Mountain City, Tennessee is one of the most relaxing towns to move to when looking for new land to call home. As the seat of Johnson County, Mountain City is just a few miles away from Virginia and North Carolina with as much rich history as the two neighboring states. In fact, in 1925, Mountain City held the historic Mountain City Fiddlers Convention where big-name country musicians from the early 20th century gathered for a chance to win the $50 prize. That’s not the only historical event that happened in Mountain City, however. In many ways, Mountain City is itself a historical site since one of its famous residents was Republican Congressman Roderick R. Butler and his historic mansion, the Butler House, which is today a major tourist attraction.
The Butler Mansion in Mountain City, TN
Located on 309 North Church Street in Mountain City, Tennessee, the Butler Mansion is near the heart of the town and is a major tourist attraction. Occupying 5 acres of land, the mansion has two floors and is very well preserved. The surrounding landscape is equally well maintained with two historical cemeteries occupying the nearby lands. The Butler Mansion is also located near the Heritage Hall Theatre and the Mountain City Recreation Building.
About Roderick R. Butler
Robert Randum Butler was born on April 9, 1827 in the town of Wythville, Virginia. When Butler was 13 years old, he relocated to Newbern, Virginia to become a tailor under the mentorship of John Haney. By age 19, Butler relocated to Tennessee where he set up shop in Taylorsville and continued his tailor trade there. By 1850, at age 23, Butler served as a major of the First Battalion of the Tennesse Militia – a role that would become important during the American Civil War
Two years prior to serving as a major in the First Battalion, Butler began studying law in 1848 under attorney Carrick W. Nelson in Carter County. He began working as an attorney alongside Nelson in 1853 after being admitted to the bar. By 1855, Butler was elected county judge, and in the late 1850s, he ran for office and was elected to represent both Carter and Johnson counties in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Around this time, Butler met and married his wife, Emeline Jane Donnelly, in 1849 with whom he had 11 children.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, Butler sympathized with the Union (as most of East Tennessee did) and actually used his First Battalion experience in the war efforts. Butler ended up serving as Lieutenant Colonel of the 13th Regiment of the Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry. Post-war, Butler resumed his work as both a Congressman and as a judge in the first judicial circuit. At one point Butler even petitioned the state legislature for East Tennessee to become an independent Union-aligned state.
Butler’s famous home, the Butler Mansion, was built in 1870 in what is now Mountain City. He resided in this mansion until his death in 1902.