From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Fitzbutler, William Henry

(born: December 22, 1842  -  died: December 28, 1901) 

William Henry Fitzbutler was christened Henry Butler. He changed his last name to Fitzbutler and went by his middle name. His father was enslaved and his mother was a white immigrant from England.

Henry Fitzbutler, born in Maiden, Ontario, Canada, attended Adrian College for two years, then enrolled in the Detroit Medical School at the University of Michigan in 1872 at the age of 29. He was the first African American graduate. The family moved to Louisivlle, Kentucky.

Henry Fitzbutler practiced medicine with his wife, Sarah, in Louisville, KY, where he pushed for a medical school for African Americans: the Louisville National Medical College opened without race restrictions. Fitzbutler also published the African American newspaper, Ohio Falls Express. Only the July 11, 1891 issue is still available, on microfilm, at the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections. Henry Fitzbutler was the father of Mary Fitzbutler Waring

William Henry Fitzbutler died in Louisville, KY and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. For more see Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; and the Henry Fitzbutler entry in The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography by J. T. White [available full-text at Google Book Search].

See also the William Henry Fitzburtler biography by Morris M. Weiss, MD in the publication "History of Louisville National Medical College and the Red Cross Hospital: African American Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky - 1872 to 1976, Part 1" Louisville Medicine, December 2012, pp.7-8 & 10; and Part 2Louisville Medicine, February 2013, pp.19-21. These references and copies of the title were provided by Allan Weiss.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Fitzbutler, William Henry,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-10-02 18:55:30