Butler, Joseph Green Jr.

Submitted by mercercounty on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 09:49

JOSEPH GREEN BUTLER, JR.—The state of Ohio has enrolled upon her banner of fame the names of men who have become noted in the world of politics and business, whose influence has been felt throughout the nation, and who will go down in the history of our country as those who have been largely responsible for its progress and prosperity. The subject of this review, although not a native of the state, has been a resident in it for nearly half a century, during which time his influence has been felt far and wide.

Joseph G. Butler, Jr., was born at Temperance Furnace, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1840, and is the son of Joseph Green Butler and Temperance (Orwig) Butler. The traits of character which are manifest in the Scotch-Irish race, such as industry, perseverance and honesty, predominate in the men­tal and physical make-up of Mr. Butler, and to these only can be attributed his success in life. His father, a man of limited means, early instilled in him the fundamental principles of an upright life. He was an original Washingtonian and an uncompromising temperance advocate. In early life he came to Trumbull county, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits and also served as sheriff of the county. The educational opportunities of the son were limited and consisted principally of a few short months in the common or public school at Niles, Ohio, which he attended at the same time with Major William McKinley, and between the boys matured a friendship which time has only strengthened. Mr. Butler was early compelled to enter business life and when he was thirteen years old we find him working in the old rolling-mill store belonging to the firm of James Ward & Company, of which Mr. Butler, Sr., was manager. At sixteen he was transferred to the shipping department of the rolling-mill, where he served two years, and at eighteen was made bookkeeper of the concern, which position he filled until twenty-one, when the entire supervision of the office of James Ward & Company, which at that time was looked upon as a very large concern was given in his charge.

In 1863 Mr. Butler entered the employ of Hale & Ayer, of Chicago, with the expectation of being trans­ferred thither. However, this firm owned an interest in the Brown-Bonnell Iron Company, of Youngstown, and there Mr. Butler was sent to represent his new employers. For three years he continued with Hale & Ayer, and in 1866 formed a partnership with Governor David Tod, William Ward and William Rich­ards, for the purpose of building a blast furnace at Girard, under the name of the Girard Iron Company, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, divided into four equal parts. Mr. Butler had charge of the financial part of the enterprise, and when Governor Tod died in 1868 the estate disposed of his share, which was acquired by A. M. Byers, of Pittsburg, to whom, in 1878, Mr. Butler also sold his interest. At this time, at the invitation of the sons of Governor Tod and John Stambaugh, Mr. Butler bought an interest in the Brier Hill Iron Company, of which he became manager. The corporation has been very successful, and to-day is, if not the most important, certainly one of the principal industries of Youngstown. In addition to the foregoing Mr. Butler is interested in the Ohio Steel Company, which has a capital of $1,250,000, and of which he is vice-president and one of the founders. He is also president of the Bessemer Limestone Company, which he, with others, organized in 1887. All of these enterprises have been successful and prosperous. Mr. Butler is a director of the Pittsburg, Youngstown & Ashtabula Railway Company and of the Cleveland & Mahoning Valley Railway Company, and is interested in the Aragon Mining Company, at Norway, Michigan.

Notwithstanding Mr. Butler’s prosperity and in­dustry, he is by no means a man of large wealth. His generous nature and open-handed hospitality has in a measure prevented the accumulation of great wealth. When any one is in need his assistance is greatly sought for, and all who are acquainted with him know his weakness in that respect toward humanity. Socially, he is exceedingly popular and his geniality has won for him the friendship of all who come in contact with him. He is a member of the Ohio Society of New York, the American Geographical Society, also of New York, the Union Club, of Cleveland, the Duquesne Club, of Pittsburg, and the Rayen Club, of Youngstown.

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