Bio: Buffington, George A. (1914)

Contact: crystal@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: Buffington, Winchester, Jones, Ball, Smith

----Source: History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin (1914) pages 659-660

George A. Buffington. It is a well attested maxim that the greatness of a county or state lies not in its machinery of government, not even in its institutions, but in the sterling quality of its individual citizens, in their capacity for high and unselfish effort and their devotion to the public good. Among those who are justly entitled to be enrolled among the makers of the great county of Eau Claire, is George Augustus Buffington, deceased. He was born at Little Valley, Cataraugus county, New York, on June 29, 1825, the son of Isaiah and Sophia (Winchester) Buffington, the former a native of Maine, of English descent, and the latter of Cataraugus county, New York, of Scotch ancestry.

George A. was raised in Cataraugus and Onondago counties, New York, until he reached the age of seventeen years, then came to Wisconsin with his parents who settled in Walworth county, and here he worked at teaming, farming and anything honorable to make an honest living. On April 12, 1846, he married Miss Pluma A. Jones, of that county and soon thereafter pre-empted a piece of land, erected a small log cabin and there began to carve out his subsequent successful career. He purchased a stage line running from Kenosha to Beloit which he operated until 1848 when he sold it out and moved to Stephenson county, Illinois, and there entered 160 acres of land and engaged in farming. He later disposed of his interests here and moved to Dodge county where he received the appointment of undersheriff and was also elected justice of the peace, and at the same time engaged in the grocery and sales-stable business, and by his industry and frugality, managed to save twelve thousand dollars.

In 1853 he located at Horicon and continued the grocery business for one and one-half years; he also engaged in the livery business which he continued until October 1, 1856, when he came to Eau Claire, purchased real estate and the following year, 1857, brought his family consisting of his wife and three children, viz.: Clarence M., Ida C, and Byron A. For a short time, they lived in a log house for which he paid $20.00 per month in advance, later purchased the Niagara House which he conducted at intervals for ten years. In 1857 he engaged in steamboating and in the winter of 1858 and '59 built the steamer "Chippewa Valley" which he ran for one year, then placed another man in charge who managed it until the war broke out, when it was captured on the White river and burned. In 1859 he purchased a half interest in the Ball and Smith saw mill which afterwards became known as the Smith & Buffington Mill Company which in 1874 was incorporated as the Valley Lumber Company, and Mr. Buffington became its president, and from that time on until his death which occurred in August, 1893, he was actively engaged in the lumber business.

Isaaih Buffington and Sophia Winchester, his parents, were pioneers of Cataraugus county, New York, where he cleared and improved a farm and later moved to Onondago county, New York, and in 1842 they came by team from New York to Wisconsin, locating in Walworth county, sixteen miles east of Beloit, remaining there until 1843, when they moved to Summerville, this state, and for two years conducted a hotel. In 1846 they moved to Illinois and settled on a farm in Stephenson county, where they both died, he in 1874 and she in 1893.

In politics George A. Buffington was a Republican and represented his party in various offices. He served as mayor of Eau Claire, was alderman of the city and at one time was chairman of the county board. He was a member of Eau Claire Lodge, No. 162, A. P. and A. M., Eau Claire Chapter, No. 36, R. A. M., the Chippewa Commandery, No. 8, Knight Templars and the Wisconsin Consistory, 32d degree. He was a man who enjoyed the confidence and esteem of all with whom he came in contact both in a business way and socially; he was unassuming in manner, but had a quiet consciousness of his own strength of character and latent force that carried him past all difficulties which he encountered during his lifetime and he was well and favorably known over the county not only for his business integrity, but for his courteous and genial bearing as well.

 

 


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