Home of Peter Butler III

Home of Peter Butler III, 158 Princess Street, Lucan.
Peter Butler III’s grandfather was one of the original Wilberforce settlers arriving in the 1830s from the Boston area. He was married to one of three sisters from the Quacum family, women of Indigenous descent each of whom came to the settlement with their husband and children. All three men would have a role in directing the operation of the settlement.
Peter Butler took a circuitous route to get to Biddulph Township working a as caulker in shipyards in Port Dover and Port Stanley along the way. He had escaped slavery in Baltimore where he had been born in 1797, by going to sea for 7 years. On his return, he married Salome Quacum in Marshfield on the coast of Massachusetts, south of Boston. They later moved to Boston, a centre of abolitionist activity and probably heard about the Wilberforce settlement there.
Peter cleared and farmed Lot 5 on the main road between London and Goderich (now Highway 4). Clearing that road was one of the requirements for owning land in the settlement. Today about one half of the town of Lucan is located on what was Lot 5. The town’s establishment and growth were largely the result of the building of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1859, which ran right through Peter’s lot.
These three families were among the few that had remained in the settlement by the end of the 1830s. Clearing the land was hard, progress was slow and some gave up after a few years. Both Peter and his son, Peter II, served the community as healers with their knowledge of herbal remedies.
The third-generation Peter Butler, born in 1859, also farmed and in 1883 became a county constable. He later joined the Ontario Provincial Police, becoming the first Black officer to be hired by the force. Descendants of the family can still be found in Lucan and area.