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John BuchananSubmitted by Robert W. Scott
John Buchanan ca 1779-6 May 1847, farmer and merchant, was one of the earliest land purchasers in Ripley and Switzerland Cos. The son of Revolutionary War Soldier George Buchanan, John was probably born in central Pennsylvania; moved with his family to Westmoreland Co., Pa., after the revolution and then to the Blue Grass Region of Kentucky about 1790. John's first record comes in 1801 when he and three brothers lived on Benson Creek in Franklin Co., Ky. The four brothers probably moved to Indiana in 1802. John Buchanan of Dearborn Co., Ind., along with partner William Phillips, purchased several hundred acres in September 1804 near modern Florence, Switzerland Co., Ind. John and wife, Rachel, then living in Jefferson Co., sold this tract in 1815.
John is listed in the 1807 Indiana territorial census in Dearborn Co., and voted in an 1809 Dearborn Co. election. Next, John purchased two quarter sections in what is now Brown Township, Ripley Co. on the Jefferson Co. border on Aug. 25, 1809. On Sept. 5, 1815, John purchased land from his father-in-law, Jacob Short, on the Indian-Kentuck Creek, just downstream from Manville in Milton Twp., Jefferson Co.
John's movements have not been completely determined, but are suggested by the marriages of his daughters. Until 1940, Indiana law required marriages to occur in the county of the bride's residence. His daughters were married as follows: Nancy, 1816 in Jefferson Co; Dorcas/Tolitha, 1822, Switzerland Co.; Elizabeth, 1831, Decatur Co.; Eliza, 1832, Switzerland Co. Two other children, son, Wilson, and daughter, Nancy Short, are both buried near Greensburg.
Whatever the involvement in Decatur Co., residence there was brief. John and Rachel Buchanan were members of the Manville Christian Church in Milton Township, by 1836. They moved to Craig Township, Switzerland Co. about the time he purchased land and property on the road from Port William (Carrollton, Ky.) to Versailles on 17 Dec. 1838. This purchase included two stores and inventory. Rachel appears a membership of the Braytown Christian Church founded about this time. John's first marriage is often listed as being to Tabitha Freeman. John is named as a son-in-law in will of Elisha Freeman, recorded in Hardin Co., Ky., and also in Jefferson Co., Ind., on 10 April 1818. The will does not give the daughter's first name. But since Freeman lived in Lincoln and Garrard Counties, and this group of Buchanans did not, the will may refer to another John Buchanan.
John's marriage to Rachel Short on 6 May 1813 in Jefferson Co. John and his inlaws, Jacob and Elizabeth Short, are all buried in the Old Bethel Cemetery in Craig Township. Old Bethel was a Baptist Church that was vanished before the formation of nearby Spring Branch Church formed in 1853. Rachel lived 1850 in Craig Township with her father, Jacob Short, in her household. She bequeathed her entire property for the education of youngest son, George A. Buchanan, at Bethany College in Virginia. John's will in Switzerland Co. favors children of the second marriage.
Children of John Buchanan and Tabitha Freeman (?)
John Buchanan (5) and Rachel Short
Primary Sources: Will of John Buchanan, Rachel Buchanan. Records of the Manville Christian Church. Jefferson Co. wills and probate records. Transcribed Federal land records. Ewing-McCulloch-Buchanan Genealogy. History of Vandeburgh Co.