Thomas Buford is shot by neighbor
Joe Redfern
Before reading about the death of Thomas J. Buford I have a small Biography of Thomas:
He and his twin brother William W. Buford was born on March 11, 1837 which puts his age at death as 78 years not 80 as stated below.  His parents were Henry Pierce and Emily Murley Buford of Missouri.  The nephew, Thomas Lee Buford, who is delegated to go to Montana and take care of Thomas' affairs is the son of his twin brother William W. Buford. To read more about this Buford line please click on the URL;,%20Julia%20Ann.htm

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From The Anaconda Standard
Butte, Montana
July 17, 1915

Old man threatens life and fires at man in his own house.

Evidently without cause He provokes the tragedy.
Thomas Buford, one of the oldest ranchers in Silver Bow county, a pioneer of the state, was shot and probably fatally wounded at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon at Moose town, 20 miles South of Butte.  Joe Redfern, his neighbor, is in the county jail, charged with the shooting.  He admits his guilt but claims he shot Buford in self defense.

Buford was brought to the city and taken to St. James Hospital.  Dr. Mcginn went to the Fagan ranch and gave temporary treatment, and assisted in removing Buford to the hospital, where his wound was treated last night.  The bullet from a .38-caliber Colt's revolver passed through his body, piercing the top of the right lung.  At a late hour this morning but little hope of his recovery was entertained.

Buford is a bachelor and lived alone on his ranch.  Redfern, with his wife and children, lived on an adjoining ranch.  He is 46 years old.

Yesterday afternoon Buford went to Redfern's place, and with few preliminary remarks announced his intention to 'get' Redfern.  The latter was standing outside the door of his house and was unarmed, while Buford carried a 10-bore shotgun.  Seeing that trouble was about to come, Redfern, according to the story he told the sheriff's deputies', Joe Bodine and J. B. Henderson, who arrested him, started to go in the house.  Buford brought his gun to his shoulder and fired at the retreating rancher.  The charge went wild, but struck a horse that was standing saddled and bridled near the door of the house, shooting the bridle from the horse's head.

Redfern says after entering the house he attempted to reason with his enraged neighbor, but the latter remained near the door and threatened further hostilities Redfern urged Buford to leave and he himself started to leave the house.  Buford brought his gun into position again and declared he was there for the purpose of killing Redfern and intended to do it.  Redfern reached for his Colt's revolver, hanging on the wall and opened the door and fired the shot that passed through Buford's body.  The latter started toward his home and Redfern, in company with two of his neighbors, Charlie Jones and a man named Murphy, started to Butte, Redfern says, with the intention of surrendering to the sheriff.

Redfern is Sorry.

News of the shooting had been telephoned to the sheriff's office and the deputies were on their way to the scene when they met Redfern and placed him under arrest.  He expressed the deepest regret at the tragedy, but insists that if he had not shot Buford he would have been killed.  Both men bear good reputations and have never been in trouble before.  Redfern, it was said at the sheriff's office last night shot a neighbor about three years ago, but the shooting was proved to be an accident and the victim recovered.

Dr. Mcginn said last night that while there was a chance for Buford, his age, 80 years, is against him, and the wound is a very serious one.  The resulting hemorrhage left the patient in a greatly weakened condition.

Deputy County Attorney Malloy visited Buford in the hospital and talked with him getting his version of the shooting.  He claims he ordered Redfern off his (Buford's) land and that Redfern began shooting at him, firing three shots, the first of which struck him in the breast.  Redfern made the following statement at the county jail shortly after midnight:

"I am awfully sorry that I shot Tom.  He is an old man, and while we have never had any trouble to speak of, he often acted childish.  I cannot account for his attack on me in any way except that he imagined he had a grievance because I was moving into the house.  Why he would feel so, I cannot understand."

Showed No Hostility.

I homesteaded 180 acres of land and had just finished the house.  Yesterday I was moving my family from Silver Star.  I had seen Tom frequently of late, and he always acted in a friendly manner.  Last winter he was acting strangely, and I went to his cabin and asked him what he had against me.  He refused to talk then.  Once, a year or so ago, I went after some cattle I had on the ranch and he ordered me off and said, "If you don't get out I'll shoot you."  but I paid no attention to his remark.  He has been friendly toward both me and my wife, and seemed much interested in the coming of the children.

"Buford did not say a word to me yesterday.  I saw him coming toward the house with the gun and called to him not to point the gun at the house.  Then he swung it around and fired at me.  I got my revolver off the wall when he said he intended to shoot me and fired.  I don't know how many shots I fired and am not certain whether he shot more than once.  After I shot him he turned and walked nearly to his house.  Then other neighbors went to his assistance and I started to town to give myself up.  I hope he will get well, for I have no hard feelings toward him, since we never had any serious troubles and had no occasion to have any."

from The Anaconda Standard
July 20, 1915

Thomas Buford Dies ~ No Statement Made
Death comes unexpectedly to the Pioneer Rancher
Knew He Could not Live
His version of the trouble at Moose Town last Friday differs from that of Joe Redfern, who is held by the authorities for the shooting.
After being advised that he had but a short time to live, and consenting to make a dying statement, and while Deputy County Attorney Kerr Beadie was hurrying to St. James' Hospital to take the statement, Thomas Buford died at 7:30 yesterday morning.  He was shot through the right lung during an altercation between himself and Joe Redfern at Moose Town, 20 miles South of Butte, last Friday afternoon.  Mrs. Redfern is said to have been the only witness to the shooting.  Redfern is in jail and from the time of his voluntary surrender to deputies from the sheriff's office has frequently expressed the deepest regret over the affair, while maintaining that he shot only when compelled to do so in self-defense.
No formal action has been taken by the county attorney's office, and probably there will be none until after the coroner's inquest.
Statement with regard to the trouble, made by Buford soon after his admission to the hospital and by Redfern the night he was placed in jail differ materially, but both agree that Buford went to Redfern's homestead armed with a shotgun.  Redfern claims the old man had ordered him off the land, for what reason he does not know, and that Buford shot at him without warning, and was about to shoot again when Redfern secured his revolver and shot Buford.
Buford was 80 years of age and had lived alone on government land near Moose Town for 16 years.  Two years ago he filed on 160 acres as a homestead.  Redfern's homestead claim adjoined that of Buford, and there had been no previous trouble between the two.  Buford, according to Redfern, had at times shown indications of childishness, but to these Redfern and his wife gave no attention.
Arrangements have been made to hold the funeral of Buford tomorrow at 10:30 o'clock from Richards' undertaking rooms, where services will be conducted by the Rev. Dr. Groensveld.

from The Anaconda Standard
August 11, 1915


The arrival of Thomas L. Buford from Memphis, Missouri, disclosed the fact that his Uncle, the late Thomas Buford, had in addition to a few relatives living in the Central East, a distant relative, Buford A. Clark, living at 183 Oregon avenue.  Mr. Buford arrived in Butte yesterday morning and will remain until the estate left by his uncle is disposed of and the residue distributed.
A sister, Mrs. Helen McAtee, 90 years old, living at Lima, Kansas, and two other sisters, Mrs. Mary J. Gnach and Mrs. Julia A. Bourn, living in Scotland County, Missouri are the nearest living relatives of Mr. Buford.  None of them had heard from him since 1858, until news of his death reached them a few days ago.


BUFORD Families in America Book 2005

Addendum to Buford Book 2005


Simeon R. Buford

John Quincy Adams Buford




And my ALL-TIME favorite ~ TRIVIA

~~~Clouds by Torie~~~






























from The Anaconda Standard
July 22, 1915

Find he was shot by Joe Redfern in self-Defense
Wife describes the tragedy
So far as the evidence disclosed at the coroner's inquest, the attack by the aged rancher was wholly without cause.
Joe Redfern was exonerated by the coroner's jury that investigated yesterday afternoon the death of Thomas Buford.  The result of the inquest was not a surprise, and gave gratification to a large number of Redfern's friends, who, as witnesses or spectators, attended the hearing.  The verdict recites that Buford came to his death from a gunshot wound on July 16 at Moose Creek.  It was found that Buford pointed a gun at Redfern and shot at him and that "Redfern, in self-defense, fired his gun at the deceased, causing his death."
Dr. McGinn, who was called to give assistance to Buford and who attended him at the hospital in Butte, told of the nature of the wounds.  These were three in number.  One was from a bullet that penetrated the top of the right lung and there were two other wounds made by bullets in the right leg.
Dan Burns, a neighbor of the two men involved in the tragedy, told of helping to move Redfern's household goods to his new home, but a few hundred yards from Buford's cabin.  He witnessed the tragedy from the wagon he was helping to unload.  He saw Buford coming toward the house with his double-barreled shotgun on his arm, and could see that he was bent on making trouble.  The witness called Redfern's attention to the old man, and Redfern ordered Buford to stop and not come nearer the house.  Buford then threw his gun to his shoulder and fired one shot.  Redfern went into the house and got his revolver and fired one shot in Buford's direction.  This is believed to have been one of the shots that struck the rancher in the leg.   Buford shot again, and then Redfern fired three times.  Buford walked over to a log and sat down, reloading one barrel of his gun.  When Burns went to offer him aid, he aimed the gun at Burns, who retreated, and secured assistance from a neighboring ranch.  Buford was brought to Butte, while Redfern came in voluntarily to surrender to the sheriff.
Mrs. Redfern told substantially the same story as Burns/  She knew of no reason for the attack by Buford and said neither she nor her husband had expected or thought of such a thing as trouble with him, although he had threatened to shoot Redfern if the family moved into the cabin.  They attributed the remark to a fit of childishness and did not consider it seriously.
It is understood that, in view of the jury's verdict, the county attorney will take no official notice of the case, and that Redfern will be released in a short time.