John Claude Buchanan, D.D.S.

John Claude Buchanan, D. D. S., residing at No. 218 East Fulton street, Grand Rapids, Mich., was born in Ithaca, N. Y., May 15, 1823, was taken by his parents, Samuel and Elizabeth (Stuart) Buchanan, to Pennsylvania when ten years of age, and in 1842 came to Grand Rapids, Mich.,(the city "then containing from 1,000 to 1,500 inhabitants.) In 1844 the father and son erected a small frame house on the lot on which the doctor now lives, and from which they were obliged to grub the oak stumps, as the city had been principally laid out in the woods. Here Dr. Buchanan has continuously resided ever since, with the exception of three years spent in the army during the Civil War. Dr. Buchanan belongs to a family of patriots. His paternal grandfather, John Buchanan, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, Samuel Buchanan, father of the doctor, served in the war of 1812, and the subject himself made a fine record in the war of the Rebellion. The paternal grandfather was of Scotch descent, but came to America from Colerain, in the north of Ireland; his maternal ancestors were also of Scotch origin, but his mother was born in Elmira, N. Y. In early life Dr. Buchanan learned the gunsmith’s trade from his father, and this he followed until the breaking out of the Civil War. He enlisted, August 12, 1861, in company D., Eighth Michigan volunteer infantry, was at once elected first lieutenant of his company, and commissioned the same day. In September his regiment was sent to Washington. From Washington it went to Annapolis, whence it embarked on the Vanderbilt for South Carolina, and took part in the capture of Hilton Head, the Coosa and Wilmington Island. The winter of 1861-62 was spent near Beaufort, S. C. participated in the capture of Fort Pulaski, and in the spring of 1862 the regiment came north to James Island, going up Stone River, attacked the fort at Secessionville, and in July, 1862, sailed from Hilton Head for Newport News. Lieut. Buchanan here succeeded to the captaincy, Capt. Benjamin Church having been killed at James Island. At Newport News the regiment became a part of the Ninth corps, under Gen. Burnside.The regiment was next sent to Fredericksburg, Va. Thence to Raccoon Ford, on the Rapidan, soon began its retreat under Gen. Pope, and then proceeded to Martinsburg; was two days engaged in the second Bull Run battle, and soon afterward at Chantilly, where the commander, Gen. Stevens, was killed; next reached Fairfax Court House, and shortly afterward Alexandria, whence is passed through Washington, and in Maryland was temporarily placed under the command of Gen. George B. McClellan; then participated in the battle of South Mountain, where their immediate commander, Gen. Reno, was killed. Next came the great fight at Antietam, September

Page 59

17, 1862, in which Captain Buchanan was three times shot, but most seriously by a canister shot, which passed through his right arm, near the shoulder, and this wound laid him up until November following, when he rejoined his regiment in time to take part at Fredericksburg in December; next, was at Fortress Monroe, and in the spring of 1863 went to Green river, Ky., and in June to Vicksbug, Miss., of which city he took part in the siege and capture, July 4, 1863; next was with Sherman, at Jackson; then joined Burnside again in the Tennessee campaign; was at Cumberland Gap and the siege of Knoxville, at Blue Spring, and at Norristown, where the regiment veteranized and was furlough. In the spring of 1864, Captain Buchanan rejoined his regiment at Louisville, Ky., was transferred to Grant’s army in Virginia, where his health failed, and he resigned his commission in the Wilderness May 4, 1864. On the return of Capt. Buchanan to Grand Rapids he took a short rest, and then went to Watertown, N. Y., and passed two years in the study of dentistry, which profession he has since followed at Grand Rapids with eminent success. The marriage of Capt. Buchanan took place, in 1854, to Miss Sophia H. Bingham, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, where her father, Rev. Abel Bingham, officiated as a missionary among the white and Indians from 1827 until 1855, but had previously been with the Senecas, making a total service in this capacity of thirty-four years. He had served as a captain in the war of 1812, was wounded at the battle of Plattsburg, and carried a scar on his forehead to his grave. He was a Baptist divine, and as a missionary became associated with many prominent Indian chiefs-Senecas and others—and performed an immense amount of missionary work. In 1855 he came to Grand Rapids, lived ten years in retirement, and here died at the age of eighty years. His wife, whose maiden name was anna Hannah Olmstead Brown, was a native of Jay, N.Y., was a daughter of Rev . Solomon Brown, also a Baptist minister, and survived her husband three years, dying at the age of seventy-six. To the marriage of Dr. and Mrs. Buchanan have been born six children, two of whom are deceased, viz: Mary, the eldest, who died at the age of three years, and Clara Bettine, the fifth in order of birth, who died when ten months old. Of the survivors, Claude R., is an attorney in the Michigan Trust building, Grand Rapids, is married, and has one son, Claude, eight years old; the second son, Bingham Stewart, unmarried, is a resident of Texas; Robert Russell is employed by the Indiana State Life Insurance company at Indianapolis, is married and has one daughter, Maria Frances; Angie Sophia, unmarried, is living with her parents. Of the six children born to the parents of Dr. Buchanan, three besides himself are still living and two deceased: Moses Bacchus, the eldest, was a gunsmith, and died in Allegheny City, Pa., in 1844; Samuel resides on a farm at Sparta, Kent county, Mich., where he has lived since the ‘forties; Ann Eliza is the widow of James Taylor, and resides in Philadelphia, where her husband has been engaged in the manufacture of glass, and also woolen fabrics; the youngest living is Clara B., wife of L. H. Waterhouse, of Aurora, Ill.; Mary died in 1842, the wife of Robert McKinney. The children of Mrs. Buchanan’s parents numbered four besides herself, viz: Rev. A. J. Bingham, who was pastor of the Baptist church at Cohes, N. Y., and also superintendent of the city high school, was seized with hemorrhage and died en route on a visit to Mrs. Buchanan; Ann Hassetine, widow of John H. Hulbert, resides in Detroit; Maria Bingham is the wife of Dr. S. M. Robinson, of Watertown, N. Y., and Angie B. is the widow of Thomas D. Gilbert, late president of the City National Bank of Grand Rapids, and also president of the City Gas company. Dr. Buchanan has been Freemason since early manhood. He is now Knight Templar and was once E. C. of DeMolai commandery. Although reared as a Presbyterian, he has been an active member of the Fountain street Baptist church since 1843, and has actively aided in promoting the welfare of this congregation since marriage. The children are also devoted members of this denomination. In politics, the doctor was reared a democrat, but has last vote with this party was cast for James Buchanan for president, since when he has affiliated with the republicans. Socially, the Buchanan family stand among the elite of Grand Rapids, and all are sincerely respected for their many excellent traits of personal character and moral rectitude.

Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 8 Sep 2007