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Roderick Random Butler was both a statesman and a Union officer

To me one of Mountain City’s most interesting Landmarks is the Butler Mansion located on North Church Street. I understand the exterior was constructed of bricks made on the premises. It is said that the exterior trim was shipped from Washington State by train to Abingdon, Virginia. From there it was hauled to Taylorsville (later named Mountain City) by horse drawn wagons. It has been awhile since I was inside the stately home, but if I remember correctly, inside the building consists of huge high-ceilinged rooms with beautiful wood trim. The home also has a beautiful spiral staircase that is a delight to see. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places. Now owned by Joan and Bill Trathen, the home was once the residence of Roderick Random Butler, one of Johnson County’s most famous citizens. Butler completed the house circa 1870.
Butler was active in politics as well as achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 13th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry during the American Civil War. He was a son of George Butler and Nancy Anne Leitch. Roderick Random Butler was born in Wytheville, Virginia on April 8, 1827 and died August 18, 1902 in Johnson County, Tennessee. Butler married Emeline Jane Donnelly in 1849. She was the daughter of Richard Donnelly and Rebecca Doran.
Butler’s father died when he was about a year old. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a tailor. After six years, he moved to Johnson County, Tennessee. He studied law and became a lawyer and was admitted to the bar in 1854. President Millard Fillmore appointed him postmaster of Taylorsville. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1859. He voted against succession in 1861. In 1863, he became a lieutenant colonel in the Union Army. He was a member of the U. S. Congress for 10 years, being elected in 1867. He served in the state legislature for 24 years.
The 13th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry Regiment USA was mustered in at Strawberry Plains, October 28 and November 8, 1863 and was mustered out at Knoxville, September 5, 1865. He 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.
Situated in one of the highest valleys in Tennessee, Taylorsville at Butler’s request was aptly renamed Mountain City in 1885.
Butler died at the age of 75 in 1902, leaving behind a life of service to his country as a statesman and as a military officer. He is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery in east Mountain City.