General John Buford jr. Genealogy Rock Island/Galena IL 1848-1853

Jnobuford

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Oct 25, 2021
Hello,
I have been researching my genealogy and found a letter from my great Uncle, in regards to our family history. In the letter he states that John Buford jr. Was married shortly after graduating from West Point academy, and unfortunately his first wife passed away shortly after there first and only child was born.
their only child was raised with the bufurd family in Illinois, and would be my great great grandmother etc, The timelines match up with Buford’s break and graduation in late 1840’s-early 1850’s
I have only found information surrounding his wife Martha Patti duke married in 1854. I do think that there may be some truth to the possibility of 2 wives, and another child, that has been passed down information from our family, just finding it difficult to prove. Does anyone have any insights on how to find more concrete information? or has anyone came across this information in their research?
 

lupaglupa

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Hello,
I have been researching my genealogy and found a letter from my great Uncle, in regards to our family history. In the letter he states that John Buford jr. Was married shortly after graduating from West Point academy, and unfortunately his first wife passed away shortly after there first and only child was born.
their only child was raised with the bufurd family in Illinois, and would be my great great grandmother etc, The timelines match up with Buford’s break and graduation in late 1840’s-early 1850’s
I have only found information surrounding his wife Martha Patti duke married in 1854. I do think that there may be some truth to the possibility of 2 wives, and another child, that has been passed down information from our family, just finding it difficult to prove. Does anyone have any insights on how to find more concrete information? or has anyone came across this information in their research?
I'm confused - is your gr-gr-grandmother the child of the possible first marriage or the child of Martha? If your gr=gr-grandmother is the child of the first marriage then I'd start with her, mainly by trying to locate any records that include her mother's name. Often marriage and death certificates include that information and that would be a great first step in determining who the first wife was. If Martha is her mother then your task is harder. You can look for records for a daughter of John Buford Jr - similar to the avenue above, any child of his would have had to use his name in her own records (or his - do you know the gender of that child?).
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
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Dec 5, 2019
When doing genealogical research, it is both necessary and useful to proceed backwards--step by step. Don't skip generations and don't get distracted by assumptions. Going the other way, trying to trace down, is very difficult (as well as being apt to prove disappointing).

Start with your father (judging by your name, this is the line that interests you), then prove his father and so on--until you hit that great-great grandmother. Probate records and newspapers may be useful if you get stuck there.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Hello,
I have been researching my genealogy and found a letter from my great Uncle, in regards to our family history. In the letter he states that John Buford jr. Was married shortly after graduating from West Point academy, and unfortunately his first wife passed away shortly after there first and only child was born.
their only child was raised with the bufurd family in Illinois, and would be my great great grandmother etc, The timelines match up with Buford’s break and graduation in late 1840’s-early 1850’s
I have only found information surrounding his wife Martha Patti duke married in 1854. I do think that there may be some truth to the possibility of 2 wives, and another child, that has been passed down information from our family, just finding it difficult to prove. Does anyone have any insights on how to find more concrete information? or has anyone came across this information in their research?
I have researched John Buford's life extensively for the better part of 30 years now, including regularly interacting with relatives. I am completely and totally unaware of him marrying anyone other than Martha McDowell Duke Buford, also known as Pattie. They had two children, neither of whom lived to adulthood. None of the relatives have indicated any possibility of his being married to anyone else, and I have reviewed the family bible, which had all sorts of genealogical information in it. My contacts include two direct linear descendants of John Buford's oldest half-sister, Jane, and a direct descendant of his full brother. Thomas Jefferson Buford.

There is a published family genealogy--I own a copy--and it says nothing of the sort, either.

I fear that it's little more than wishful thinking.

That said, there was a branch of the Buford family--a first cousin of John Buford, Sr.--named Charles Buford who settled in Rock Island also. That's the reason why John, Sr. went there after John, Jr.'s mother died in 1832. Perhaps you are descended from Charles Buford's line.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
I'm confused - is your gr-gr-grandmother the child of the possible first marriage or the child of Martha? If your gr=gr-grandmother is the child of the first marriage then I'd start with her, mainly by trying to locate any records that include her mother's name. Often marriage and death certificates include that information and that would be a great first step in determining who the first wife was. If Martha is her mother then your task is harder. You can look for records for a daughter of John Buford Jr - similar to the avenue above, any child of his would have had to use his name in her own records (or his - do you know the gender of that child?).
John Buford and Martha McDowell Duke Buford had two children: James Duke Buford, known as Duke. Duke died at 17. They also had a daughter, Martha Duke Buford, known as Little Pattie, who died in August 1863 at the age of 5. It simply is not possible that there were any other children of that marriage--the general died 3.5 months after his daughter. There is no record of Pattie having children with her second husband, a minister by the name of McCown.
 

Jnobuford

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Joined
Oct 25, 2021
I have researched John Buford's life extensively for the better part of 30 years now, including regularly interacting with relatives. I am completely and totally unaware of him marrying anyone other than Martha McDowell Duke Buford, also known as Pattie. They had two children, neither of whom lived to adulthood. None of the relatives have indicated any possibility of his being married to anyone else, and I have reviewed the family bible, which had all sorts of genealogical information in it. My contacts include two direct linear descendants of John Buford's oldest half-sister, Jane, and a direct descendant of his full brother. Thomas Jefferson Buford.

There is a published family genealogy--I own a copy--and it says nothing of the sort, either.

I fear that it's little more than wishful thinking.

That said, there was a branch of the Buford family--a first cousin of John Buford, Sr.--named Charles Buford who settled in Rock Island also. That's the reason why John, Sr. went there after John, Jr.'s mother died in 1832. Perhaps you are descended from Charles Buford's line.
Thank you for your reply, the information I have Found regarding records for John Buford and his first wife Sarah are included in the partial letter document from my great uncle, that I included below, based off of his memory :wink: They supposedly were married in Chicago, unfortunately there are no surviving marriage records for pre-1870. I have looked at N.B buford and Thomas Buford’s census records and have found some information that may point that flora lived with Thomas Buford and family. I am looking into military records at fort snelling as Sarah traveled with him there.

CE1BA59C-AC8E-41BB-BD61-4F4286A7D7DD.jpeg
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Location
Columbus, OH
Thank you for your reply, the information I have Found regarding records for John Buford and his first wife Sarah are included in the partial letter document from my great uncle, that I included below, based off of his memory :wink: They supposedly were married in Chicago, unfortunately there are no surviving marriage records for pre-1870. I have looked at N.B buford and Thomas Buford’s census records and have found some information that may point that flora lived with Thomas Buford and family. I am looking into military records at fort snelling as Sarah traveled with him there.

View attachment 419519
John Buford was born on March 4, 1826. He was 37 when he died.

He was not promoted to major until he was transferred to the inspector general's office in 1861. His time was spent in the southwest, mostly at Fort Las Vegas in New Mexico. He was never stationed at Fort Snelling.

There's a great deal that's just plain wrong in that short excerpt. I hate to tell you this, but it's fictional.
 

lupaglupa

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I've seen many family stories over the years where the facts got mixed - there's almost always some truth in there. So, for instance, in this family there was a woman whose mother died young and whose father was named John Buford. At some point that name got overlaid with the General John Buford (people have a tendency to assume links to famous people) and then someone did research about the General and tried to make the facts fit. If we can strip away what's wrong we may can find the actual ancestor. Not this general but still a person worth finding and knowing.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Location
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Another few items, some of which demonstrate that that fictional account above is just that--fiction...

The Utah Expedition occurred in 1860, as part of the so-called Mormon War. Responding to an insurrection led by the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Pres. Franklin Pierce ordered a military expedition, commanded by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, to go to Salt Lake City to put down the rebellion. After an arduous march where Col. Philip St. George Cooke, the commander of the Second Dragoons, credited his regimental quartermaster, Capt. John Buford, for keeping his command and its horses alive, the expedition arrived to find the rebellion over. However, Camp Floyd was established at Salt Lake City as a permanent army outpost.

Buford was stationed at Camp Floyd when war came. The governor of Kentucky, Beriah Magoffin, offered Buford command of all of Kentucky's military forces, but Buford turned it down, preferring to remain loyal to the Union. He served in Salt Lake City until the Second Dragoons were ordered to go to Washington in the spring of 1861. At that time, he was a captain, commanding a company that included an 1860 West Point alum, Lt. Wesley Merritt. When Buford reported for duty at the War Department in Washington, he was then assigned to the inspector general's office and was promoted to major in the Regular Army. He was still in the inspector general's office in June 1862 when Maj. Gen. John Pope arranged for him to be promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. Buford assumed command of a cavalry brigade on August 3, 1862. This was his first time commanding anything larger than a company of dragoons. He eventually rose to divisional command and would have taken command of the Army of the Cumberland's Cavalry Corps in the late fall of 1863, had he not succumbed to typhoid fever on December 16.

Buford did spend some time being stationed at the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis during the 1850's. He was stationed there when he and Pattie were married in 1854. There was never a time when he was stationed in either Chicago or Galena, Illinois.

John Buford, Jr.'s first cousin was Confederate Brig. Gen. Abraham Buford, who commanded a cavalry division under Nathan Bedford Forrest for most of 1864 and until the surrender in 1865. Abe was also a West Point alum who resigned his commission in 1854 to take over the business of his late father (William "Colonel Billy" Buford), who was the leading breeder of thoroughbred race horses in the world. Abe had served in the First Dragoons, and was known as Hell Roaring Buford for his proficiency with profanity--he was known as the greatest swearer in the Army. Abe's horse farm, Bosque Bonita, was in Woodford County, KY, where John Buford, Jr. was born and lived until after his mother's death in 1832. Bosque Bonita still exists, although it is no longer in the family. Abe Buford was named for his great uncle, referenced in the next paragraph.

Pattie Buford was, as noted above, Martha McDowell Duke Buford. Her maternal grandfather was Col. Abraham Buford of fame from the 1780 Battle of Waxhaws in South Carolina. He had commanded a regiment of Virginia infantry as part of the Virginia Line in the Continental Army after serving as a member of the Culpeper Minutemen during the run-up to the Revolution. He was given a vast land grant in Scott County, KY as a reward for his Revolutionary War service. Most of that land is today the Kentucky Horse Park, just north of Georgetown, KY. Although in bad shape, his home still stands and is easily spotted from I-75. Abraham Buford's brother Simeon Buford was John Buford, Jr.'s grandfather, meaning that John and Pattie were second cousins, which may play some role in explaining why neither of their children reached adulthood. Abraham and Simeon Buford helped to found Kentucky's horse racing industry.

One of her grandmothers was the younger sister of the great justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, so she was tied into the First Families of Virginia. She was also a first cousin of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell. On the other side, she was a first cousin of, and was raised with, Basil Duke, the Confederate cavalryman, who came to live with her family when his parents died in the Kentucky cholera epidemic of 1832-1833. Finally, one of her sisters was married to Union Brig. Gen. Green Clay Smith. Her side of the family was strongly Unionist in its leanings.

I hope that it's obvious from all of this that I know what I'm talking about here.
 
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lupaglupa

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I'm not doubting that the family story that General John Buford is the ancestor is incorrect. But it's not at all inconceivable that a man named John Buford is. I've stopped being surprised at how many people have the same name, and even overlap towns and occupations and other details. So - given that we can eliminate the General named John Buford, could we, given what facts @Jnobuford knows, locate the actual ancestor?
 

Jnobuford

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Oct 25, 2021
Another few items, some of which demonstrate that that fictional account above is just that--fiction...

The Utah Expedition occurred in 1860, as part of the so-called Mormon War. Responding to an insurrection led by the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Pres. Franklin Pierce ordered a military expedition, commanded by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, to go to Salt Lake City to put down the rebellion. After an arduous march where Col. Philip St. George Cooke, the commander of the Second Dragoons, credited his regimental quartermaster, Capt. John Buford, for keeping his command and its horses alive, the expedition arrived to find the rebellion over. However, Camp Floyd was established at Salt Lake City as a permanent army outpost.

Buford was stationed at Camp Floyd when war came. The governor of Kentucky, Beriah Magoffin, offered Buford command of all of Kentucky's military forces, but Buford turned it down, preferring to remain loyal to the Union. He served in Salt Lake City until the Second Dragoons were ordered to go to Washington in the spring of 1861. At that time, he was a captain, commanding a company that included an 1860 West Point alum, Lt. Wesley Merritt. When Buford reported for duty at the War Department in Washington, he was then assigned to the inspector general's office and was promoted to major in the Regular Army. He was still in the inspector general's office in June 1862 when Maj. Gen. John Pope arranged for him to be promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. Buford assumed command of a cavalry brigade on August 3, 1862. This was his first time commanding anything larger than a company of dragoons. He eventually rose to divisional command and would have taken command of the Army of the Cumberland's Cavalry Corps in the late fall of 1863, had he not succumbed to typhoid fever on December 16.

Buford did spend some time being stationed at the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis during the 1850's. He was stationed there when he and Pattie were married in 1854. There was never a time when he was stationed in either Chicago or Galena, Illinois.

John Buford, Jr.'s first cousin was Confederate Brig. Gen. Abraham Buford, who commanded a cavalry division under Nathan Bedford Forrest for most of 1864 and until the surrender in 1865. Abe was also a West Point alum who resigned his commission in 1854 to take over the business of his late father (William "Colonel Billy" Buford), who was the leading breeder of thoroughbred race horses in the world. Abe had served in the First Dragoons, and was known as Hell Roaring Buford for his proficiency with profanity--he was known as the greatest swearer in the Army. Abe's horse farm, Bosque Bonita, was in Woodford County, KY, where John Buford, Jr. was born and lived until after his mother's death in 1832. Bosque Bonita still exists, although it is no longer in the family. Abe Buford was named for his great uncle, referenced in the next paragraph.

Pattie Buford was, as noted above, Martha McDowell Duke Buford. Her paternal grandfather was Col. Abraham Buford of fame from the 1780 Battle of Waxhaws in South Carolina. He had commanded a regiment of Virginia infantry as part of the Virginia Line in the Continental Army after serving as a member of the Culpeper Minutemen during the run-up to the Revolution. He was given a vast land grant in Scott County, KY as a reward for his Revolutionary War service. Most of that land is today the Kentucky Horse Park, just north of Georgetown, KY. Although in bad shape, his home still stands and is easily spotted from I-75. Abraham Buford's brother Simeon Buford was John Buford, Jr.'s grandfather, meaning that John and Pattie were second cousins, which may play some role in explaining why neither of their children reached adulthood. Abraham and Simeon Buford helped to found Kentucky's horse racing industry.

One of her grandmothers was the younger sister of the great justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, so she was tied into the First Families of Virginia. She was also a first cousin of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell. On the other side, she was a first cousin of, and was raised with, Basil Duke, the Confederate cavalryman, who came to live with her family when his parents died in the Kentucky cholera epidemic of 1832-1833. Finally, one of her sisters was married to Union Brig. Gen. Green Clay Smith. Her side of the family was strongly Unionist in its leanings.

I hope that it's obvious from all of this that I know what I'm talking about here.
Thank you!, I appreciate your work and insights :smile:
 
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Eric Wittenberg

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I Wanted to share with you the remaining pages of the letter from my great Uncle, Fred Harrison, for your consideration. my great grandmother’s name is Mary B Adams, and her mother is Flora Buford Adams, married to Thompson P. Adams i appreciate all the research and knowledge you have regarding the General John Buford. this Is so very helpful in researching my ancestor’s.
thank you! I hit a dead end in my research in looking for more information surrounding Flora’s Parents.

View attachment 419640

View attachment 419641
Wow. Just wow.

Where to begin....

John Buford was never a colonel. His final Regular Army rank was major. His volunteer rank was major general. He never raised a regiment. He either served with his Regular regiment, the 2nd US Cavalry, or as a commander of a brigade or a division. He died of typhoid fever, not wounds. He was only hit once, and then by a spent ball that caused a severe bruise but didn't break skin. He was buried in the post cemetery at West Point under a large monument paid for by the men of the men of his division, and not at Arlington.

And if there was some special unit that wore black uniforms, that's the first that I have ever heard of such a thing in 35 years of intensive study of Civil War cavalry operations.

If anyone had the flag that had been on John Buford's casket, it would have been Pattie, who was his wife at the time. It's just not possible.

There may have been a Sara and there may have been a Flora, but neither of those people were related to or had any connection to the John Buford that I have spent my adult life studying.

There is virtually nothing whatsoever that's historically correct or accurate to be found in there anywhere. There most assuredly are no "actual historical records" to support any of that nonsense.

Wow.
 

Fairfield

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Joined
Dec 5, 2019
According to Cook County Marriages, Flora Buford married Thompson P. Adams on 26 March 1883; Flora was born in St. Charles, IL. The marriage of their daughter (Mary B. Adams) adds even more information...According to MI Marriages (on Ancestry), Mary B. Adams married George Harrison on 5 June 1912; Mary was born in Green Bay, WI and was daughter of Thompson P. Adams and Flora Buford. BTW, FamilySearch spells Flora's surname as Beaford. Flora was born c. 1861.

Next step is to check Kane County (St. Charles, IL is there).
 

lupaglupa

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I did a search on all the records I could find for Flora. She first shows up in St Charles in the 1880 Census - a boarder who works as a dressmaker, age 20. She states she was born in New York, her father in Canada, her mother in New York. This information is pretty consistent throughout her life - born in New York. Her father's birthplace is sometimes given as Canada but most often as France. Her mother's birthplace is usually given as Canada. In one record (the death of 3-year-old Thompson W Adams in 1903 she states Rochester, NY as her birthplace. I'd bet that she was born there and that her parents were French Canadian - that would not be uncommon for Rochester.

Flora has three daughters who marry in Michigan, where the mother's maiden name is required in the record book. In each instance it is spelled "Beauford." The common French spelling is Beaufort but Beauford is not a stretch. I tried every variable I could but no luck finding the family before 1880 - even when I added in her sister Clara.

I think the uncle who wrote the letter had too much bourbon that night :wink:
 
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