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Thomas S. Butler

Thomas S. Butler (Pennsylvania Congressman)

Thomas Stalker Butler (November 4, 1855 – May 26, 1928) was a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, serving from March 4, 1897 until his death, having been elected to the House sixteen times. Thomas S. Butler was also the father of the famous Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler.

Born in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, he attended the common schools, West Chester State Normal School, and Wyer’s Academy in West Chester. He later studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1877, and commenced practice in West Chester. From 1885 to 1889 and again in 1927-1928 he served as trustee of the West Chester State Normal School. Butler was appointed judge of the fifteenth judicial district of Pennsylvania in 1888 and stood as an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1889. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1892.

Elected to Congress in his first term as an Independent Republican, he was elected as a Republican for each succeeding term. While in Congress, he was chairman of the United States House Committee on Pacific Railroads (Fifty-ninth through Sixty-first Congresses) and member of the United States House Committee on Naval Affairs (Sixty-sixth through Seventieth Congresses).

Thomas S. Butler, center, with U.S. Navy Admiral Henry T. Mayo and an unidentified Marine Lieutenant returning from France aboard USS Siboney in August 1919.

Butler read the "bogus oath" into the Congressional Record,[1] which was refuted by the Committee of Public Information, a war time propaganda agency of the US Government.[2]

Butler died in office and was buried in Oaklands Cemetery, West Chester, Pennsylvania. His home at West Chester, The Butler House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[3]


  1. ^ "Religion: Great & Fake Oath". TIME Magazine. 1928-09-03. 
  2. ^ Egan & Kennedy 1920, p. 121.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  • West, Michael Allen. Laying the Legislative Foundation: The House Naval Affairs Committee and the Construction of the Treaty Navy, 1926-1934. Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1980.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John B. Robinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
George D. McCreary
Preceded by
Irving P. Wanger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
George P. Darrow
Preceded by
Henry W. Watson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Wolfenden

Works cited

  • Egan, Maurice Francis; Kennedy, John James Bright (1920). The Knights of Columbus in Peace and War, Volume 1.  
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