BUFORD, Algernon Sidney

From the University of Virginia - It's history, Influence, Equipment and  Characteristics dated 1880-1881   I found the following information on Algernon Sidney Buford - Lawyer - Final Class 1848; Law.

Algernon Sidney Buford was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, January 2, 1826, during the temporary residence of his parents in that state.  He is the son of William Buford of Lunenburg County, Virginia and Susan Robertson Shelton of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  On his father's side he is descended from the Colonial English settlers, his great Grandfather Henry Buford having settled in Culpeper County, Virginia.  These ancestors were devoted patriots to the American cause in the Revolution.

His early education was obtained at the private school taught by his father in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  In October, 1846, he entered the University of Virginia and in June, 1848 he graduated therefrom with the degree of Bachelor of Law.  Prior to his entering the University he had taken part in the Virginia farm life so familiar to the youth of the country and had taught a private school for two years.  Upon leaving the University he began the practice of Law in Pittsylvania and the adjacent counties, and so continued until the out break of the Civil War.  Upon his circuit he took and maintained honorable and progressive rank among the distinguished lawyers, James M. Whittle, William M. Tredway, Judge George H. Gilmer, Judge N. M. Taliaferro, Jubal Early, and many others whose names are well known in the history of the Virginia Bar.  For a short time before the war, having become a resident of Danville, Virginia, he owned and edited the "Danville  Register," a newspaper well known in South side Virginia.  In 1853 he was elected and served as a member of the State Legislature from Pittsylvania, but declined  re-election.  In 1861 he was elected to the House of Delegates, while he was serving as a non-commissioned officer in the Confederate army, which position he held until the close of the war.  During his membership in the House, he was commissioned, by

Governor Letcher, Lieutenant Colonel by brevet, and given special service in aid of the Virginia soldiers in the field.  In October, 1865, he was elected President of the Richmond & Danville Railroad Company, which then extended from Richmond, Virginia to Greensboro, North Carolina.  This position he held for upwards of twenty years and during his administration he saw this railroad enlarged, under his active direction, from about 200 miles to about 2,000 miles.  He removed early in 1866 to Richmond and in 1887 he was elected and served a term in the House of Delegates from that city.  He has always taken an earnest and active interest in agriculture and in the commercial and material development of the State, and was for years President of the Virginia Board of Agriculture.  He has at all time secured and maintained the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens, being regarded by those among whom he dwells as the best type of the Virginia gentleman.

His first wife was Emily W. Townes, of Pittsylvania County, whom he married in 1854 and by whom he has one surviving child, Mrs.

Emily B. Manly.  His second wife was Miss Kate A. Wortham of Richmond, Virginia whom he married in May, 1872 by whom he has one surviving child Katie T. Buford.  His present wife was Mrs. Mary Cameron Strother, nee Ross whom he married in 1879 in Richmond, Virginia by whom he has three children, Algernon Sidney Jr., Mary Ross and William Erskine Buford.

Yet another bio for Algernon reads:

BUFORD, Algernon Sidney (2 January 1826 - 6 May 1911), president of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, was born in North Carolina in the part of Rowan County that became Davie County in 1836, the son of William Buford and Sarah Robertson Shelton Buford, both natives of Southside, Virginia.  He spent most of his childhood in Pittsylvania County, where he attended a school that his father conducted.

After a brief interlude as a teacher, Buford entered the University of Virginia to study law and graduated in 1848 with an LL.B.  He then established a law practice in Danville and quickly became prominent in the affairs of the city.  In 1852 Buford bought the Danville Register, then an organ of the disintegrating Whig Party and used it to voice his steadfast opposition to the completion of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, ironically the same road of which he later became president.  Buford may have had an interest in the rival Roanoke Navigation Company, a system for river transportation that the coming of the railroad doomed.  He represented Pittsylvania County in the House of Delegates for the 1853-1854 session and served on the Committee on Banks, but after his term expired he abandoned his campaign against the railroad, sold his newspaper, and returned to the practice of law.

Buford enlisted in the Confederate Army on 23 April 1861 and became a sergeant major in the 18th Regiment Virginia Infantry.  His formal military service ended early in December 1861, when he was reelected to the House of Delegates, where he served for the duration of the war.  He sat on the Committees on Banks and on Roads and Internal Navigation and chaired the former during his second term.  From 1863 until 1865 he also served as a state agent to distribute supplies to Virginia soldiers in the Confederate Army, in which capacity he received a brevet commission as Lieutenant Colonel of militia.  Although he never held this rank in the field, he was known there after as Colonel Buford.

After the war ended Buford applied for a presidential pardon on 19 July 1865 and received it two days later.  He returned to Danville, but Governor Francis Harrison Pierpont summoned him back to Richmond in September 1865 to assume the presidency of the Richmond and Danville Railroad.  Many of the railroad's stockholders had preferred former Confederate General Joseph Eggleston Johnston for the presidency.  Pierpont, however, desiring to send a conciliatory signal to the North, used the state's 40 percent interest in the line to push Buford, whose legislative experience on the House committee dealing with railroads also enhanced his candidacy. 

In September elections Buford received 2,288 votes to Johnston's 1,728.

Pierpont's choice proved wise.  When Buford assumed the presidency the Richmond and Danville consisted of a mere 140 miles of war-damaged track connecting the two cities,  He moved energetically to repair and refinance the prostrated line.  In December 1868 his annual report to stockholders stated that "the period of poverty and extreme peril to your corporate interests is passed. and the dawn of a permanent and increased prosperity arisen."

Two challenges even more formidable than rebuilding awaited Buford:  maintaining the railroad's market share against rival lines and guarding its autonomy from the encroachment of Northern financial interests.  Through skillful maneuvering Buford extended the railroad North from Richmond to West Point on the York River, with connections to the Chesapeake Bay's commerce, and South from Danville all the way to Atlanta, Georgia.  This expansion enabled Buford to stave off rival lines, but it also forced him to seek financial assistance and in 1871 ownership of his burgioning railroad network passed to a holding company dominated by Thomas A. Scott, of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

A New York syndicate headed by Thomas Clyde and William P. Clyde bought the Richmond and Danville Railroad in 1880.  Buford remained the line's president and continued to manage day-to-day operations, but effective control had passed from his hands. Another change in ownership and removal of company headquarters to New York City in 1886 caused Buford finally to resign the presidency of the Richmond and Danville after a tenure of more than two decades.  Eight years later the railroad network that he had developed was reorganized into the new, sprawling Southern Railway System.  In an industry moving inexorably toward regional and national consolidation, Buford had fought a losing battle to retain local control.

Buford continued to play an active role in local and Virginia affairs.  He represented the city of Richmond in the House of Delegates in 1887-1888 when he chaired the committee on Finance and also sat on the Committees on Roads and Internal Navigation and on Public Property.  For four years he served as president of the Virginia State Agricultural and Mechanical Society.  In 1893 Buford made a brief run for the governorship but finished a distant third at the Democratic Party Convention that nominated Charles Triplett O'Ferral.

Buford married three times.  He wed Emily Whitmell Townes on 5 December 1854 and they had one daughter.  Another daughter resulted from  Buford's marriage to Kate A. Wortham on 16 December 1869.  Kate died on 29 December 1874 and on 21 May 1879 Buford married Mary Cameron Ross Strother, with whom he had two sons and two daughters.  Buford had been in declining health when a severe fall at his Richmond residence in the Spring of 1911 confined him to his bed.  Failing to recover, Algernon Sidney Buford died on May 6, 1911 and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

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