Butler has been a Kansan for the past sixteen years, and all that time
has been spent in the Brownell community of Ness County. His more active years
were spent in Wisconsin, where he developed a successful business as a general
agriculturist and stockman. It was not lack of success but climatic reasons that
caused him to leave Wisconsin and come to Kansas. His physician had advised him
to seek a drier and different atmosphere, and in his prospecting he was led to
Western Kansas and finally decided upon Ness County. He has been exceedingly
well satisfied with his selection of a permanent residence and has found both
health and profit in this community.
Mr. Butler was born in Shelby County, Indiana, March 1, 1838, has had a long
and active career and has now reached the age of fourscore. His father, William
Butler, a native of New York State, was a teacher in his early years,
subsequently became a farmer, and was also in the grain business in Wisconsin.
In 1846 he moved his family to Wisconsin and in 1878 came to Kansas, taking a
claim in Barton County, where he died in 1880, at the age of sixty-eight. William Butler married
Eunice Stone. Her father, Capt. Ashbel Stone, was a
soldier and captain of a company in the War of 1812. Captain Stone was a
resident of New York State, but he died in Shelby County, Indiana. Mrs. William
Butler died in 1852, and of her three children the only one that reached
maturity is Ira Butler. William Butler married for his second wife
who became the mother of ten children, and of the eight still living one is in
Kansas, one in California, three in Minnesota and three in Wisconsin.
Ira Butler from the age of eight years lived in Green Lake County, Wisconsin.
That was a pioneer district when the family moved there, and he grew up
practically on the frontier and his education came from such local schools as
existed at that time in that state. On reaching his maturity he started out for
himself as a farmer in Green Lake County, and he was prospered beyond the
average and brought with him considerable capital to Kansas. In the early days
of his experience as a Wisconsin farmer his dependence was placed on wheat, just
as it is in Ness County today, but before he left the state the farmers were
more and more engaging in dairying and hog raising.
On coming to Ness County Mr. Butler bought land at Brownell, and has employed
his efforts chiefly to the raising of wheat, feed and stock. Of his ten quarter
sections one half is now devoted to crops and his improvements have added some
considerable value to his land.
He was one of the organizers of the Brownell State Bank and is now its
president and one of the directors. He is also a stockholder in the Brownell
Hotel Company, and has always been willing to contribute to the advancement of
the town, including donations to the churches and other worthy enterprises.
Mr. Butler was brought up under republican influence, and in 1860 cast his
first vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has never been active in politics beyond
casting his vote, though in Wisconsin he served as treasurer of his home
township for ten consecutive years. He and his wife are members of the Free Will
In Green Lake County, Wisconsin, August 17, 1859, Mr. Butler married
Alice Westover. She was born in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, June 30, 1840, a
daughter of Austin and Mary (Smolk) Westover. Her parents were natives of New
York State, and her father, who followed farming for the most part, was killed
by the Indians while carrying the United States mail in Montana. Mrs. Westover
died in Rochester, Minnesota. Her children were: Mrs. Butler; Ellen, who married
William Lindsley and died in Reno County, Kansas, leaving children;
resident of Nebraska; and Caroline, wife of William Hare
Mrs. Butler was educated in the common schools of Green Lake County,
Wisconsin, where her parents were early settlers. She lived at home until she
began keeping house as Mrs. Butler. To their marriage was born one child, a
daughter, Eunice Ellen. She died when less than a year old.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E.
Connelley, Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918, pages 2492-93.