John Andrew Buchanan
  • 72 years old
  • Date of birth: Oct 2, 1863
  • Place of birth:
    Drakesville, Iowa, United States
  • Date of passing: Dec 22, 1935
  • Place of passing:
    Astoria, Oregon, United States
Let the memory of John be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, John Andrew Buchanan, 72, born on October 2, 1863 and passed away on December 22, 1935. We will remember him forever.


                              This is an opportunity to memorialize an overlooked figure
                                                          in the history of Oregon.
A large two-sided granite stone will be placed in Judge Buchanan's honor at his gravesite in Ocean View Cemetery, Warrenton, Oregon. The total cost is $8,728. Please help this worthy cause and make a donation by credit card or check to Clatsop County Historical Society (CCHS), PO Box 88, Astoria, OR 97103-0088  for the benefit of the "J A Buchanan Memorial Fund". 

Of Scottish descent, J A Buchanan was the 6th of 13 children born to Amos Buchanan (a minister of the Christian Church) and Luvina McClennan Jones of Tennessee. The family moved from their Iowa farm to Monmouth, Oregon in 1874, to San Francisco, then by the steamer Ajax to Portland. The family settled briefly in Monmouth before moving to Moscow, Idaho, where John attended rural schools. In 1884, he returned to Monmouth to enter the Oregon State Normal School, graduating in 1887. He was known as the "class poet". Buchanan taught school and served as a school principal for ten years in Amity, Yamhill and Dallas, while studying law under O. H. Irvine in McMinneville. He was admitted to the bar in 1898. Buchanan set up his first practice in Roseburg, Oregon, where he was know as a strong and effective lawyer.
     Buchanan had a son by his first marriage to Nellie Wills - Bonnie Bayard (29Aug1890,Yamhill, OR-11Jan1971, Portland, OR). In Roseburg, on January 16, 1901, he wed Madge "Maggie Belle" Bond Ragsdale (24Dec1863, Carthage, MO-30Aug1952, Auburn,WA). Madge was a widow with two children: Irving Lenoir (Jun1887) and Lucile (30Nov1889-04Jan2005,Seattle). John and Madge had 2 daughters born in Roseburg: Mary Maurine (20Dec1903-27May1989, Portland) and Luvina Louise (04Aug1906-08Feb1996, Salem).  
     Buchanan was elected the State Representative of Douglas and Jackson counties, the 6th District, for two terms 1909-1911. He was one of the leaders in the organization of Oregon's government.
    He was selected president of the Douglas Creditors Asociation and actively served his community in numerous organizations. His major interests included early Northwest history, Indian lore and U.S. military history - and writing poetry.
    He was a member of the Roseburg National Guard - 1st Lieutenant, Company D, 4th Regiment. In WW I, John was called to serve as a Captain of Artillery of the Oregon Coast Artillery unit at Fort Stevens, Hammond, Oregon. For a short period, he served as commander and Judge Advocate at Fort Columbia across the river in Washington State. Buchanan was also sent to the Southwest to train officers in logarithms and calculus, which he taught to himself on the train trip to the south.
     Following the war, he and his family were settled in an apartment at 691 Exchange in Astoria. By the beginning of 1925, they resided  at 517 Grand, just two doors east of the Presbyterian Church, where John serverd as an Elder. By 1926, they were living in a house with a rose garden at 694 Jerome.
     He again set up his legal practice and served his community in many organizations, including as a trustee for the YMCA, the Masonic Order, IOOF, United Artisans, and Woodmen of the World. He was a U.S. Commissioner and a Municipal Judge of the City of Astoria.
     In 1919, J.A. "Buck" Buchanan was a charter member and first president of the Astoria Kiwanis Club. Until his death in 1935, he remained in his post as their recording secretary and was editor of - and frequent contributor of his verses and limeicks to- the weekly "Kiwanis Keystone" newsletter. He never missed a meeting in 15 years. He traveled frequently to connect with other Kiwanian clubs throughout the region. He did not have a car or driver's license - he did not even know how to drive! - so he "hitched" rides with other Kiwanians or rode the train.
     Buchanan volunteered as the curator of the newly founded Clatsop County Historical Society and assisted the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) to form their Astoria chapter in 1920. John was also a charter member of the American Legion Post 12. As a member of the Legion's Americanization Committee, he spent numerous hours helping fishermen, logger, immirants - anyone who asked for his help - to learn about our U.S. history and form of government to enable persons to obtain naturalization papers and/or American citizenship.
     JAB helped identify and preserve the USS Shark survivors "rock", now on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. He contribute his time and energy researching the 1846 Customs House, the first (1847) U.S.Post Office and locating the outlines of the original 1811 Fort Astoria/Fort George, which were then painted on the street pavements. The outline has recently been repainted on the pavement.
      Before April 1926, they had moved again, to the house at 694 Jerome Avenue, directly across from the home of Louise Tallant Carruthers, whose elder son, Richard Ervin, wed John and Madge's older daughter, Maurine, in March 1926. John tended his vegetable and rose gardens well - he had over 100 varities of rose bushes when they had lived in Roseburg - and he always liked to wear a rosebud (or other flower) in his lapel as he walked to work.
      Buchanan throughly enjoyed taking his daughters tramping through the woods or climbing Saddle Mountain with the Angora-Mazama Club. He enjoyed playing volleyball at the YMCA.
     Judge Buchanan was an outstanding historian and poet of the Lower Columbia area. Two books of his poems were published. The first, "Indian Legends and Other Poems" in 1905, but he had so many poems he could have filled six volumes - to date unpublished. The Astoria Kiwanians helped publish the second volume "Sunset at the Bar", in 1936.
     His poem, "OREGON, MY OREGON", was set to a martial beat by Henry B. Murtagh, a Portland theater organist. Their composition was entered in the December 1920 statewide contest to select Oregon's state song, under the auspicies of The Oregon Society of Music Composers. The Buchanan-Murtagh collaboration was chosen over 200 other entries. The Society promoted the song around the state with sheet music in every home, in schools, in businesses, and in theaters. It was sung in hundreds of assemblies and public gatherings by choruses and choirs -and by ordinary persons.It was reported that more people have sung this song than any other composed in Oregon.
     'OREGON, MY OREGON", was unanimously adopted as the official State Song of Oregon by SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3 - by the Senate on February 3, 1927 and by the House on February 7, 1927.
     The creed by which John Andrew Buchanan lived is found in his poem dated May 30, 1933 in his poetry book "Sunst at the Bar": "We're here to do the best we can/In service for our fellow man".

This is an Opportunity to memorialize a forgotten prominent man who contributed so much to all the citizens of Oregon. Please make your credit card or check donation for the "J. A. BUCHANAN MEMORIAL FUND" care of CLATSOP COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, PO Box 88, Astoria,OR 97103-0088 or call (503) 325-2203. Donations are Tax-Deductible.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Maryanne Merritt on 9th June 2016

"I wish I had met my great uncle but I appreciate his impact on our family as he taught my grandfather the law and guided him in his path to pass the Oregon state bar.  We were told of his story throughout my lifetime and will always be very proud of him."

This tribute was added by Carol Lambert on 5th May 2016

""They shall not grow old/As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them/Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun/And in the morning
We will remember them."
                                              Scottish War Memorial

I shall remember my Grandpa B with love and pride."

This tribute was added by Christopher Lambert on 22nd April 2016

"Let the past live on in the future - a rendition of Oregon, My Oregon should open every session of the Senate to remember those that made the state great!"

This tribute was added by Kathryn Lambert on 21st March 2016

"A wish for my great grandfather to live on through his poetry for generations to come...."

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This memorial is administered by:

Carol Lambert


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