Little is known of Thomas Buford's life prior to the Texas Revolution. His military record states that was born in South Carolina on August 5, 1814 and came to Texas in April, 1835, living near Nacogdoches. He enlisted in the Texas army on March 27, 1836 for six months and, as a member of Captain William H. Smith's Company J, Cavalry, fought at San Jacinto. He was afterward promoted to first lieutenant and put on detached duty as an army recruit until his discharge in September. Buford died on his farm near Nacogdoches on August 23, 1839, survived by his widow Mary and two infant daughters, and was buried in Oak Grove in Nacogdoches.