Thomas S. Butler
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania
In office
March 4, 1897 – May 26, 1928
Preceded byJohn B. Robinson
Succeeded byJames Wolfenden
Constituency6th district (1897–1903)
7th district (1903–23)
8th district (1923–28)
Personal details
Thomas Stalker Butler

(1855-11-04)November 4, 1855
Uwchland Township, Pennsylvania
DiedMay 26, 1928(1928-05-26) (aged 72)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican
ChildrenSmedley Butler (son)

Thomas Stalker Butler (November 4, 1855 – May 26, 1928) was a U.S. Representative born in Pennsylvania, serving from March 4, 1897 until his death, having been elected to the House sixteen times. Thomas S. Butler was also the father of the famous Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler.

Born in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, he attended the common schools, West Chester State Normal School, and Wyer’s Academy in West Chester. He later studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1877, and commenced practice in West Chester. From 1885 to 1889 and again in 1927-1928 he served as trustee of the West Chester State Normal School. Butler was appointed judge of the fifteenth judicial district of Pennsylvania in 1888 and stood as an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1889. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1892.

Thomas S. Butler, center, with U.S. Navy Admiral Henry T. Mayo and an unidentified Marine Lieutenant returning from France aboard USS Siboney in August 1919.
Thomas S. Butler, center, with U.S. Navy Admiral Henry T. Mayo and an unidentified Marine Lieutenant returning from France aboard USS Siboney in August 1919.

Elected to Congress in his first term as an Independent Republican, he was elected as a Republican for each succeeding term. While in Congress, he was chairman of the United States House Committee on Pacific Railroads (Fifty-ninth through Sixty-first Congresses) and member of the United States House Committee on Naval Affairs (Sixty-sixth through Seventieth Congresses).

During World War I, Butler read into the Congressional Record the "bogus oath", which was falsely attributed to the Roman Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus, in which the oath taker pledges to war against Protestant Christians.[1] The bogus oath was refuted by the Committee on Public Information, the wartime information agency of the Woodrow Wilson administration.[2]

Butler died in office and was buried in Oaklands Cemetery, West Chester, Pennsylvania. His home at West Chester, The Butler House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Religion: Great & Fake Oath". TIME Magazine. 1928-09-03.
  2. ^ Egan & Kennedy 1920, p. 121.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  • Egan, Maurice Francis; Kennedy, John James Bright (1920). The Knights of Columbus in Peace and War, Volume 1. ISBN 978-1-142-78398-3.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John B. Robinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
George D. McCreary
Preceded by
Irving P. Wanger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
George P. Darrow
Preceded by
Henry W. Watson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Wolfenden