Biography of Charles M. Butcher
Oneida County, NY Biographies





In character building as well as in the attainment of success Charles M. Butcher made an enviable record and his many notable qualities endeared him to a circle of friends that caused his death to be widely and deeply regretted when, on the 14th of January, 1888, he passed away. He had reached the sixty second year of his age, his birth having occurred in Buckfastleigh, Devonshire, England, on the 19th of March, 1825. His parents were John and Mary (Barns) Butcher. The father was one of a family of wool growers, wool dealers and wool manufacturers, and was the owner of the Kilbury Mills. In politics he was a liberal, became well known as a political orator and was a friend of Lord John Russell. The mother was a woman of very unusual education for her day and country and was very influential among young people.

Charles M. Butcher began his education in private schools of England but his course was interrupted by financial misfortune which caused him, together with his parents and sister, to come to the United States. The elder brother remained in England as a teacher. The habit of serious reading which his mother inculcated in him, enabled him to carry on his own education and in time he possessed a wide and thorough acquaintance with literature and history. He also read constantly about scientific discoveries, understood higher mathematics and mechanics and was familiar with business law.

It was when a youth of eighteen years that Charles M. Butcher came to the new world, at which time he settled at Providence, Rhode Island, and there became assistant to an uncle who was a merchant. Soon afterward, however, he went to Ohio and later became a resident of Titusville, New York. where he was employed in sorting wool. In 1849 he came to Utica and worked under his uncle, William Butcher, in the Globe Woolen Mills. After a brief period his uncle went to Oriskany and engaged in manufacturing there, and Mr. Butcher, of this review, succeeded him as overseer of the wool sorting department in Utica. It was not long afterward that he was made wool buyer for the company, which position he held until his death. His association with the Globe Woolen Mills, therefore, continued for about a third of a century. While he began as a wool sorter, for many years he had entire charge of buying of stock, his knowledge of the business being extensive and his judgment thoroughly reliable. He was several times sent to Europe on business and traveled extensively in this country. His position as wool buyer for the Globe Woolen Company was one which required not only a thorough knowledge of the business but also good judgment, and involved great responsibility. He made several yearly tours through Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and other wool growing states of the country, and afterward was sent abroad to buy Australian and Cape wools on the London market.

On the 19th of December, 1861, in Utica, Mr. Butcher was married to Miss Sarah J. Morgan, a daughter of William and Jane (Williams) Morgan. Her father was a native of Cardiganshire, South Wales, and her mother of Carnarvonshire, North Wales. They were married in Utica where Mrs. Butcher was born in 1838, and here she has spent her entire life. Mr. Butcher had been previously married, his first wife bearing the maiden name of Helen C. C. Wall. After a brief married life, however, she passed away in 1859, leaving no children. The children of the second marriage were: Ida J., born January 16, 1865; Mary L., born March 24, 1867, the wife of George S. Beechwood; Helen M., born November 26, 1872; Charles William Edmund, born December 22, 1876, and who died June 29, 1881; and Grace V., born April 9, 1883.

Mr. Butcher was reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church but after his marriage attended the Bleecker street Baptist church His family were abolitionists in England and he became a republican on the day that Franklin Pierce announced his cabinet, continuing an active supporter of that party until his death. He was prominent in local political circles and represented the ninth ward as alderman, serving in that position from 1874 until 1877 inclusive. In 1887 he was appointed by the mayor to succeed Henry Hartlieb as a member of the board of health. A man of good judgment in business affairs, especially in matters pertaining to public improvement, he was a most valuable member of the city council when elected to that office. It was largely through his influence that some of the largest and most important trunk sewers in the city were laid, notably the third and seventh ward sewer outlets. Although property owners everywhere are apt to object to the expense of public improvement, Mr. Butcher procured the laying of this trunk sewer, recognizing the fact that it would probably prevent his reelection. He knew, however, that the improvements were necessary and right and accepted the situation cheerfully, saying that those who opposed the improvements would live to justify his course, and so it has turned out. He was gifted with foresight to a remarkable degree. He believed in politics as the duty of the citizen and no poll worker was more enthusiastic and faithful than he. He gave his support to the whole ticket and his position was never an equivocal one. As he advanced in years and was no longer able to do the more active work of a political campaign, he would meet and counsel with the county committee and his services were regarded as valuable and usually carried weight in party councils. A loyal and patriotic devotion to the general good was one of his most marked characteristics. He was equally faithful to his family and to his friends and in fact was a dependable man upon all occasions and under all circumstances. In him there was nothing sinister nor anything to conceal. A man of generous and sympathetic nature he was ever ready to aid by words of counsel and contributions from his purse those whom he found in need or distress. Ms charitable work was always done quietly and without ostentation. His life was as an open book which all might read and it contained many lessons of value that might be profitably followed.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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