Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Butler, Ezra

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BUTLER, Ezra, clergyman, b. in Lancaster, Mass., in September, 1763; d. in Waterbury, Vt., 12 July, 1838. His mother died when he was a mere boy, and, after living for a few years with his eldest brother, he went, at the age of fourteen, to Claremont, N. H., where he took charge of a large farm, remaining there till he was of age, with the exception of six months' service in the revolutionary army, in 1779. In 1785, with his brother Asaph, he removed to Waterbury, Vt., then in the midst of a dense forest. They arrived there on 20 March, having travelled the last twenty-five miles of their journey on snow-shoes. Mr. Butler began to think seriously on religious subjects in 1790, became a Baptist in the following year, and in 1800 began to preach at Bolton, Vt. A Baptist church was organized in Waterbury in the same year, and he was its pastor for more than thirty years. He had been the first town clerk of Waterbury in 1790, and had been elected to the legislature in 1797, and he did not allow his ordination to the ministry to interfere with his public career. He was in the legislature eleven years, in the council fifteen years, was first judge of Chittenden county court from 1803 till 1806, chief justice of that county from 1806 till 1811, and of Washington county from 1814 till 1826. He was a member of congress from 1813 till 1815, a delegate to the Vermont constitutional convention of 1822, and governor of the state from 1826 till 1828. His administration as governor was marked by the suppression of lotteries, and by improvement in the state educational system. Gov. Butler was of the Jeffersonian school of politics, and was fifty-three years in the public service, not including the time when he held local offices.