Saint Mary Cathedral
Saint Luke (right) and Saint John (left)
Windows donated in memory of John Butler and wife. John Butler was the son of Michael Butler, an Irish immigrant who founded Butler Brick in 1873. Michael Butler donated St. Mary's large bell. The large bell, weighing 2009 lbs., is from the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, MD. The names of Michael Butler's children are engraved on the bell.
Michael Butler (1842-1909) was born near Limerick City, Ireland. His
father owned farms and was a contractor in the construction of public
pikes and roads. In 1866, at the age of 24, Michael sailed to New York
City, where he learned the rudiments of his trade as a bricklayer’s
helper. Within the next three years he pursued his trade as a mason in Wisconsin, St. Louis, and Little Rock before a move to Dallas in 1869,
where he established his first plant for manufacturing bricks using
clay from the banks of the Trinity River.
Michael Butler established his first Austin brickyard, Plant #1,
at the foot of East Avenue (now IH-35) on the north shore of the
Colorado River in 1873. His technique for testing clay to see if it
would make good brick was to taste it.
In 1876, Butler purchased property for his Austin Plant #2 along
the south bank of the Colorado River – between the river and
Barton Creek Road, and from Barton Creek on the west to the I&GN
Railroad right of way (east of Lamar Boulevard) and beyond to
South First Street on the east. The clay fields were at today’s Butler
Golf Park. Brick was delivered by ox cart across the river ford at the
foot of Shoal Creek or over a pontoon bridge at the foot of Brazos
Street. A ferry was used during periods of high water.
Michael Butler married Mary Jane Kelly (1854-1935) in 1878 in
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. They lived in a brick house built by
Butler in 1877 at 200 South Lamar, near today’s Zach Scott Theater.
All three of their children were born in this home: John Francis in
1879, Mary Margaret in 1881, and Thomas James in 1885...Preservation Austin
From Texas Churches