Landgrave - Charles Eden

Charles Eden was born in 1673 in England and died March 17, 1722 at Eden House, North Carolina. Eden was Governor of North Carolina (1714-22). He spent most of his appointed term as Governor attempting to curb the threat of pirates, the most powerful of which at this time was Edward Teach ("Blackbeard"). Eden offered him the royal pardon if he would give himself up, whereupon he surrendered with twenty of his followers, but he soon returned to his old habits.

Eden was rumored to have a close personal relationship with Blackbeard and to have shared in his loot. Edward Moseley, a prominent colonist, declared that the governor could raise an armed posse to arrest honest men, but could not raise a similar force to apprehend Teach. For his accusations, Moseley was arrested, fined £100, and debarred from holding office for three years.

Teach took over an island on the Carolina coast and set himself up as almost a prince, taxing the traders throughout his realm. The Carolinians despaired of help from their own governor, and got a small army from the governor of Virginia which killed Blackbeard in 1718.

In 1719, Governor Charles Eden gave to the Executive Council a full account of his dealings with the pirate, which was approved by them. In 1718, Eden had been made Landgrave of Carolina, a hereditary nobility provided for in the Fundamental Constitutions, written for the colony by John Locke.


Despairing of any help from North Carolina's do-nothing Governor Charles Eden, Christopher Butler and other citizens of coastal North Carolina appealed to Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood for aid. The resulting dispatch of the Royal Navy brought an end to Blackbeard. Christopher Butler was reprimanded by the courts more than once for his outspoken opinions of Governor Charles Eden.

Christopher Butler III, the son of Christopher II and Henrietta Butler, was called in contemporary records, "Christopher the Mariner." In 1701, he was a collector, a minor official in St. Paul's Parish Church in Chowan County, North Carolina. He married Sarah Stepney, the daughter of John Stepney with whom his father had so many legal involvements. Thereafter he enjoyed a colorful career in Chowan County which may be traced in the records. It begins Saturday, April 2, 1720 when Christopher Butler was fined "for swearing one oath."

On October 29, 1722 he appeared again in court "for Breach of the Peace and Scandalous Speeches uttered against the late governor and other Publick Officers of the Government." Christopher threw himself on the mercy of the court and was given "a very severe reprimand" and dismissed with court costs. The document as we have it doesn't say what he said against the late governor, but it is easy enough to guess.

Governor Charles Eden had died on March 11, 1722, the last Landgrave of North Carolina. He was rumored to have been a friend of Edward Teach, the infamous Blackbeard, and to have shared in Teach's loot. In 1717, Governor Eden pardoned Teach and released him on promise of good behavior, later justifying this act to the Executive Council. Teach took over an island on the Carolina coast and set himself up as almost a prince, taxing the traders throughout his realm.

The Carolinians (Christopher Butler among them), unable to get help from their own governor obtained a small army from Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia to go in and eliminate Blackbeard. Christopher Butler was a mariner, meaning that he made his living by trading by sea up and down the coastal colonies; pirates were his mortal enemies, and he surely had plenty to say for the man who pardoned BlackBeard.

Christopher, along with his sons, Jacob Butler and Job Butler, are mentioned as privates on the muster roll of Captain Edward Vail's militia company, November 25, 1754. Finally a certain Christopher Butler was bonded in October 1749 in the case of Elizabeth Bennett who had given birth to an illegitimate child. The name of the child is not known, nor is it clear which of the two Christopher's (father or son) who were alive at the time is meant.

The will of Christopher Butler the Mariner (dated 1763) gives him as the father of the wife of Samuel Dunscomb, and of Jacob Butler, Mary Butler, Sarah Butler and, from other sources he is known to be the father of David Butler (d. 1749), the father of Job Butler by Mary Haughton.

Job Butler's will (1794) in Chowan County gives his wife's name as Mary and mentions no other heirs.


 


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