Welcome to

Otter Tail County Minnesota

Butler Township




From Trygg Historical Maps, Trygg Land Office, Ely, MN www.trygglandoffice.com/maps.html
b=bottom land, m=marsh, p=prairie, s=swamp

 Basic Facts:

Township 137N, Range 37W
Government survey 1870
First Settled 18??
Organized Jul 26, 1883


[Copied by Lory Brasel, lbrasel@leagent.net, from the book "History of Otter Tail County" Volume I - 1916 by John W. Mason]

An effort had been made a searly as 1880 to organize a civil township out of the territory now embraced within Butler, Corliss, Pine Lake and Homestead townships, but when a petition from the citizens of this territory asked on July 26, of that year, for such a township it was refused on the ground that it included too large a tract of land. Homestead was organized at that time, but it was not until July 26, 1883, that township 137, range 37, presented a petition asking for its establishment as a civil township. On this latter date A. O. Richardson and sixteen others, a majority of the legal voters of the congressional township, appeared before the board asking for the organization of the civil township to be known by the name of Red Eye. The petitioners were as follow: A. O. Richardson, Isaac Beetle, J. W. McCallum, J. Fish, William Matthews, P. B. Thompson. Jr., S. V. Wheaten, H. Budke, A. J. Pierce, H. G. McKibben, W. H. Kimball, David Traille, Charles Kimball, Horace Kimball, John McGuire, Peter McGuire and J. S. Richardson. The board granted this petition on the above mentioned date, but refused their assent to the name Red Eye, calling it Butler instead. The first election was held at the residence of Peter McGuire on August 15, 1883.

Butler township lies on the northern border of Otter Tail county and in the second tier of townships from Wadena county. It is bounded on the north by Becker county, on the west by Corliss township, on the south by Homestead and on the east by Paddock. Bear lake, on the western side, is the largest body of water. Swamp lake, Lake Edna, Harvey lake and Pierce lake are smaller bodies of water in this township, although there are several smaller lakes which bear no names. There are no streams in the southern half of the township but the northern half is well drained by Red Eye river and its tributaries. Red Eye river enters from Becker county in the center of section 4. It then takes a southeastern course and leaves the township in the northeastern part of section 13. Bear creek is the outlet for Bear lake and flows through the central part emptying into Red Eye river only a short distance from where the latter enters Paddock township. Another small creek drains the northwestern part and joins Red Eye river in the north central part of section ten. These are the main avenues of drainage for the northern part of the township. There is no platted town within the limits of this township, although there is a postoffice at Butler. The latter is located in the northeastern corner of section fifteen. A very plausible reason for the lateness of the organization of this township is its remoteness from the seat of justice. In traveling from the northeast corner of the township to the county seat one has to traverse sixty miles.

The present township officers are as follow: Supervisors, Joe Fish, Gotliev Janke and J. H. Imonen; clerk, P. B. Thompson; treasurer, John Redetzke; assessor, Peter Johnson; justice, Prudence Jacques; constables, John Hubla and Joe Hollick.


Population totals in state and federal census summaries.

 1880  27
 1885  127
 1890  170
 1895  209
 1900  259
 1905  287
 1910  362
 1920  406
 1930  474
 1940  472

Places of birth for Butler Township in the 1905 state census.

 Native (USA)  63   22%
 Minnesota  143   50%
 Foreign  81   28%
     Germany  18   22%
     Sweden  5   6%
     Norway  8   10%
     Canada  4   5%
     Ireland  2   2%
     Denmark  14   17%
     England  2   2%
     Poland  0   0%
     Finland  21   26%
     Russia  7   9%
     Scotland  0   0%
     Other  0   0%

Land Maps



The following names have been extracted from original land records (by John Nelson) and Mason's History (by Karen Terry). Baker , Henry ; Beetle , Isaac ; Brinkhaus , Hermann ; Brown , John R ; Budke , H ; Clarke , N P ; Collins , William H ; Downs , Michael J ; Edwards , William ; Fish , J , Joe ; Fresonke , Carl ; Ganke , Gotfried ; Goodsell , Elizabeth ; Gould , Myron C ; Hemphill , Andrew ; Hollick , Joe ; Hubla , John ; Immonen , Henrik ; Imonen , JH ; Jacques , Prudence ; Janke , Gotliev ; Johnson , Andrew , Peter ; Kimball , Charles , Horace , WH , William H ; Kluge , Gottfried , Johann , Julius ; Kyllanen , John ; Lehto , Nils ; Logelin , Mathias ; Luders , Dietrich ; Maguire , Peter ; Martenus , Henry , Smith ; Mathews , William ; Matthews , William ; Mccallum , Andrew , John W ; McCallum , JW ; Mccrae , Andrew ; McGuire , John , Peter ; McKibben , HG ; Mickelson , Johan ; Moses , George ; Pierce , AJ , Amasa J ; Poppler , Michael ; Quick , Charles F ; Quittschreiber , Charles F ; Ramsey , Neil ; Redetzke , John ; Richardson , Almer O , AO , Josiah S , JS ; Rodgers , Charles ; Taylor , Isaac ; Thompson , PB , PB Jr , Percie B ; Traill , David ; Traille , David ; Wallace , Horace H ; Warren , Clarence A ; Wego , Peter W ; Wheaten , SV ; Wright , Thomas B ; Zepper , Gottlieb

Return to Otter Tail County Home Page