Colonel John Butler
(1728-1796)

Colonel John Butler
Colonel John Butler was commander of Butler's Rangers, the famous Loyalist (Tory) battalion. Butler was born in New London, Connecticut, the son of an officer in the British Army. During the French and Indian War, Butler fought for the British at the battles of Ticonderoga, Lake George, Frontenac, Niagara and Montreal. At the outbreak of the Revolution he was stationed at Fort Niagara as deputy Indian Commissioner. Butler joined St. Leger in his unsuccessful march down the Mohawk Valley. After the battle of Oriskany he recruited his battalion of Rangers to serve with Indian warriors then mounted the 1778 invasion of Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania. He was later absolved of atrocities at Wyoming. In 1779 he and Joseph Brant opposed the Sullivan expedition. In 1780 Butler was made a lieutenant colonel and joined Sir John Johnson in raids on the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys.


At the end of the Revolution, Butler once again turned to farming, and became the "de facto" leader of the settlement in the Niagara Peninsula in Canada. He served as Deputy Superintendent of the Indian Department at Niagara, a Justice of the Peace, a
member of the Land Board of Niagara, Lieutenant of the County of Lincoln, Commanding Officer of the Nassau and Lincoln militia, leader of the Church of England in the community, and a prominent member of the Masonic Order. Butler died at Niagara on May 12, 1796 after a long illness.*

*Sullivan Clinton Campaign 1779-1979; A Bicentennial Commemorative. Chemung County Historical Society, Inc., Elmira, NY. pub. 1979.

(Sullivan Campaign of the Revolutionary War: The Impact on Livingston County, page 3)