This will be a rather long post, as I would like to present information I have to interested others as well as look for new leads on these two young men, one of whom, John, is my 4ggrandfather.
According to their enlistment records at Chesterfield Courthouse and their pension applications, these two young men stated they were born in these years and enlisted from a residence of Culpeper County. Benjamin also stated he was serving in the place of an older brother William. Descendants of these two young men are represented in the Butler DNA study group H, which means they are related to each other.
However, DNA indicates they are NOT related to the well documented family of Lady Jane Eliot, Thomas Butler, Joan Mountsteven Christopher, and Joshua Butler-Grace Page discussed by others on this board. This family, is represented in DNA group B, and this group also includes William and Mary Butler, who moved to Culpeper in the 1790's and had children such as Spencer Butler, Armistead Butler and a different son Benjamin b. in 1769.
The different haplogroups between the DNA H and DNA B Butlers indicates that the last common ancestor could have occurred no later than the end of the Ice Age, when the haplogroups split off and migrated to different places.
(So we don't need to look at them as cousins and it is not likely that we will find an Ice Age common ancestor).
Given that, a known family of DNA Group H did come to Culpeper, buying land for the first time there in 1782. This is the family of Edmund Butler of Goochland/later Cumberland County. This family is well documented as it included famous revolutionary era persons such as William Butler the Regulator and his brother General John Butler. Despite a great deal of fine research on this family by Pamela Butler and others, however, there is no "unaccounted for" son of Edmund that would have been in Culpeper County at the time that the young men were either born or enlisted.
No one knows if Edmond may have had a brother in the colonies at that time; there is one other family that is highly represented in Group H whose origins have not been solidly established, though, as always, people have tried to connect them to the group B family above. This is the family of Zachariah Butler b. 1736 in Louisa or Hanover County and who enlisted in the war at the age of 44 from Hanover County. There is no evidence that this family was in Culpeper either, though the parents, siblings and all children of Zachariah are not known.
Getting back to John and Benjamin, I have attempted to identify Butlers living in Culpeper BEFORE the young men enlisted in 1780-81. So far, through land records, tax lists and wills, I have found the following:
Walter Butler, DOB unknown, d. 1772. The earliest documentation of Walter is in a land grant of 1748 just before parts of Orange County were included in the newly formed Culpeper. Walter is listed as having land on the "Great Fork of the Rappahannock River", which is thought to be near the junction of the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. Walter is again documented at the same place in 1749. In 1764, Walter is the only Butler apparently documented on the 1764 Rent Rolls of Culpeper. Walter's will was probated in 1772, and mentioned "son Peter" and estate to be sold and "divided among all my children or their survivors" (Gee, thanks, Walter!). So there were more children than Peter who was probably the eldest or the only one of legal age at the time.
The next Butler documented in Culpeper is who I will call John Sr. In 1750, John Sr. witnessed the inventory of an estate of John Blanton. John Sr.'s will was probated in 1757, stating that the estate is to be "equally distributed among my own children, namely: John, James, Thomas, Anne, Sarah, Susanna & Elizabeth, and I appoint my son John and Mr. James Strother Jr of the two seniors Executors of this my last will".
The next documented person is who I call John Jr, although there is no proof that he was indeed the son John named above. In 1776, the will of Benjamin Taylor names "my daughter Mary Butler" and "son in law" John Butler as executor. Benjamin Taylor's son Thomas Taylor is also named. In 1778, this John apparently died, leaving the estate to be divided among the following: " Equal parts to Thomas Taylor, James Butler, William Collins, Thomas Butler, John Butler, Edward Jones and Report of Estate Account of Susannah Butler". I conclude that this is the same John as in the 1776 will because Thomas Taylor is named in both (son and brother in law to John). I also conclude that this John is the son of John d. 1757 because of the mention of "Susannah Butler" who could either be old John's wife or young John's sister if she remained unmarried.
Finally, the Culpeper Classes list has the following 4 Butlers "registered for the draft" in 1781 on an index at the LVA: William, John, Thomas and Charles.I have not as yet gotten a copy of the complete list, so I do not know if there is more identifying information there on these 4 men.
So there are a number of candidates here for the father or fathers of John b. 1762 and Benjamin, b. 1765. These include Walter's son Peter and his "unnamed children"; John Sr.s sons John, James, or Thomas or the persons mentioned in John Jr's will in 1778; John is probably a son (maybe my John because he would have been 16, legal age), but James and Thomas could have been brothers or sons.
One other piece of circumstantial evidence may be that Benjamin, a younger son, may have been named after John Jr's father in law Benjamin Taylor but not mentioned because he was a minor. However, no brother William, which Benjamin named in his pension application, is anywhere.
I would like anyone's assistance with further documenting and proving this family. If there is anyone PROVEN to relate back to the Group B family through wills, land records etc. please let me know so I can conclusively rule them out in the case of Benjamin and John, who are not of that DNA family. Conversely, if someone has some brick walls in this family, let's collaborate.
Anyone that would like to have the references for all the information cited above or copies of the Revolutionary War records, please write and I will be glad to put my notes and documents together and email them to you.