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Monday, August 17, 2015

John Buchanan, Sr. Davidson Co. TN

Records concerning the estate of John Buchanan Sr.  who died in Davidson County, Tennessee in April of 1787.  John Buchanan, Sr. and his son Samuel, died intestate, without a will.  Their estates were administered by James Mulherin and John Buchanan Jr.  Provided is both the original page from the will book and a typed transcript of the record. 

Davidson County Will Book 1, page 69, Inventory John Buchanan Sr.

Davidson County Will Book 1, page 69, Inventory of the estate of John Buchanan Sr., as transcribed by the Works Progress Administration, 1937

The following document is the settlement of the estate of John Buchanan, Sr. and Samuel Buchanan as administered by John Buchanan, Jr. and James Mulherin. Samuel Buchanan son of John, Sr. died on May 1, 1786, killed by Indians.  John, Sr. died in April, 1787, killed by Indians. The amount from the sale of the estates of John and Samuel Buchanan was 275 pounds, 17 shillings and 6 pence. After debts were paid the cash from the estate was divided, one and half shares to the widow, 63 pounds, 15 shillings and four equal shares, 42 pounds, 10 shillings, to the other legatees. The real estate was divided into four parts, increasing the shares of the legattees, other than the widow, to 49 pounds and 5 shillings.  Statement of Geo. Parks, atty for James Buchanan says that he received 49 pounds, and 5 shillings for James Buchanan.  It is possible that James Buchanan was a minor child of John Buchanan, Sr., at the time of the estate settlement, and was appointed an attorney to see after his interests. Another possibility is that Buchanan had some sort of health or mental problem that would require someone to look after his interest in the estates. It is possible that he had moved away and/or his whereabouts unknown, also requiring someone to look after his part of the estate.  Proof of this may be in county court records from that time.  The settlement was accepted and filed September 30, 1796.  The order filed by the court also mentions the estate of John Kennedy, which was also administered by John Buchanan, Jr. and James Mulherin and presented at the same time for settlement.

Davidson County, Tennessee Will Book 2, page 58

Davidson County, Tennessee, Will Book 2, page 58 as transcribed by the Works Progress Administration, 1937.

Legatees are not usually named in an estate settlement.  There is an exception here because of the receipt given by George Parks in which he names James Buchanan.  The widow received one and one half shares of the estate in the amount of 63 pounds 15 shillings and 1 pence. The remaining four heirs received equal shares in the amount of 42 pounds 10 shillings and 1 pence.

We know that one of the four legatees was James Buchanan.  Children of John Buchanan, Sr. known to be living at the time the estate was settled were; John Buchanan, Jennie Buchanan Todd and Nancy Buchanan Mulherrin.

There are few records to identify or document the children of John Buchanan, Sr.  Most of what we know comes from reports of happenings at that time and from family records and stories. Alexander Buchanan, killed at the battle of the bluff on April 2, 1781 is known to be a son from reports given at that time and preserved in written history.  Samuel Buchanan killed on May 1, 1786, is known to be a son from reports given at that time.  Family records and stories give us the names of daughters Jennie and Nancy.  And son John Buchanan, Jr., better known as Major John Buchanan, is known to be a son from reports given at that time.  A granddaughter of John Buchanan, Sr. wrote a story about her life. She was Rebecca Todd Davisson, born in 1783 in Davidson County, Tennessee.  She wrote about her grandparents, her uncles Alexander, Samuel and Major John.  She wrote of her uncle James Mulherin who had married her mother's only sister, but did not name her aunt. 

Children of John Buchanan, Sr. and wife Jane Trindle.
John Buchanan, Jr., eldest child born 1759.
Alexander Buchanan, killed April 2, 1781
Samuel Buchanan, killed May 1, 1786
Jennie Buchanan, married James Todd
Nancy Buchanan, married James Muherrin
James Buchanan

I cannot come up with any explanation for James, other than he is a child of James Buchanan, Sr.   He shared equally in the estate and his attorney gave a receipt to the administrators which stated, "Then recd. of John Bucchanan the just and full sum of forty nine five shillings it being in full of James Bucchanan part of his father's decd. estate and his brother Samuel it being in full of sd. estate, I say recd. by me Novr. 12th 1792," Geo Parks, atty for Jas. Bucchanan. [George Parks came to Tennessee from Guilford County, NC and was a resident of Davidson Co., TN and later of Sumner Co., Tennessee, where he died in 1810.]  It has been suggested that James Buchanan had to hire an attorney to get his share of the estate.  There is no evidence of that or that George Parks was an attorney. He does not appear in Davidson County or Sumner County court records acting as an attorney. It was very common to give power of attorney to someone to act on behalf of another in legal matters.  Appointing someone to act on James Buchanan's behalf, might add to evidence than James was an adult, and not living in Davidson County at the time of the settlement. The receipt given by George Parks was dated Nov 12, 1792. At that time George Parks was still living in Guilford County, NC.  James Buchanan is not mentioned in accounts of the attack on Buchanan's Station in 1792, suggesting that he might have been living elsewhere.  Their is a James Buchanan living in Guilford County, NC, in the 1780's and 1790's.  Perhaps James Buchanan did not come to the Cumberland settlements with the rest of the family, or left early on. One could speculate forever, but the truth is, at this time, we know only that James Buchanan was a son of John Buchanan, Sr, a brother of Samuel Buchanan and was alive in November of 1792.

I did find on bit of evidence that James Buchanan may have lived in Davidson County.  John Buchanan's book of arithmetic, was a book owned by and written by Major John Buchanan.  The book is part of the Buchanan Collection at Middle Tennessee State University. A coverage date of 1780 to 1789 is given for the book.  Within the book near the back is written, "James Buchanan his hand."

Possible signature of James Buchanan son of John Buchanan, Sr.

Major John Buchanan's Arithmetic Book  - Middle Tennessee State University