Monday, February 04, 2008

Rufus Buxton

Rufus Buxton was born January 20, 1840, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Simeon (1812-1866) and Rhoda Ann (Haskins, 1809-1891).

Simeon was born in Sutton, Massachusetts and he married Boston native Rhoda in 1831, probably in Massachusetts. The family was living in Massachusetts in 1834 and in Chazy Corners, Massachusetts in 1837; by 1840 they were residing in Boston, Massachusetts . They were living in New Bedford, Berkshire County, Massachusetts in 1843 and still in Massachusetts in 1845, but sometime after 1846 they moved westward and may have settled for a short time in Ohio.

In any case, according to one source, Rufus, and presumably his family, probably settled for a time in Ionia County, Michigan. quite probably Odessa where in about 1853 or 1854 he made the acquaintance of King Olmstead. (King and Rufus would enlist together in Company D, Third Michigan during the war.) By 1860 Rufus was living with the George Myers (?) family in Woodland, Barry County; that same year Simeon and his family were living in Odessa, Ionia County, and in fact, Simeon and Rhoda would live in Odessa for the rest of their lives.

Rufus stood 5’5’ with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 22-year-old farmer probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted along with King Olmstead in Company D on March 5, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was sick in the hospital, suffering from measles, scurvy and typhoid fever, probably in Alexandria, Virginia, from July through August, and reported as a deserter on September 21, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was treated at the general hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia and on the hospital boat at Fort Monroe.

In fact he had been hospitalized at least since July, and sometime in October arrived in New York City aboard the hospital ship Europe along with 250 other sick and wounded soldiers. Rufus was reported sick with chronic diarrhea although his prognosis was good and it was thought he would return to duty. In fact, he was discharged for chronic diarrhea of 3 months’ duration on November 2, 1862, at the Convalescent Camp near Alexandria.

Rufus returned to Ionia after he left the army and married Ohio native Zarah Dolly Probasco (1849-1912), on February 26, 1863, in Muir, Ionia County, and they had at least five children: Guy H. (b. 1864), Frank James (b. 1865) Ben (b. 1867), Glendora (b. 1869 and died as an infant) and Benjamin (b. 1890). Zarah and Rufus were divorced in Watonga, Oklahoma, on June 21, 1906.

In 1865 they were possibly living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County where their son Frank was born. They lived in Ionia County for some years and by 1869 were residing in Odessa. They were still living in Odessa in 1870 next door to his old friend and former Company D comrade, King Olmstead and his wife. Rufus was still living in Ionia County in 1876 and in Odessa in 1878, and in 1880 Rufus and his family were still living in Odessa, still near King’s family.

Around 1880 – although King Olmstead thought it in about 1884 or 1885 -- Rufus moved to Kansas where he reportedly lived until about 1892 when he moved to Oklahoma where they were living in 1906 when they were divorced. Rufus was living in Geary, Blaine County, Oklahoma in 1910, 1912, 1914 and in 1915, although he also spent some time in New Mexico as well during this same period. By 1920 he was living in Watonga, Oklahoma.

Rufus married his second wife, Mary D. Gibson, on February 22, 1912, in Geary, Blaine County, Oklahoma. (Mary was a widower; her husband Adnah Shelley died in 1904.)

He received pension no. 33,664 (?), dated 1863 (?).

Rufus died on June 25, 1925, in Geary, Blaine County, Oklahoma, and was presumably buried there.

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