some of William's siblings. Note, also that the familyemployed two female servants and a "coachman."


By 1900James is listed as "Retired." The couple is still living in St. Louisand employed a cook, housemaid and coachman.


In 1910James is 70 and his occupation is listed as "Own income." He andMaggie have five servants, a housekeeper, cook, servant, houseman andchauffeur, the last indicating that they may have owned a motor car. James G.Butler died in 1916. His widow, Maggie, died in 1918.


Lucy J.(Butler) Miner

Lucy J.Butler was one of the children that William had when he and his first wife,Mary, first arrived in Allegan County. Lucy had been born in Pennsylvaniabefore the trek west. On June 3, 1849, she married Clement Miner and, in the 1850 census, the young couple is shown as residents of Allegan with a two-monthold son. Clement is employed as a cooper.



 Lucy had three children in quick succession,and died at the age of 28 on September 30, 1856, possibly as a result ofcomplications following the birth of Mary. In this 1860 census Clement and hissecond wife, Caroline, are living in Allegan Village, with Lucy's threechildren. Note that Lucy's youngest two children are named for her parents.William G. and Mary Butler.



In 1870 thecouple is still living in Allegan Village where Clement "Works inFurniture Shop." Although both of Lucy's sons are still living in thehousehold, her daughter has disappeared and Clement and Caroline have adaughter, Lucy J., apparently named for Clement's first wife.



In 1880Clement and Caroline are still living in Allegan with 20-year-old Lucy, still"at school." A nation-wide search for George and William Miner wasunsuccessful. If there are direct descendents of William G. Butler living todaythey would be from the families of George and William. More research is needed.