Research.

We highly value research and believe that evidence in primary documents should be the chief information used when trying to recreate a historic regiment. In light of that, we have posted here information regarding research into Butler's Rangers. At a later date we will add links useful for on-line research.

  1. The Butler Ranger Uniform: Fact vs. Opinion. This is a twenty page research paper compiling self and other's research on what primary documents reveal the Butler Ranger uniform to be. To date no person has offered an academic refutation to this document, so it stands as an authoritative voice regarding the uniform. View.
  2. Reasonable Authenticity: A Philosophical Approach to the Re-enacting Hobby. Written by our unit commander, this document expresses his views on the extent and limitations on enforcing authenticity at living history events. Some of the things covered in this document are part of the unit's constitution, while the others remain an outside influence. This document will help you get to know our unit and where we stand on things. View.
  3. The Butler Ranger Cartridge Box. This box was thought to be the only known existing cartridge box belonging to a Butler Ranger. It is in the collection of the St. Catharines (ON) Museum at Lock 3. The photographs of the box were taken with the consent of the Museum and our thanks and acknowledgement to them is herein stated. All images are listed with the following copyright tag: St. Catharines Museum - 1982.117.1-2.1999. The brass Royal Cypher badge on the front was not with the box when it was purchased and was added on at a later date. The Museum, and myself also, believe that the shoulder strap is not original to the box. It is nailed onto the box, through the leather. The shoulder strap looks like it could be linen webbing. The block inside it has 24 holes with a diameter of 3/4" which is not typical of most boxes from this era, and has modern pin holes in them. The block is nailed to the leather, as are the straps, thereby making it difficult to examine the underside of the block or the inside of the box. The nails used seem to be similar to our modern 'finishing nails' used on inside trim work of one's house. The box seems rounded at both the top and bottom, and the side pieces of leather fitted on the ends are that same shape which is also not typical of the boxes existing at the time. There are no buckle harnesses (I may have used the incorrect term) or anything to which a leather shoulder strap would fit into on a box. The leather on the back and bottom of the box show no indication that something like that was ever used. It appears that the leather is smooth on the outside. There is no pouch on the front of the box for carrying musket tools etc. There is a thin leather strip at the back of the block. The top flap and the piece that wraps around the underside of the box, are both sewn to this piece. The whole, along with the shoulder strap, is nailed to the wooden block inside.

After looking around and asking questions, I was pointed to Mr. Alex Ormston, who was the curator of the Museum at the time this box was acquired by them. I had a conversation with Mr. Ormston. The content of that conversation confirmed my doubts that I had regarding the box and its connection to Butler's Rangers. Mr. Ormston informed me that the box is not original; it is in fact a reproduction. The only thing that is original is the brass cypher. The Museum had that piece, and sought out a merchant in the Toronto area who made reproduction cartridge boxes, and purchased the box from him so that they could mount the cypher on something with a relationship to the cypher. Therefore, the box really is of no historical value to us as historians or reenactors. Two weeks after this, I had a similar conversation with Mr. Arden Phair, the current curator of the Museum and he confirmed Mr. Ormston's story to me.

Mr. Phair further added details about the cypher in this conversation. It was originally found in the 1930's or 1940's, by a farmer tilling his land near the Glendale area of present-day St. Catharines. It was found along with some Indian arrowheads. These were kept in the family until 1982 when the Nixon family sold the cypher to the Museum. Looking at the area on a map, the plot of land is listed as Lot 5, Con. 9. The property first appears on a map in 1791, deeded to a Peter Haines. In a 1794 map, the spelling changes slightly to Hains. In a later map (undated) the owner's name appears to be Peter Hance. Unfortunately we cannot locate a Peter Haines on any muster rolls of Butler's Rangers, to know if that was his land grant and that he lost his badge on his property. Nonetheless, at least the cypher appears to be original.

If you'd still like to see pictures of the box, I have listed them below.

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