Aye, Lass

Thistle of Scotland done in watercolor by Wendy Harty February 2021

Aye, Lass it’s a fine land. He stood alone, the forest towering above him and let the quiet seep deep into his soul. The land was empty of inhabitants and his to dream. He would stay for 56 years.

My DNA says I am 38% Scottish. The centimorgan segments are strong with my connections. In the Scots, I find my combination of red hair and blue eyes and freckles sprinkled on pale skin passed down through the years and my liking for a fine dram of whiskey! Described as hard working, not stingy but knowing the value of a dollar, polite and reserved but social and friendly after a drink, superstitious, sentimental and spiritual. Others say fiery and bold, brave, stubborn and courageous. The Scots love celebrations, dancing, music, story telling and literature. I am a Scot!

If the walls of the Buchanan Castle could talk, the beautiful old castle in ruins today might reveal which Buchanan is mine. Situated under Ben Lomond, a mountain murre over 5000 feet, it is a land of ever changing weather where sunshine rules, and in the next minute the heavens can open up and rain leaving mists that obscure the rugged mountain. The majestic Red Deer roam in the hills and eagles soar the blue skies. The history of Scotland first inhabited by Pics and Celts is one of chieftains, battles, massacre’s and bloodsheds. 10% of Scots descend from the Picts, a mythical war-painted race who disappeared into the mists. The Irish invaded, then the Vikings or Norsemen. Then came the Romans and the English. Scotland became a melting pot of peoples. An old Scottish legend tells of an invading Norse army, who planned to ambush the Scots by slaughtering them while they slept. The plan required stealth and invaders attacked barefoot. Unfortunately for them, one stepped on on a thistle and his cries of pain awakened the sleeping Scotsmen who charged into battle and defeated their enemies. The national flower is the Thistle of Scotland. I will not look on it as a weed anymore but rather a symbol of great strength, silent and delicate yet strong.

Here in Scotland, 1225, Clan Buchanan was given a grant of land on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond to clergymen or a seneschal, a senior court appointment with a royal or noble household. Sir Absalom of Buchanan was given the district of Buchanan in Stirlingshire, Scotland. He would supervise hundreds of laborers, servants and their associated responsibilities. In Gaelic the translation of Buchanan is house and in charge of the cannon. It is from the lands of Buchanan that the Clan derived it’s name. Thus anyone in the hierarchy was given the name of Buchanan. Clan Buchanan was one of the smaller clans in Scotland. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Clan Buchanan supported King Robert the Bruce. Sir Alexander Buchanan led men of the clan in support of the French against the English at the Battle of Bauge in 1421. Here Alexander killed the Duke of Clarence, second son of King Henry IV of England. In 1425 James I of Scotland had his first cousin Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany and two sons executed for treason. The daughter of this Murdoch, Isobel Stewart married Sir Walter Buchanan, which brought the Buchanan line to that of the Scottish royal line by the marriage. The Buchanan’s supported the Covenanters a Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian Church of Scotland and took control of Scotland The Protestant Reformation of 1640 would change the course of their history again. For over 60 years the Scots were in a long rebellion. The motto was Land of the Brave; they thought it was better to fight and die with honor than to live with the knowledge they did nothing to defend their people. After 1660 the Covenanters lost control of the kirk and became a persecuted minority, leading to several armed rebellions called The Killing Time. At this time in history some of the Buchanan’s were banished to the American colonies, but mine went to Ireland.

Before this time the Scots proudly wore their kilts, a military uniform. The Clans each had their own tartans to recognize which clan they belonged to under the clan system in the Scottish Highlands. The Buchanan plaid has a bright yellow in it. The law made celebrations of Yule or Christmas illegal and the Scots celebrated it very quietly. The Kirk frowned on anything related to Roman Catholicism. The Scots instead celebrated the pagan, New Year, the winter solstice or shortest day of the year and called it Hogmanay. The Redding of the House, especially cleaning out the ashes in the hearth, occurred just before this when the house was cleaned thoroughly for the next year. The First-Footing occurred at midnight on New Year’s Eve. A Stranger was welcomed into each house at that time, being the one to put his foot first over the sill into the house and bringing presents and good fortune bestowed on the inhabitants.

After 1707, the Clan Chiefs called Jacobite’s, with French assistance tried to reinstate the deposed Stuart royal line. With the defeat at the Battle of Culloden, 1746, harsh oppression of Gaelic culture outlawed kilts, bagpipes and the bearing of arms. The embers of the tribal system flickered and went out. After the battle cries, the Highlands were silent. Landowners cleared out the poor crofters in the Highland Clearance with mass evictions which resulted in mass immigrations. The Clan system dying, their tribal system had lasted a long time living by the sword and perishing by the sword.

The Scots migrated to Ireland in large numbers. The government sanctioned the Plantation of Ulster under King James VI of Scotland, also called I of England, on land confiscated from Irish nobility. They were mostly Protestant Presbyterians. From there they scattered to the US colonies and into the worldwide British Empire. In the US today there are an estimated 27 million of Scot-Irish heritage and here it is I find William “Billy” Buchanan my 5th great grandfather who was born in Ireland. of Scottish ancestry, 1763-1790. He came to America and settled in the western part of Pennsylvania. At the age of 13, William came to this side of Pennsylvania when it was yet a wilderness. William Buchanan married Elizabeth “Betsey” Henry, 1768-1848. Elizabeth and Patrick Henry (Oh give me liberty or give me death!) were cousins as John Henry and Elizabeth’s grandfather, William Christian Henry were brothers. On April 26, 1789, the next William Buchanan Jr. my 4th great grandfather was born near Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father would die the next year on January 15, 1790 at Hopewell, Washington County, PA. William Jr. married into the Stewart Clan, that being Mary Ann Stewart as his first wife on September 25, 1817. Mary Ann was the daughter of James Stewart and Margaret Mary Oliver. Their trip to America from Ireland took 18 weeks on the sea.

William and Mary Ann Buchanan moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania and it is five miles west of Woodsfield, in Monroe County, Ohio., where they farmed. It is here I placed my William Buchanan, my 4th great grandfather, in the beginnings of this story. The removal from Pennsylvania to Ohio was done with teams, 1823. The county seat is Woodsfield. William was granted land from the government, a tract of timber land, erecting a log house on it. When they first entered the hill country they were in the heart of the largest hardwood forest on the continent. The family needed open fields and the forest was a formidable obstacle to which William was up to the formidable obstacle that taxed his energy and ingenuity. The country was wild and they lived a pioneer life with only 6 other families in the township. There was not a school house or church for miles, no roads but blazed paths, but deer, bear and wolves were plentiful. Mary Ann cooked by the fireplace, spun and wove the flax and wool out of which she made the families clothing, while William made their shoes. The nearest market and supply depot was at Bellaire, fifty miles away, over rough roads and through the primeval forest. Very expensive and scarce was salt and William would make the trip back to Pennsylvania on horseback to obtain it. William helped to organize the first school in the area and donated land and material for the Presbyterian Church. At first called Woodsfield, it was later renamed Buchanan Church after him. William lived on the land for fifty-six years, giving him the title of oldest resident.

Buchanan Presbyterian Church and Cemetery on land donated by William and Mary Ann Buchanan

William and Mary Ann had eight children, all of whom grew to maturity.

The first child a boy was named James M. Buchanan born July 20, 1819, married Hulda Erskine, had ten children and died in 1892 in Nebraska.

Margaret Isabelle Melville Buchanan April 15, 1820 at Hopewell, Washington Pa died July 27, 1888 at Monroe County, Ohio. Her marriage was not a happy one as evidenced by her husband James Kennedy giving notice in the paper: “Whereas, my wife Margaret hath left my bed and board without any just cause, this is to warn all persons from trusting her on my account as I am determined to pay no debts of her contracting. Dated April 4, 1845 Woodsfield, Ohio. The family had many court cases settling his estate.

Alexander Buchanan was born on February 25, 1822 in Washington County, PA -1888. Alexander was Administrator of the estate of his father, William Buchanan. He named James and William his brothers in Nebraska City, Nancy, his sister and husband Oren Jackson in Oregon, Melissa Sperry and husband Louis in West Virginia. My 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Jane Buchanan is not listed as she had died. Elizabeth married a Wise as did her brother Alexander. a Sarah Wise. Alexander’s first wife died in 1850 leaving him 3 children to raise. The first three children of Alexander and Sarah died of diphtheria in 1861. Alexander settled his father William Buchanan’s estate and received $2236.35, paid out $1500.72 and divided the balance of $726.63. Alexander was Justice of the Peace for many years.

Elizabeth Jane Buchanan their fourth child was born in 1825, my 2nd great grandmother. She married Washington Walker Wise and they are both buried in the Buchanan Presbyterian Church Cemetery, he in September of 1870 and she on November 25, 1879, aged 54 The couple married on August 15, 1841 in her hometown and she stayed in Ohio and had twelve children in the next twenty years. The Wise children: Madaile 1848-1905, Nancy J 1849, Sylvester 1850, Janette 1851-1938, Mary 1852, James Alexander Wise, born August 23, 1853 – 1891 my great grandfather, Isabelle 1855-1909, Walker Washington 1857-1870, Alice 1858, Hulda B. 1858-1862, William 1860-1862, Josiah 1861-1862, Sarah Ophelia 1862-1892, Dora 1862, Elmira 1865. (James and Angeline Catherine Penrod Wise moved to Iowa and had seven children. Their Lydia May Ruth Wise 1883-1923 married George Arthur Gibbs and had my grandmother Olive Vivian Gibbs in Montana, who had my dad, John Gordon Waddell and had me, his bonny lass!)

Elizabeth Jane Buchanan Wise headstone
Washington Walker Wise and his wife Elizabeth Jane Buchanan Wise in the Buchanan Cemetery, Woodsfield, Ohio

William Buchanan, their fifth child would have been William the 3rd, named after his father and grandfather, born April 28, 1826 carried the title of Honorable. He married Nancy Oldham and moved west to Nebraska. There he did quite well at Four-Mile, Otoe, Nebraska. He cast his lot with a few brave, hardy, adventurous settlers where he found the broad, undulating prairies still wild and in the hands of nature. At the age of 22, after being in the mercantile business, in 1855, he sold and headed for the Territory of Nebraska. He travelled the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. In Missouri he went by stagecoach, then by horseback. He ordered a home built, which by the time he arrived with his family he traded for a farm. They started their journey on the river but it being so low in December travelled by team. By the spring of 1856 he was at the farm in a log cabin with 25 acres already broken; he set about improving it. Ten children were born, a boy of 23 was killed by lightning, 3 others died in infancy. William and Nancy built up the community establishing both Presbyterian Church and school. He was elected to the Territorial Legislature in 1861 and served when another Buchanan, James, was President 1857-1861. William was a faithful adherent to the Democratic party.

Charles Stuart Buchanan was born on December 16, 1827 at Woodsfield, Ohio and was a farmer in Perry township, Ohio. He married in 1851 to Mary A. Long. They had 12 children, two of their children became superintendents for the public schools in Illinois. He died at age 74 in his hometown.

Mary Anne Buchanan was born on December 12, 1829 at Woodsfield. She married Jacob Schmidt or Smith and had four children. Her daughter Lucy wrote: All that was mortal of our dear mother was laid to ret in her flowery wreathed casket in the Buchanan Cemetery. She joined the Presbyterians as a child and lived a consistent member. During all her sickness she never murmured or complained and passed quietly on a summer’s eve, July 7, 1899.

Nancy Buchanan born December 24, 1833. She married Orin Jackson and they had five children in Nebraska City, Nebraska. She died in 1927 at Portland, Oregon, aged 93.

Samuel Ross Buchanan was born in 1833-1852. He died from dysentery being struck down at age 19, sadly missed by the community for his pleasantness of temper and industriousness, he had been in charge of the Sabbath School library. buried in the Buchanan Cemetery.

Mary Ann Stewart Buchanan died in October of 1852 at age 60, a month after Samuel had died. William did not remain a widower long. He married Mary Jane Gibbons the widow of Elias McVey in 1854, 30 years difference in their ages, William was 64. Her daughter aged 13, would soon welcome as step siblings

Emmaline Malissa Buchanan born July 1, 1856. She was called Melissa, or Malicey, depending on the census taker. She married Michael Lewis Speery and they lived in West Virginia. She died October 29, 1921 at aged 65.

Albert Ross Buchanan February 10, 1857 died April 3, 1930, a highly respected citizen of Woodsfield with a serious illness complicated by advance age. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church at Buchanan, moved to Lewisville, Ohio.

The mother of these children of William Buchanan, Mary Jane died in February, 1861 at aged 39, they had been married 8 years. This again left William Buchanan with 2 very young children to raise. William married Mahala Denbow on Oct 21, 1862. She was 21 at the time, he was 73. They were married for 16 years when William Buchanan died at the age of 89 at Woodsfield, Monroe, Ohio on April 2, 1879. Mahala died in 1887 at age 46. His son Alexander probated the will on May 16, 1879 by this time the children had children of their own and though some stayed in Ohio, many had moved on. William Buchanan’s obit read: His seat will now be vacant in the church house on his farm which bore his name. Many a weary traveler rested over night in his log cabin and partook of his humble fare for 40 and 50 years ago, living as he did on the main road leading west from the County seat.

William Buchanan 1789-1879

On my Thru-Lines for William A Buchanan I have matches with James M, Margaret, Alexander, Mary Ann and Nancy and off course my Elizabeth Jane Buchanan. I cannot find the link to President James Buchanan but while researching his life was handed an interesting fact. He had abnormal eyesight: his left eye was nearsighted and his right eye far sighted. Every ophthalmologist has remarked on my “weird” eyesight being diagnosed the same as the President’s!

I’ll take a wee dram of the whiskey the Scots are famous for and remember my Scots-Irish roots. I’ll have a bite of fudge and scone too, but when it comes to the haggis, I’ll pass. It would be put in the stomach lining of a lamb, the heart, lungs and kidneys mixed with suet, onion, oatmeal, spices and salt and baked in the roaring fireplaces of the castle to make a savory pudding. Buchanan Castle lies in ruins, the roof having been removed to avoid the paying of taxes. My imagination takes me back to kilted warriors and the lasses they wed.

The ornate fireplace inside the ruins of Buchanan Castle drawn by Wendy Harty February 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: