Buchanan History

          Davidson County, Tennessee 
    Buchanan Memoir
Submitted by: Harlow Chandler, chandler@cstone.net

The following memoir is among my wife's family papers. No claims are made for accuracy.

My wife is a descendant of Susan Ann BUCHANAN, wife of George Isham MATTHEWS, and we would welcome any information on her Buchanan line.

Among the earliest colonists that settled in North American continent, and long before any organized government was established, three brothers by the name of Buchanan emigrated from the north of Ireland to America and settled where the city of Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, now stands, but known then as the colony of Pennsylvania. One of the brothers became dissatisfied and returned on the ship that brought them over. He was never heard from again.

JAMES BUCHANAN, the subject of this memoir, was married to Miss Jane Trimble before leaving the old country. Their first child was born at Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania and was known in after life as MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN. They (James Buchanan and his wife Jane Trimble) also had two other sons, ALEXANDER and SAMUEL and two daughters, NANCY, who married James Mulheron, and Jane, who married James Todd. JAMES BUCHANAN was of a restless, adventurous disposition, greatly inclined to ramble. He moved from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to the colony of Carolina, and stopped at a point now known as Guilford Courthouse, Carolina. He remained there four years, then moved on through the western wilds and settled where the town of Danville, Kentucky, now stands in 1774. After staying there a few years he became incapacitated, through age and infirmity, to support and protect his family, which duty devolved upon his sons in after life.

ALEXANDER BUCHANAN, his second son, was killed by the Indians in Nashville in 1781 in an attack on the fort. James Buchanan, his father, after becoming old and helpless, was killed by the Indians in 1792 as he sat in his humble cabin on Mill Creek, Tennessee, near the fort or Buchanan station.

SAMUEL BUCHANAN was killed a mile below the fort on Mill Creek. He was plowing near Buchanan fort when the Indians, in ambush, cut him off from the fort and help. He evidently attempted to make his escape by running and hiding himself in a cave and eluding the Indians, and jumping off a bluff about 8 or 10 feet high near the mouth of the cave he struck a projecting rock, dislocating his knee, and fell into the creek. The Indians killed and scalped him and left his body in the water.

MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN was born at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1759, and was the oldest son of James and Jane Trimble Buchanan (of Scotch Irish descent). He was a brave old man with a liberal, generous disposition, endowed with the faculty of precaution and prudence, a well balanced mind, of sound judgment, a noble soul, and a spirit of keen susceptibility, having accompanied his father through all his meanderings over mountain and vale, sharing with him in all his trials, labors, dangers, and hardships incident to the first settlers of the middle states of America, greatly qualified him as a leader, protector and benefactor. The father, through age and infirmity caused by trial, exposure and hardship that the pioneers of the American continent had to undergo, became unable to maintain and defend his family. This duty devolved upon the son, he being the moving spirit and nucleus around which the hope of future support, protection and happiness of the mother and sisters clung. He necessarily assumed the care and responsibility of the family. The spirit of adventure so inherent in the father had its potent influence on the son. The wonderful accounts made of him through exploring, enterprising settlers of the beauties and fertility of the Cumberland Valley country, with its abundance of wild game that nature had seemingly turned loose to graze upon the luxuriant cane brakes and tangled pea vine that grew so profusely throughout this beautiful country; his ambitious spirit and love for adventure could be held in subjection no longer.

MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN, with his father's family, left Danville, Kentucky, for the Cumberland country with the fond hope of finding a permanent home. They arrived where Nashville is now located December 14, 1778, and crossed the Cumberland River on the ice at the mouth of Sulphur Spring branch. On his arrival he found General James Robertson and one other man living in log cabins on the bluff of the Cumberland River where the county jail now stands. The third house erected was built by Buchanan and his comrades.

These pioneers, as a means of better protection and defense against the attacks of the various bands of Indians frequently marauding the settlement, built a fort on the bluff over the Cumberland River on what is now Front Street, near to where the county prison stands. In 1781 the Indians invaded the settlememnt and Alexander Buchanan, brother of Major John Buchanan, was killed by the Indians near the crossing of Market and Broad streets. After staying at the Nashville fort four years, MAJOR BUCHANAN moved six miles east of the Nashville fort and erected his rude cabin on a stream now called Mill Creek from the fact that he afterward built the first mill that was ever erected in the county on it. As a necessity, he soon built a fort in simplicity of style but formidable in strength to guard against the attacks of the Indians in their savage mode of warfare in the time of the early settlers of Tennessee. On the night of September 30, 1792 the combined force of three tribes of Indians, numbering 900 warriors, made an attack upon Buchanan station thinking from the simplicity of its structure and weakness of its defense to over-ride that "cow pen fort" so styled by the Indians. With true gallantry these brave men, like Spartans, stood to their posts, and with unerring aim with their flint rock rifles held the fort and defeated the enemy with the slight wounding of one man in the fort. One Indian chief was killed, and left near the fort, in the act of setting the fort on fire. From the blood and other signs left by the Indians there were many others killed or wounded. In the heat of the battle, the ammunition in the fort began to get scarce and Nancy Mulheron, sister of Major Buchanan, melted the pewter plates and dishes used by the early settlers and moulded them into bullets, and carried them while hot in her apron around to the men fighting. The men engaged in this battle were: Major John Buchanan, James Bryant, Thomas Wilcox, James O'Conner, Robin Castleman, James Mulheron, Thomas McCrary, Morris Shane, William Kennedy, Samuel Blair, Robin Kennedy, Thomas Durat, George Finalson, Charles Herd, Sampson Williams, John Castleman, Samuel McMurray, Robin Turnbull, Thomas Latimer, Robin Hood, and James Thompson, 21. JAMES BUCHANAN, father of this branch of the Buchanan family in Tennessee, was killed by an Indian in his cabin near the fort two or three months before the battle of September 30, 1792.

SAMUEL BUCHANAN, youngest brother of MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN, was killed by Indians on Mill Creek about a mile below the fort.

MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN was twice married. His first marriage was with Miss Margaret Kennedy in 1786. By this marriage he had one child, JOHN BUCHANAN II. His second marriage was with Miss Sally Ridley in 1791. From this marriage there were thirteen children, nine boys and four girls. Their names were: George, Alexander, Elizabeth, William, Jane Trimble, James Bryant, Moses Ridley, Sarah Vincent, Charles Bingley, Richard gregory, Henry Ridley, and Nancy Mulheron Newman.

Henry R. Buchanan, his youngest son, was elected to the senate of Tennessee from the counties of Davidson and Wilson in 1875. His great grandson, the grandson of JOHN BUCHANAN II, was elected to the legislature of Tennessee in 1886, was re-elected in 1888, and was elected governor of the state of Tennessee in 1890.

JOHN BUCHANAN II was born in Nashville May 15, 1787, and was the son of MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN and MARGARET KENNEDY. He was married to Margaret Sample in 1805 and settled three miles east of Franklin, Williamson county, Tennessee. They had nine children, five boys and four girls. JOHN S. BUCHANAN, the oldest son, was born April 6, 1806, and was married to Elizabeth A. Vaughn November 1, 1827, and settled in Gibson County, West Tennessee. They had five children. JOHN, their oldest son, was killed when about three years old, by a wagon running over his head. The other children were: Mary Margaret, William Thomas, and Jack. JOHN S. BUCHANAN died May 30, 1868.

PEGGY ANN BUCHANAN was born December 5, 1807 and was married to Smith H. Sample February 24, 1825. They had nine children: John B., Sarah Ann, Daniel J., Margaret B., Susan J., Thornton S., Ellen M., Mary M., and Calcedonia Rachel. PEGGY ANN SAMPLE died ay 31, 1868.

WILLIAM M. BUCHANAN was born April 20, 1809 and was married to Susan Everett January 26, 1832. They had eleven children: Thomas E., Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary Jane, Henry, Evaline, John E., George R., Ephriam, Charles and Susan. WILLIAM M. BUCHANAN died May 31, 1880.

SAMUEL BUCHANAN was born November 20, 1810; died May 1825; was never married.

SARAH BUCHANAN was born March 20, 1812; was married to Daniel J. Sample in 1830 and to the Rev. John H. Stone in 1850; died May 22, 1873. She had no children.

Elizabeth Buchanan was born August 1, 1815, and was married to Rev. L. H. Bethel in 1832. They had ten children: Palmyra A., William R. E., Mary Ann Jordan, Margaret B., Sarah Tennessee, Indiana C., Lydia Hall, Tommie B., John, and Buchanan. She died June 22, 1892.

Robert S. Buchanan was born February 3, 1818, and married Harriet S. Bateman February 8, 1838. Twelve children was the result of this union. They were as follows: John, Enoch B., Thomas S., Robert, William, Maggie, Daniel C., Virginia C., Bettie, May, Sydney, and Susie. He died June 14, 1883.

MARY B. BUCHANAN was born July 17, 1820, and was married to George W. Goodwin January 1, 1838. They had five children: Margaret Ellen, Nancy Ann, Mary, Sarah Elizabeth, and Tommie Buchanan.

THOMAS BUCHANAN, the youngest son of JOHN BUCHANAN II, and Margaret Sample, was born January 21, 1823, and was married to Rebecca Jane Shannon November 5, 1846. They had six children: John Price, Mary Margaret, Susan Ann, Sarah Elizabeth, Jennie Thomas and James Shannon. He died_________

JOHN PRICE BUCHANAN was born October 24, 1847; was married to Miss Fannie McGill October 24, 1867. They had nine children: Mary, Thomas, John P., Rebecca Jane, Robert, Maggie D., Susie M., Fannie L., and James McGill. He died_______

Thomas Buchanan II, eldest son of John Price Buchanan and Fannie McGill Buchanan, was born_________1869, and was married to Miss Lillie Ramsey in __________. They had He died___________

REBECCA JANE was born_________ ROBERT BUCHANAN was born_______ MAGGIE D. BUCHANAN was born_______ SUSIE M. BUCHANAN was born___________ FANNIE L. BUCHANAN was born________ JAMES McGILL BUCHANAN was born_________

MARY MARGARET, Daughter of THOMAS BUCHANAN, married Hugh H. Bradley in_________. They had no children.

SUSAN ANN married George I. Matthews in _________ They had three children: William Kennon, Georgie, Thomas Buchanan.

SARAH ELIZABETH died in infancy.

JENNIE THOMAS never married.

JAMES SHANNON married Vinnie Galbraith in__________ They had three children: Frances, James and William.

(This memoir was written in 1898 by THOMAS BUCHANAN, who was born January 21, 1823, and died_________1908. He was the son of JOHN BUCHANAN II and grandson of MAJOR JOHN BUCHANAN)