Biographical Sketch On The Life
Of Ovid Butler
Ovid Butler was born February 7, 1801 in
Augusta, New York. His father Chancey Butler was one of the earliest preachers
in the Restoration Movement in Indiana, as the family moved there in 1817
when Ovid was sixteen years of age. They settled in Jennings County, Indiana. He studied law and became a lawyer practicing in Shelbyville,
Indiana from 1825 to 1836. During this time he met and married Cordelia
Butlers then moved to Indianapolis in 1836. Two years after arriving in
Indianapolis Cordelia died. Later he married Mrs. Elizabeth A. Elgin,
the daughter of Thomas McQuat. He established a law firm, where for the
next eleven years he built a profitable business. He had three law partners: Calvin
Fletcher, Simon Yanders and Horatio C. Newcomb.
very interested in the issues that plagued the day, namely slavery in
the U.S. In 1849 he established a paper
called, Free Soil Banner in Indianapolis. It was a political paper with much
emphasis on anti-slavery. In 1849 due to bad health he
gave up his law practice bringing an early retirement.
In addition to a love for
the law, his pious spirit drove him to know and live for Jesus all his life. He
preached the old time gospel and desired that education for young men and women
in the ways of truth was a great need in society. Until that point churches of
Christ had schools of preaching, and general Bible training schools, but as yet
no university in the state. The Christian Record for December, 1847 recorded:
"We, the undersigned, being a committee appointed at the last State meeting
of the Church of Christ held at Greensburg, for the purpose of locating a
college at some point in the State." Then it was signed by Ovid Butler,
Elijah Goodwin, L.H. Jameson, and M.B. Hopkins, Committee"
On January 15, 1850 the
Indiana General Assembly approved a school for the Christian Movement. Over the
next five years Butler labored raising $75,000 for its establishment. He
initially purchased some property on the outskirts of Indianapolis for $4000.00
that was approved by a board of directors including: John
O'Kane, T. P. Connelly, J.M. Mathes and others.
On November 1, 1855 the North Western Christian Christian University opened its
doors. Butler served as the head of the Board of Directors for the
next sixteen years retiring because of bad health at the age of seventy, 1871. He was made Chancellor of the
University. In his honor the University received a new name, Butler University
after its loyal founder and builder on February 28, 1877.
the last years of his life with his family at home. Ovid Butler died July
12, 1881 in Indianapolis, Indiana and is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery. His
second wife, Elizabeth died a year later in 1882.
North Western Christian University From 1855-1874
Home Of Butler University From 1875-1928
Home Of Butler University After 1928
Jordan Memorial Building
Butler University Today
Directions To The Grave
Of Ovid Butler
Ovid Butler is buried in the Crown
Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Traveling On I-65 North Out Of
Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana Take The Dr. Martin Luther King Street Exit
- Exit 117. (Note: If you cross White River, You Have Gone Too Far) Go
North On Dr. Martin Luther King Street. Turn Right On West 32nd Street.
Cemetery Will Be On Your Left. Go Until The Road Dead Ends Into Boulevard
And Turn Left. There Will Be An Entrance To The Cemetery As You Cross The
34th Street Intersection. Turn Left Into The Cemetery. Lot 14, Section 6.
Butler's grave is in the same section as son-in-law, Patrick H. Jameson. See map of
N39º 49.196' x W86º 10.485'
Grave Facing East
Accuracy to 28ft.
Section 6, Lot 14
Hover Over Green Arrow Below To See Exact Location
Also, Click on "Sat" for Satellite Image
View Larger Map
Note Butler Plot To The Left
Special thanks is
extended to Terry J. Gardner of Indianapolis, Indiana for grave photos and
supplying information of the final resting place of Ovid Butler.
Some information and the Butler University pictures were taken from Disciples
Of Christ In Indiana, by Commodore Wesley Cauble c.1930
Hill Cemetery Map