Mary Devereux
January 8, 1797 - December 12, 1881


Nicholas Devereux became acquainted with the family of Dr. Benjamin Butler (a surgeon) on his business trips to New York.  He married their daughter Mary Dolbear Butler on November 28, 1817.  They had six children.  In 1848, Nicholas and Mary, along with John C. Devereux and Bishop Timon and a number of residents from the Ellicottville area formed a missionary and benevolent society.  In 1851, a church was erected and dedicated to St. Phillip Neri, costing $4200.    

    After she joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1847, she accompanied he husband to Rome several years later in the winter of 1854.  The purpose of the visit was to persuade the Franciscans to found a mission in the western area of New York, they agreed and St. Bonaventure University was founded.  In Ellicottville on Feb. 18, 1857, the first meeting of the Board of Trustees met.  They formally decreed erection of the college and monastery called Franciscan College at Allegany.  Mrs. Devereux remained on the Board of Trustees with Thomas Devereux and Bishop Timon, but responsibility gradually went to the Friars.

Excerpts from Devereux Family Letters:

"We had a very agreeable Cotillion party last Friday, although very few of our married ladies attended.  I wore my white Bombazine which is trimmed up to the knee   It looked very elegant but it does not set as well as my crimson crepe, though I had it altered three times. My crepe exactly fits me, I did not have occasion to alter it in the least.  Mention this to whoever made it.  I danced all evening, and felt quite like Mary Butler.  Mrs. Hunt danced like a young girl." 
-Jan. 13, 1819, from Mary Dolbear Devereux to her mother Hannah Butler

"My dinner party you have heard of, and I did miss you dear Mary very much, not only in assisting to distribute the 'loaves and fishes' which you know our good inhabitants, (no disrespect to them) are rather backward in, but also in certain preliminary preparations which are always necessary."
-Feb. 18, 1836, to Mary Devereux from her sister Elizabeth Butler

"I will give you an account of our pleasant party at Jamaica [NY]...I tried to manage matters well, but I assure you I was very much bothered and many times I did wish for you my good Mother."  
-Monday Oct. 22, 1838 to Mary Devereux from her daughter Hannah

These excerpts are taken from Devereux family letters.  There is a more extensive collection of these letters in the SBU archives.  While her later letters donít reflect a lot of entertaining on her part, they do show how much she enjoyed the events she attended, with very vivid descriptions of clothing particularly apparent.  Her letters also reflect her ongoing support of charitable organizations in the Utica area.


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