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Niagara Falls
Monday, February 6, 2023
Exploring Photos: Colonel John Butler (1728-1796)
Colonel John Butler (1728-1796). Supplied

This 1834 oil painting is an original copy of a piece by Henry Oakley and is one of only five portraits of Col. John Butler known to exist. Butler was born in Connecticut and was brought up on the American frontier. He joined the British army and led Butler’s Rangers and native allies during the American Revolution. Later, while stationed at Fort Niagara, he founded a new settlement across the Niagara River which is today known as Niagara-on-the-Lake. Here he lived, farmed and governed in our community. It is known that Butler also enslaved people to work in his household. The enslaved were bequeathed to family members upon his death in 1796 and later freed by the terms of the Act to Limit Slavery. Thanks to the research of former town historian Joy Ormsby, the Butler homestead ruins were saved from development and a monument was mounted at the site in 2008 in the St. Andrew’s Glen neighbourhood.

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