The rapidly changing face of Long Island during the last decades of the nineteenth century was meticulously recorded by the self-taught artist Edward Lange (1846-1912). His paintings of landscapes and townscapes, as well as individual houses, farms, including at least one other owned by the Buffett family (see Christie’s, New York, 16-17 January 2003, lot 1189), record a vanished past and serve as important historical documents as well as charming images of another time. Executed in ink below thin washes of watercolor, Lange's works are prized for their carefully delineated details of the everyday life of some of Long Island’s most prominent and well-known citizens.
Originally of French Huguenot descent, the Buffett family was one of the first to settle in Suffolk County along the north shore of Long Island, beginning with John (b. 1669), who married Hannah Titus in nearby Hempstead. Their grandson, Nathaniel Buffett II (1742-1826), served in the Suffolk County militia during the American Revolution, first as Ensign in the Huntington and Smithtown Companies of Col. William Floyd’s regiment and later as 1st Lieutenant in Captain Israel Scudder’s Company (William S. Pelletreau, A History of Long Island, vol. II (New York, 1905), pp. 562, 564). His son Zebulon Buffett (1791-1877) was the owner of the farm on Jericho Road and a prominent member of the community who held several offices, including Trustee of the town for several years. The farm, along with the present lot, descended through the family of his son, David Nathaniel (1824-1893). Married to Fanny Maria Buffett (nee Homan) (1830-1891), David Nathaniel Buffett had three sons, including Sidney Homan (1848-1927), who established a grocery store in Omaha, Nebraska, and is the great-grandfather of legendary business magnate and investor Warren Buffett.