T & Lindley Butler, long-time residents of Wentworth, N.C., are being honored by the Museum of Archives of Rockingham County (MARC) and the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA). The two organizations have joined together to create the Butler Legacy Fund, to support projects that have both historical and environmental relevance in Rockingham County, N.C.
“I am honored by the MARC and DRBA’s desire to establish the Butler Legacy Fund,” said T Butler. “My husband and I both believed in the amazing potential of Rockingham County, and I am thrilled that the fund will enable these two outstanding organizations to continue making a difference for the people who live, work and play in the place that nurtured us for over fifty years.”
The Butlers have accomplished more than most can only dream of, they were founders of both the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the Museum & Archives of Rockingham County (MARC).
“It is hard to imagine a more appropriate way to honor Lindley and T Butler than something that combines their passions the way the Butler Legacy Fund does,” said Jeffrey Bullins, President of the Board of Directors of the MARC. “The MARC Board of Directors look forward to working with DRBA on completing projects using the Butler Legacy Fund that will continue achieving the vision the Butler’s have had regarding North Carolina history and environment.”
The Butlers have made an enormous contribution to Rockingham County, NC and the surrounding region. They have given their time, talent and treasure to dozens of organizations and projects that have made a positive, tangible impact for the people in the entire region and continue to make a difference today. Sadly, Lindley Butler passed away in May, 2022.
The first project of the Butler Legacy Fund will be to restore and renovate the Batteau Exhibit at the MARC.
“The batteau replica at the MARC highlights the importance of Dan River commerce in the nineteenth century, where skilled boatmen transported agricultural products from Stokes and Rockingham counties downriver to markets, then brought finished goods back upstream,” said T Butler. “The expert batteau crews were almost exclusively enslaved Africans before the Civil War, and free Blacks after the war. The mural depicts a batteau at Leaksville Landing.”
Almost two decades ago, one of DRBA’s first projects was to highlight the historical relevance of the batteau system in Rockingham County. The organization held events on a replica batteau and took passengers up and down rivers in the Dan River Basin. Not only did these events put people at ease about recreating on the river, it was an opportunity for DRBA to promote protection of the local natural resources. That replica now resides in an exhibit at the MARC.
“This restoration project is the perfect project to inaugurate the Butler Legacy Fund,” said Tiffany Haworth, DRBA’s Executive Director. “It combines both DRBA and the MARC’s missions. Neither organization would be here today without T and Lindley’s foresight and leadership. Every person that lives and visits Rockingham County – in fact, in the entire Dan River watershed – owes a huge debt of gratitude to this amazing couple.”
The Butler Legacy Fund is accepting donations now for this project. The project includes weatherproofing the replica batteau and building a structure around it for protection, installing a batteau mural, and installing new, updated informational signage at the exhibit. The estimated cost of the project is $10,000.00. Once the funds are raised, the project can begin.
“Completing the batteau exhibit by installing the mural was one of Lindley fond wishes,” said T Butler. “He would be delighted that this was selected as the first Butler Legacy Fund project.”
To donate to the Butler Legacy Fund, visit https://www.themarconline.org/the-butler-legacy-fund.html or https://www.danriver.org/form/donate