Thursday, February 12, 2009

1885 :: Death in Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 12th day of February . . . in the year 1885 . . . Colonel Thomas Buford dies in the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum . . . this Colonel Buford was a 2nd cousin once removed to my 2nd great-grandpa, William Paschal Henry (1836-1912) . . . Colonel Tom was born on the 18th of September 1824 . . . in Woodford County, Kentucky . . . and would have been 11 years old when our William was born a few counties to the southwest . . . in Green County . . . in February of 1836 . . . Tom's parents were 1st cousins, and he was one of the youngest of 13 children believed to have been born to William Buford, Sr. (1781-1848) and Frances Walker Kirtley (1787-1866) . . .

Tom Buford was known all over Kentucky. He belonged to the proudest of the proud aristocracy of the blue-grass region, and he inherited a fortune. The Bufords were a historic family, scarcely less famous than the Breckinridges, the Clays, or the Marshalls. He was a typical Kentuckian in his powerful physique, his handsome face, his intellect, and the prodigality of his life. Few men were better read than he; his manners were the perfection of grace and courtesy, and he was a brilliant conversationalist. He was an old bachelor, devoted to the ladies and to wine. He played cards and bet on horse-races with the boldness and dash so characteristic of Kentuckians, and whether at poker or on horses he won and lost with a touch-and-go freedom. [This is an excerpt from the New York Times article of 09 June 1884 (see link below).]

By the time the following incidents occurred, our grandpa William had been living in Texas 20+ years, and was married with children . . . I do wonder if he ever knew of these tragic family happenings . . .

  • Click > HERE < to read a March 1879 newspaper article regarding the assassination of Judge John Elliott by Col. Thomas Buford
  • Click > HERE < to read a 11th July 1879 newspaper article regarding the beginning of the 1st trial of Tom Buford
  • Click > HERE < to read a 19th July 1879 newspaper article about the day-long speech of Col. Breckinridge during the trial of Col. Buford
  • Click > HERE < to read a 20th July 1879 newspaper article regarding the murder trial of Tom Buford

On July 20, 1879, on page 1,the N. Y. Times wrote about the "chivalrous murderer," Col. Buford, who stood trial for his life after killing Judge Elliott. The Judge had before him an appeal involving the loss of the family farm which had been operated by Buford's sister, who died after protracted litigation. The N. Y. Times wrote that "the trial which has been thus ended will take a prominent place in the history of criminal jurisprudence in Kentucky, not simply on account of the social positions of the prisoner and his victim, and the more than dramatic circumstances attending the killing of Judge Elliott, but also because, in the progress of the trial, the insanity plea on behalf of the murderer has been carried to what may be deemed its extreme limit."

  • Click > HERE < to read a 9th December 1879 newspaper article about the 2nd trial of Tom Buford
  • Click > HERE < to read a February 1882 newspaper article about Tom's brother, Abe, which mentions the results of Tom's 2nd trial
  • Click > HERE < to read a December 1883 newspaper article regarding Tom's escape from the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum
  • Click > HERE < to read an 09 June 1884 newspaper article regarding Tom's return to the asylum
  • Click > HERE < to read a 10 June 1884 newspaper article about the suicide of Tom's older brother, Brig. General Abe Buford (1820-1884), which is partly attributed to the choices made by Tom
  • Click > HERE < to read a February 1885 newspaper article about the death of Col. Tom Buford


Janice Tracy said...

Interesting and well-documented post! Thanks for sharing the story with your readers.

benotforgot said...

FYI . . . his findagrave memorial page is located > HERE . . .

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