Butler, John

Butler, John,

1728–96, Loyalist commander in the American Revolution, b. New London, Conn. He served in the French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
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 and distinguished himself especially by leading the Native Americans in the successful British attack (1759) under Sir William Johnson against Niagara. Electing the British side after the Revolution broke out, he became a deputy to Guy Johnson at Niagara and worked to keep Native Americans friendly to the British. In the Saratoga campaign (1777) he and indigenous troops accompanied Gen. Barry St. Leger in the unsuccessful expedition down the Mohawk valley. Later he organized a Loyalist troop called Butler's Rangers, and with them he and his son, Walter ButlerButler, Walter,
1752?–1781, Loyalist officer in the American Revolution, b. New York State; son of John Butler. He was an officer in his father's Loyalist troop, Butler's Rangers. He was captured (1777) by the patriots and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted.
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, attacked the frontier settlements. John Butler in 1778 raided the Wyoming Valley, defeated Zebulon ButlerButler, Zebulon,
1731–95, American colonial leader, b. Ipswich, Mass. After serving in the French and Indian Wars, Butler led a group of Connecticut settlers to the Wyoming Valley in N Pennsylvania.
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, took Forty Fort, and then was unable to keep his Native American allies from perpetrating the Wyoming Valley massacre. Later that year Walter Butler and Joseph Brant led a similar raid on Cherry Valley, and this also ended in a massacre. The name of Butler was thereafter anathema to the patriots. John Butler was defeated (1779) by the expedition of Gen. John SullivanSullivan, John,
1740–95, American Revolutionary general, b. Somersworth, N.H. He was a lawyer and a delegate (1774–75, 1780–81) to the Continental Congress but is better remembered as a military leader.
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 at Newtown near the present Elmira, N.Y.; later in the war Butler joined with Sir John JohnsonJohnson, Sir John,
1742–1830, Loyalist leader in the American Revolution, b. Mohawk valley, N.Y.; son of Sir William Johnson. He fought against the Native Americans in Pontiac's Conspiracy and was one of his father's chief lieutenants.
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 in frontier raids.


See H. Swiggett, War out of Niagara (1933, repr. 1963).

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