WILLIAM F. BUTLER, oil producer and farmer, of Brady's Bend Township, Armstrong County, lives upon the place which the Butler family was occupied continuously since 1875. It came into his father's possession some time before that. Mr. Butler was born in Brady's Bend Township Aug. 29, 1951, son of Thomas Butler, and is of English extraction, his father having been born near Birmingham, England. Joseph and Fanny (Garrington) Butler, his grandparents, had a family of fourteen children, of whom Thomas was the thirteenth in order of birth. They were in good circumstances, and gave their children school advantages and thorough practical training for the work of life. The father dying, some of the family came to America, landing at Boston June 29, 1844.

Thomas Butler was born Feb. 1, 1825, and was one of those who arrived at Boston on the date mentioned. He soon came to Pennsylvania, expecting to meet his elder brother, William, at Chester. The brother had preceded him to this country, and Thomas supposed he was working in a rolling mill there, so was much disappointed to find he had left the place. However, he went to work in the mill himself, receiving a bonus of $100 and remaining there for a period of three months. Then he went to Troy, N.Y., where he worked at puddling for the famous iron company of Henry Burden & Company. While there, in 1846, he sent to England for a young woman, Elizabeth Darby, a neighbor, whom he had known all his life and to whom he was affianced. He met her in New York, and was married to her in Troy, July 18, 1846, the ceremony being performed at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, by Rev. Dr. Van Kleeck.

After his marriage he moved to Boston, and while at work there was hired with others by the Brady's Bend Iron Company, on March 18, 1847, arriving at their works, which were the third in the United States to turn out T rails. Mr. Butler was a thoroughly skilled workman, as good as the best in the country and he very soon quit pudding and took a contract for running four heating furnaces. This was a responsible and remunerative position, and although a very young man he filled it to the entire satisfaction of the mill owners, and held it continuously from 1847 to 1872. A short time before his second marriage (which occurred in 1849) he bought the farm in Brady's Bend Township where his widow and son still live, having accumulated a little money by economy and saving. Then he improved the property as he was able, building a substantial house and otherwise adding to its value, and in 1875 he went to reside there permanently. In 1877 the first third-sand oil well was struck on this place, and it is still producing, his son owning it. When it was found that this land was rich in petroleum Mr. butler leased it in parcels to H.L. Taylor & Co., and other operators, receiving a certain proportion of the production as royalty, and it was sufficient to make him independent, so that he was able to spend his closing years in enjoyable retirement. Mr. Butler was a man of keen intelligence, fond of good reading, and by applying himself became unusually well informed. He took great interest in public affairs, especially such measures as were designed to benefit the masses, and he was one of the most highly esteemed citizens of his community, where his practical benevolence and useful life make him beloved and respected by all who knew him. He well deserved the prosperity which came to him, for he commenced life with no special advantages, but his industrious nature and high principles proved sufficient for success. He died on his farm May 19, 1886. He was a member of the Episcopal Church, a Republican in political matters, and fraternally he was a Mason, belonging to Kittanning Lodge, No. 244.

William F. Butler obtained his education I public school in Brady's Bend Township, leaving school when fourteen years old to begin work in a rolling mill. There he remained until the mill shut down during the panic of 1873. At that time he was a roller. On Oct. 9, 1873 he was married, and for a year or so afterward resided at Brady's Bend, in 1875 moving to his father's farm in the township where he has ever since had his home. He farms the 87 acres comprised in the property, which lies north of Kaylor, and has valuable oil holdings. He now owns the rest well drilled on the place, by Banks & Graham, in 1877, as owners at the time, which is still producing, and has two others there, and has a lease on ten acres of the Wassell farm, managing the gas and oil rights on that property, which he still retains, though he has sold the land to the Great Lakes Coal Company. Besides, as member of the firm of Butler & Gilmore, he has an interest in seven wells on a 140-acre tract, his son Clifford managing this. Mr. Butler is a stockholder in the High Grade Oil Company of Bruin, Pa., and in both the First National and the Farmers' National Banks of Leechburg, Armstrong County. His home property in Brady's Bend Township has been greatly improved under his management, practically all the farm buildings having been put up by him, and its value as a farm has been greatly increased by his intelligent care and up-to-date methods.

Mr. Butler takes part in various local activities, being a member of the Grange, a prominent worker in the Baptist Church, of which he has been deacon thirty-five years, and a well-known Republican in his township. He has served in a number of public offices, having been a school director for twenty-three years (consecutive except for one year), poor overseer for five years continuously, supervisor for the last four years, and tax collector for thirteen consecutive years. At present he is supervising overseer of the poor and dependent, and State Fire Marshall. Few men of the township are more closely connected with the affairs which affect most of its residents, and none is more trusted as an official.

In 1873 Mr. Butler married May E. Anderson, a native of Brookville, Jefferson Co., Pa., daughter of Thomas W. and Eliza Anderson and they have had a family of seven children: Thomas Frederick, who married Aliene Sheffield, is located at Leechburg, this county, where he has a drug store; William C., a dentist, formerly at Kaylor, now in New Kensington, Pa., married Mae Higgins (he was formerly secretary of the board of supervisors of Brady's Bend Township); Albert J., who is an oil producer in Fairview, Butler Co., Pa., married Gertrude Stoughton, who died Oct. 10, 1913; Bessie is the wife of Prof. D.L. Rich, member of the faulty at Ann Arbor (Michigan) University; Florence is the wife of Carl I. Humphreys, a farmer, and lives at Portersville, Butler Co., Pa.; Clifford who married Catherine McAleer, lives at Glenshaw, Allegheny Co., Pa., and is engaged as an oil producer; Howard, a machinist in the Pennsylvania Railroad shops, residing at Verona, Allegheny Co., married Mae Cartwright.

Source: Pages 369-370, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed March 2002 by Helen B. Miller for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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