St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Happy Birthday, Cuz Pres

"There is nothing stable but Heaven and the Constitution." - James Buchanan

 April 23rd is the 219th birthday of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, and my cousin.  While Buchanan served his country during a most difficult time in American history as the War of Northern Agression, (or the War Between the States as some are wont to refer to it), he supported the Constitution completely. Buchanan is reported to have believed slavery was morally wrong, but thought the Constitution prohibited the federal government from interfering in a matter he thought to be states' rights.

James apparently never got over the loss of his fiance after her death, thus he remained single.  He was gracious to his family and cared for the orphan children of his siblings.  A nephew of his (his sister's child) was his Personal Secretary while Buchanan was in the White House.

I am fortunate to have contact with descendants of his nephew as they are all my blood cousins.  Early sources found in PA for the Reverand Robert Henry (1801-1838) and Harriet E Buchanan (1802-1840) tell us that James was a frequent guest in the home of the family and was quick to raise their young son after they passed.

Buchanan is buried at Woodward Hill Cemetery near his country home in Lancaster Co, PA.

I wonder what the family thought about James becoming President?  So far, I have not seen anything that could provide any clues as to this puzzle.

Ahh, genealogy.  Tis so much fun to find interesting facts about the family.  I guess that and a dollar might buy a cup of coffee!

Photo Source:, Photo by Stew Thornley, 2001.

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