William Johnston Buchan, one of the oldest members of the Kansas City, Kan., bar, both in point of years and of service, has been a resident of Wyandotte county forty-three years and in that almost half century has seen Kansas forge to the very front among the progressive states of the Union. Mr. Buchan is a native of Ohio, having been born in the city of Ashland, Aug. 22, 1843. He is the son of Alexander Buchan and wife, whose maiden name was Parmelia Chalk, the former of whom was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1812, and the latter in Vermont in 1821. Alexander Buchan was reared and educated in Scotland but when a young man he came to Canada and thence to the United States, where he was married to Parmelia Chalk in Ashland, Ohio, which city remained their residence until their respective deaths. Of the children born to that union the following are still living: William Johnston Buchan of this review; John R. Buchan, a physician of Chicago; James A. Buchan and Frank H. Buchan, both farmers in Wyandotte county, Kansas; and Ida B. Buchan, who resides in Kansas City, Kan.
William Johnston Buchan was reared and educated in Ashland, Ohio, but he left school at the early age of thirteen and from that time until the war broke out, was employed at anything he could get to do to earn a living. In November, 1861, he joined Company H, Forty-second Ohio regiment, with which he served as a private until after the surrender of Vicksburg in July, 1863, when he was recommended for promotion by General Grant and was made adjutant of the Fifty-third United States Colored infantry, serving as such until March, 1866, when his regiment was mustered out at Vicksburg, Miss. When he entered the war in the Forty-second Ohio regiment, James Abram Garfield, afterward president of the United States, was its colonel. He served under Garfield in Kentucky; in the Cumberland Gap campaign in Tennessee; in the Sherman campaign in Mississippi; under Grant in the capture of Vicksburg; under Sherman in his campaign at Jackson, Miss., and took part in the capture of Arkansas Post, Ark. From July, 1863, until the spring of 1866, his regiment was stationed at Vicksburg, Miss.
He devoted the summer of 1866 to cotton raising in Tensas parish, Louisiana, but in January, 1867, he returned to Ashland, Ohio, and in March following he came to Kansas and located at Wyandotte, now Kansas City, Kan., where he has since resided. His first work after he located in Wyandotte was that of a brakeman on the Union Pacific railroad between Kansas City, Mo., and Junction City, Kan. After one-year's service as brakeman he spent one year with a railway surveying party in the vicinity of Denver, Col., and while thus engaged he spent all of his leisure time in studying law. In the fall of 1868 he returned to Wyandotte, which he considered his home, and entered the law office of Bartlett & Hale, where he continued his law studies until 1870. In March of that year he was admitted to the bar and at once began a law practice which has continued there to the present timea period of forty-one years. He and his close friend and legal associate, Judge H. R. Alden, enjoy the distinction of being the oldest members of the Kansas City, Kan., bar in point of service. He is a Republican in politics, and was elected to the state legislature in 1872, serving two successive terms in the house. In 1876 he was elected to the state senate and served for sixteen consecutive years, twelve of which he was chairman of the ways and means committee. Fraternally Mr. Buchan affiliates as a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Kansas Commandery of the Loyal Legion.
Mr. Buchan has been twice married. His first marriage occurred in the early '70s and united him to Miss Libbie McGerry, who died a few years later leaving one son, Frederick E. Buchan, a graduate of the University of Kansas and now a captain of cavalry stationed at Fort Des Moines. Mr. Buchan was married to his present wife, who was a Miss Stella Converse, a few years after the death of his first wife. No children were born to the last marriage.Pages 1149-1152 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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