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Butts Family History

The Butts, Hoppin, and Makepeace ancestors were some of the first to migrate to North America.

The BUTTS surname is often spelled BUTT.  I could not discern the “correct” spelling.  It does seem that BUTTS predominates.  But in any case I had to research both versions of spelling since both are used at all times depending on who is documenting.

Neal Ekengren - 2018

Ancestors in England

Hoppin / Makepeace


Late 1500’s - Thomas Hoppin lives in Bamborough Parish, Northumberland, England.  He holds large estates.  A son accepts a challenge from a Knight named Orde and slays him.  The estates of Thomas are confiscated and the family must flee to Flanders.  

At some point, Thomas Hoppin migrates to Thompson’s Island (Boston harbor) British America.

Son Stephen Hoppin is our ancestor.

1558–1603  The Elizabethan Era.

Tudor Queen Elizabeth I rules during the English Renaissance.  It is a brief period of internal peace after the religious English Reformation (early 1500’s) and before the political English Civil War (1600’s).  The centuries-long external conflict with France is largely suspended.  The primary conflict remains with Spain.  The Spanish Armada attempts an invasion of England in 1588.

1630 - The first wave of settlers arrives in the Boston area.  A second wave arrives in 1635.  By 1640 the situation in England has changed and the mass arrivals have ended.

1595 - Thomas Makepeace is born in Burton Dassett, Warwickshire, England.  He marries Alice Brasier and they have at least 5 children.  Wife Alice dies about 1633 in England.  

1637 - Thomas migrates to Dorchester (Boston), Massachusetts Bay Colony with his large family.   He was an original member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company and was "...a person of some consequence and of considerable wealth".

1638 - He acquires property at Muddy River (Brookline), "in the Islands", Fort Hill, and 200 acres in Dorchester.

In central Dorchester he is granted "...a house plot and garden place” on Hanover Street, near Court Street, not far from where Concert Hall now exists.

1639 - Thomas Makepeace, gentleman, is known in his time as a man of quite independent opinions and liberal religious views. He is informed by the court that 'Because of his novile disposition they are weary of him unless he should reform.”

1641 - with other owners, he contributes "...the whole of rents and profits of Thompson's Island to the town of Dorchester for the support of a free school."  He marries his second wife Elizabeth Mellows.

Daughter Hannah Makepeace is our ancestor.  

A good web page on Thomas Makepeace ancestors .

1321-1362  Joan of the Tower

The ancestry of the Makepeace name is legendary.  The exact connections back to Joan of the Tower are lost in the 100 years after her death.  These connections make me a descendent of

  • King Edward II (b. 1284) and Queen Isabella of France
  • Robert the Bruce, King of Scots.

Joan of the Tower, (1321-1362) the youngest daughter of King Edward II and Queen Isabella was born in the Tower of London while Isabella was imprisoned by Edward.  

Years later, Isabella is effectively sitting on the throne as regent for her son King Edward III (Joans brother) who is not old enough to rule yet.  Isabella wants to end the wars with Scotland through marriage.  

Joan of the Tower is forced into marriage with David de Bruce (still a child) in the presence of Queen Isabella at a lavish wedding costing the Scots king over £2500.   Joan of the Tower is renamed Joan Makepeace by the Scots.  Makepeace is the surname linking us here.

David de Bruce is the son of the legendary King Robert de Bruce (of Braveheart fame).   Robert dies within the year and the newlyweds remain to this day……...the youngest married monarchs in British history.

1637 - Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts

This is the oldest chartered military organization in North America. There was no organized military force for protection - only local volunteer companies, which lacked the capacity for joint action or any centralized authority. Many of the settlers of Boston had been members in England of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) of London, and the military training they had received in that company led them to form a similar organization in the new country.

Ancestors in Massachusetts Bay Colony

Stephen Hoppin


1626 - Stephen Hoppin is probably born on Thompsons Island, Massachusetts Bay Colony, a truly virgin wilderness in Northern America.  This is BEFORE the first migrations to the Boston area and nearly the same time as the Plymouth colony is being established.

1626 - Thompsons Island, Massachusetts

A trading post with the Neponset Indians was established on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor.  The condition of nearby Plymouth Colony was desperate and Captain Thompson was attempting to improve the supply situation.

1648 - 1676 - Stephen marries Hannah Makepeace.  They have 9 children including our Deliverance Hoppin ancestor.  They live most of this time in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony.

At one point the family is living in the church house in Dorchester.

1677 - Stephen dies in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Deliverance of a Butt


1648 - Deliverance Hoppin is born in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony.  

1648 - The Butts enter the scene.  Richard Butts is born in Devonshire, England.

1666 - Deliverance Hoppin marries Smith Woodward Sr.  They have one child Smith Woodward Jr.

1672 - 1698 - Deliverance marries Richard Butt.  They have 9 children including our Samuel Butts ancestor.  

1690 - Richard is a sergeant in the Battle of Quebec.  His company is commanded by Capt John Withington also of Dorchester.   Capt. John drowns with forty-six others of the Dorchester military company as they are returning from battle and their ship, the "Elizabeth & Mary", becomes separated from the rest of the fleet during a storm. They disappear without a trace.

1688 - 1697 - Nine Years War

The Nine Years' War was a conflict between Louis XIV of France against a European coalition. It was fought mostly in Europe.  The battles of this war in colonial North America between French and English settlers and their respective Indigenous allies is called King William's War by Americans.

Battle of Quebec was fought in 1690 between the colonies of New France and Massachusetts Bay.  The New Englanders hoped to seize Quebec itself, the capital of New France.  The assault by the Massachusetts Bay militia was beaten back quite easily.  

1698 - Richard dies in Dorchester.

1699 - Deliverance dies in Dorchester and is buried in Dorchester North Burying Ground.

Dorchester North Burying Ground

The Dorchester North Burying Ground was established in 1634.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Boston Landmark.  The site contains over 1200 markers, many of early Dorchester settlers.

This cemetery contains many Butts ancestors.

Samuel Butt Sr.


1673- Samuel Butt Sr. is born in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1701 - 1732 Samuel marries Sarah Maxfield and they have 6 children including our Samuel Butts Jr. ancestor

1706 - Samuel moved from Dorchester to Wanungatuck (Canterbury), Connecticut.

1713 - Samuel and Sarah join the newly formed Canterbury Church.

1697 - Canterbury, Connecticut

The first permanent habitation in what is now the township of Canterbury.  The charter for the town was made in 1703.


This is the Indian name for the crooked stretch of the Quinebaug River that divides Canterbury and Plainfield Connecticut.

1715 - 1729 - Samuel is a man of distinction in many respects. He is elected thirteen times to the colonial assembly of Connecticut from Canterbury.

1716 is the first town meeting of any record and Samuel is chosen First Selectman.  The first vote ” made for the killing of rattlesnakes, April 24, 1716, stands in force the present year.”

First Selectman

The head of the board of selectmen in some New England towns. Historically, the first selectman was the one who received the largest number of votes during municipal elections or at a town meeting.

1723 - Samuel receives one and a half shares of the distribution of common land as he was one of 27 original settler/planters.

1723 - Canterbury Land Disputes

The chaotic manner in which the settlement of the town had been made caused many land disputes for decades.  It was finally agreed

” That those who were settled inhabitance and paid to ye building of ye meeting house and minister’s home shall. have one share and one. half-share in said undivided land”

1728 - A bridge across the Shetucket River is washed away and is rebuilt by the locals.  Samuel is seriously injured.  

“The bridge was 20 feet high and about 250 feet in length.  One hundred feet of the bridge fell with forty men on it. The water was very low and the people were precipitated upon the rocks in all directions. No one escaped without bruises and contusions twenty were severely wounded and two killed…….the aspect of a battlefield after a hot action. Hundreds hastened to the spot with biers and teams and all necessary appliances for relieving or removing the sufferers”

1733 -  Samuel builds a bridge over the formidable and troublesome Quinebaug River in Canterbury.  It is maintained a few years by private subscription till carried away by ice.

1747 - Samuel dies in Canterbury, Connecticut.

Samuel Butts Jr.


1708- Samuel Butts Jr. is born Canterbury, Connecticut.

1735 - 1748  Samuel marries Mary Cleveland in Canterbury and they have 5 children including our Samuel Butts III ancestor.

1791 - Samuel dies in Canterbury and is buried in         
Litchfield Cemetery.

Litchfield Cemetery

Samuel Butts III


1742 - Samuel Butts III is born Canterbury, Connecticut.

Our Randall family marries into this Butts family in 1875, over a hundred years from now, in the state of Illinois.  The curious and amazing history is……….

  • 1600’s - 1700’s - Both families have deep roots in Colonial America in the Canterbury/Stonington area of eastern Connecticut.
  • 1750 - 1800 - Both families migrate to upstate New England
  • 1800 - 1850 - Both families migrate to the MidWest

1765 - 1772 - Samuel marries Phebe Brown and they have 4 children including our Nathaniel Butts ancestor..  

???? - Samuel is a Corporal in the 3rd Connecticut Regiment in the Revolutionary War.  His first cousin Sherebiah Butt was Captain of the Company.

1775–1783 - American Revolutionary War

The united colonies declare independence from Great Britain and the conflict rages for 8 years across all the colonies.

1776–1781 - 3rd Connecticut Regiment

This regiment saw action at the Lexington Alarm, the battle of Bunker Hill and the New York Campaign (a series of battles for control of New York City and the state of New Jersey).

1780 - Samuel is a private in the Ira Allen’s Vermont Militia.    

1752–1814 - Ira Allen

Ira Allen was one of the founders of the U.S. state of Vermont and a leader of the Green Mountain Boys during the American colonial period. He was the younger brother of Ethan Allen.

1777 - Allen was a leading figure in the declaration of the Vermont Republic in 1777.

1790 - Allen was commissioned Major General of the Third Division of the Vermont State Militia.  

1795 - Allen went to France seeking French help to seize all of Canada in order to create an independent republic called United Columbia.  He bought 20,000 muskets and 24 cannons but was captured at sea, taken to England, placed on trial, and charged with furnishing arms for Irish rebels.  He was acquitted after a lawsuit which lasted eight years.

Butts in Vermont

1787 - Samuel III moves to Vermont from the Connecticut homeland.  His grandchildren are now born in Pawlet, Rutland, Vermont.

Ebenezer Butts [first cousin to our Samuel Butts III] moves to Wells, Rutland, Vermont.  He settled on Butt's hill so called in commemoration of his being the first settler in that part of the town.

Rutland County, Vermont

Rutland County is formed in 1781.  Our Butts are some of the first settlers.

1786 - Vermont Insurrection – Northern echo of Shay's Rebellion

The Continental currency collapses and very little coinage circulates. Debts cannot be repaid. Vermont government has stayed afloat by the sale of state lands and the confiscation of Tory properties. Industry has collapsed with the defeat of the English. The colonists march on the local courthouse in Rutland to forbid any ruinous debt collection enforcement against once prosperous commoners. This whole event is a mirror of the more famous Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts that was crushed by George Washington.

1802 - Grandfather Samuel III and his extended family move to nearby Stowe, Chittenden, Vermont.

Samuel, Nathaniel (son), and Joshua (cousin) Butts all take the Freeman's Oath in the town of Stowe.  

Daughter Phebe and husband had already moved there by 1800. 

1794 - Stowe, Vermont

The first settler arrived in 1794 by ox-sled.

1803 - There are about 90 families in the Stowe area by this time.

Today Stowe is a major tourist destination and the ski capital of east coast USA.

1803 - Samuel dies in Stowe, Vermont.  There is no known gravesite.

Nathaniel Butts


1772- Nathaniel Butts is born Canterbury, Connecticut.

1787 - Nathaniel moves as a child to Rutland County, Vermont.

1793 - Nathaniel marries Perthenia Bull who dies within a few weeks.

1796 - 1814 - Nathaniel marries Achsah Uran.  They have 10 children including our Milton Verplank Butts ancestor.

1802 - Nathaniel and the extended family move upstate to Stowe, Chittenden, Vermont.

1814 - 1817 Nathaniel buys the tavern and turns it into a hotel.  There are only 2 log houses and 2 framed houses in the entire town.

Soon after this sale, Nathaniel and family move to nearby Mansfield, Vermont.

1820’s - 1830’s - Nathaniel is a Mansfield representative to the Vermont General Assembly in Montpelier the state capital.  He is also a Justice of the Peace during this time.

1850 - Nathaniel is living with his son Noah in Stowe.

1852 - Nathaniel dies and is buried in Old Yard Cemetery in Stowe.

Old Yard Cemetery

Many Butts are buried here.

Milton Verplank Butts


1813 - Milton Verplank Butts is born in Stowe, Vermont.

1838 - 1855 - Nathaniel marries Caroline Eliza Simonds.  They have 5 children including our Ellen E. Butts ancestor.

Butts in Illinois

1850 - Nathaniel moves with family to Momence, Kankakee County, Illinois.  They are some of the first settlers.  He soon finds his permanent home in rural Sumner Township, Kankakee County where he has a large farm.

Kankakee County, Illinois

French Canadian Settlers came to Kankakee County in 1834, after the federal government signed the Treaty of Tippecanoe with the the Potawatomi Indians in 1832. They were soon joined by migrants from New York and Vermont in the 1840’s.

1850 - 1887 - Nathaniel is involved in the administration and activities of Kankakee County.

1863 - Township Supervisor

1867 - Board of School Redistricting

1872 - Illinois Department of Agriculture, County Agricultural Board, Executive Comittee

1876 - breeding of short horn Red Bulls

1887 - Nathaniel dies and is buried in Momence Cemetery.

Momence Cemetery

Several Butts are buried here.

Milton Verplank Butts


1855 - Ellen E. Butts is born in Kankakee County, Illinois.

1875 - Ellen marries George Martin Randall and they have 4 children.

Ellen and George eventually move to central Kansas.  This also happens to be the area where the displaced Potawatomi Indians from Kankakee County, Illinois


Did Ellen and George have any connection to the Potawatomi???

The Randall Family History begins after this