Born in New London, Connecticut, Butler settled in the Mohawk Valley, New York, in 1742. Commissioned in the British Indian Department in 1755, he served in the Seven Years War. At the outbreak of the American Revolution , he was compelled to leave his estates and was ordered to Fort Niagara. In 1777 he organized the Loyalist Corps known as Butler's Rangers. By the end of war, this Unit with British Regulars and Indian Allies, had effectively contributed to the establishment of British control south of the Great Lakes. The Rangers were disbanded in 1784, and led by their former commander, many settled in the Niagara Peninsula. Butler remained active in Indian Affairs until his death at Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake).