Butterfield, Justin H.

Born: 1789-12-27 Keene, New Hampshire

Died: 1855-10-23 Chicago, Illinois

Justin H. Butterfield entered Williams College in Massachusetts in 1807 and began studying law in 1810 under Egbert Ten Eyck in Watertown, New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1812 and began a practice in Adams, New York. He relocated to Sackett's Harbor, where he married Elizabeth Pearce, with whom he had eight children. He then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he engaged in a successful practice before returning to Watertown in 1826.

In 1835, Butterfield settled in Chicago, where he remained for the rest of his life, becoming one of the city's most prominent citizens. From May 1841 to January 1845, Butterfield was district attorney for the District of Illinois. In 1849, President Zachary Taylor appointed him commissioner of the General Land Office over the claim of Abraham Lincoln to the same office. He remained in the position until 1852, when he was disabled by paralysis.

Alfred Theodore Andreas, History of Chicago (New York: Arno Press, 1975), 1:433-35; Thomas F. Schwartz, "'An Egregious Political Blunder': Justin Butterfield, Lincoln, and Illinois Whiggery," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 8 (1986), 9-19; John M. Wilson, Memoir of Justin Butterfield (Chicago: Chicago Legal News, 1880); Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 7 May 1841, 2:7, 2 January 1845, 3:4; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, from the Thirtieth September, 1841, to the Thirtieth September, 1843 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1843), 257.