Captain John Thomas Buford

Battle of Point Pleasant
October 10, 1774

For those who have my new Buford book
please refer to pages 40 through 53

 

On October 31st, 1931 in Bedford, Bedford County, Virginia the ‘Peaks of Otter Chapter’ of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) laid a Memorial Tablet to the memory of Captain (John) Thomas Buford and his company of volunteers who fought and laid down their lives in the Battle of Point Pleasant which occurred on October 10th, 1774. They ask the noted historian and author of many history and genealogy books; Landon C. Bell, to dedicate the memorial tablet with a speech. He did so with the following, historically based, speech. Since many of our family were also represented at this famous battle I am going to include it in my book. Here is the speech:

 

AN ADDRESS

 

by Landon C. Bell

 

to the memory of

 

CAPTAIN THOMAS BUFORD

(John Thomas dropped ‘John’ from his name and went by Thomas)

 

and his company of Volunteers

 

from Bedford County, Virginia

 

who fought in the Battle of Point Pleasant

 

October 10, 1774

The event which this occasion celebrates occurred in the year 1774. But it will serve a purpose to pass in brief review some events of the history of earlier decades.

 

In October, 1728, Colonel William Byrd, then engaged in running the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina, had a controversy with the North Carolina Commissioners as to whether the line should be run farther West that what is now Mecklenburg County. At that point the line was, to use the language of the report, “near 50 miles without the inhabitants had then been made.” 

 

The North Carolinians claimed that there would be no need to run the line any further West for “an age or two,” as, so they claimed, no settlements would be made that far West within that time. There is evidence that the North Carolina Commissioners had come poorly prepared for the arduous work of surveying the line through the uninhabited region, and that the exhaustion of the supplies and unwillingness to endure the hardships made them anxious to abandon the work. Anyway, Colonel Byrd records that they remained as long as he had any liquor, and then leaving him “high and dry,” went home, assigning as the reason that the line had been run far enough for future purposes for “an age or two.” 

 

Colonel Byrd thought otherwise, and continued with his own party to run the line many miles farther westward, believing that “the goodness of the soil,” and “the fondness of all Degrees of People to take up Land,” would result in the early settlement of the region. 

 

In 1733, an entry in Colonel Byrd’s writings shows that Peter Mitchell, whose tenement was about six miles westward of the fork of the Staunton and the Dan was “The highest Inhabitant on Roanoke River,” – that is to say, this was the most westerly settlement known on that watershed. 

 

In 1738, an Act was passed exempting from taxation for ten years persons who might settle on the South branch of the Roanoke River, above the fork, and on the North branch of the Roanoke above the mouth of Little Roanoke. The provisions of this act applied to all that section later created into Bedford County, which was originally embraced in Lunenburg County.

 

Two streams of population flowed into this section, one from the lower regions of the Roanoke and its tributaries, such as the Meherrin and the Nottoway; the other from the fertile valley of the James. It is impossible certainly to know by which route or from which general section the greater part of the first pioneers of the Bedford region came. 

 

The influx of settlers upon the waters of the Roanoke, West of what is now Brunswick County, was so great, and the population at that great distance from Brunswick Courthouse so large that a new county was imperatively needed. It became necessary to repeal the exemption from taxes made by the Act of 1738, two years before its expiration and to create a new county for the convenience of the new frontiersmen. Lunenburg County was created by an act passed in 1745, to be effective May 1, 1746. 

 

Of the twelve Gentlemen Justices named in the Commission of the Peace, at least two of them were from that part of Lunenburg later to be created into Bedford County. These were John Phelps and Matthew Talbot. 

 

They are both fairly entitled to rank among the first of the founding fathers of Bedford, for they were, doubtless, among its earliest settlers, and were first in the Commission of the Peace for organizing Bedford County, and it was at the house of Matthew Talbot that the first court was held when the county was organized.

 

The areas now embraced in Bedford, Campbell and Charlotte counties grew in population so rapidly that within eight years after Lunenburg County was created, much of the fairest part of her princely domain was erected into Bedford County. This was in 1754, only twenty six years after the North Carolina Commissioners thought the country would not be settle farther West than Mecklenburg for an age or two, and twenty years only before her gallant sons were to march to the Battle of Point Pleasant. 

 

One of the lists of tithes for Lunenburg County for 1748 was taken by John Phelps, in the precinct embracing the watershed on the North side of the Roanoke, from the Mouth of Falling River to the top of the Blue Ridge. This embraced most of what is now Bedford and Campbell and a part of Franklin Counties. It then contained 128 taxpayers, paying on 194 tithes; or a total population of probably 640 persons.

 

By 1752 these seem to have increased to 299 tithes, a net gain of 105 tithes taxed to 178 individuals, or a population of probably not more than 900 persons.

 

Just what the growth was within the next two years we do not know, but it was doubtless substantial, for the population was by that time deemed numerous enough to justify forming a new county. 

 

Bedford County came into existence during the troubled era of the French and Indian Wars; and those who were its early settlers braved a very real danger from the Indians.  The energetic measurers against the English inaugurated by Galissoniere, Governor of Canada, the success of the French in making allies of the Indians; the expedition of young George Washington to Fort LeBoeuf; the hostilities between the English and the French and Indians, the debacle of Braddock’s defeat, all came in rapid succession. 

 

The Governor and the House of Burgesses were at cross purposes; funds were meagerly voted; soldiers were few, and the frontier upon which at any point the Indians might attack, lay practically unprotected and in fact impossible of being effectively protected for hundreds of miles. 

 

In 1756, under Governor Dinwiddie’s leadership, the General Assembly ordered a chain of forts built “to begin,” says the Act “at Henry Enoch’s on Great-Cape-Capon, in the County of Hampshire, and to extend to the South-Fork of Mayo-River, in the County of Halifax.” This line of forts, forming a sort of irregular crescent, passed some distance Westward of Bedford. Among them were the Fort at Draper’s Meadow; Fort George, where Salem now stands, Fort Harris on Mayo River, Fort Hog on the Roanoke, Fort McNeil, in Montgomery County, Captain Terry’s Fort on the Blackwater, and Fort William in Botetourt. There were at least fourteen of these forts, and the calls upon the Western counties to man them and otherwise defend the frontier, were frequent and long continued. An incomplete record shows that Bedford furnished at least 485 men to the Colonial Wars against the Indians and the French. 

 

By 1760 the so-called French and Indian Wars were at an end. England was triumphant everywhere, and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 put an end to the claim of the French King to possessions in the new world. 

 

But, while the French were thus eliminated as an active factor, Indian warfare continued.  A treaty in Paris between the French and the English could not stop that. 

 

In fact the results of that treaty but intensified, or at least led to the intensification of the Indian hostility. The Peace with the French and the extinguishment of their claim to the valley of the Mississippi were followed by emigrants rushing into that territory in greatly increased numbers. 

 

The Indians looked upon this development with sullen resentment.  Their hunting grounds had been from time to time restricted; in 1720 the Blue Ridge was made the boundary line between the possessions of the white and the red men; in 1744 it was made a line extending from the Potomac approximately through the sites of the present cities of Martinsburg, Winchester and Staunton, in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1768, in a treaty between the English and the Six Nations, the Ohio was made the boundary line. 

 

Under a proclamation of the British King of 1763, soldiers of the French and Indian Wars were entitled to certain bounty lands. When the peace was made with the French, those entitled to these lands flocked to the Ohio to have them surveyed. It took some time for the claims to be audited and certified and the warrants issued, and the machinery set in motion for surveying and granting the land. But in January, 1774, William Preston, the surveyor of Fincastle County, which county then embraced all the territory South of the Ohio River below the mouth of the great Kanawha, gave notice to officers and soldiers holding warrants under the proclamation of 1763 to meet his deputies at the mouth of the Great Kanawha on April 14, 1774, in order to have their lands located.  When his deputies, John Floyd and Hancock Taylor, reached that place, forty-three men were there awaiting them. The party divided and one group went down the river to the mouth of Little Guyandotte. There were other parties or surveyors at work on the same business. Ebenezer Zane at the mouth of the Big Sandy, George Rogers Clark at the mouth of the Little Kanawha, Michael Crasap at Long Reach, in what is now Tyler County. West Virginia. 

 

Some time before this, the Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, Mingoes, Miamis, Ottawas, Illinois and other tribes, in a great convention or congress held on the Scioto River, formed themselves into a great Northwestern Confederacy, declared by the historian Virgil A. Lewis to have been “the most powerful that ever menaced the frontiers or confronted English civilization in America.” 

 

These tribes, or at least some of them had been, or were supposed to have been the allies and dependents of the Six Nations, and bound by the treaty of Fort Stanwix of 1768, making the Ohio the boundary between the white and the red men. But they now, in effect at least, ignored and repudiated that treaty. They determined to reassert their rights to their hunting grounds now relentlessly slipping into the control of the white man. It does not seem clear how far Eastward they designed to re-establish their sway, but they certainly designed to expel the White men from the basin of the Ohio. Thus when the Indians captured Thomas Green, Lawrence Darnell and William Nash, who were prospecting for land near the mouth of Lawrence Creek, in what is now Mason County, Kentucky, after holding a council over them for three days, the Indians sent them away, telling them that “Henceforth, all Virginians found on the Ohio would be killed.” 

 

The Indians placed at the head of their great confederacy the famous Shawnee Chieftain, Keigh-tugh-qua, meaning Cornstalk, or the chief support of his people. And hence it is that he is known to history as “Cornstalk.” 

 

In the Spring of 1774, when the white men assembled at various places on the South side of the Ohio to survey their lands, the Indians were already organized in this great Confederacy on the North side, determined to keep the valley of the Ohio for themselves.  Under these circumstances, conflict sooner or later was inevitable; and a few minor clashes were not long in occurring; for example, the surveying party near the mouth of the Little Kanawha had an engagement with the Indians and withdrew and joined Cresap’s men and all proceeded to Wheeling.

 

On April 30th, 1774, a party of whites under Daniel Greathouse killed ten Indians, some of them of the family of Logan, the Mingo Chieftain. It was claimed that it was an unnecessary and unjustified killing on the part of the whites. But the dogs of war were soon to be let loose, as a result in part at least of this occurrence. On May 6th following, Valentine Crawford wrote Colonel George Washington that the massacre of Logan’s people had almost ruined the settlement West of the Monongahela. He declared that more than a thousand people crossed the river in a single day going Eastward, away from the fury of the Indians. Terror reigned on the whole Western frontier; Indian atrocities were committed almost daily and the situation became so alarming and so widespread that the House of Burgesses called upon the Governor, Lord Dunmore, to use the powers with which he was invested “to repel the hostile and perfidious attempts of those savage and barbarous Enemies.” 

 

In compliance with that action of the Burgesses, Dunmore decided to make the East bank of the Ohio the line of his defense, or if found possible, to invade the Indian territory and take the Shawnee Capitol on the Pickaway Plains, in the valley of the Scioto River. 

But Lord Dunmore, even in war, like his predecessor, Craddock, in things military, moved with leisure, and lost no opportunity to enjoy the elegancies and luxuries of the Colonial establishment. He started out to take the field against the Indians. But on the way he dallied for a time at “Rose-gill” the palatial home of Ralph Wormsley, a member of the King’s Council, in Middlesex County. Here he received, or at least answered a letter from that sturdy frontiersman Andrew Lewis, at that time County-Lieutenant of Botetourt County. 

 

Evidently not knowing of the measures taken by the Burgesses, Lewis had written the Governor an alarming letter regarding conditions in the Greenbrier Valley and in the

New River section. It was easy to surmise they were worse on the Ohio and in the Kanawha region. Dunmore was, doubtless, glad to get the letter. He wrote Lewis asking him to raise all the men willing and able to follow him, and march to the mouth of the Great Kanawha and build a fort, and if he felt able, that is if he had force enough, to proceed directly to the Indian towns and destroy them and their magazines; and he added, distress them in every way that is possible.” Also the Royal Governor suggested, “If you can keep a communication open between you and Fort Wheeling (Fort Fincastle) and Fort Dunmore (at Pittsburgh), I am well persuaded you will prevent them (the Indians) from crossing the Ohio any more, and consequently from giving any further uneasiness to the inhabitants on that river.” 

 

He added: “I am now on my way up to the Blue Ridge from whence there is already marched a large body of Men.” 

 

This large body of men already marched to which Dunmore referred, was a force under Major Angus McDonald of Frederick County, Virginia. He was, it seems, the officer who made the initial or preliminary movement in the Dunmore war. He erected Fort Henry at Wheeling, went on the Wokatomica Campaign into the Ohio wilderness; and later marched with Dunmore to the Pickaway Plains. 

But to recur to Lewis; Dunmore moved on from “Rose-gill” to Greenway Court” the house of Lord Fairfax, in the Lower Shenandoah Valley; and twelve days after his letter to Lewis from “Rose-gill” he wrote him another, asking Lewis “to raise a respectable body of men and join” him either at the mouth of the Great Kanawha or at Wheeling.  The Governor added: “Forward this letter to Colonel William Preston with the greatest dispatch, as I want his assistance, as well as that of your brother, Charles Lewis. I need not inform you how necessary dispatch is. 

 

General Lewis acted with the greatest energy. He was one of, and in an important sense the ranking leader of a group of hardy frontier soldiers who had seen service through the entire period of the French and Indian Wars. There lived in or round about Botetourt, Colonel William Fleming, at “Belmont” now in Montgomery County; Colonel William Preston, County Lieutenant and Surveyor of Fincastle, residing at “Smithfield,”

now Blacksburg, in Montgomery County; Colonel William Christian, who lived at “Dunkard’s Bottom,” on New River, in what is now Pulaski County; and Colonel Charles Lewis, County Lieutenant of Augusta County, who resided near the present town of Williamsville, on the Cowpasture River, in what is now Bath County, Virginia.

 

General Lewis doubtless communicated with these and others: and he called a council of war at his home on August 12th; and here plans were perfected for all troops which were to serve under him to rendezvous on the Big Levels about seven miles from White Sulphur Springs at what is now the town of Lewisburg. This was called Camp Union, because there all the forces were to unite, or form a union. It was planned that all should be there and ready to march to the Ohio by August 30th. 

 

News of the stirring developments reached Bedford, but just what was the character of the call, if any, other than a keen appreciation of the danger and the necessities of the situation, which reached Captain Thomas Buford, I believe, we do not know. It is altogether probable that he received a communication from General Lewis or from Colonel Fleming, asking him to lend his aid. Realizing the situation, the men of Bedford were not slow to make response; and when General Lewis at his camp in Greenbrier took account of his forces there were among them Captain Thomas Buford of Bedford with his Independent Company of Riflemen, consisting of six officers and forty-five privates. 

 

In perfecting his organization, General Lewis made up his forces into two regiments and one Battalion; The Augusta County Regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Lewis; the Botetourt County Regiment commanded by Colonel William Fleming, and the Fincastle County Battalion commanded by Colonel William Christian. 

 

Captain Buford’s Company of Riflemen was a part of the Botetourt Regiment.

 

The men who composed Lewis’ army were used to warfare; but they had for years been fighting a defensive war against a steadily treacherous and resourceful foe. Now they were to be afforded an opportunity for aggressive warfare, to meet the Indians, follow them upon defeat, and destroy their towns, and finally put an end to the threat of the Red men, and free the frontier from the dread that was almost ever present in the breast of every man because of fear of savage attack upon his wife, his children and his home.  When this frontier army realized that such was to be the nature of the mission upon which they marched, they became impatient for the fray.

 

Lewis’ army has been well described as “an army of civilized men, encamped on the borderland of the Savage Empire.” From any viewpoint, they were an interesting body of men.

 

They were principally clad in the picturesque habiliments of the primitive frontier. The hunting shirt and leather breeches and leggings were the conspicuous articles of the costume; the headgear was home made from the skins of animals or knit from wool.  Most men carried both a butcher knife and tomahawk—not the Indian tomahawk, but a narrow, slender hatchet of steel; the flint–lock rifle was the rule, the water-proof skin pouches and the gracefully curving powder horns, many quaintly and even artistically carved, completed the equipment. 

 

There were here and there officers in uniform, of the British Colonial regulation; but many, even of the officers, made no pretense at wearing anything except the ordinary civilian garb. 

 

But when we look through the inconsequential externals to things worthy of more important consideration, what a group of men do we behold! Some had been with Washington at Fort Necessity; some with Braddock upon the field of his fate on the Monongahela, and “others with Forbes at the capture of Fort Duquesne; and still others with” Colonel Henry Boquet on his expedition into the Ohio wilderness.

 

(The men who fought at Point Pleasant were they, who in the main, shaped

the destiny of the Revolution in the West, and became the post Revolutionary

leaders in Western affairs.)

 

The men of the army under Lewis, almost to a man, had seen military service before, and were by instinct, tradition and experience, familiar with the methods of Indian warfare.  They were the hardy pioneers of the heroic days of our history. 

 

Lewis, the historian of the Battle of Point Pleasant, with possibly not much exaggeration, has declared that Lewis’ army as it prepared to march “was the most remarkable body of men that had ever assembled on the American frontier,” and Roosevelt, though not always accurate as an historian, was strictly so in this instance, when he declared:  “It may be doubted if a braver or physically finer set of men will ever get together on this continent.”

 

From Camp Union, Lewis marched in separate detachments. Colonel Charles Lewis marched first, on September 8, 1774, with the Augusta Regiment and Colonel Stuart’s Company of Botetourt Regiment, over a trackless route across the Allegheny Mountains, 103 miles, taking along 108 beeves, 500 pack horses, carrying 54,000 pounds of flour.  His first destination was the mouth of Elk River – now Charleston, West Virginia.

 

Six days later, on September 12th, the Botetourt Regiment set out. It was with this force, commanded by Colonel William Fleming, that General Lewis marched.

 

Captain Buford’s Bedford Riflemen were a part of the force which marched under General Lewis and Colonel Fleming. They reached the mouth of Elk – Charleston, in ten days on September 22, 1774.

 

The final detachment, the Fincastle Battalion, marched on September 27th and reached the mouth of Elk in eight days, October 6th.

 

On the day Colonel Christian reached the mouth of Elk, General Lewis reached the confluence of the Great Kanawha and the Ohio Rivers. It was at this time that the place received its name. Colonel Fleming has recorded the facts. Says he: “It was a magnificent scene. The dense forest clothed in its autumnal tints; and the river at low-water, with the Ohio resembling a lake and the Great Kanawha an estuary, the whole landscape presenting an enchanting scene. An army of weary men appreciated it, and bestowed upon it the name of Camp Point Pleasant.”

 

On August 30, 1774, Lord Dunmore wrote General Lewis, asking him to join him at the mouth of the Little Kanawha, thus changing the plans for Lewis as outlined in his letter of July 24th. 

 

Lewis received this letter on September 5, and replied that it was too late for him to change his route to the Ohio. Just why Lewis could not march to meet Dunmore as requested is not clear. All his forces were still encamped at Camp Union.

 

The probabilities are that the change in plans did not appeal to his judgment, and he followed the course he preferred, knowing that the Governor could not well question any reason he might assign for failure to do as he was requested.

 

The Battle of Point Pleasant was fought October 10, 1774, seven years more than a century and a half ago, today. (remember this speech was given on the 10th of October 1931)

It was Monday. On the previous day General Lewis’ scouts reported that there were no Indians within fifteen miles of the camp.

 

At that time Lord Dunmore was on the Northwest bank of the Ohio, at the mouth of the Hockhocking River, now in Athens County, Ohio; Colonel Christian was on the North bank of the Great Kanawha about twenty-five miles from Point Pleasant; Captain Slaughter with the Dunmore Volunteers was at the mouth of Elk, and Captain Anthony Bledsoe was still at Camp Union in Greenbrier. Such were the locations and dispositions

of the forces at the time of the battle.

 

While on the 9th of October the scouts had reported no Indians within fifteen miles, yet with stealthy tread they were approaching. The Indian scouts had reported the progress of Lewis’ army to the Shawnee Capitol on the pickaway Plains. The Indians were, of course, also advised of Dunmore’s movements. They decided to attack Lewis before he crossed the Ohio.  It was Cornstalk’s plan to meet the two armies separately; with Lewis’ army destroyed, he would then turn upon Dunmore and shoot down his men in the narrow defiles of the Hockhocking.

 

The Indians in great force approached the Ohio on Sunday, October 9th, halting in the dense forests of the valley of Campaign Creek in Gallia County, Ohio, about three miles above the mouth of the Great Kanawha. After dark they crossed the Ohio on seventy-nine rafts which had been previously prepared, and before morning were on the Southern side of the river, only a few miles from Lewis’ Camp. From this place, to attack Lewis they planned to march by route through the bottom lands where the growth of timber and foliage was so dense as to almost exclude the light. It was the plan of the Indians to march under such cover, as well as the cover of darkness, and attack the sleeping forces of Lewis’ army. And, says Lewis, the historian of this battle:  “Had that vast barbarian column swept down in the darkness of the morning upon Lewis’ army of sleeping Virginians, it would have been doomed not only to defeat but to total destruction.”

 

Fortunately, the Indians were encountered by two young men from Lewis’ army sent out to kill some deer. They were fired upon by the Indians, and immediately endeavored to return to Lewis’ camp. One of them, however was killed by a white renegade, but the other succeeded in reaching camp. He reported that there were five acres of land covered by Indians as thick as they could stand. Lewis immediately formed his men into two divisions to take the field; one was under Colonel Charles Lewis, the other under Colonel Fleming. Captain Buford and his Bedford men were a part of Colonel Fleming’s detail.

 

In the advance, Colonel Fleming’s Division marched on the left, holding close to the bank of the Ohio; Colonel Charles Lewis marched on the right, and both forces were completely engaged by the Indians. Lewis’ force was attacked by a combined force of Shawnees, Delawares, Mingoes and Ottawas and of several other nations – the attacking force being estimated at from 800 to 1000 braves. Lewis received a wound from which he died in a few hours, and a considerable number of his men fell on the spot.  The attack upon Colonel Fleming’s force was even more determined. On the field Fleming was heard constantly among his men exhorting them: “Don’t lose an inch of ground; advance; outflank the enemy.” He received two balls through his left arm and was shot through the breast – a gaping wound from which his lungs protruded. He gave his last command: “Keep between them and the river,” and with the greatest coolness retired to the camp.

 

It was necessary to throw seven companies to the reinforcement of Lewis’ right wing.  This left few, if any reinforcements which, even in an emergency, could have been sent to the left wing. But it held its ground. The fighting, from behind trees, logs and other natural cover, was vigorous and long continued.  Evidently, the Indians gave way in retreat, but to take advantage of it required cautious judgment; for to become too much exposed in following up a retreat meant danger, even disaster. But the Virginians pressed them back with vigor, until it was too dangerous, because of the favorable ground the Indians occupied to go farther. The battle line was now continuous, and well defined and extended over a front of about a mile and a quarter.

 

From early morning until after one o’clock the battle raged as an active conflict; from that time on until night the respective parties held their ground, and the fighting became more tedious. When night came, under the cover of darkness the Indians, realizing they had lost the battle, made a safe retreat.

 

Unfortunately, we know of no detailed account of the part Captain Buford and his men of Bedford had in that great, history making conflict. How much we wish that some member of that band had left for posterity a journal recounting what took place, and what they did.

 

We know that in the battle Captain Buford was mortally wounded and died in camp October 10, 1774 and was buried at Point Pleasant.

 

The family from which Captain Buford sprang was one of which any commonwealth might well be proud. His immigrant ancestor, Richard Beauford, was in Virginia as early as 1635, and another of his ancestors was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1676 and 1677 a hundred years before the beginning of the Revolution.

 

Captain Thomas Buford’s full name was John Thomas Buford – but he never used the “John.” He was born in Culpeper County in 1736, and in 1756 married Anna Watts, who was two years his junior. He was a Sergeant under Braddock; and a Lieutenant under Colonel Washington in 1758, and under William Byrd in 1759. His bounty claims for his various services, after his death, were acquired by his brother Colonel Abraham Buford, who had a memorable part in the Revolution. Colonel Buford had the lands located below the Big Sandy River, in what is now the State of Kentucky.

 

Captain Buford left three children: John Buford, who at the age of sixteen joined his father’s company and served for three years. He was a sergeant of Virginia troops in the Revolution. He married Rhoda Shrewsbury in 1786.  The other son, William Buford, in 1791 married Annie M. Pate, and moved first to Kentucky, and thence to Missouri.

The only daughter of Captain Thomas Buford, was Nancy Buford, who married Martin Wales, in Bedford in 1791. They too moved to Kentucky. All his children, I am informed,

have left a goodly tribe of descendants. (See below for their descendants)

 

Henry Buford, Sr., a brother of Captain Thomas Buford’s grandfather, married Mrs. Mary Parsons, and from him descends a goodly tribe of Bufords of Lunenburg, Brunswick, Richmond and elsewhere. Without exception, so far as my investigations have gone, the members of the family of this name have been respected members of their communities, and in a great many instances have been notable for intellectual attainments and distinguished in many fields of endeavor.

 

Captain Buford was evidently educated as a physician, for General Lewis made him one of the three members of the medical board of his army on the expedition to Point Pleasant.

Such are the all too meager facts of his history.

 

In Captain Buford’s Company, there was but one Lieutenant, Thomas Dooley. The Ensign of the company was Jonathan Cundiff, and the Sergeants were Nicholas Meade, William Kennedy, John Fields and Thomas Flipping. In the interest of time, I must omit to call the roll of the heroic privates of that gallant band. It is the less necessary now that they are before you preserved in this enduring bronze.

 

It is fitting and fortunate that descendants and kinsmen of Captain Buford, and of Lieutenant Cundiff, and of their compatriots in arms, are here today to participate in these ceremonies and see and to share the honors that are bestowed upon their kinsmen. 

 

The facts of their personal history are all too meagerly known. But it is not necessary that we know the details of their individual performances. It would be interesting to know these, but it is not essential. We know their names, we know their collective achievement, we know the results; and hence we know the measure of the honor that is their due.

 

The result of the battle which they won upon that field of blood and glory at Point Pleasant, was that the Indians never thereafter seriously menaced the whites South of the Ohio; and in fact that battle was, above all others, the battle which finally and forever broke the power of the Indians, and made them realize that the white man had become the master of this continent.

 

By some, the battle of Point Pleasant has been called the last battle of the Colonial Wars with the Indians; by some it has been called the first battle of the Revolutionary conflict, and by one historian it is said that this battle “stands out conspicuously midway between two great divisions of American History – the Colonial and the Revolutionary Periods but apparently without connection with either.” 

 

But that battle, while not a battle of that war, had a most important influence upon the result of the Revolutionary struggle. The more that struggle as a whole is studied, the more important become the operations upon the Western front during the Revolution. In song and story, as well as in history, we have heard of the glorious deed of General Washington, of General Greene, of Lafayette, of Light Horse Harry Lee, and of the soldiers who fought from Bunker Hill to Fort Ninety-six; of the valor of King’s Mountain, of Guilford, and the final glorious triumph at Yorktown, which we are now about to fittingly celebrate. 

 

And while we have not heard too much of them, and they are entitled to all the honor accorded them, we have heard too little of George Rogers Clark and his men who held the foes at bay upon the Western front. If they had not done what they did, Washington could not have triumphed. 

 

And George Rogers Clark and his men in the Revolution could not have achieved what they did, and could not have made themselves masters of the Western front if it had not been for the breaking of the Indian power at Point Pleasant.

 

So these men, Captain Thomas Buford and his men of Bedford, like Michelangelo, builded better than they knew; they fought, all unknowing it, for Liberty, and for the Independence of these United States. And they fought, knowingly, for worthy purpose.  They fought for the safety of their firesides, for the protection of their homes and their families, for the rule of law, and for the rights and fruits of civilization.

 

They fought for those ideals of right and justice which since time began have inspired the best of every generation to their noblest efforts.

 

It is fitting that those of this generation who inherit this fair Bedford for which they fought, would have been inspired to bring from the majestic mountain which they loved, this piece of granite, and inscribe their names upon imperishable bronze, and build to their memory this beautiful memorial.

 

It is fitting that the world should know, and especially that the descendants of these men and their children’s children to the end of time shall know that these, their ancestors, helped to write an heroic chapter of our history, and have left them a glorious heritage of valor and a legacy of imperishable honor.

 

Roster of Captain Thomas Buford’s Company

of Bedford County, Virginia, Volunteers

 

Thomas Dooley, Lieutenant

Jonathan Cundiff, Ensign

Nicholas Mead, Sergeant

William Kennedy, Sergeant

John Fields, Sergeant

Thomas Flipping, Sergeant

Abraham Sharp on Comd.

Absalom McClanahan

William Bryant

William McAllister

James McBride

John Carter

William Overstreet

Robert Hill

Samuel Davis

Zachariah Kennot

Augustine Hackworth

William Cook

Uriah Squires

Thomas Hall

William Hamrick

Nathaniel Cooper

John Cook

Mr. Waugh, cadet

John McGlahlen

John Campbell

William Campbell

Adam Lin

Thomas Stephens

William Kerr

Garrett Kelley

James Ard

William Deal

John Bozel

John Welch

Robert Boyd

Thomas Hamrick

James Boyd

James Dale

Robert Ewing

Francis Seed

William Hackworth

John Roberts

Joseph White

Joseph Bunch

Jacob Dooley

Thomas Owen

John Reed

John Wood, cow driving


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BUFORD Families in America Book 2005

Addendum to Buford Book 2005

Cemeteries

Letters
Simeon R. Buford

Letters
John Quincy Adams Buford

Obituaries

Photographs

Wills

And my ALL-TIME favorite ~ TRIVIA

~~~Clouds by Torie~~~