I am not an advocate of Irish emigration; I would rather a million of times that "the old race" could hold every inch of "the old land." I believe that the pang of separation,and the subsequent sad feeling of exile from friends and country, leave an impress upon the heart that can never be removed. Let those, then, who can live at home in Ireland remain there--unless, indeed, the future prospects of their family are very dark

Fr. T. A. Butler        


Fr. Butler's 1871 work,
The State of Kansas and Irish Immigration
has been transcribed
and published on the internet for all to read.
Fr. Butler wrote this 37 page booklet for Catholics in Ireland
who were contemplating emigration to America.
His purpose was to give an accurate description
of what an Irish immigrant might find in America.
It was his desire to see Irish immigrants
take up the honest work of farming,
rather than take the chance of losing their souls
in trying to build a life in American cities,
where hard labor, measly pay, and temptations abound.

Fr. Butler wrote this booklet from the Bishop's Residence,
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Leavenworth, KS.

My Irish ancestors, the Smith and Keating families,
were able to homestead in Kansas
through the help and instruction given by Fr. Butler;
he directed them to go to St. Joseph's Settlement, on Irish Creek,
in Pottawatomie and Marshall Counties, KS.

Fr. Butler's work has been divided into 4 parts for ease of loading.

Begin with the first part of Fr. Butler's: "State of Kansas."

Or, jump to the second part.     Or, to the third part.     Or, to the fouth part.

I am indebted to Bill Brady for sharing his copy of Fr. Butler's book with me.
He has been a wonderful mentor.
Reading first-hand materials from these homestead days
gives us a unique look at the times and the customs of our people.
We see their passions, their prejudices,
their national pride, and their great faith in God.
I hope you enjoy reading Fr. Butler's work, as much as I enjoyed transcribing it.

My special thanks to Sister Teresa Maria Eagan, CSJ,
Archivist for the Archdiocese of St. Louis,
for finding the photo of Father Butler, pictured below.
Her assistance in this project has been invaluable.

Fr. Thomas A. Butler
Fr. Thomas A. Butler

Click on Photo for larger version.

Rev. Thomas Ambrose Butler
1837 - 1897
the Poet Priest of the West

What a kind face he has!

Biographical Sketch of Fr. Butler
(adapted from an article by Wm. Brady)

Thomas Ambrose Butler was born in Dublin,
31 March, 1837, and ordained on 17 May, 1864.
Fr. Butler came to America, in 1867, and
settled in Leavenworth, KS, the see of Bishop
John Baptiste Miege, S.J., Apostolic Admin-
istrator of Indian Territory. Bishop Miege
made Fr. Butler an associate pastor at the
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in
Leavenworth. Fr. Butler traveled throughout
the area, offering Mass, dispensing sacraments,
and assessing the progress of immigrants in
America. In 1875 Fr. Butler moved to
St. Louis, and became pastor of St. John
the Apostle and Evangelist Church.
In 1877 he organized the St. Louis
Colonization Association whereby an Irish
immigrant could find a home and farm on the
plains of Kansas. In 1878, about 60 families
moved from St. Louis to the area around
Blaine, KS, which originally was named
Butler City. Fr. Butler founded the parish
of St. Cronan in St. Louis that same year. He
made one trip back to Kansas in April of 1890,
and was met with a grand celebration.
Fr. Butler died 6 Sept., 1897, and is buried
in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.

{Smith Family} {Keating Family }{Bushey Family}{Donahy Family}

Please contact: Fr. David Smith, S.J.,
with comments.

This page was created on March 25, 2000,
Feast of the Annunciation,
and updated on May 24, and again on June 29,
the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul,
most recently March 15, 2010.