John Washington "Buck" McDuffee (16 April, 1858 - 8 November, 1941)
& wife Flora Ann Tatum (31 July, 1863 - 21 June, 1948)
Biogrpahy provided by Rick McDuffie:
John Washington McDuffee was born on April 16, 1858 and was named "Buck" at birth. When he was 12 years old, he named himself John Washington. Buck was a hard-working, industrious young man and he left at some point to work in the turpentine industry in Tarborough, Georgia. Interestingly, he worked in the company store, not in the woods... although he may have worked his way up to this position. He did well in Georgia, saving enough money to buy several hundred acres of land on the Little Panther Branch and Salters Lake, and to build a nice house there. His father-in-law, Richard W. Tatum, was well-connected and worked as a land surveyor, so he helped Buck put together the various tracts that became the family farm.
Flora Ann Tatum was born on July 31, 1863, the daughter of Richard W. Tatum and Catherine Cain Tatum. Her grandson, J. Richard McDuffie, Sr., remembers her well, and he passes along the story she told of Sherman's "bummers" coming to their home in Ammon (in the Spring of 1865) and taking their horses. She would've been just less than 2 years old when it happened, but she had some memory of it, and Richard reports that she would always cry when she talked about it. Presumably she remembered this episode because they were all so terrified of the Yankees. To the Yankees' credit, they left some poor, broken down horses in place of those they took, which is more than they did for most. In Richard's childhood, Flora was still living and quite active, and Richard was very attached to her. He relates that, on one occasion when he was very small and still had his baby teeth, he was standing on the back porch and chewing on a towel. Flora came in from the yard, saw him with the towel in his mouth, pulled on it and said "Get that out of your mouth"- and pulled out a couple of teeth! She felt bad about it and cried.
Buck and Flora were married in 1896, when he was 38 years old and she was 33. Below is the text of a letter that Buck wrote to Flora just before their marriage:
March 4, 1896
Miss Flora Tatom
My Dearest Flora, Your precious letter of Feb 28 to hand (sic) today.. truly glad to hear from you and that you were well.. yours found me hustling business.. Well if all goes well I will be in old N.C. after you the morning of the 19th Inst. about 8 o'clock. Have everything arranged for travelling as I can not tarry.. we will start soon after the marriage. Enclosed find $15.00 dollars. If you need any use it, if not keep it till I come.. I don't want you to go to a great expense (for the wedding). It is not the fun and great adoo that I am after.. it is you alone. I don't want but just enough to witness the marriage. Of course if you have special friends you wish to invite I don't object, but I don't want to burden your parents with a great expense for nothing- provided that the marriage should meet their approval and they desired to.. So use this money if you want any thing or need help to get ready.. I may not call to see you before Thursday morning. I will get some preacher or magistrate to go with me or meet me there.
Alfred Johnson arrived here today.. So I have one Tarheel with me now. Write soon as you get this and let me know if this arrangement is agreeable. I may not write anymore before I see you, unless something providential occurs. I may start the last of next week if I can get off.. if I do I will call on you about Sunday or Monday 15th or 16th but if I don't call you may rest assured that I will come Thursday morning. I have made my calculation to get back here the 21st as it is my payday and essential that I should be here. Awaiting your reply, I am lovingly yours.
Buck's mother, Mary McDuffee, was a schoolteacher and presumably that accounts for his remarkable grammar and spelling.
Buck and Flora had 5 children- Mary Belle, Lula, Glenn, Jarvis, Carrie. Buck and Flora are buried in the Briar Branch Baptist Church Cemetery.
Our family name was spelled McDuffee up until my grandfather, Glenn, accepted the "McDuffie" spelling that some other people were using. McDuffee is the original spelling, and corresponds to "McFee" which is the scottish clan to which the name belongs.
Flora Ann Tatum
(1st row) Richard Glenn McDuffee, Buck McDuffee, Flora McDuffee, Flora K. McDuffee
(2nd row) Mary Belle McDuffee, Carrie Lee McDuffee, Lula McDuffee, Alexander Jarvis McDuffee
Buck & Flora McDuffe in 1934
grandson Richard McDuffie in right photo
Contact Rick McDuffie for more information.
Bladen County NC GenWeb
This page was last modified 18 November, 2008.
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