DAVID S. BUFFINGTON.
There is no more familiar figure on the streets of Columbus Junction than that of Mayor David S. Buffington, whose
active interest in everything that pertains to the welfare of the town and county has won for him a host of friends.
He was born on a farm a few miles southeast of Columbus Junction, February 4, 1843, his father, James Q. Buffington,
being one of the pioneer settlers of Louisa county. The father came to Iowa from Meigs county, Ohio, and first
took up his residence in Marion county, near Pella, where he preempted a quarter section of land. He did not remain
long in that locality, however, but disposed of his property and came to Louisa county in 1842. Here he located
on government land, acquiring about a thousand acres for which he paid a dollar and a quarter per acre. In addition
to farming he conducted the first grist mill in the vicinity of Columbus Junction and became known throughout a
wide area of the surrounding country.
Prior to leaving Ohio he had married Miss Eliza A. Sleath, also a native of Meigs county. Of the children born
to this union six survive, namely: Joseph R., a resident of Nebraska; David S., of this review; Mrs. Eliza Ellen
Genzer; Mary C., who married Henry Schultz, and resides in the southern part of Kansas; Annie, the wife of Edward
Dove, also a resident of southern Kansas; and Abraham Perry, who is now a major in the United States Army and is
stationed in the Philippine Islands. Mr. Buffington was a true father to his children and as they reached maturity
he gave to each an equal share of land, thus enabling them to make a good start in life. He ultimately disposed
of the remainder of his holdings in this county and bought a farm of two hundred acres in Lucas county, Iowa, upon
which he and his wife took up their residence. He died in 1889, but the mother survived him for a number of years,
her death occurring in 1898.
David S. Buffington attended the country schools of Louisa county and later became a student of Western University
at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and the Presbyterian College at Washington, Iowa. He attended college at the time of the
Civil war and on his last return to the institution he found so few young men in attendance that he gave up the
idea of pursuing his studies further, not even moving his trunk from the depot. It was the father's wish that his
son should receive a college education, but the times seemed to demand action. After returning home David S. Buffington
determined that he would engage in the harness making business, having received an alluring account of the profits
to be made in that line of trade from a man who was thus engaged. His father refused him the five hundred dollars
that was necessary in order to make the venture, but he assumed the responsibility on his own account and went
into business on credit. He soon found that he was not adapted to this vocation and, having disposed of his interest
in the harness shop, began teaching school, which was much more to his taste than standing behind a counter, and
he engaged in this calling very successfully for a number of years. He was also connected with the railway mail
service but was obliged to resign on account of ill health. He is the local representative of the Iowa State Insurance
Company of Keokuk and the Farmers' Insurance Company of Cedar Rapids, and on account of his extensive acquaintance
and known reliability of character he has met with a goodly measure of prosperity in this business. Many years
ago he became interested in local government and he has served in various official positions, notably those of
auditor, justice of the peace, an office which he has held for the last twenty five years, and is now acceptably
filling the office of mayor of Columbus Junction.
In 1865 Mr. Buffington was married to Miss Nancy A. Getz, a daughter of Jacob and Hannah Getz, both of whom were
born in Pennsylvania, and twelve children were born to this union: James C., who makes his home in Omaha, Nebraska;
Annie I., the wife of Dr. Paxton, a veterinary surgeon of Columbus Junction; Florence, who married John Bell, a
building contractor of Foil Worth, Texas; Jacob, a resident of Sheridan, Iowa; Albert Perry, of Ahaconda, Montana;
Maud, now Mrs. J. P. Huston, of Montrose, Iowa; Cora, who married Edward Bergman, of Sheridan; Frank, a resident
of Kansas; David S., of Anaconda, Montana; Rutherford B., who makes his home in Los Angeles, California; Bruce,
a resident of Anaconda, Montana; and Bessie, the wife of Daniel Lutz, of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The mother of these children died in January, 1902, and in 1903 Mr. Buffington was again married, his second union
being with Miss Mary Selman, a daughter of Warner and Rebekah (Wolfe) Selman. The father is a native of Maryland
and was born November 18, 1818, being now ninety three years of age. When a young man he emigrated from Maryland
to Smithfield, Jefferson county, Ohio, and there married Rebekah Wolfe. She was born at Smithfield, August 7, 1828.
Mr. Selman came with his family to Columbus City, Iowa, in 1854 and for twelve years engaged in the cooperage business.
He then purchased a farm in Columbus City township upon which he has since resided, having lived there for over
forty five years. Mrs. Selman died on the 28th of September, 1896, and was buried in the cemetery at Columbus City.
She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. and Mrs. Selman became the parents of the following children:
Thomas, born September 3, 1848, and who died July 27, 1901; George W., born August 10, 1850, now a resident of
Columbus Junction; Mary, now Mrs. David S. Buffington; Eli, born September 1, 1856, who makes his home in Muscatine;
Nancy Ann, born November 5, 1858, who married Harry Smith and resides with her father on the old homestead; William,
born March 12, 1860, and is now living in Muscatine; Eva, born April 16, 1862, and who is now the wife of William
Carter, of Columbus City; Emma, the first wife of William Carter, born August 6, 1864, and who died June 4, 1887;
Robert Warner born January 21, 1866, and who died at the age of fourteen, and Lola Ellen, born July 27, 1868, and
who died November 5, 1877.
Mr. Buffington is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is also actively identified with the Reformed
church. His wife is connected with the Christian church but attends services with him. They occupy a pleasant new
home immediately adjoining the business district of the city, and in the improvement and beautifying of this home
Mayor Buffington finds one of his greatest pleasures.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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