Revolutionary grave found

Published 10:12 am Saturday, December 26, 2009

Accessible by a dirt driveway, a stand of pines obscures a small family cemetery from the view of passersby traveling along Calera’s busy U.S. 31.

Despite the traffic on the other side of the thicket, there’s a feeling of serenity inside the graveyard.

After a few minutes of reading aged headstones, I found the one I was seeking. I was expecting to find an unreadable sandstone marker for the grave of James Butler, a Revolutionary War veteran buried at the cemetery.

Instead, I found a modern gravestone filled with information about Butler. With more research, I was able to learn even more about him.

James Butler was born June 5, 1758 in St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover Co., Va. and later was a resident of Mechlenburg County, Va., where he enlisted in military service in 1778.

Butler served for two months in the company of Capt. James Anderson of Col. John Burton’s regiment and for 18 months in the regiment of Col. William Daris.

Being awarded a land grant for his service, Butler moved to Wilkes County, (now Elbert County) Ga. between 1785-1790, where he resided for 46 years and was a member of Falling Creek Baptist Church.

A date for his marriage to first wife Sarah “Sally” Christopher is not given, but it is believed they were married around the time Butler moved to Georgia. Butler married his second wife, Disa, later in life.

All of his children are not listed, but it is estimated he had 20-22 children, most of them with his first wife.

In 1833, while living in Georgia, Butler applied for and received a military pension. Joining a wagon train with neighbors and relatives headed to Alabama, he moved to Shelby County in 1836.

The reason for his move is outlined in the request he submitted to have his pension re-routed to his Shelby County address: “Because I have 10 children who reside in Shelby County Alabama and I am desirous to spend the short residue of my life with them.

This and this alone was the only cause, which induced me to remove.”

James Butler died in 1841. His grave is located at the Jones-Bailey Cemetery on Highway 31 North in Calera, near mile marker 248. The informative headstone marking at his grave was placed by his descendants.

Columnist Catherine Cousins can be reached by e–mail at