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


                          Hon. Judge Buchanan is a Prominent Figure in Oregon's History
On September 14th, 2017 a large two-sided granite stone was installed in Judge Buchanan's honor at his gravesite in Ocean View Cemetery, Warrenton, Oregon.
The Dedication of Judge J.A. Buchanan's stone was held on the 02 October 2017. This was also the celebration of the 154th anniversary of Judge Buchanan's birth (02 Oct 1863). Two dozen roses - Buchanan's favorite flower - flanked the stone.

The  family of Judge Buchanan and the Clatsop County Historical Society thank the over 40 doners who helped fund this project, along with the Astoria Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a grant awarded by the Clatsop County Cultural Coalition/Oregon Cultural Trust. 

Of Scottish descent, J A Buchanan was the 6th of 13 children born to Amos Buchanan (a Christian Church minister) and Luvina McClennan Jones of Tennessee.
    In 1874, harrassed by the Night Hawks, the family moved from their Iowa farm. They crossed the plains to San Francisco (probably by train), then sailed on 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 (now WOU), 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 McMinnville. He was admitted to the bar in 1898. Buchanan set up his first practice in Roseburg, Oregon, where he was 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: Lucile (30Nov 1889- 04Jan2005 Seattle, WA); and Irving Lenoir (Jun1887-1919 (a 2nd Lt. in France, he sufferred a mustard gas attack in action on the last few days of the WW1. He died a short time later of pneumnia followed by flu. Madge became a "Gold Star Mother".) John and Madge had 2 daughters born in Roseburg: Mary Maurine (20Dec1903-27May1989, Portland) and Luvina Louise (04Aug1906-08Feb1996, Salem).  
    Buchanan, elected the State Representative of Douglas and Jackson counties, 6th District, served two terms from 1909-1912. 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.
Buchanan spent many happy hours tending his 100 rose bushes in Roseburg.
    As a member of the Roseburg National Guard - 1st Lieutenant, Company D, 4th Regiment. In WWI, 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 was designated commander and Judge Advocate at Fort Columbia across the river in Washington State. Buchanan was also ordered to travel 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 served as an Elder. 
   He had 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 edited the weekly "Keystone" to which he contributed his own articles, verses and limericks. 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 a driver's license - he did not even know how to drive! - so he "hitched" rides with other Kiwanians or rode the train.
   Buchanan assisted the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to organize their Astoria chapter in 1920  to which both his wife, Madge, and Louise Carruthers were members. He volunteered as the curator of the newly founded Clatsop County Historical Society (1921). John was also a charter member of the American Legion Post 12. Active in the Legion's Americanization Committee, he spent numerous hours helping fishermen, logger, immigrants - anyone who asked for his help - to learn about our U.S. history and form of government to enable persons to obtain their naturalization papers.
    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 Astoria Customs House, the first (1847) U.S. Post Office west of the Rockies 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.
    Buchanan thoroughly enjoyed taking his daughters tramping through the woods or climbing Saddle Mountain with the Angora-Mazama Club. He also enjoyed playing volleyball at the YMCA, where he was a board member.    
    About April 1926, they moved again, to the house at 694 Jerome Avenue, directly across from the home of Richard Ervin (deceased) and Louise Tallant Carruthers, whose older son, Richard Tallant, wed John and Madge's older daughter, Maurine, on March 20,1926. John tended his vegetable and rose gardens well - and he always wore a rosebud (or other flower) in his lapel as he walked to work.
    Judge Buchanan was an outstanding historian and poet of the Lower Columbia area. Two books of his poems were published. Of his first poetry book, Indian Legends and Other Poems in 1905 only 24 volumes ever reached him because of the 1906 San Francisco fire/quake. He had so many poems he could have filled many volumes - to date unpublished. The Astoria Kiwanians helped publish the second volume, Sunset at the Bar, posthumously in 1936.
    In 1920, 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, choirs, school children and 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 his life is found in his poem "Why Are We Here?", dated May 30, 1933 and published in the book of his poetry  Sunset at the Bar: "We're here to do the best we can/In service for our fellow man".

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Christopher Lambert on 22nd December 2017

"In this turbulent world, history provides some welcome stability. Cheers to you J A Buchanan."

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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