Nov. 6, 1860 Rockford Winnebago County Illinois, USA
1921 Rockford Winnebago County Illinois, USA
Seedman of national repute and long prominent in the business and benevolent circles of the city of Rockford. Died at his cottage at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin a short drive from Rockford, where he had spent the last several weeks in the hopes that the outing would prolong his life. He had been suffering with heart trouble for more than a year. Born at the old homestead at 1405 Kishwaukee Street on September 6, 1860, son of Theodore E. and Catherine Allington Buckbee, pioneer residents of this city, and was educated here in Rockford. He embarked in the venture of selling cabbage plants in 1871 as a boy and gradually expaned his business until the present corporation of H.W. Buckbee seed farms-Forest City Greehouses was formed and at the season of his death mailed out 750,000 catalogues. This in response to the requests provoked by the myriads of advertisements and which conducts farms for the growth of seeds and plants for all parts of the United States where the climate is suited for the cultivation of the various varieties in which the concern has found customers internationally. Before the cares of his large business concerns absorbed his time, Mr Buckbee was a proficient cornet player and was a member of the Forest City band, under the leadership of the late August Deidrickson in 1880 accompanied the Rockford Rifles on a trip down south. Which was an event of national note. He found relaxation from business in recent years in the ownership of a stable of trotters and pacers in which were horses capable of winning honors on the grand circuit for harness horses, his latest purchse being Red Launcelet. During the world war Mr. Buckbee devoted a large share of his attention to welfare work in the hospitals at Camp Grant here in Rockford. The 108th Engineers made him an honorary captain before their departure for France and made a presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Buckbee in recognition of their efforts. He was intensely patriotic and being on a train on one occasion where proper arangements had not been made for the subsistence of a company of soldiers he sent the whole company into the dining car on the train at his own expense. Mr. Buckbee was a member of Rockford Lodge No. 102, A.F & A.M., was affiliated with the Freeport consistatory and belonged to Rockford Lodge of Elks. He held membership in the Chicago Athletic club, in the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, in the Society of American Florists, and in the American Seed Trade association, and was a director the Rockford National Bank. Generous almost to a fault and loyal to his friends through good and evil report, Hiram Buckbee performed countless deeds of benevolence, unostantatiously and for the joy of doing good. No project for the advancement of Rockford ever lacked his moral and financial support and he dearly loved the city which was the scene of his successful business career. He always advocated large things for Rockford, and when the project of a county fair was mooted he insisted that what the city needed was an exposition with a capital of a million dollars and offered to subscribe substantially to such a fund. The immense seed concern which he nurtured from a small beginning stands as a monument to his keen judgement and foresight. His small army of employees held him in almost adoration. None could come to know him well without loving him for his splendid attributes of character and his passing will be widely and sincerely mourned.