Fannin County, Texas

Narrative History - The Buchanan Cemetery

​Prepared by Jamess Schoo Buchanan, 1990


A pioneer family to the Republic of Texas, Alexander (1796-1845) and Delilah Duncan (1806-1870) and their 11 children, came to Fannin County from Morgan County, Illinois, in 1844 and purchased a 320 acre farm about one mile southwest of Randolph from Nathen H. Hampton for $800.  A legal document concerning the sale of the property is on file at the Fannin County Courthouse and serves as proof for Buchanan family descendants who want to qualify for membership in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) or the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT).


Alexander died in 1845 and was the first burial in the Buchanan Cemetery which was on the family farm.  The cemetery is located just off State Highway 11, on a road that runs from Highway 11 south to Highway 121.  Delilah, at the age of 38, was left as the head of the family and with the help of her children eventually managed more than 1,000 acres.  They became known as one of the outstanding families of the area.


Buchanan children married into the Watkins, House, and Crocker families of the area.  A granddaughter of Alexander and Delilah, Mrs. Nathan Young, and her husband added to her Buchanan property hundreds of acres of rich black land west of Randolph.  When they died, they were probably the largest landowners in the country with more than 3,500 acres.


William Taylor Buchanan, the fourth child of Alexander and Delilah, first married Sophia Jane Morris, who died leaving a small son, Lauren Alexander.  Lauren Alexander Buchanan married Keturah Catherin Leftwish and their sons became prominent in the development of the death of this first wife, William Taylor Buchanan.  After the death of his first wife, William Taylor Buchanan married Sophia C. Gilliam.  They had five children who married into the Musser, Colvin, Massey, and Robbins families.  William Taylor Buchanan whose beard reach his knees was killed when a team of mules hooked to a wagon he was in ran away.


James Henry Buchanan, sixth child of Alexander and Delilah, married Julia Emma Talbot.  Sydney S. Buchanan, eighth child of Alexander and Delilah, married Fannie Henderson.  Sydney was killed in an accident at the Randolph Cotton Gin.  Sydney and Fannie are buried in the Buchanan Cemetery.  Richard Johnson Buchanan, ninth child of Alexander and Delilah, married Georgia Cox.  She is buried in the Buchanan Cemetery.  Richard is buried in the Confederate Cemetery at Austin.  He died in the home for Confederate veterans at Austin.


Emma Miranda Buchanan's first husband will Nelson B. Jones.  Her second husband was J. J. "Uncle John Honey" Biggerstaff.  William Taylor, James Henry, Sydney S., and Richard Johnson served the Confederacy in the Civil War.  On May 11, 1885, Joseph Rice, fifth child of Alexander and Delilah, was killed while assisting Sheriff Thomas A. Ragsdale of Fannin County in apprehending two outlaw brothers, Sam and Eli Dyer.  Joe Buchanan is buried in the Buchanan Cemetery.  Another descendant of Alexander and Delilah, Dr. J. S. Buchanan, became a well-know dentist in Fannin County.  People buried in the Buchanan Cemetery are Alexander Buchanan, Delilah Buchanan, Sidney Smith Buchanan, Fannie Henderson Buchanan, James McCallister, J. W. McCallister, Annie Haney, Mart VanBuren Buchanan, John R. Parmenter, Ellen Parmenter, M. H. Summers, Ancil Summers, William Watkins, Julia Ann Buchanan Watkins, Robert Watkins, Joseph Musser, Mary Jane Buchanan Musser, Sophia C. Gilliam Buchanan, Nancy E. Buchanan Robbins, William T. Buchanan, Allie J. Gray Buchanan, Minerva J. Pennington Buchanan, Joseph Rice Buchanan, Sarah Marilla Crocker, Georgia Edwards Buchanan, William L. Biggerstaff, Jones, Richard Johnson, and John Riley.


Jones was a three year old boy who was the son of Emily Amanda Buchanan and Nelson Jones.  Richard Johnson was a laborer who left his wife and four children to accompany the Buchanan family from Illinois to Texas in 1844.  John Riley, an Irish immigrant who worked for Nathan Young, died in 1929 and is the last person to be buried in the Buchanan Cemetery.  There may be others buried in the cemetery but grave sites were poorly marked in the early days and some grave markers have crumbled.


The Buchanan Cemetery was in poor condition for many years.  The Buchanan Cemetery Association was formed in 1985 to maintain and preserve the cemetery.  The annual membership meeting of the association is held on the fourth Sunday of April at the Randolph Community Center.  The association has received official status as a perpetual care organization for the cemetery.  Many  improvements, e.g., new grave markers and fencing, have been made at the Buchanan Cemetery in recent years.  The Watkins Family has been particularly helpful in providing funds for improvements at the cemetery.  Alexander Buchanan's grandfather was also named Alexander.  He was born in Scotland in 1752 and came to America as a young boy.  He fought in the Revolutionary War and was captured and imprisoned for a time.  He later became a teacher and was an ordained Baptist preacher.  he married Rachel Vanshaick or Vanscogoc or Vanscoyac in New York City.  She was born in Holland.  They had 12 children.  Their second child, Joseph, married Jane Taylor, and they lived in Virginia and Kentucky.  They moved to Illinois in 1819.  They had 12 children among whom Alexander was the second child.



Buchanan Cemetery

Marker Text:


​Alexander Buchanan (1796-1846), his wife Delilah (1806-1870), and their eleven children moved to the Republic of Texas from Illinois in 1844.  They settled on a 320-acre farm at this site in January 1846.  Alexander Buchanan died that same year and was buried on his far in what became the Buchanan Cemetery.  Delilah Buchanan continued to live on the farm until her death and was buried next to her husband.  Some of their children and descendants, many of whom became Fannin County business and civic leaders, also are interred in the family graveyard.


Directions:  From Randolph, take SH 11 east .5 miles to CR 4550, then go south .4 miles on CR 4550.


Information on the Buchanan Cemetery is on the Fannin County GenWeb site.