Wednesday, September 14, 2022

American Stars #9: Star of Illusion for the Butlers


American Stars #9: Star of Illusion for the Butlers by Jeanne Arnieri

A nine-patch star for the Butlers of Georgia, South Carolina and Philadelphia.

Pierce Butler (1744-1822)

The first of this Butler family in the U.S. was Pierce Butler, third son of an Irish baronet, who fought on the side of the British in the 1770 "Boston Massacre" in which the King's troops killed five Bostonians.

The Boston Massacre by Paul Revere

Butler soon switched allegiance, bought huge plantations in South Carolina and Georgia and served as
delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention after the Revolution. He was a U.S. Senator.

An advocate of slavery he hoped to have this clause included in the Constitution:

"Wheresoever any person bound to service or labour in any state, shall flee into another state, it shall be lawful for the person intitled to such service or labour to reclaim and recover him he shall not be thereby discharged from such service or labour: but the legislatures of the several states shall make provision for the recovery of such person."
In essence a Fugitive Slave law, his statute was not instituted until 1850.

Star of Illusion
Fussy-cutting fearlessness by Becky Brown

Daughter Sarah Butler (1773-1831) married Philadelphia polymath Dr. James Mease (1771–1846) and had 5 children. James is credited as the inventor of tomato ketchup and author of a history about Philadelphia.

James Mease, Silhouette by Auguste Edouard

Pierce Butler, left without heirs to carry on the Butler name, (he'd disinherited one son and another had died) offered Philadelphian Sarah Butler Mease his fortune for his grandsons if they'd change their last name from Mease to Butler. 

Free Library of Philadelphia
8th & Chestnut Streets, 1855

Sarah complied. Pierce built a mansion in Philadelphia. Heir Pierce Mease, renamed Pierce Mease Butler, became enamored of a famous English actress on her 1832 American tour.

Pierce Mease Butler (1810–1867) & Frances Ann Kemble (1809-1893)
Married in their mid-20s

Tired of the stage and swept away by the rich young man's obsessive devotion Fanny Kemble
married him in 1834. She was under the illusion that such love lasted and that he admired her independence. He believed she would become the submissive wife, permitting his infidelities and financial irresponsibilities. She had abolitionist ideas; his fortune was built on the backs of slaves.

Fanny accompanied him on a visit to one of his Georgia plantations, a shocking experience for her and the end of any marital harmony. A prolific diary keeper and letter writer she eventually published her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation during the Civil War, hoping to convince Britons to avoid supporting the Confederacy.
"Tittle tattle about Mr & Mrs Pierce Butler whose squabbles have become serious enough to be known generally---His conduct to her has been shameful & although I daresay she has her faults of temper, it is unmanly & cruel to treat her so. Even his family side with her...."  Eliza Fisher, 1843.
He refused to let her see their two daughters Frances & Sarah. Fanny Kemble Butler went home to England. 

He divorced her in 1848, the scandal of the year. During the Civil War Pierce's pro-Confederate sentiments and actions were so blatant he was arrested in Philadelphia for treason.

Star of Illusion by Denniele Bohannon

The Block
Star of Illusion is a redesign of published patterns that are pieced
as four patches and nine patches.

BlockBase+ Numbers 1240 and 1721

Print the pattern below on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. Note the square inch for scale.

Most of the pieces can be cut with a rotary cutter and pieced
in conventional fashion.

The Next Generation
Daughters Frances Anne (1838-1910) & Sarah Butler (1835 -1908)

Once daughter Fan Butler was 21 both girls were free to associate with their mother. In 1859 Sally married Dr. Owen Jones Wister of the Philadelphia Wisters. Sally was strongly for the Union.

LaSalle University
Sally Wister and husband Owen Jones Wistar (1825-1896) lived in
the Philadelphia suburb Germantown

James Wentworth Leigh and Frances Anne Butler Leigh

Fan followed her father's pro-Confederacy loyalties until the day she died. After the war she and her father attempted to continue plantation agriculture but Pierce Butler died of malaria  in Georgia in 1867. A decade later Fan married English minister James Leigh and moved to England.

She published her own perspective on
the good old days of slavery in 1883, which
did not endear her to her mother.

Alice Dudley Leigh Butler (1874-1965)

Fan had two boys named Pierce Butler Leigh who both died young. 
Her daughter Alice married distant relative Richard Pierce Butler, an Irish baronet.

Owen Jones Wister II (1860-1938)

Sally and Dr. Wister had one son Owen Wister II who defined the American cowboy in several western novels, particularly The Virginian.

Read posts about the Butler/Kemble marriage at early BOM's.

A dozen Stars of Illusion by Denniele Bohannon
Photoshopped into an all-over set.


Susie H said...

A nation divided, a family divided. Love the star pattern. I think it might be my favorite!

lmno said...

Dr. James Mease - talk about a family saga. This history is what soap operas are made of. Thank you, Barbara. It has many twists and turns.

Barbara Brackman said...

Real life is often a soap opera. Love it.

leannslessons said...

A fascinating family story, shows that this is not the first era in which a nation was divided and families in disarray. Human beings remain human don't they?