- Robert M. Weir
Butler, Pierce (11 July 1744–15 February 1822), U.S. senator and member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, was born in County Carlow, Ireland, the son of Sir Richard Butler, a baronet and member of the Irish Parliament, and Henrietta Percy. Because Butler was third in line to inherit his father’s lands and title, his parents purchased a commission in the army for him when he was eleven. By the age of fourteen he was on active duty with the Twenty-second Regiment of Foot in Canada, where in 1758 he took part in the capture of the French fortress of Louisbourg. In 1762 he transferred to the Twenty-ninth Regiment, in which he held the rank of major by 1766. Two years later, while stationed in South Carolina, he tried to elope with a fifteen-year-old heiress, but her stepfather forestalled the marriage. In 1771 Butler married Mary Middleton, the daughter of Thomas Middleton and Mary Bull. Also an heiress, she brought extensive landholdings in the southern part of the colony near Beaufort as well as a connection with some of the leading local families. Butler and his wife had eight children, five of whom survived to adulthood....