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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Meet early village president and merchant, D. C. Butler


Dewitt Clinton Butler was born August 27, 1825, in Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont, the son of Roswell Butler and Ruth Worden.

He received a common school education and later took an academic course. Butler’s father passed away in February 1833.

Butler came to Naperville with his mother in May of 1838 and was employed by his uncle, Henry Loomis Peaslee, proprietor of the DuPage County Cash Store.

In 1840, Butler returned to Vermont and attended school for two years. In 1842, he moved to Chicago where he was employed as a clerk in a grocery store for two years. He then returned to Naperville and was employed by Henry Peaslee as a clerk until Peaslee sold the store to Charles Hull Pickett Lyman.

Butler continued his employment with the new owner until about 1858 and then started his own business in partnership with Peaslee for about three years.

He engaged as Sutler (civilian provisioner) with the 8th Illinois Cavalry in early 1861.
Butler then sold the business to Colonel Beveridge from Washington, DC. Next he became employed in the hardware business for two years and clerked for Robert Naper, Levi Kent, and Willard Scott in their respective stores.

He also worked as a bookkeeper for the Chicago Ale and Malt Company for four years.
On Dec. 5, 1848, Butler married Freedom Herrick in Naperville. They didn’t have any children.

Butler served as a Village Trustee for Naperville in 1861 and 1862 and as Village President in 1864. He also served as a School Board Trustee in 1864.

In addition, Butler became one of the earliest members of Euclid Lodge No. 65, A.F. & A.M in 1850.

He retired as a merchant in 1896.

Butler died December 15, 1908, at his home on Jefferson Avenue. Rev. Otjen of the Methodist Church conducted a short service there. Members of the Masonic Lodge buried Dewitt in the Naperville Cemetery with simple Masonic ceremony.

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Tim Ory
Tim Ory
Tim Ory is a fifth-generation Naperville native, descended from Francois Sebastien Ory, who immigrated to America from Alsace Lorraine, France, in 1844. Signing off as "Tim Ory, Historian, Euclid Lodge No. 65 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons," Tim adds that he continues to research the History of the Masonic Lodge and Naperville every day. Contact him at tjory@sbcglobal.net.

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