History

How Butts County Got its Name

Yes, the name of our county definitely gets snickers and giggles, mostly from the young ones. Although there are adults that haven’t grown up yet who make the same jokes. Those are mostly men. Believe it or not, this area has been known as Butts County for a long time—since 1825.

We’re named after a man called Samuel Butts. You may never have heard of him, as he died a long time ago. 1814, to be exact. Captain Butts was born into a family of patriots in Virginia. Many of his relatives had fought in the Revolutionary War. When he was still small, his family moved to Georgia. When he was about 36 years old, he joined the militia in Jasper County so that he could do his duty and fight in the War of 1812.

Samuel Butts made a name for himself fighting in the mostly-forgotten Creek War of 1813-14. Military life seemed to agree with him, and he was promoted through the ranks fairly quickly. He rose to the rank of Captain in the First Brigade of the Georgia Militia and led his own company. He served under the command of General John Floyd (who went on to serve in both the Georgia and U.S. House of Representatives).

The Creek Indians (now known as Muscogee Nation) were likely settled along the Ocmulgee and Towaliga Rivers and along the creek system there. The tribes were threatened with displacement by a large influx of white settlerstaking advantage of the newly constructed Federal Road. By 1813, these native tribes decided they had had enough. A group of them, nicknamed the Red Sticks after the red war clubs they carried, decided they were going to push back and began attacking the settlements.

General Floyd’s men fought these Red Sticks up and down the area. They were often undersupplied and low on morale. The militia carried out a successful assault at the Battle of Autosee as revenge for the brutal attack by the Red Sticks at Fort Mims. Captain Butts fought in that battle, as well as in Tallasee.He was there for the surprise attack at Camp Defiance. Although they were successful in driving off the Red Sticks, General Floyd retreated with his men. Captain Butts was killed the next day during another surprise morning attack, this time in Alabama at the Battle of Chalibbee Creek. It is believed that he was trying to wake up his men. As a probably loud and moving target, it was easy for the enemy to spot him. Captain Butts was shot and killed. Although by the time the fighting was over, there were more dead Red Sticks than militia, it didn’t really count as a win for General Floyd, either.

The county was named after this brave fighter. There is also a chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution named after him here in Georgia as well.