Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BUTTERWORTH, Benjamin, commissioner of the patent-office, born in Warren County, Ohio, 22 October, 1822. His father was originally a Virginia planter, who had freed his slaves, and, removing to Ohio, became active with Levi Coffin in the "underground railroad." The son was educated at Ohio University in Athens, studied law in Cincinnati, was admitted to the bar in 1861, and practiced in that city. He was United States district attorney in 1870, a member of the state senate in 1873 and 1874, and was elected to congress in 1878, and re-elected for the following term. He was the author of the compulsory army retirement act. In 1883 President Arthur appointed him a commissioner to examine a part of the Northern Pacific railroad. The government as counsel to prosecute the South Carolina election cases in that year also retained him. After the retirement of E. M. Marble from the patent-office, 1 September, 1883, Mr. Butterworth was appointed commissioner of patents. In 1884 he was again elected to congress.
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