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William Butler


William G. Butler and His Land Grants [excerpt from SDHS newsletter insert page 413] As more public records become available on the web, interesting facts are coming to light about the land purchases of William G. Butler, who, with his wife, Mary, and two children were the first settlers in Allegan County, and the founders of Saugatuck. William was born September 28, 1799, in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Gay) Butler. He was married in 1 826 (or possibly 1827) to Mary Wells, also originally of Hartford, but they were married at Dundaff, a small town near the southern boundary of Susquehanna County in northeast Pennsylvania, where William was a merchant. Moving west, they may have stopped first at Elkhart, Indiana. It is quite likely that they traveled up the St. Joseph River to its mouth, and there boarded the schooner that brought them to the mouth of the Kalamazoo in May of 1830. At least one of their children arrived with them. They camped at the mouth while William built a raft, and poled or rowed it upriver to a flat area near where the river widened into a lake. He built a log house, and waited while government surveyors worked to get the land ready to put on the market. To get groceries and dry goods he walked along the beach back to St. Joseph where an old account book shows visits on May 14, June 4, June 10 and November 18, 1834, and April 4, 1835. Purchases included coffee, tea, sugar, fabric, and door latches.




Butler, William Gay 1799-1857

According to Kit Lane in "The Letters of William G. Butler and Other Tales of Saugatuck" (page 9) the photo is "A likeness said to be William G. Butler sent to May Francis Heath in 1930 by his grand-niece who was still living in Connecticut and had access to the papers left behind by William's father."

1830 Settlement, pioneer era

Ashley, Arthur C 1949-

Print, Photographic


Graphic Documents

Documentary Objects

Category 08: Communication Objects

3-1/2 in

3 in

175 Butler & 1830s Settlers

Very Good

Case spine is broken and repaired with black cloth tape.