The evolution of Rock Island County from an untamed wilderness into a populous, highly improved and well ordered community has occupied but a brief span of years. There are those now living who were here in time to aid in the beginning of the struggle against the forces of nature. And yet there has been time for families to grow up, children and grandchildren, and even great grandchildren to be born, reared and scatter west, north and south to people other lands. Such has been the history of the descendants of Jonathan Buffum, a pioneer of the thirties. He came to Stephenson, as Rock Island was known then, from the east, in 1835, at a time when there were but a few straggling houses here. He established the first hotel, or rather tavern, in the settlement and at this place, so family tradition runs, dinner was provided for the gang of men who built the first house erected on the site of Davenport.
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Jonathan Buffum was the father of a large family and there are today many descendants scattered throughout the country. Almon Atwood Buffum is one of the few who still live in the county. He is a son of Seth R. and Henrietta (Atwood) Buffum. His father was born in Ohio and came to Illinois in 1826. His mother was a native of Vermont, taking up her residence in Illinois in 1847. The son was born in Knox County, Illinois, August 26, 1849, and the greater part of his early life was spent in Andausia, where he obtained a common school education. January 1, 1873, he married Amanda Weaver, who died in 1902. Four children were the result of the union, Este E., Bertha, wife of Lorenzo Chambers; Ruth, and Paul. Mr. Buffum settled on a farm in Black Hawk soon after his marriage and has engaged in agricultural pursuits ever since. He is a spiritualist and is independent in politics.