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There, on Jan. 15, 1864, at Belle Isle Prisoner of War Camp, he froze to death. Basil, just
eighteen years old, served approximately three months in the Union Cavalry.
For some time, I knew the name Buffington was associated with the Harveys. Perhaps,
someone said, Buffington was the name of a town where the Harveys had lived. The county
clerk solved the Buffington mystery when she sent me a copy of the official marriage entry of
Lewis Harvey and Margaret Buffington, who were married Jan. 21, 1842, in Jefferson Co.,
Also in the 1850 Jefferson Co., Illinois census, I found Margaret Harvey's parents,
Abraham and Margaret Ward Buffington, living nearby. Additionally, in court records, I found
Margaret Buffington Harvey mentioned in her father's will. Margaret's husband, Lewis, served
as the executor of his father-in-law's will.
I kept searching for information about the Buffingtons. In a genealogy magazine, I saw
a book about the Buffington family advertised by Ralph Buffington. When I contacted him to
tell him about Margaret and Abraham, he immediately wrote back to claim me as a cousin and
to fill me in on our Buffingtons with a few sketchy details of my descent from our English
immigrant ancestors, Richard and Anne Buffington. From his book, The Buffington Family in
America, I learned that Abraham was the son of Joel Buffington who, with the help of his wife
Elizabeth Logan, generated a large and influential family. During the Revolutionary War, Joel
worked as a wagoneer in Pennsylvania for the Patriots. They settled Buffington Island, washed
by the ebb and flow of the Ohio River, and over the years the Buffington family bought acres
of land in the area.
The chronicle of Buffington Island's eventful history reveals that prior to the Civil War
the island served as a station in the underground railroad. The only Civil War battle in Ohio
occurred at Buffington Island and it was the site of the only naval engagement in West Virginia
waters. General John Hunt Morgan met defeat here in 1863 when he tried to escape back into
the new state of West Virginia after his sweeping raid across Ohio. The natural gravel bed and
usually shallow waters at the head of Buffington Island were well known in the area for
providing an excellent crossing. General Morgan hoped for an easy escape. Unknown to
General Morgan, heavy rains in the mountains of West Virginia resulted in the river being
flooded enough that the Union gunboats, the Allegheny Belle and the Moose, were able to get
up river from Cincinnati. General Morgan and his men got the surprise of their lives when
they were fired upon by the gunboats as they tried to cross the river in the early morning mist.
Ironically, by evening of the same day, the river depth had dropped back to its usual shallow
But, I learned the Buffington family roots went back even further than their purchase
of Buffington Island in 1782. Their roots went back to Joel's father, William Buffington, who
married Magdalena Ferree in 1747, at Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania.
Lena was the daughter of Daniel Ferree and Leah DuBois. On a tip from another
Buffington researcher, I contacted the DuBois Family Association of the Huguenot Historical
Society in New Paltz, New York. I bought the pedigree books that gave me the long lineage of
the Ferrees and DuBois back to my first known ancestor, Chretien DuBois. He was born
around 1597 in Wicres, France. From these books, I learned not just the pedigrees but the
documented history of the DuBois family.
Fleeing religious persecution in France after the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685,
Madame Ferree and her family settled in England. Shortly after arriving, Madame Ferree met
William Penn in London. In turn, Penn introduced her to Queen Anne who had issued a
proclamation in 1707 to welcome the Huguenots. The Queen, interested in Madame Ferree's
plight as a Huguenot refugee, granted her aid.
Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed March 27, 2015.