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John Buchanan

Submitted 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 (?)

1. Martha Buchanan b. 1792/93 (age 57 1850 census) She m. 8 July 1819 in Jefferson Co., George Henry. Family lived 1850 in Brown Co., Ind. Her age in 1850 must have been copied wrong or this is the wrong couple. John would have been about 13 in 1792.
2. Wilson Buchanan 1795-25 July 1833 He m. 9 Jan. 1817 in Jefferson Co,. Zellah Forester, died 23 June 1843, both buried Star Baptist Church Cem., Greensburg.
3. Nancy Buchanan ca. 20 Dec. 1799-17 Nov. 1855, buried Star Baptist Church Greensburg, Ind. Nancy m. 7 Jan. 1816 in Jefferson Co., Isaac Short.
4. Elizabeth Buchanan, birth and death dates unknown She m. 13 Nov. 1831 in Decatur Co., Joseph Scharmahorn. John's will calls her Elizabeth Scimmerhorn, but says she was married at that point to someone whose name John did not know.
5. Tolitha Buchanan, birth date unknown, died 1833?. She m. 15 Apr. 1822 in Switzerland Co., William Huckleberry. William and Dorcas Huckleberry signed a deed on Dec. 1, 1832. In 1833, a deed from William has no wife listed.
6. Eliza Buchanan 1802/03-1852/60? She m. 30 Apr. 1832 in Switzerland Co., her cousin, Wilson Benefiel who died in 1852. They lived Madison Twp. in 1850.
7. Lucinda Buchanan 22 Jan. 1813-5 Feb. 1858, buried Vevay Cem. She m. 17 July 1830 in Switzerland Co., Alfred Wright.

John Buchanan (5) and Rachel Short

8. Sarah Buchanan 24 Apr. 1814-7 Aug. 1859, buried Spring Branch Cem. She m. 19 Dec. 1836 in Switzerland Co., David Eblen 1800-17 Jul 1882. He m. 2nd Sarah Seedwell of Ghent, Ky.
9. John Bartlett Buchanan 11 Nov. 1819-2 Nov. 1873 He m. 1st 16 Apr. 1849 in Switzerland Co., Elizabeth Peters 1820-7 Oct. 1860; m. 2nd Margaret Ann Ewing 16 May 1828-30 July 1913, all buried family cemetery in Neoga, Ill.
10. Jacob J. Buchanan 4 Feb. 1822-13 June 1902, buried Evansville, Ind. He m. 23 Jan. 1848 in Switzerland Co., Julia Ann Sauvein
11. James Garrett Buchanan 19 March 1825-11 June 1880 He m. 2 Oct. 1824 in Switzerland Co., Julia Ann Peters 22 Jan. 1828-2 Nov. 1885, buried Neoga Cem., Cumberland Co., Ill.
12. George A. Buchanan b. 1832/33 He was living Cumberland Co., Ill., on 6 March 1857.

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.