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House Speaker Biographies

Photo credit:

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania of the Ninteenth Century.  Philadelphia: Galaxy Publishing Company, 1874.


Photo credit:

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania of the Ninteenth Century.  Philadelphia: Galaxy Publishing Company, 1874.

 

Butler B. Strang

Born: March 16, 1829, Greenwood Township, Steuben County, NY.  Died: May 10, 1884, Westfield Township, Tioga County, PA.  Member of the House: Potter and Tioga Counties, 1861-1862 and 1868-1871.  Affiliation: Republican.

Butler B. Strang was born in Steuben County, New York, and moved with his family to Tioga County at the age of 11 and resided there the rest of his life.  His father, Rev. Francis Strang, opened a general mercantile store in Westfield Township in 1840, in which Butler also worked.  Strang married the former Betsy C. Douglass in 1848, and the couple had 2 children, Francis and Benjamin.  After studying law with attorney A.J. Monroe, Strang was admitted to the Tioga County Bar in 1852 and was elected as the District Attorney of Tioga County in 1856.  In addition to his time as a District Attorney, he was also the first elected burgess of Westfield Borough.

In 1860 Strang was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to represent Tioga County and served 2 terms from 1861-1862.  After a hiatus, he was again elected in 1867 and served 4 more terms from 1868-1871.  Strang served on the Ways and Means Committee during the 1869 session, and later as chairman in 1871.  He also served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 1869, and remained on the committee for the 1871 session.  Additionally, Strang was a member of the Federal Relations Committee in the 1869 session.

In January of 1870, Strang was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  One of the most pertinent legislative efforts overseen by Strang in his year as Speaker was Act 1 of 1870, which provided comprehensive guidelines for mine safety in the Commonwealth.  This law was one of the first of its kind in the nation, served as a model for other states to use, and predated Federal mine safety laws by more than 20 years.

Following his House service, Strang was elected to the Pennsylvania Senate, serving from 1872-1876.  Strang served as Speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 1873-1874 and 1875-1876 sessions.  While in this position, Strang oversaw the passage of revisions to the Pennsylvania Constitution after the 1873 Constitutional Convention.  Strang was the last individual to hold the title of Speaker of the Senate, as it was changed to the current title of Senate President Pro Tempore following his service.  Furthermore, he was one of only a few individuals who ever served as Speaker of both chambers of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. 

Following a few years of private law practice after his service in the House and Senate, Strang was appointed as a United States marshal for the Dakota Territory in January of 1882, but resigned later in the year due to declining health.  Strang died on May 10, 1884, and is interred at Potter Brook Cemetery in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.


Historical Member Biography

To view this Speaker's House Historical Biography, click here.