Buchanan Family in Fairfield County
South Carolina History by Ederington

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Page 21

News & Herald, March 22, 1901


Captain John Buchanan and his brother, Robert, came to this country from Ireland a few years before the Revolutionary War. Robert resided in Charleston and taught a classical school. He, with eleven others, secured the charter for Mount Zion College in 1777. He was a lieutenant in the war and was captured at the fall of Charleston and died on a British ship.

Captain John Buchanan raised a company in Fairfield, probably from the Scotch-Irish settlers; served in the Battle of Cowpens and other battles of the Revolution. He was stationed at Georgetown, and at the landing of LaFayette, was the first American officer to welcome and entertain the gallant Frenchman who did so much to achieve the liberties of our country. He had the honor of presenting LaFayette with a fine horse.

Captain Buchanan had a body servant named Fortune. His name is attached to a spring in a fine grove near Winnsboro, were Fortune cultivated a rice patch. When LaFayette visited this country in 1825, Fortune went to Lancaster to see him. The sentinel at first refused to admit the old African, but he persisted, and was admitted by order of General LaFayette, who recognized him and was rejoiced to see the servant of his old friend, Capt. Buchanan, though near fifty years had elapsed since Fortune had blacked his boots. This was not the only time Fortune appeared in public. It is said that during the French Revolution, the Captain, inspired by gratitude toward France, and dislike for England, sometimes on public occasions, when full of military enthusiasm and good brandy, would don his continental uniform, mount his war steed, and followed by Fortune, his bodyguard, would ride up and down the main street of Winnsboro, to the admiration of old Whigs and the patriotic youth of the town.

Some years afterwards, the Captain converted to Methodism by "Thundering" Jenkins, a stalwart preacher of the day, abandoned the unholy ways of his youth, and with William Lewis and Major Henry Moore, built the old square brick Methodist Church in Winnsboro. In passing, the writer will state that in a copy of Ramsey's History of South Carolina, which was in the town library about 1848, he read in penciled notes, on the battle of Stono, made by Major Moore, that he, himself, manned one of the cannon at that battle at which time he was an ensign. The old Major lived near Winnsboro, and died in 1840.

Capatain John Buchanan possessed high ability and character conjoined with much personal dignity. He was precise in his manners, and careful in his apparel. His portrait which hangs in G. H. McMaster's parlor is said to be a fine likeness of him and has the appearance of an old style first class Methodist Bishop. He, to the close of his life, wore knee breeches, stockings, and silver buckles on his shoes. He held several important Federal offices, and was judge of ordinary during his life. John R. Buchanan, his nephew, a gentleman of great worth and piety, succeeded him as ordinary, and held it during his life. Captain John Buchanan kept a house of entertainment for some years and in 1805 turned it over to his brother, Creighton Buchanan, and returned to a brick house which he built on the hill.

Early in the century he induced his brother William's family to emigrate to Winnsboro, consisting of the widow, her son John R.; one daughter who married James McCreight; one daughter who married The Rev. William Carlisle, whose sons Prof. James H. Carlisle and Capt. John Carlisle, now reside in Spartanburg; and a daughter who married John Lewis.

He had no children. He married Sallie Burney Milling, the widow of David Milling, whose two daughters Sarah and Mary, married Thomas and John Means, two young men from Massachusetts, but of Irish parents, whose descendants in Fairfield have been honored for their ability, courage, kindness of heart and hospitality. Capt. Hugh Milling, brother of David Milling, was another noble soldier of the Revolution.

General Buchanan died in 1824, aged 74. His remains rest near the church of which he was the chief founder.

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The eldest son of Creighton Buchanan, was born on Little River, near Buchanan's Ford, in 1790. He received his academic education at Mount. Zion College, and graduated at the South Carolina College in 1811. During the War of 1812 he was adjutant of a regiment in and around Charleston. His first uniform was spun, woven and made by his sister, Rachel. The wool sheared, was then woven and the suit made in one week. At this time, except in rare instances, all articles of clothing were the product of home industry among the people of Fairfield. After the declaration of peace, General Buchanan taught school at Sillisonville, then returned to Winnsboro, studied law with Capt. Clark, and was his partner for some years.

He afterwards held the office of commissioner in equity. He inherited considerable property from his uncle, Captain John Buchanan, and combine planting with the practice of law. As a lawyer he stood for years at the head of the bar. He was a good student and had one of the best libraries - legal and miscellaneous - in the up-country. His style of speaking was entirely argumentative. He had no rhetorical flourishes or graces of oratory, but such was the confidences in his spotless integrity that he was generally successful in his cases.

The War of 1812 renewed the military spirit which had begun to wane after the Revolution, and there was great ambition among young men to attain military honors. The young captain was full of the military enthusiasm of the day and was soon promoted to the highest military position of Major General, which he held to the end of his life. His competitor was General Blair, of Camden, the Congressman who subsequently committed suicide while attending a session of Congress.

When General Buchanan first went to the bar at Winnsborough (as it was then spelled), there were very few men in the district who had the advantage of a college education. The only graduates of colleges at that time in the district were Samuel C. Barkley, David, Robert and Thomas Means, John B. McCall and E. G. Palmer, William Woodward, Robert Barkley and N. P. Cook, who left college before graduation.

General Buchanan came into public life a few years after the great senatorial contest between Samuel Johnson, whose supporters were Scotch-Irish, and James Alston, the father of William J. Alston, whose followers were the Virginians and the country born.

Party spirits ran high, but the Scotch-Irish and their descendants sent Samuel Johnson to the Senate.

The War of 1812 fussed all the discordant elements, and General Buchanan, a young soldier and a graduate of the State College, and liked by his numerous kinsfolk and connections, most of whom were well-to-do farmers and substantial Presbyterians, soon came to the front, and in 1832 we find him a leader in the cause of nullification. He maintained his great popularity for a longer period than any other man has ever done in Fairfield District. For more than a quarter of a century he represented his people in the State Legislature. He was a splendid electioneerer. He would ride in his sulky from house to house, stop with his friends, and discourse on subjects that were generally instructive. His talks were frequently illustrated by references to books of learning. His historical al--- and apparent knowledge in its departments, combined with a dignity which never forsook him, gave him a reputation of being wise and profound. Indeed, when his habit of drinking seemed to threaten his usefulness, it was frequently remarked by his friends that they would rather have the old General in spite of his failing, than any other man in the district.

His conduct in every other respect was exalted. No one ever heard a profane word from his lips, and he had the greatest contempt for any one who related a vulgar anecdote. His standard of duty was elevated, refined and without reproach. He had a supreme disdain for the arts which are the chief stock in trade of most politicians of the present day.

General Buchanan married Harriet Yongue, a daughter of old Parson Yongue, who came to Winnsboro from North Carolina in the last century, taught at Mt. Zion, and preached at Jackson Creek and Wateree churches. His eldest son, John M., lives in Texas; Samuel, his second son, died at 25 years of age. He was an excellent gentleman and a superb orator. When Hon. W. C. Preston heard of his death, he exclaimed, "The Commonwealth has sustained a great loss."

General Buchanan's third child was Ann, who married Rev. Edward Palmer, who is now a Presbyterian preacher in Louisiana. His youngest son, William Creighton, graduated at the South Carolina College in 1852. He was brave, kind hearted and true. He studied law, went to Kansas to engage in the prospective fights with the Free Soilers who spent two years there. When the Confederate War broke out, he was made adjutant of the 12th South Carolina Volunteers and fell, mortally wounded in the Battle of Chantilly in 1862. General John Buchanan was a great advocate of learning, a strong supporter of Mt. Zion, and lavished money in bestowing on his children the advantages of a high education. He died in 1862.

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He was too young to accompany his brothers John and Robert to America before the Revolution.

He, with his wife Mary Milliken, settled in 1789, on land belonging to his brother John, now owned by Ed Robinson, near Little River. In 1795 he moved with his wife and children, John, Rachel and Martha, to a place near Jackson Creek church; the church at that time was being built of rough unhewn stones. His mother, who lived with him, died and was buried on the west side of Jackson Creek below the Milling burial ground. He afterwards bought the farm on Little River, now owned by T. Harden. In 1805 he removed to Winnsboro and bought his brother John's tavern. Capt. Hugh Milling and Capt. James Phillips, uncle of Creighton Buchanan, lived nearby on the east side of the road, leading from Belle's bridge to Columbia.

General Richard Winn lived on the place now occupied by W. Turner.

James Phillips was a loyalist, (he fought for the English) though a Scotch-Irishman, who almost universally were rebels. A large proportion of Marion's men were Scotch-Irish and the history of the county is illustrated by their deeds. The captain had the good fortune never to meet any of his kindred in battle, who were all rebels, being assigned to command at St. Augustine, where he remained during the whole war. He lived in Charleston, but after 1776 his wife with her sons, Smith, Robert, and James, moved to Jackson Creek among her kin. James lived to a good old age, and was a schoolmaster and country surveyor.

When Capt. Phillips returned home after seven years absence, his wife, for a time, refused to be reconciled to him. The Captain being a gentleman of culture and of high moral character, soon mitigated the hostility hospitality of his neighbors and lived for many years highly respected. He, General Winn and Captain Hugh Milling,were boon companions and met almost daily at each others' houses to read the newspapers and discuss literaary and political matters. His elder brother, Colonel John Phillips, also being a Tory, was put in command at Winnsboro when Cornwallis left. He was a just and humane man. At different times he saved the lives of Whigs who were about to be executed by the order of Cornwallis, among them being Colonel John and Minor Winn, and he always endeavored to check the rapine and cruelty of his followers.

At the close of the war, he learned that one of his daughters was about to marry a Mr. McMullin at a church in Charleston where he lived. He rushed to the church, forcibly took his daughter, and with his family went back to Ireland. Colonel Phillips was a man of wealth and education, and on his return to Ireland, he was appointed a pension officer and held it for life.

Creighton Buchanan spent his last days on his farm, now owned by McCants, near Winnsboro. He was a quiet, intelligent and devout man, and was much respected by his neighbors. He left surviving him by his first marriage, General John Buchanan, Mrs. Rachel McMaster; but Martha, a brilliant young lady, had died at 18 years of age.

The children of his second wife were Eliza, who married J. McKinney Elliott; Robert, who is now a retired physician residing in Winnsboro, and Calvin who removed to Texas in 1844. Creighton Buchanan died in 1823, aged 63.

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