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Rock Island County
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Biographies

Thomas S. Bardwell
physicianand surgeon, Marion; born in Pendleton, Madison Co., N. Y., May 20, 1827; in 1837, he came with his parents toRock Island, Ill. His father, Leonard Bardwell, was a physician, and was appointed Contract Surgeon at Rock Island,for the U. S. Government, in 1838; served in that position about a year, then removed to Davenport, Iowa; residedin that vicinity until 1841, then they came to Marion, Thomas S. having commenced the removal of their householdgoods to this place the year previous. In 1841, Leonard Bardwell purchased for $50 in gold a squatter's claim toRound Grove, situated ten miles north of Marion, in what is now Otter Creek Tp.; he was one of the first physiciansof this place. Thomas S. Bardwell commenced making a farm at Round Grove in 1841, and from that time until 1849,he followed farming pursuits, and was prosecuting the study of medicine during the same period, under his father'stuition; he graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Missouri, at St. Louis, class of 1849 and1850; in 1850, he commenced practice at Marion. In 1863, he entered the U. S. service as Surgeon of the 9th I.V. C.; served in that capacity until the close of the rebellion, then returned to Marion, and has been in practicehere ever since. Soon after he left the army he was appointed Postmaster at Marion, and served about three years.The Doctor was editor of the Marion and Linn Co. Democrat several years. The doctor's father was born at Belchertown,Mass., in 1802; he died in 1847. [Source: The History of Linn County Iowa; Western Historical Company; 1878; transcribed by Andaleen Whitney]


Samuel Baughman
The subject of this notice is one of the well known business men of Chanute and has been identified for many years with both Neosho and Wilson counties. He was an early settler of the latter, going there in March, 1874, and taking up his residence in Chetopa township, where he became well known as a farmer and where he resided till the year 1880. That year the Republicans elected him sheriff of Wilson county and he removed to Fredonia to take charge of the office. In 1882 he was again elected and served another term of two years. He dischorgcd [sic] his duties without fear or favor as will be recalled by many of the citizens of Wilson county who witnessed the attempt of a mob to take from his possession the notorious Hardings who were charged with the murder of Charles Conner, in which attempt the leader of the mob, John Huffman, was killed, the mob dispersed and the dignity of the law maintained.  Upon the expiration of his term of office Mr. Baughman engaged in the hotel business in Fredonia, erecting the three story brick building on the south-east corner of the square (now the "Gold Dust") and opened it for business. In 1891 he traded this property for land in Dent county, Missouri, and went there to reside. Four years in Missouri is, for a Kansas man, a long period and this sufficed for our subject, for he retraced his steps hither and located in Chanute where he is now well established in the bakery business.
Samuel Baughman was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, on the 6th of January, 1842. His father was Peter C. Baughman, who died in Chanute in 1894 at eighty-eight years of age, and his mother was Barbara Heck who, like the Baughmans, was of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. The Baughmans located in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, about the outbreak of the Revolutionary war - some of whom served in that struggle - and were from Germany. Peter C. Baughman was an old line Whig, then a Know-nothing and finally a Republican and of this latter his son Samuel participated freely. His wife died at Shaw, Kansas, in 1888, at the age of eighty-one years. Their children were as follows. Mrs. Elizabeth Truxwell, of Moline, Illinois; Daniel who came to Wilson county with out subject and died there; Rev. John W., of Chanute, for many years engaged in the ministry of the United Brethren church in Southeast Kansas; Margaret Fries, of Moline, Illinois; Catherine, deceased, who married Aaron Gamble, of Wilson county; Samuel and Lydia Pierre, of Orion, Illinois.
In 1850 Peter C. Baughman took his family to Rock Island county, Illinois, where our subject grew up and was educated in the country schools. After the war the latter took a course in Bryant & Stratton's College in Davenport, Iowa, and this equipped him for the real battles to be encountered in civil life. He enlisted in June, 1861, in Company C, Fourteenth Missouri, Illinois already having her full quota of men in the field. The Fourteenth Missouri was enlisted as an independent regiment of sharpshooters and it became such later on, and was called the "Burgess Sharpshooters," Sixty-sixth Illinois. It took part in the trouble at Fort Donelson, the battle of Shiloh, and in the second Corinth fight. It was left at Corinth to guard supplies and remained till the autumn of 1863, when it joined General Sherman and went into Missionary Ridge fight. The regiment veteranized in the winter of 1863 and from Pulaski, Tennessee, our subject furloughed home. On his return to his command he went with Sherman's army from Buzzard Roost to Atlanta, participating in all that series of engagements to the fall of Atlanta, and then on the march from Atlanta to the sea, accompanying Sherman's victorious army through North Carolina, where it captured Johnston's army, and on to Washington to the Grand Review. Mr. Baughman was discharged at Springfield, Illinois, in June, 1865, and engaged in the butcher business at Milan, that state, till his departure for Kansas.
Mr. Baughman was united in marriage at Moline, Illinois, in the month of October, 1868, with Lenora F. Kidder. Mrs. Baughman was a daughter of Wilson Kidder and Marilda Curtis, Vermont and New York people, respectively. Mrs. Baughman was born in Warren county, Pennsylvania, on June 14, 1848, and is the mother of one son and two daughters, namely, Nellie, wife of Judge C. S. Reed, of Sandusky, Ohio; Walter S., who married Inez Midkipp of Montgomery county, Kansas, December 19, 1901, and Elsie B., who married B. B. Blackburn, of Chanute, Kansas.  Mr. Baughman is a well known Republican and is a Knight Templar Mason.  [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; tr. by V. Bryan]


Francis R. Bennett
An old Rock Island Co., Illinois newspaperman, was born 27 November 1827 near Montreal, Canada. His parents were natives of Brattleboro, Vermont and were married in 1822 and then moved to near Montreal. In 1826 the family returned to Brattleboro and in 1832 they removed to Montrose, Pennsylvania and in May, 1837 to Davenport, Scott Co., Iowa. Frank was then aged 12 years and in 1841 he went to work for the Davenport Gazette.   In 1845 he worked here (Rock Island Co., Ill.) for the Upper Mississippian and in the fall of 1847 he bought the Northwest Advertiser. In 1853 he sold the paper and went into farming with his father in the western part of Scott Co., Iowa. In 1857 he moved to Princeton, Iowa and was in merchandizing; in 1859 he moved to Lyons, Iowa and was in merchandizing. His wife died in June, 1861 aged 32 years and in 1862 he went to Colorado but returned in the fall and was married in January 1863. The following spring he took his family to Denver and was in the lumber business there. He returned to Lyons, Iowa in November, 1867 and in 1872 worked for the newspaper there. In 1874 he bought the Delmar Journal and is now running it. (Rock Island Daily Argus, Monday 5 March 1877)


Robert L. Brunk
The following recollections of Rock Island in the 40s and 50s were written by Robert L. Brunk, who was born in the city. His comments are published complete and unedited. I include them in this manner, because they represent feelings from a time long past--over half a century. While some of his comments would be "politically incorrect" today, I include them for their historical flavor. Comments are welcome, because many will be able to offer another side to his story:
I was born in 1937 at St. Luke's Hospital in Davenport, but went home with my parents, Harold and Fanny Brunk to my older brother, Harold, Jr., to our apartment above the Spencer theatre where my father worked. My mother used to tell me about our life there, about a large ballrom by our apartment, where my brother and I played when the weather was bad. My brother rode his tricycle around and around. She used to take us over to Spencer Square park to enjoy the park, and get some fresh air; we also used to (according to some old photo's) go up on the roof of our building sometimes to catch some air. This was before air conditioning, and many families could not even afford fans.
My father at some point took a job next door as a bartender for the Lobby Liquor bar and grill. My brother and I were never allowed inside the bar, and after we had moved to Davenport my mother would keep us in the car until my father came outside to go home. I recall a Coney Island right across the street, west, from the Lobby Liquor bar, and the fantastic smells that emanated from that restaurant. The smells of the early Tri-Cities are as much a part of my growing up memories as the sights and sounds.
As I said, we moved to Davenport, but Rock Island stayed a part of our lives, since my father worked there, we had relatives on both sides in Rock Island, and my mother used to bring my brother to Rock Island to shop once in a while. A great treat in the summer was to ride the Quinlan ferry boat from Davenport to Rock Island and then back home. My brother and I snuck upstairs on one trip and there was a band, with people dancing!  At some point our parents began to whisper about our moving back to Rock Island. By this time we were confirmed Davenporters! Thus the thought terrified us. We had cousins in the Rock Island schools, and we had heard that in arithmatic classes they had to say "put" and "take away", instead of the proper "add" and "subtract." We wanted no part of such things!  Over the years I became aware of the athletic rivalry between Davenport and Rocky High. When I was very small my father had no car, which meant a trip to see my cousin play for D.H.S. meant a trip on buses. We were standing on the bus stop (I believe on 20th St. and 3rd Ave.) with others, when a group of young men from Rock Island asked a group of young men waiting for the bus if they were from Davenport. When they proudly said they were, they were instantly attacked. So much for sports and sportsmanship going together was one of my early lessons.
Years later as a high schooler some of my friends and I went to Rocky's stadium to watch a junior varsity football game. It was a tough game, with many penalties. Near the end (D.H.S. was winning) a voice came over the loud speaker (we were told it was Shorty Almquist the varsity coach), and we were told we were only guaranteed so many safe minutes to get back across the bridge. Our group did not tarry. One night two of my friends and I decided to go to the Rock Island teen spot below the R.I. P.D., because I was "sweet on" a girl from Rocky my girl cousin, also from Rocky, had introduced me to. We danced one dance (did I say all three of us had on D.H.S letter jackets?), and the girl advised us that we probably better leave. We left under the hot, steady glare of many eyes.
During WW II my father was overseas, and times were tough. I can recall ration coupons and shortages. We were wondering how we were to pay for coal for our furnace, when one day a coal truck showed up at our house. My mother told the driver she had not ordered the coal, and that she had no money to pay for the coal. He told her that she did not have to worry about that, because my father's former boss, the owner of Lobby Liquors, had paid for the coal. Over the years when I have heard people badmouth Jewish people as cheap and uncaring I would use this true story to show that such thinking is unsupported by my experiences. It was not a Gentile who kept us warm, but a Jewish man.  Shopping downtown Rock Island with my mother and grandmother, who lived in the Arsenal Courts was fun growing up. As a teen and a young man I enjoyed movies at the Rocket and Fort as a pleasant change from Davenport's fine movie theatres, and the wonderful fried chicken of the Dutch Inn. I am not proud of what follows, but as a senior in high school and a few years later, downtown Rock Island became a center for teenaged drinking. During the 1950's, if you did not act the fool and minded your manners, you were welcome at the Paddock Club, the New Yorker, Buvette's, and other places, but we prefered the Padduck Club for its bands and great pizza. There was a group called the Satellites that had an alto sax that could really get a crowd going. I recall songs like "I'm Just A Bad Boy" and "Night Train." Over on 20th St. there was a bar that featured a black woman singer named Caldonia.  One night as a junior higher I was riding around with my older brother and his friends, and they decided to see how I would react to a visit to Mills Cafe. I was amazed that there was nobody cooking a thing, and nobody eating a meal! Imagine my surprise when a woman brought about six young women, and said, "Take your pick." When it dawned on my where I was I made tracks for the car, and the laughing boys were right behind me.
Rock Island had a rough reputation. When I was a teen I remember a national scandal magazine coming out with a story, "The Tri Cities, Where People Live In Davenport, Work In Moline, and Sin In Rock Island." The latter may have said "Raise Hell In Rock Island,' but I think the former is probably accurate. But Rock Island remains in my heart as a place of early happy memories, of family, of quieter and easier times. of great smells, sights, and sounds. Truth be know there was as much sin and graft going on in the other cities! But in all of them there were a preponderance of decent people rearing families, working hard, and making a nation from where they lived and labored.  [Written by Robert L. Brunk]


John Buford
John Buford was born on July 29, 1778 in Culpepper County, Virginia. He was the first son and oldest of ten children born to Simeon and Margaret Kirtley Buford. John's father was a Captain in the Continental Line during the Revolutionary War under Colonel Abraham Buford. John moved from Virginia to Kentucky with his parents, two brothers, William and Simeon Jr. and a sister Judith in 1789. They settled on land grants in the Smoking Springs area in Barren County, Kentucky. John's father was a representative for Barren and Warren Counties in the Kentucky Legislature from 1801 to 1803.

John owned in excess of 10,000 acres in Woodford County, Kentucky. This was probably a land grant for John's service in the Kentucky Militia during the War of 1812. His farm, "Rose Hill" was located just outside of Versailles. The Beautiful farm of Rose Hill was the epitome of country life in the very center of the Blue Grass region of Kentucky during the antebellum period. In the 1810 census done by William E. Railey, John is shown as having five people in his household and owning eleven slaves. When reading about the Kentucky farms the reader must remember that these farms were truly farms which primarily raised thoroughbred horses, cattle and stock of all kinds. They were self sufficient farms in that they either raised or grew everything they needed to stay alive. So, if the number of slaves in this household seems small, it is because of the difference of the "farm" in Kentucky and the "plantation" in the South which required sometimes, hundreds of workers. His friends and neighbors were, most often, either his blood kin or kin by marriage. John was well thought of through out the state, serving in the Kentucky legislature from Woodford County from 1824 through 1827, John had the "Midas touch" when it came to business ventures and amassed quite a fortune before moving his family to Illinois in 1836.

John married Nancy Hickman on September 1, 1798. This marriage produced two children, a daughter Helen born in 1800 and a son Napoleon Bonaparte who was born on January 13, 1807. It is not known for sure if John and Nancy named Napoleon after the hero of Austerlitz or not. Helen married General William Johnson on December 18, 1817 and Napoleon married Miss Sarah Childs of Cassanovia, New York. After the untimely death of Nancy in 1825, John eventually married Ann Bannister Watson who was the widow of Dr. John Watson of Frankfort, Kentucky. This union produced three sons; John Jr., Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe who were also born at Rose Hill farm. Ann Bannister Buford died in 1835 during a Cholera epidemic, which may have been the reason for John's selling every piece of property he owned in Kentucky plus the beautiful farm house of Rose Hill and moving to Illinois.

John served as an Illinois state Senator for four years beginning in 1843. He was a personal friend of Andrew Jackson and presided at some of the Kentucky state and Illinois state Democratic Conventions. He was postmaster for Rock Island, built the first mercantile store on the levee which was at first, a rather small building with an ugly high front to it and painted to resemble granite which he jokingly said reminded him of a man wearing a ruffled shirt and nothing more. He quickly learned to love Rock Island and called it "New Jerusalem." Always acting in the cities best interest, he was a highly respected man and one who was listened to when he had an idea or voiced his opinion on matters concerning the development of the city.

John died on March 25, 1848 in Rock Island, Illinois. John Jr. was attending the United States Military Academy, (West Point) at the time of his father's death and was unable to make it back to Rock Island for his funeral. John produced two Brigadier Generals, Napoleon Bonaparte, also a West Point Grad and John Jr. who was the hero of Gettysburg. His sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, both became Mayors of Rock Island. They also started a large Iron foundry at First Avenue and Sixteenth Street. James was in banking from 1861 until his death on December 27, 1905 and served as Rock Island City Treasurer from 1862 to 1874. James, like his father, was a very religious man and followed the Presbyterian faith. He built his home at 1117 Second Avenue.

John Sr. was a typical Buford male, being large in stature, sometimes seeming a bit unpolished around the edges, robust and full of vitality and always having his finger in the pot so to speak. He was an honest, religious and moral man; a credit to his name and to the country that he loved so dearly. [Written by Fern Walker]

 


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