When I first began to compile my information for My Butler Family, I realized that so much research had already been printed on the Butler family that it was unnecessary for me to do more than gather some of this information together for you.   For the early Butler history, I will be using sources such as, but not limited to, Jon M. Stallard's, Butler of Droitwich, privately published, 2008, and John Bennett Boddie's, Virginia Historical Genealogies, Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996.   I am told that other good sources include Edward Hasted's, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Vol. 2.  Canterbury, UK: Simmons and Kirkby, 1778-99, and Edward F. Butler's, The Descendants of Thomas Pincerna, Progenitor of the Butler Family,  Dallas, TX: E.F. Butler, 1997.    I am especially impressed with Jon Stallard's book, with its apparently well documented research.   I am also much indepted to researchers and fellow Butler descendents Rosemary Smith Stout, Sue Parish and Jack E. MacDonald, plus all the other wonderful people who provided me with information.   Thanks one and all.

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    Jack MacDonald states in his writing that "our Butler/Boteler family name appears to have originaged in Worcestershire, England during the reign of John Lackland, King of England, who ruled from December 24, 1199 until his death on October 19, 1216".    It is believed our family descended from Thomas Pincerna, who was the chief Butler for the royal household under King John and his descendants.   The name Pincerna (pronounced pin-ser-na) is said to be a Latin version of a Greek word for 'cupbearer' or 'a pourer of drinks'.    The pincerna was a minor official in the medieval households.  By the early 14th century, Pincerna was often translated into Norman French as, le botiler, from which evolved the English name Butler.   Many early English deeds and documents support these claims. 

Thomas Pincerna's descendant was Robertus Pincerna, as he was called in a Latin deed.   Some experts speculate that he may have been born about 1228.  Robertus Pincerna married and had three sons, who were also mentioned in an old deed: (1) Robert le Boteler, (2) Thomas Boteler and (3) William Boteler, who was a priest.   My line descends through son Robert. 

Robert le Boteler, son of Robertus Pincerna, married and produced two known sons: (1) Nicholas Boteler and (2) John le Boteler, my line.   

     John le Botiller, son and heir of Robert le Boteler, lived during the time of King Edward I, and was referred to, in Stallard's, Butler of Droitwich, as "John le Botiller of Yatton".   Stallard tells us that John was born November 25, 1278, at Herefordshire, England and died after 1324.  (Note: Stallard identifies the village of Yatton as being in Herefordshire, near the Worcestershire border.)    John le Botiller of Yatton married Anne Hanbury and produced one known son and heir, John Boteler

Both Boddie and Stallard give the line of descent from there.  I will skip over about eight generations and tell you about Thomas Boteler who was the last of our line to live and die in England.  The following information is from the above referenced researchers.   I claim no credit for this research and have tried to identify where the information was obtained.  My own research does not begin for a few more generations.  

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John Boteler was probably born about 1570, at Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, England.   He was the second son of John Boteler of Thoby and Cresset St. John.  

John married Jane Elliott on December 27, 1599, at Roxwell Parish, Essex.   Jane was baptized on June 22, 1576, at Roxwell Parish, Essex.   She was the daughter of Edward Elliott of Newland Hall, Esquire and his wife, Jane Gedge.   John Boteler and Jane Elliott had eight children. 

Children of John Boteler and Jane Elliott

(1) Captain John Butler was baptized on December 7, 1600, at Roxwell Parish, in Essex Co, England.   He immigrated to America in 1635, and settled on Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.   John never married.   He died in early 1642, on Kent, Island, MD.   His will (which has been lost) was probated on April 1, 1642.   He made his brother, Thomas, executor of his will.   

(2) Thomas Butler was probably born about 1603, in Essex Co, England.   He immigrated to America in 1631, and settled on Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.   (my line)

(3) Elizabeth Butler was born about 1610, in Essex Co, England.   She immigrated to America in 1635, and settled on Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.   Elizabeth married Captain William Claiborne in the summer of 1635, at Jamestown, Virginia.   Elizabeth died after 1668, in Virginia.  

(4) Cresset Butler was baptized June 25, 1612, at Roxwell Parish, in Essex Co, England.  

(5) Jane Butler 

(6) Martha Butler 

(7)  Sarah Butler

(8) Ursula Butler.

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I am a descendant of Thomas Boteler, who was probably born about 1603, in the Parish of Roxwell in Essexshire, Essex County, England.   He was the second son of John Boteler and Jane Elliott.  Only the baptism of John and Jane's first child, John in 1600 and their sixth child, Cresset in 1612, was recorded.  Since both took place in the Roxwell Parish, we believe that the other children were baptized in Roxwell as well.  

     As a second son, Thomas was not heir to his father's estate, so he had to take up a trade to support himself.   He did this by becoming a haberdasher, or a men's clothier.  Stallard and Boddie tell us that he was a member of the powerful Drapers' Guild, who controlled England's prime export, cloth.   The Drapers were on the forefront of promoting exploration. 

     On January 16, 1626, at the Church of St. Magnus the Martyr, in London, England, Thomas Boteler married Joan (Christopher) Mount Stephens, widow of Nicholas Mount Stephens.   Joan was born about 1605.

     Nicholas Mount Stephens was several years older than Joan Christopher when they married.  They had no children.  Nicholas, like Thomas, was a haberdasher.  In Nicholas' will, Joan was given half of her late husband's belongings.   Stallard's Butler of Droitwich (p. 114) tells us "The Boteler family gained more than wealth through this marriage.  They gained an important family connection.   Nicholas and Joan Mountstephens had been friends with another haberdasher, Thomas Claiborne.   It was through him that the Boteler household was introduced to  William Claiborne".  

     William Claiborne had been appointed Surveyor to the Colony of Virginia and two years later became Colonial Secretary.   Claiborne saw an opportunity in the Virginia Colony and in 1630 sailed from the Chesapeake to London to acquire the men, ships and funding necessary to settle his proposed trading post in the New World.   Claiborne, William Cloberry and several other London merchants became partners and formed Cloberry and Company.   This company would fund Claiborne's expedition to settle a fur-trading post in the Chesapeake Bay.  Stallard tells us in Butler of Droitwich (p. 117) that: "Claiborne sailed from London on May 28, 1631 aboard the 'Africa', and with him were Thomas and Joan Butler".   The settlement was founded on a small stretch of land, 15 miles long, that Claiborne named Kent Island.  .... "On 30 April 1634, Claiborne paid the natives of the region 12 pounds sterling to formally acquire it."

     Stallard (p. 118) tells us that during the early years on the island, Claiborne began the project of constructing boats.  One of these boats was commanded by Thomas Butler on expeditions up and down the Chesapeake Bay, during 1633 and 1634.

     Boddie's Virginia Historical Genealogies (p. 23) states: "In 1640 Thomas Butler of Kent Island demanded 600 acres due him for transporting himself, wife, and two children".     Sometime between May 28, 1631 and prior to 1633, Thomas and Joan Butler immigrated with 2 children.   Stallard's Butler of Droitwich (p. 123) states: "The parcel eventually given him was described in the court record as land whereon he is now seated, so it is clearly not a new acquisition in 1640.  In fact, in 1640 and 1641 the government at St. Mary's granted numerous new patents to replace existing ones which had been doled out originally by Claiborne, himself.  Given this, it is possible that the acreage granted Thomas Butler in 1640 was for land he had held since as early as 1632".    Prior to 1634, Thomas completed a plantation on Kent Island for his family.

      Joan Boteler became involved in a feud with Marie Drew in 1634, and the matter wound up in the courts.  In late fall of that year, after more troubles, Thomas returned to England for a time.  

    William Claiborne, while on a trip back to London in 1635, convinced Thomas' brother John Boteler and his sister Elizabeth Boteler, to return to Kent Island with him.   Elizabeth Boteler and William Claiborne were married in the summer of 1635, at Jamestown, Virginia, and settled on their plantation on Kent Island.  It is unclear when Thomas returned to his plantation and his wife on Kent Island.   In March 1637, Thomas Boteler and Edward Thompson signed the election returns in Kent Island.  Stallard tells us that Thomas was in London during part of 1637 and was shown as living in London in 1638.  In 1638/1639, Thomas appears on a list of voters in Maryland.   He was definitely on Kent Island in 1644.        

  Boddie's Virginia Historical Genealogies states that William Claiborne had received a grant of Kent Island "from the King when it was considered a part of Virginia.  In 1632, the King granted a charter for Maryland to Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, which charter contained within its boundaries the Island of Kent.   Baltimore refused to recognize Claiborne's rights.  Claiborne tried but could not obtain recognition from the King, so there was nothing left for him to do but fight it out with the Calverts".     Boddie reports that a period of dissatisfaction with the Government arose in 1644, when Thomas Boteler and many other Protestants who had upheld the claim of Virginia to Kent Island were proclaimed "enemies of the Catholic rulers of Maryland".    At that time, many of the property owners stopped paying their taxes.   Thomas Boteler was among those listed as a "tax defaulter".   Stallard informs us that the majority of the Island's inhabitants had fled from Kent Island to Virginia prior to the end of 1646, and the Island was left in ruins.  Stallard's Butler of Droitwich gives a good, in-depth explanation of the situation. 

     Thomas Boteler died at Kent Island, Maryland, prior to February 10, 1646, as is supported by court records bearing that date, which refer to Thomas Butler as deceased.   It is not believed that Thomas was killed in the fighting.   He left behind a widow and five minor sons.  

     By February 10, 1646, Thomas's widow, Joan, had married their friend and neighbor, Edward Thompson.  

Around 1647 Thompson secured transport for himself, his wife Joan, and his five Boteler step-children and "fled" with his new family from Kent Island, Maryland, to Northumberland County, Virginia.    Boddie and Stallard show that on January 20, 1650, John Hallowes obtained a patent for 1600 acres of land in Northumberland County, Virginia, for the transportation of himself and others, including "&ldots;&ldots; Edward Thompson, Jane Thompson, Thomas Butler, Christopher Butler, William Butler, John Butler, Nathaniel Butler &ldots;&ldots;".   (Note: We don't believe the order in which the children are listed is the order of their birth, because in some records John calls Christopher "my younger brother".) 

     Joan (Boteler) Thompson died in 1648, in Northumberland County, Virginia, soon after the journey to Virginia.     

    (Note: Records found on the Maryland State Archives website show that Joan married Edward Thompson in 1646; that Joan had died by 1649 and that Edward was the guardian of the children of Thomas Butler.)  

     By 1650, Edward Thompson had established a plantation for himself and his five Butler step-children, in Northumberland County, Virginia.   Edward later remarried.  

      Thomas, the eldest of the Butler children, was apparently old enough to support himself by that time, as the remaining court records show only interactions between Edward Thompson and the younger brothers John and Christopher, probably because they were underage and under the guardianship of Thompson.  

     Stallard's Butler of Droitwich (p. 138) states, "Edward Thompson's later life was apparently shared briefly with a new wife and young Christopher Butler.   At the administration of his will,dated 11 March 1662, no heir or administrator appearing, John Washington, the largest creditor is commissioned administrator. 

                    Xtopher Butler hath beene at much charge and trouble in keeping Thompsons wife during her sickness and in burying her, it is ordered  that Mr. Washington pay Xtopher Butler 1800 lbs of tobacco.*   (*Stallard uses as his source John Frederick Dorman's Westmoreland County, VA Records, 1661-1664 (Washington, DC, 1972), p. 22.)

     It may have been that legacy of 1800 pounds which encouraged Christopher Butler and his family to move north to Stafford County, where he was certainly living by 1675. The other siblings seem to have remained in or around Westmoreland County, including the eldest, Thomas."  

     Christopher Butler lived with Edward Thompson until Edward's death prior to March 11, 1662, in Westmoreland County, Virginia.   Thompson's will was presented to the court on March 11, 1662.   Jack MacDonald states that "Christopher subsequently cared for Edward Thompson's widow until she too passed away"

     Thomas and Joan Butler had five sons.   We know Thomas was the oldest son and Christopher was the youngest.   I will speculate on the order of birth of the remaining three sons, and the dates of birth of the five children.   

Children of Thomas Boteler and Joan (Christopher) Mount Stephens  

1. Thomas Butler, II was probably born about 1628, in London, England.   He arrived on Kent Island, Maryland prior to 1633.   Thomas married Jane (Baldridge) Bayneham, widow of Major Alexander Bayneham, in Westmoreland Co, VA.   Jane Baldridge was born about 1630, in St. Mary County, MD.   She was the daughter of James Baldridge and Dorothy (possibly Cooke).  Thomas died in late 1677 or early 1678, in Westmoreland County, VA.   On Feb 27, 1678, Thomas' widow, Jane Butler, presented his will in the Westmoreland Co, VA court and was appointed administratrix of his estate.   Soon after Thomas's death, Jane married John Berryman.   John Berryman died prior to April 28, 1680.  Jane married her fourth husband, Joseph Harvey, before Oct 26, 1681.    Thomas had at least one son, Thomas Butler, III

2. William Butler was probably born about 1630, in London, England.   According to Jack MacDonald, William first married Joane ____ about 1656.   In 1684, William was mentioned in his brother Nathaniel's will.    In 1685, William married Joanna (Philpott) Ward, widow of John Ward.    William died 1709, in Westmoreland Co, VA.    William had at least two children: Sarah Butler and Hannah Butler. 

3. Nathaniel Butler was probably born about 1634, on Kent Island, MD (now within Queen Anne's Co, MD).   He first married Mary Agee.  His second wife was Sarah ____.   Nathaniel died in early 1684, in Westmoreland Co, VA.   On April 21, 1684, Nathaniel's will was probated by his widow, Mrs. Sarah Butler, "one of the executors named".   She relinquished in favor of his brothers, Christopher and William Butler, who "assumed management of the estate during the minority of the executors" (Bk. 1675-89, p. 335).     

4. John Butler was probably born about 1637, on Kent Island, MD (now within Queen Anne's Co, MD).   He first married Ellen (Thompson) Burrell, widow of Francis Burrell about 1657.  John's second marriage was to Martha ___.    His third wife was Sarah Veale, who was executor of his will.   John died in 1684, in Westmoreland Co, VA.  (Note: John and his "younger brother" Christopher are often mentioned together in early Westmoreland Co, VA records.)    John was a carpenter by trade.   Children included: (1) Nathaniel Butler, (2) Lawrence Butler and (3) Christopher Butler, who relocated to Stafford Co, VA with his uncle Christopher Butler.

5. Christopher Butler was probably born about 1639, on Kent Island, MD (now within Queen Anne's Co, MD).   He was the youngest of the five sons.  He was underage in 1657 when his step-father and his brother John signed a land agreement involving him.  By 1660 he was of age, witnessing deeds in Westmoreland Co, VA.  That corresponds with him being born in 1639.  He would have been 21 years of age in 1660.   Christopher married Margaret ____, probably about 1660.   At the reading of his step-father's will dated Mar 11, 1662, the following was presented: "Xtopher Butler hath beene at much charge and trouble in keeping Thompsons wife durng her sickness and in burying her, it is ordered that Mr. Washington pay Xtopher Butler 1800 lbs of tobacco".    (Note: Thompson's wife that is mentioned is the woman Edward married after Christopher's mother died.   Mr. Washington is the man commissioned to act as administrator of the will.)   Boddie's Virginia Historical Genealogies states: "As 'Christopher Butler of Westmoreland' he was granted 339 acres on the branches of Pope's Creek in Rappahannock County, north side of Rappahannock River, bounded by land of John Payne, William Underwood, and others for the transportation of 7 persons. (Rappahannock Bk. 671-76, p. 304-307).  On August 11, 1675, as 'Christopher Butler of Stafford' he appoints his loving brother John Butler of Pope's Creek to acknowledge sale of part of this land to John Elliott".   (Note: The above book reference should read Rappahannock Bk. 1671-76.)   Christopher was living in 1684, when he was mentioned in his brother, Nathaniel's will.   Boddie tells us that Christopher "served on a jury in Stafford, March 12, 1690, in the case of Brent vs. Darrell.  His will was probably among the missing records of that county".    He died after March 12, 1690, probably in Stafford Co, VA.    (Christopher, who was called "my younger brother" in some court papers, is mentioned often with his brother John in early Westmoreland Co, VA records.)    Christopher's children included: Caleb Butler. 

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My Butler line is through my 6th great-grandfather, Joshua Butler, who was probably born "best guess" about 1676-1680, in Westmoreland County or Stafford County, Virginia.  

For many years I believed Joshua was the son of the above listed Thomas Butler, II and wife, Jane Baldridge Bayenham Butler, but I am no longer certain of Joshua's relationship to Thomas .... son .... grandson .... nephew?  


I am not a professional genealogist and although I have researched some of the information found at this site, much of it was given to me by other researchers and may not have been documented. Each bit of information found here should be carefully researched and proved or disproved by you, the researcher. Researchers may copy information found at this site for their own personal use and to share with other researchers or genealogical organizations. Any commercial use or distribution without the written consent of this author is prohibited.

Others researching the Butler line:
Steve Strickland (descendant of Joseph Butler)
Wilma Wayne (descendant of James H. Butler)
Jon Stallard (descendant of Spencer Butler)
Robert Butler (descendant of Joseph Butler, through son Taliaferro Butler and wife Janny Grimsely)
Terri Butler  (descendant of Fielding Butler)
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