Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1795-1858

Alternative names
Birth 1795-12-17
Death 1858-11-08

Biographical notes:

American lawyer and politician; Attorney General.

From the description of Letter signed : New York, to A.J. Bleecker, 1840 July 31. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132632

American lawyer and politician; Atty. General.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to C.H. Waddell, 1840 July 16. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131665

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to William L. Marcy, Secretary of War, 1845 May 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131664

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Sandy Hill, New York, to Thomas W. Olcott, 1819 July 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131731

Butler served in the New York state legislature from 1827-1833. He was U.S. Attorney General from 1833-1838, and U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1838-1841 and 1845-1848.

From the description of Letter to George Bancroft, 1848. (Harvard Law School Library). WorldCat record id: 234342513

Benjamin F. Butler, lawyer and politician, is probably best known for his work in 1825 as a member of the commission for the revision of the statutes of the State of New York, in which he was associated with John Duer and John C. Spencer. His lifelong friendship with Martin Van Buren was also noteworthy. Born in Kinderhook, he studied law in Albany, was admitted to the bar in 1817, and for four years thereafter was a partner at Albany in the office of Martin Van Buren. From 1827 to 1833 he was a member of the State Legislature, and during the next five years was attorney general in President Jackson's Cabinet. With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 he left the Democratic ranks and joined the newly-formed Republican Party. He refused cabinet appointments under Presidents Van Buren and Polk, preferring the practice of his chosen profession.

From the description of Papers, 1815-1857. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122519467

American lawyer and politician; Atty General.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [New York?], to F.R. Hassler, [1840]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131634

U.S. attorney general, U.S. secretary of the navy, and lawyer.

From the description of Benjamin F. Butler correspondence, 1817-1850. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79452397

Robert William Hughes was born at Muddy Creek Plantation, Powhatan County, Va. in 1821. His parents died in 1822 and he was raised by Edward C. Carrington and Eliza Preston Carrington. He attended Caldwell Institute, Greensboro, N. C. and studied law in Fincastle, Va. He married Eliza M. Johnston, niece of Joseph E. Johnston and the adopted daughter and niece of John B. Floyd. Hughes' son was Robert Morton Hughes. Robert William Hughes was a newspaper editor and federal district attorney. Involved in post Civil War Republican Party politics, he was nominated for governor of Virginia and for Congress but did not win. He was appointed judge of the federal court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

  • 16 Jan. 1821: Born at Muddy Creek Plantation, Powhatan Co., Va.,the son of Jesse and Elizabeth Woodson (Morton) Hughes.
  • 1822: Both parents died, and Hugheswas raised by Gen. Edward C. Carringtonand his wife, Eliza(Preston) Carringtonof Halifax Co., Va.(family relationship not known).
  • Ca. 1833 - 1837 : "put to the carpenter's trade in Princeton, N.J."
  • Ca. 1837 - 1838 : Attended Caldwell Institute,Greensboro, N.C.
  • Ca. 1839: Tutor, Bingham High School,Hillsboro, N.C.
  • 1843: Studied law, Fincastle, Va.
  • 1846: Began practice of law, Richmond, Va.
  • 4 June 1850: Married Eliza M. Johnston,(1825-1908), niece of Gen. Joseph E. Johnstonand niece and adopted daughter of John Buchananand Sarah (Preston) Floyd.
  • 1850: Began writing editorials for the Richmond Examiner.
  • 1853 - 1857 : Editor of the Richmond Examinerwhile regular editor in Europe.
  • 1855: Birth of son, Robert Morton Hughes.
  • 1857 - 1861 : Editor of the Washington Union,and lived in home of Secretary of War John Buchanan Floyd.
  • 1861: Birth of son, Floyd Hughes(2 other children died young)
  • 1861: Because of "chronic disease" retired to a farm near Abingdon, Va.,where General and Mrs. Floyd1ived with the Hughes family.
  • 1861 - 1864 : Wrote for the Richmond Examiner,showing hostility toward Jefferson Davis' administration.
  • 1865 - 1866 : Edited the Richmond Republic,and generally pursued a course that considered "nimble"
  • 1868: Delegate to National Democratic Convention.
  • 1869 - 1870 : Editor of the Richmond State Journal.
  • Ca. 1870: Wounded William E. Cameronin a duel.
  • 1872: Named federal district attorney by Grant administration.
  • 1872: Nominated for Congressbut did not win.
  • 1873: Nominated for Governor of Virginiabut did not win.
  • 1874: Named Judge of federal court for the Eastern District of Va.
  • 1898: Resigned judgeship.
  • 1901: Died at Abingdon, Va.

Dictionary of American Biography

From the guide to the Inventory of the Robert William Hughes Papers, 1818-1900, (Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary)


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  • Constitutional history--New York (State)
  • British Association For The Advancement Of Science
  • Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
  • Kansas--Nebraska bill
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Harbors--United States
  • United States--Politics and government--1865-1900
  • Horses--Virginia
  • Lawyers
  • Canals--United States
  • Railroads--Virginia


  • Lawyers
  • Cabinet officers
  • Practice of law--Virginia--History
  • Lawyers--Virginia--Correspondence


  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Albany (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Kinderhook (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)