James M. "Jim" Butler was born about 1813 probably in Elbert Co. GA.
He was the son of Christopher Columbus "Kit" Butler and Mahala Cole.
Kit and Mahala moved their family to Shelby Co. AL about 1819 and a
short distance to Coosa Co. AL in 1832. The first record that we have
of Jim is the 1850 census in Winston Co. MS. Jim married Sarah Crawford
about 1835 and they had seven known children. Jim and Sarah lived in
Alabama until about 1847 when they moved to Winston Co. MS. Sarah died
after their son, Billy, was born in 1852.
Following Sarah's death, Jim returned to Coosa Co. AL at least long
enough to marry Amanda Bishop in 1854. Amanda was an orphan or a widow
with a three year old daughter, George Anne when she married Jim.
Amanda is living in the Samuel Pruett household in the 1850 census in
In 1857, Jim purchased a land patent in Walker Co. AL. Jim and
Amanda and their combined family moved there and acquired an adjoining
tract of land from John Cargile. They did not stay in Walker Co. very
long. In 1861, they sold their total land holdings to Noah and Mary Ann
Pariss and moved to northern Alabama. Their youngest twin children were
born near Tuscumbia in 1862. Jim and Amanda had five known children in
addition to Amanda's daughter, George Anne.
By 1870, the family had made its way to Decatur Co. TN. Family
tradition is that they were on their way west to Arkansas and stopped
along the way in Decatur Co. and decided to stay. Thomas and Billy,
sons from Jim's first marriage to Sarah Crawford, made the trip to
Decatur Co. along with Jim and Amanda's five children. Jim and Sarah's
sons, James and John showed up later in Arkansas so they may have
continued the trip after the bulk of the family stopped in Decatur Co.
Jim and Mandy and their sons farmed near Point Pleasant, TN but did
not own any land. They seem to go from cotton crop to cotton crop with
several liens showing up through the 1870's and 1880's in Decatur Co.
TN. Their son, Columbus, was the first Butler land owner with a deed
recorded in 1883. They seem to live a difficult life with Jim borrowing
money in 1887 at age 70 with his gray horse and cotton crop as
collateral. Jim died some time in the 1890's.
Mandy combined households with her youngest daughter, Virgie after
Jim's death and the death of Virgie's husband. They were living in
Henderson Co. TN near Scotts Hill in the 1900 census. Mandy died before
This story is the result of research into my Butler genealogy. More
information about the Butler family is available at
Jerry L. Butler