Pierce Mason Butler

26th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1836 to 1838

Date Born: April 11, 1798

Date Died: August 20, 1847

Place Born: Edgefield County, SC

Place Buried: Edgefield, SC

Residence: Columbia, SC

Occupation: Banker, Lt. Colonel in SC Militia, Lieutenant and
Captain in US Army


Rev. Moses Waddel's Academy in Abbeville, SC

Governor of South Carolina: 1836-1838

US Agent to the Cherokee and Comanche Indians

1847 – Butler died in the Mexican War at the Battle of Churubusco


Pierce Mason Butler was born on April 11, 1798 in Edgefield County, South Carolina, the son of William Butler and a brother of Andrew Pickens Butler and William Butler, Jr., all of whom served in the U.S. Congress. He was educated by Rev. Moses Waddel at the Willington Academy in Willington, SC (Abbeville District).

Butler was appointed a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1818 and rose to the rank of captain before resigning his commission in 1829. He then took up his residence in Columbia where he became the President of the Columbia Bank, a position he retained for six or seven years. He was then a lieutenant colonel of a South Carolina volunteer regiment and served in the Seminole War in Florida.

In 1836, he was elected by the SC legislature as the next governor of South Carolina and served for two years. During his administration, the era of railroads in South Carolina began. Governor Butler appointed a commission to survey South Carolina's public schools in an effort to find areas of possible improvement. The Panic of 1837 damaged South Carolina banks, causing periodic suspensions of specie payment over the next few years.

Following his term as governor of South Carolina, he became agent to the Cherokee at Fort Gibson (present day Muskogee County, Oklahoma), a post he held until 1846, when he resigned to rejoin the U.S. Army in the war against Mexico. He organized a group of volunteers, known as the Palmetto Regiment, of which he was elected colonel, and led it with valor in the battle of Cerro Gordo. At the battle of Churubusco, he was wounded in the leg, but insisted in leading his men in a bold and dangerous charge on the Mexican lines, until he was shot through the head and instantly killed on August 20, 1847.

Following his death in Mexico, Butler's body was returned to South Carolina for burial. He was first entombed at Trinity Episcopal Church, just across from the State House. In December 1853, he was reburied in the Butler Family Cemetery, in the graveyard of what is now Butler Methodist Church in Saluda County. Others buried in the plot are his father, Major General William Butler, his mother, Behethland Foote Moore Butler, a sister, five of his six brothers, Colonel Zachariah Smith Brooks, grandfather of Preston Brooks, and two children of his brother William, the only sibling not buried there. He is buried at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenville. Collectively they were four Colonels, one General, one Lt. Colonel, three Majors, and one Judge and US Senator. The General was a member of Congress, too.

Several sources assert he was killed on December 22, 1846.


Pierce Mason Butler was born on April 11, 1798. He as educated at Rev. Moses Waddel's Academy in Abbeville, SC. Butler was a banker by profession. He served as a Captain in the United States Army and as a Lieutenant Colonel in the South Carolina Militia. Butler also served as US Agent to the Cherokee and Comanche Indians. Butler served as Governor of South Carolina from 1836 to 1838. As Governor, Butler appointed a commission to survey South Carolina's public schools in an effort to find areas of possible improvement. Butler died on December 22, 1846 in the Mexican War at the Battle of Churubusco. He is buried in Edgefield, SC.

<< Last Governor - George McDuffie

Next Governor - Patrick Noble >>



© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved