Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Star – Clipper Supplement
Traer, Iowa, February ?, 1887
History of North Tama
By Daniel Connell

Chapter XVIII
William Alfred Buckingham

William Alfred Buckingham was of a Puritan family, the memorials of whose members are still preserved in unbroken line from Thomas Buckingham, the first of the name, who left England in 1637, and eventually settled in Milford, Connecticut. His son Thomas was one of the founders of Yale college. The subject of our sketch is of the eighth generation and was born on the 28th of May, 1804, in the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, a historical town of prominence. It was the birth place and residence of Jonathan Trumbull, the Brother Jonathan of American history, and of his son Jonathan, both of whom were Governors of that commonwealth. It was a town that for during 100 years furnished the Governor for thirty-three years. At the age of eighteen he taught school for one year, then having selected the calling of a merchant he entered as a clerk in a mercantile firm in Norwich. At the age of twenty-three he opened a store in that town and was successful from the first. At the age of twenty-six he made open profession of religion, living for forty years a stainless life. Soon after opening the store he added to his business manufacturing. In 1848 he abandoned his mercantile interests and increased the former. In 1849 and 1850 he was mayor of his city, the only office he held prior to his election as Governor in 1856, which he held until 1865, being elected yearly, and was one of the distinguished war Governors, of who but one remains. Governor Buckingham was a man of decided character. Without brilliancy he possessed a strong, clear judgment.

He was a man of decided opinions and strong convictions, from which he never swerved. He was deeply interested in education, temperance and religion, for the spread of which he gave time, voice and money. We have told how it came to pass our settlement adopted the name of Buckingham. Because of the Connell family and the name his mind was directed to it.

Knowing it was in a new country and the people poor he decided to aid us. His benefactions always came at the right time. He gave $100 to build a school house. He sent 350 volumes for the Sabbath school in 1857. The first year of Rev. Mr. Upton’s ministry he donated $50 to his salary, and the second year $25. To build a church edifice for the Congregational church he promised two-fifths of $1,000, which became one –half of $4000. He sent the carpet for the house and the bible for the desk. Mrs. Buckingham sent at this time an important addition to the library, the very last act she did before her death. Miss Jane Ripley, a sister of Mrs. B. sent a communion set.

In 1867 Governor Buckingham visited the town and was highly pleased with the people and the evidences of prosperity he saw. During this visit the Methodist society were building a church edifice and he placed $100 at their disposal. The good he did in the settlement by his timely benefactions is not measured in one generation, and entitles him to honorable mention in the history of Northern Tama.

Chapter XIX

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