Congressman Mentions Bermudian Grandfather

February 25, 2021

While speaking in the U.S. Congress on a Bill to honour one time Bermuda resident Joseph Rainey, U.S Congressman G.K Butterfield mentioned his Bermudian grandfather, noting that he “lived his entire life in St. George.”

Congressman Butterfield — whose father Dr. G. K. Butterfield Sr emigrated from Bermuda in the early 1900s — was speaking on a Bill that served to rename a post office building in South Carolina as the ‘Joseph Hayne Rainey Memorial Post Office Building.’

Speaking in the US House of Representatives this week, he said, “Joseph Rainey, now 28 years of age was conscripted or drafted to work on fortifications in Charleston. This was unacceptable to Joseph, and so with his family, he escaped to St. George, Bermuda.

“St. George is a small parish on the island of Bermuda. While there Rainey undoubtedly became acquainted with my grandfather, James Peter Butterfield, born 1853, who lived his entire life in St. George.”

Congressman Butterfield represents North Carolina’s First Congressional District, and served as the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 114th Congress.

Joseph Rainey was the first Black man to serve in the House of Representatives. During the Civil War he and family escaped to Bermuda, and later moved back to the U.S. in 1866.

This is the latest honour for the historic figure, with the U.S. House of Representatives recently passing a Resolution – which mentioned his time in Bermuda — that designated a room in the United States Capitol as ‘the Joseph H. Rainey Room’.

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