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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM BUTCHER, a prominent farmer in Norriton township, was born in Worcester township, Montgomery county, November 13, 1838. He is the son of John and Rachel (Wagner) Butcher.

John Butcher (father) was a native of Philadelphia, where he learned his trade of blacksmith. He was born July 4, 1800, and lived until 1892. He started to follow his trade in Fairview village, afterwards removing to Centre Point. In 1839 he settled on the Williams farm in Norriton township, the same farm which is now owned by his son William. .He was a skilled mechanic, and men came from a great distance to get their horses shod in his shop. In making axes and all kinds of farm implements he had no superior and very few equals in Montgomery county.

In early life John Butcher was a Whig, and on the organization of the Republican party became one of its members and remained so until his death. He married Rachel Wagner, a member of an old Pennsylvania family. She was a Presbyterian and a member in Norristown for a time, but afterwards transferred her membership to the Wentz church, in Worcester township. They and their children who are deceased are buried there. Their children were:

Peter, died young; Catharine, died young; Mary Ann, married John Stiver, and after his death married Michael Rodenbaugh; they had a large family of children (she is now deceased); Louisa, married Albanus Lair, and they also had a large family; William; John W., married Eliza Jane Caldwell; John was a soldier in the Civil war.

William Butcher removed with his parents to his present home when he was one year old, and was reared on this farm. He worked on his father’s farm until he was twenty-four years of age, also devoting some attention to learning the trade of blacksmith. His education was obtained at the public schools of the neighborhood, which he attended three or four months in winter. As soon as he was old enough to work in the shop or on the farm he was employed in one of those occupations the entire year. The acquisition of the knowledge which has sufficed for a successful career as an agriculturist was gained principally in the great school of life.

Arriving at the age of twenty-four years, Mr. Butcher married and started out in life on his own account, his first venture being as a tenant on the farm of Charles Johnson, in Plymouth township. He was a tenant on different farms in the neighborhood for a period of sixteen years. In 1880, his mother having died in the meantime, his father offered him the farm as a tenant, asking him to make a home for himself, which Mr. Butcher did. On the death of his father in 1892, he purchased the farm at the administrator’s appraisement, and is still its owner. It contains seventeen acres, in which he raises garden truck and farm products generally, attaining better results than many farmers on tracts several times its size.

In politics Mr. Butcher is a Republican, and has been all his life, believing that the principles of his party stand for the greatest good to the greatest number of the people of the United States. He has been a delegate to county conventions, but not an office-seeker or an office-holder, as his time was too much taken up with his farm to accept township office.

Mr. Butcher’s father built the blacksmith shop and all the buildings now standing on the farm except the principal residence.

William Butcher married Elizabeth Rodenbaugh, daughter of Michael and Alice (Johnson) Rodenbaugh. She was born in Plymouth township, March 22, 1840. They have no children.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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