Who was John Butler? (1728 – 1796)


John Butler (1728 – 1796), Tory leader in the American Revolution, born in New London, Connecticut. During the French and Indian War he participated in several campaigns as captain in command of pro-British Native American auxiliaries.

He fled to Canada after the outbreak of the American Revolution; there he organized Butler’s Rangers, a force consisting of several hundred Native Americans and a number of Loyalists, whom he led in an invasion of the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania in 1778. The successful expedition climaxed in a massacre conducted by Butler’s Native American rangers.

In 1779 American troops under General John Sullivan and General James Clinton defeated Butler’s Rangers in a battle fought near present-day Elmira, New York. In 1780 Butler engaged in a British raid of the Mohawk Valley. At the close of the war he was appointed British commissioner of Indian affairs at Niagara, Upper Canada (now Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario).

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