Roderick Random Butler

     Roderick Random Butler was born in  Wytheville, Virginia on April 9, 1827. He came to Johnson County when he was only fourteen. He was bound as an apprentice and learned the tailor's trade. He married the daughter of Richard Donnelly, a wealthy planter in the area. Butler begin to study law on his own. He attended night school. Butler was later admitted to the bar in 1853 and started a practice in Tayorsville. President Fillmore appointed Butler as the postmaster of Taylorsville. He became a major in the First Battalion of the Tennessee Militia. Butler was arrested three times by the Confederates for treason. He became a Lieutenant Colonel in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry in 1863 during the Civil War. Butler served in the army from November 5, 1863 until April 25, 1864 when he was honorably discharged. After the war Butler became a county judge and judge of the first judicial circuit of Tennessee.

     Butler was elected as a Republican to the 40th and the next three Congresses. He served from 1867 to 1873. During this time Butler built his mansion in Taylorsville, now Mountain City, around 1870.

     In 1885 the town Taylorsville was renamed Mountain City. This change took place when Roderick Random Butler convinced the people of the town to change the name. The new name came not only from its location at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, but also because it was in one of the highest valleys in Tennessee.

     Butler returned to Congress from 1887 to 1889. He served in  the United States Congress for a total of ten years. After serving in the Congress he  returned to Mountain City and continued his practice. He also returned to the State senate where he served from 1893 to 1901. Butler served in the State Legislature for a total of twenty-four years.

    Butler died at the age of 75 in 1902 and was buried in the Mountain View Cemetery.

     Today Roderick Random Butler's house is a bed and breakfast. The house is a southern style. The interior and exterior trim work was shipped from Washington state to Abingdon, Virginia by railroad and on to Mountain City by wagon. The house has six bedrooms, two veranda style porches, several out houses including a smoke house, wash house, grainery, and barn. The mansion sits on   a 3 6/10 acre plot in the center of Mountain City.

 

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