Odie Rudolph Buford, whose parents were John Robert and Susan Hartline
Buford, was born in Union County, Illinois on June 12, 1889. Mr. Buford,
a salesman, who traveled in the Southern Illinois area for many years,
moved from Danville, Illinois to Mt. Vernon with his family: wife,
Dorothy Caroline (March 21, 1892); daughters, Dorothy Lamont (April 29,
1913); Alice Robin (September 16,1917); and a seventy pound English
bull dog named George in April of 1940. O. R. Buford and Dorothy Caroline
Barton were married in St. Joseph, Michigan on July 8,1911.
He occupied office space in the city hall and became interested in
city government. In 1951, through his newspaper advertisements, he aroused
the interest of the people in city manager form of government. An
election was held on October 2, 1951, and the city voted by a
five-to-one majority to make Mt. Vernon the first city in Illinois to
adopt the city manager plan under the new state law. Mt. Vernon was
designated the first All American City in the State of Illinois due
to this progressive action. This was done in December of 1951. The award
was presented by The National Municipal League and The Minneapolis
Tribune by Mr. Richard Childs of The National Municipal League in Mt.
Vernon on January 21, 1952.
Unsupported by any political party, but greatly aided by family and
friends, O. R. Buford was elected first mayor under the new form of
government in April of 1953. He served from May 1953 to May 1957.
During this time, the first mercury vapor lighting was installed in the city,
and the first steps were taken toward the purchase of the New York
owned water company.
O. R. Buford died in Mt. Vernon on December 9,1969.
On September I, 1946, Alice Robin Buford married John R. Grigg, who was
born in Mt. Vernon on March 4, 1909 (parents John Richard Grigg, a long
time Mt. Vernon grocer, and Nora Nevada Morgan). This wedding took
place at the First Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon. John R. Grigg, a World
War II veteran, died in Mt. Vernon on April 21, 1975.
The only child of John R. and Alice Robin Grigg is Lisa Buford Grigg,
born in Mt. Vernon. Lisa is a graduate of Mt. Vernon Township High School,
S.I.U. at Carbondale, Illinois, and is presently a string instructor in
Rockwood School District (St. Louis, Missouri).
Some ommisions may have occured to protect living individuals.
Source: "Facts and Folks A History of Jefferson County, Illinois"
Jefferson County Historical Society
Printed by Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer