Benjamin Butterworth and the Columbian Exposition

Note: the text of Lacy Lastinger on the confederate soldiers of Berrien County is temporarily unavailable. The Ray CIty History Blog will return to that topic at a later date.

Today’s post, while slightly off topic, was a serrendipitous discovery while researching the history of fraternal benefit organizations in Ray City, GA.  Interviews with Ray City residents had indicated that in the 1930s Woodmen of the World maintained a home for the elderly at Thomasville, GA.

The Obituary of Benjamin Butterworth was briefly noted in The 1899  Detroit Free Press Annual Year Book: Weather Forecasts and Cyclopedia of Facts for the Office, Home, and Farm. Vol. 4, No. 1, January, 1899.

Died January 16, 1898.

At Thomasville, Ga., Benjamin Butterworth, U. S. Commissioner of Patents, widely known also for his efficiency in achieving the success of the World’s Fair enterprise (1893).

The magazine Timely Topics: Weekly nonpartisan news, history, science, politics, geography, and literature  (Vol. II. No. 20. Jan 21, 1898, Lansing, MI) published the more informative obit.

Benjamin Butterworth Dead.

Benj. Butterworth, the commissioner of patents, who has been ill for some time from a severe attack of pneumonia, died at Thomasville, Georgia, where he had gone for his health.

Mr. Butterworth has been one of Ohio’s big four politically and is the first to die. The quartet was McKinley, Fornker. Charlie Foster and Butterworth.

Benjamin Butterworth was born in Warren county, Ohio, Oct. 22, 1822. His

father was a Virginia planter, who, notwithstanding his property Interests, was so devoted to the cause of universal liberty that he freed his slaves and removed with his family to Ohio. In that state he became associated with Levi Coffin in the “underground railroad” and assisted fugitive slaves until the close of the war.

Benjamin Butterworth was educated at Ohio University, Athens, O., studied law in Cincinnati and was admitted to practice in that city in 1861. In 1870 he became United States district attorney, in 1873-4 was a member of the state senate, and in 1878 was returned to congress, being re-elected at the expiration of his term.

In 1883 President Arthur appointed him a commissioner in examination of a part of the Northern Pacific railway, and in the same year he was retained by the government to prosecute the South Carolina election cases. In 1883 he was appointed commissioner of patents, to succeed E. M. Marble. In the following year he was again returned to congress. During the term of his first service in congress Mr. Butterworth was author of the compulsory army retirement act.

He was made secretary of the World’s Fair project early In the inception of that great enterprise at Chicago during the early ’90s and worked along in that capacity with honor to himself and profit to the company until Its close.

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