I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I also accept donations of pre-1927 images to be reunited. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Handtouched Portrait: Stephen Smith Buffum, Yates City, Illinois, Circa 1860s

This portrait of Stephen Smith Buffum of Yates City, Illinois was found in a lot of ephemera I purchased on eBay a while back.  On the reverse the following information is written in pen:  "S. S. Buffum, Yates City, Ill.,"  and "Stephen Smith Buffum, George M. Buffum's father." 

It's difficult to say when this image was created, but it has been drawn over, likely in an attempt to make it appear more like a piece of drawn artwork.  The original photograph was probably taken in the 1860s.  I was lucky enough to locate information about Mr. Stephen Smith Buffum in an old history book called, Portrait and Biographical Album of Johnson and Pawnee Counties, Nebraska, Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches.  The reason S.S. Buffum appears in a Nebraska history book, not having lived there, is that his son, Joseph, became a prominent citizen, farmer and county judge in Johnson County, Nebraska.  The biography focuses on Joseph, but includes information about his mother and father, and even on his grandfather, Stephen Buffum, Sr.

Stephen Smith Buffum was born on the 22nd of October in Addison, Vermont, son of Stephen Buffum.  He moved west and settled in Ashtabula County, Ohio, where he married Esther Mann.  Four children were born to the couple there:  Rufus (1829), Matthew (1831), Joseph (1834) and George (1836),  and in 1836 the family left Ohio to settle in Knox County, Illinois.  Four more children were born:  Austin (1839), Amanda (1841), Olive (1844) and Silas (1846).

In 1860 Stephen Smith Buffum sold the farm in Knox County and moved his family to Yates City, where he  had a number of business interests, including a general store. 

He died in February of 1871 at the age of 69 years and his grave can be found here: Stephen S Buffum (1802 - 1871) - Find A Grave Photos. 

September 3, 2012 UPDATE:  This portrait is on its way to Illinois to be reunited with a relative of Stephen Smith Buffum's.  


  1. I like the "touched up" photo/art effect. He looks like a affable gent.

    Hmm.. a daughter named Olive! Run for hills! *chuckles*

  2. I am the Great Great Great Grand-daughter of Stephen Smith Buffum and the Genealogist of the Buffum Family Association. I would love to have a copy of this photograph. Please let me know how that could be arranged. Thank you so much,
    Cynthia Whitham [cgwhitham@gmail.com]

  3. Stephen Smith Buffum is my Great Great Great Grandfather too...my father Harry William Buffum lived in Colton CA and married my mother Mary Olive Lansing in 1948.