Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BUTLER, John, soldier, born in Connecticut; died in Niagara in 1794. He was a well-known resident of Tryon county, New York (a name then applied to the Mohawk region west of Schenectady), and commanded a militia regiment there. He commanded the Indians under Sir William Johnson in the Niagara campaign of 1759, and also in the Montreal expedition of 1760. At the beginning of the war he espoused the British cause, and was made deputy superintendent of Indian affairs. In 1775 he was one of a party of Tories that broke up a patriot meeting in Tryon county, New York, and was active in the predatory warfare that so long disturbed that part of the state. In 1776 he organized a band of marauders consisting of Indians and white men painted like Indians, and commanded these at the battle of Oriskany in 1777. In July, 1778, he led the force of 1,100 men that desolated Wyoming in the famous "Wyoming Massacre," and was guilty of the greatest atrocities. He fought Sullivan in central New York in 1779, and took part in Sir John Johnson's raid on the Schoharie and Me-hawk settlements in 1780. After the war Butler fled to Canada. His estates in this country were confiscated; but he was rewarded by the British government for his services with the office of Indian agent, a salary and pension of $3,500 a year, and 5,000 acres of land. Butler's barbarities, though great, have been exaggerated. Some of the most atrocious deeds at Wyoming were due to his son Walter, a major in the British service, commander of a party of 500 Indians and whites, who massacred women and children at Cherry Valley on 11 November, 1778. Col. John Butler professed to be grieved by his son's conduct on this occasion.--His son, Walter, was connected with some of the most infamous transactions of the revolution. While a lieutenant, he was sentenced to death as a spy, but was reprieved at the intercession of some American officers, who had known him as a law-student in Albany. Shortly afterward, when confined in a private house, he made his escape. He was killed in October, 1781, in an action on the Mohawk.
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