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Horse Drawn Equipment Old iron designed for the purpose of hitching up to a horse or a team. This old iron machinery may be used or demonstrated while hooked to an old iron tractor too.

Horse Drawn Equipment

Buford & Tate or B.D. Buford & Co. history


I was wondering if anyone had any old advertisements or more substantial info on Buford & Tate and...

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  #1  
Old 11-02-2010, 04:19 PM
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Default Buford & Tate or B.D. Buford & Co. history

I was wondering if anyone had any old advertisements or more substantial info on Buford & Tate and the later BD Buford & Co before banruptcy and re-emergance as Rock Island plow Co. in 1884; or even some good reading material (i know a number of books have brief mention, but there doesn't seem to be much substantial info). While Tates history is pretty well documented due to his JD connection, I haven't found a lot about Buford prior to his partnership with Tate. I don't even know their colors, though I suspect they were the same red and yellow as the later Rock Island Plow Co.

for those not familier with these names and to give an idea of where I stand on info for those that do, here is a synopsis.

in the mid 1840's Tate worked with Deere & Andrus and when Deere split with Andrus (who went on to build Grand Detour Plows) in the late 40's, Tate went with Deere. The two of them moved the company to Moline IL, where they became Deere & Tate. They added Gould to the partnership to handle the finance side of things to become Deere, Tate & Gould. The partnership dissolved in 1852 as differnces in philosphophy drove Tate and Deere apart. By various accounts, Deere was constantly tinkering and modifying designs, while Tate was pushing to maximize production (a theme that I think followed through all of the companies history until its demise in 37).

Tate moved to Rock Island and continued to produce wagons and plows when in 1856 he partnered with Charles Buford to become Buford & Tate. Buford was apparently a relocated wealthy Kentucky plantation owner with a Yale education who had settled in Rock Island in 54.

In 1865 Buford bought out Tate, with Tate retiring and Buford changing the name to Buford plow works. Charles died in 66 and his sons Basil (or Basset?) D. and Louis M. took over, reportly at one point producing 500-600 plows a week. in 1871 the company reorginized into B.D. Buford and Co. and in 1876 won a major award for their plows.

in 1880 a flood and a new years eve fire destroyed most of the plant and while it was rebuilt the next year, the company never really recovered. In 1885 the company had been reorginized from banruptcy into the Rock Island Plow Co with J.J. Gilmore as president and Louis Buford as Secretary-Treasurer.

Although the plows were their mainstay, they offered a diverse full line of implements including plows, disk harrows, cultivators etc.

Anyone able to add anything?
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:44 AM
Bud Tierney Bud Tierney is offline
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Default Re: Buford & Tate or B.D. Buford & Co. history

At first this looked like too much information, then it turned out to be the same information endlessly repeated and copied, complicated by too many Charles's without middle names...
Have you acquired or read the Buford families book??
One minor point: an 1885 reference (googlebooks, didn't note title) said Charles died in 1870, that his wife was in Munich, educating "her" children (not "their" children)(apparently second wife??), that her childrens' money was invested in the Plow Works. Intriguing...
Per that ref she was 20 (b 1846) when she married Charles in 1866; it sounds like she had children when Charles married her. It also said Basil Duke Buford was principal stockholder and mgr of the Plow works, mentioned Louis Marshall Buford (didn't note what it said about him) and apparently innumerable family members...
Too many fascinating questions, too litle time!!!
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Buford & Tate or B.D. Buford & Co. history

I think I probably will end up acquiring a buford family book. I see there's a couple of different ones though and I have no idea how well any of them would address the family in question, but at least it may clear up some dates. I might try contacting the person in charge of the buford family website who wrote a book on the family as well. I actually found almost more about the company through its ties with Deere then I did through other means.

there seem to be a number of contradictory dates and confusing issues about how involved the sons were, as well as a few too many Charles Bufords in the family tree. Besides the implement company, they were also tied up in a local bank that operated as their finance branch, which became a bone of contention with creditors.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Buford & Tate or B.D. Buford & Co. history

I thought I'd post an addendum to this since it seems many of the sources were not entirely accurate. I managed to pick up a couple of books that shed a great deal of light on the story and some of the misinformation out there. The book of most value is title "The man behind the Plow: Robert N. Tate, Early partner of John Deere" by Connie Fairfield Ganz (the other is a history of Ag in early Rock Island county). An interesting book written around excerpts of Tates journal, although it mostly glosses over the ag part and focus's on his accounts of more historical events. Still though, it makes clarification on his relationship with John Deere and the Bufords and on his role in the plow buisness. Its a very interesting book and might be of interest to anyone interested in Deere's early days.

1. Tate and Deere may have parted as business partners on rough terms, mostly due to Tate no longer wishing to be the secondary partner, but the two remained close friends for most of their lives. The two of them frequently socialized together even after Tate became a serious competitor in the plow buisness. It was also John Deere himself and his personal carriage that carried Tate and his daughter to the cemetary and home at the funeral of Tates first wife in 1857.

2. Col John Buford who had induced Deere and Tate to settle in Moline was the catalyst to Buford & Tate. Charles Buford and his family had followed John to Rock Island. It was Charles son Basil however, who was interested in starting a plow works and at a meeting at Buford Brothers (John's sons Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe) Wholesale Grocers (these brothers were involved all through the 1800's in the plow works as financiers, sellers, bankers and board members) Charles and Tate agreed to a partnership with Charles as the semi silent senior partner and financier, Tate as the operator and Basil as management (Basil at the time was only 20 and still a minor in legal business terms so his fathers signature and money were required for the partnership).

3. Charles had little or nothing to do with the actual operation of the plow works, instead concentrating on his numerous other businesses and ventures. Basil (sometimes called Basset by Tate) seemed to be almost entirely involved in the plow business and it was his name that appeared on ads of the time. The only journal mentions of Charles in the book Ganz book makes note of deal with the initial partnership and of the negotiations (fight, Charles was very unhappy with Tate and Basil's deal when he returned and threatened to shutter the plant rather then buy Tate out at the agreed price, he later in the day did finally strike a deal with Tate) for Tate to sell out his shares and retire.

4. mention is made of the later fire at the plant in 1880 was started in three separate places and Basil firmly believed it to be arson from a competitor.

5. although there is frequent mention of Deere as a friend and social companion even through the years of Buford & Tate, Ganz provides no entries of such mention of any of the Bufords as such. The Deere's and Tates were buried next to each other for many years until the Deere's were later disinterred and moved to a new plot.

6. In the case of Deere vs Candee, Swan & Co over infringement (Candee, Swan & Co was sold and became the Moline plow company during the case) Tate was called upon to testify and he portrayed Deere as not having much to do with the actual production of plows stating "I never knew him engaged in the manufacture of anything pertaining to the plow, except at short intervals where his attention was drawn to any one at the forges of which the smiths were engaged, for the purpose of instructing them."
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