Back to former Nebraska governors
David Butler

Gov. David Butler

  • February 21, 1867 - June 2, 1871
  • Republican
  • December 15, 1829
  • May 25, 1891
  • Indiana
  • Married twice--Mary Paulina Smith, Lydia Story; eight children


DAVID BUTLER, the first governor of Nebraska, was born near Bloomington, Indiana, on December 15, 1829. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. In 1858 he moved to Pawnee City, Nebraska, where he became involved in the livestock and mercantile industries. Butler first entered politics in 1861, serving as a member of the Nebraska Territorial House of Representatives, a position he held one term. He also served as a one-term member of the Nebraska Territorial Council in 1864. Butler next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1866. He was reelected to a second term in 1868, and to a third term in 1870. During his tenure, railroad development was promoted; the state capital was relocated to Lincoln; internal improvements and immigration incentives were endorsed; and an agricultural college and a state university were organized. In 1871, impeachment charges were brought against Governor Butler for misappropriation of state funds. Consequently, he was removed from office on June 2, 1871. Six years later, his impeachment record was expunged from his legislative transcript. He returned to political office in 1882, serving one term in the Nebraska State Senate. Governor David Butler passed away on May 25, 1891, and was buried in the Pawnee City Cemetery in Pawnee City, Nebraska.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Book, 1978. 4 vols.

Nebraska Department Of Economic Development

The Political Graveyard

Recent Nebraska Governors