Robert Buchanan: Possible Family History

I began my search for Robert Buchanan’s ancestry with his death record. The Certificate of Death is on file at the WV Archives in Charleston. On it, his mother’s name is given as “Jane O’Nell” [sic] but no father’s first name is given, only the surname “Buchannon.” Therefore, the assumption is that Robert’s mother was named “Jane.” The Certificate only gives Robert’s date of death as 16 April 1931 and an age of 68 in “Richie Co, PA.” The place of death was Pocatalico District in Putnam County, WV.

Robert Buchanan Death Record

Citation: "West Virginia Vital Research Records - Record Image". 2024. Wvculture.Org.

I began working backward through the census records from 1930 to 1900, which is apparently about the time Robert came to the area. Since there is no “Richie Co, Pennsylvania,” I began my search for Robert and his family in Ritchie County, West Virginia. There is no 1890 Census for the majority of US States further complicating the research. The earliest known record on which I found evidence of Robert was the 1880 Census of Ritchie County in which 16-year-old Robert is listed as a Servant, Occupation: Farm Laborer for the David A. Jordon family in the Grant District. Note that this is Dwelling Number 189, Family Number 190 and is discussed later.

That 1880 Census was the earliest record in which I was able to locate Robert. But working backward through the censuses, I was able to locate other Buchanan’s only to determine there was one main family in the Ritchie County area. That led me to Mary Buchanan in the 1850, Western District, Ritchie County Census. Mary, the “inferred mother,” is listed as 51 years old with the following family members in her household:
• Sarah Buchannan, 22
• [Mary] Ann Buchannan, 20
• Lornhanra [Lorohama], 19
• Aeea/Acca Buchannan, 17
• Eliza Buchannan, 16
• Amelia Buchannan, 14
• Jane Buchannan, 13
• Artemasa [Artimacy] Buchannan, 11
• Mary A Buchannan, 5
• Minmore [Minerva] Buchannan, 1
• Denins F Staunton, 5

Note: Brackets [ ] indicate the correct name after further research.

1850 Ritchie County, WV Census

Having tried to find a father’s name for this list of individuals, Mary Buchanan’s spouse was likely William Buchanan. William apparently died prior to the 1850 Census. He is not listed in the Ritchie County Property Tax Records. However, he is listed in Western Monongalia County, WV in both the 1830 and 1840 Censuses (but still no Property Tax Records) with an impressive number of females in his household. In 1830, there are 8 individuals listed. I took the liberty of assuming the name of those individuals after extensive research in order to confirm for myself that William was indeed the husband of Mary and father of the females listed above:
• 1 male, aged 5-9 [undetermined male]
• 1 male, aged 30-39 (William, head of household)
• 3 females, under 5 years [Lorohama, 1828; Mary Ann & Eliza may fit since birthdates unknown]
• 2 females, 5-9 [Martha, 1822; Sarah, 1824]
• 1 female 30-39 (Mary, the mother)

In 1840, the Census reads:
• 1 male 15-19 [undetermined male]
• 1 male 40-49 (William, head of household)
• 3 females under 5 [Amelia T, 1836; Jane, 1836; Artimacy, 1839]
• 3 females, 5-9 [Mary Ann, 1831; Eliza, 1831, Acca, 1833 (?)]
• 3 females, 15-19 [Martha, 1822; Sarah, 1824; Lorohama, 1828]
• 1 female, 30-39 (Mary, the mother)

I have been unable to discover a birth or death record for any the above-named individuals but from the number of females in the 1850 Census in comparison to the 1830 & 1840 Censuses, I feel it is safe to assume that William of Monongalia County was indeed the husband of Mary, father of the majority of females in the 1850 Census. I say “majority” because it would appear that William Buchanan died not long after he moved his family to the Ritchie County area; Ritchie County was formed 18 February 1843 from parts of Wood, Lewis, and Harrison Counties. Other researchers give the year 1843 as the year of his death with which I’m inclined to agree: Artimacy was born about 1839. The next child on the 1850 Census list is Mary Ann born 1845: (1) seven years after Artimacy (2) when Mary the mother would have been about forty-six years old, and (3) is the second female in the family list named “Mary Ann.” This leads me to believe she is probably a granddaughter of Mary Buchanan, not a daughter but whose daughter she is I cannot ascertain.

I attempted to trace every member of the family with particular attention to Jane Buchanan. The 1860 Census lists the following:
• Mary (mother/head of household), 61
• Eliza, 26
• Jane, 23
• Artimacy, 21
• Hosea (aka “Hosier), 7
• John Jeffreys, 4
• Ruth, 2
• _ , 1 month old male (no name in the Census)(possibly “Manoy”?)
• Wm. N, 2

1860 Ritchie County, WV Census

Research led me to conclude that Hosea/Hosier, Ruth, and possibly Manoy were children born to Jane. On 1 June 1855, I found that Jane married a man named Michael McWiff/McNiff but the marriage apparently did not last, whether through divorce, abandonment, or death is unknown. Remember, this is in the years just prior to the Civil War.

John Jeffries was the son of Eliza Buchanan who married William Jeffries or Jaffries, born in Ireland, on 28 Jan 1853. In the 1870 Census, we find Eliza Jeffries, son John, and a daughter Mary (b. about 1865 allegedly Missouri) living in the Grant District of Ritchie County. Again, what happened to William Jeffries is unknown.

I was further unable to determine what became of Jane Buchanan or her husband McWiff. But her daughter Ruth A. Buchanan married in Ritchie County to Cornelius Bradley on 9 Aug 1875. The death record lists her father as “Henry Buchanan born PA” and her mother as “unknown.” Ruth either had no idea who her parents were or kept it secret throughout her lifetime.

I should note at his point that the mother of this family, Mary Buchanan, died in Ritchie County in May 1870 of consumption, which is documented in the US Federal Mortality Schedule, aged 73, born Pennsylvania. It was at this point the family appears to have spread out.

In the 1870 Census, taken 27 August, we find Hosea, most often listed “Hosier” in the records, living in the household of Artimacy or “Mace” in Dwelling Number 437, Family Number 422:
• Mace, 31 – keeping house
• Hosier, 18 – farmer
• William, 12
• George, 5

1870 Ritchie County, WV Census

There is no mention of Robert in this census so there is no way of knowing why he was not listed in the household of Artimacy. It is possible that the names of the family members were provided by a neighbor. It was common in those days to gather information from a neighbor to prevent the census taker from having to visit every household. Robert would have been about 7 years old in 1870 and should be listed in someone’s household but I cannot find him, Ruth, nor Manoy.

But Hosea/Hosier does have a death record [Line 11] and a FindAGrave listing. His wife was Sarah Amanda George; the physician listed his death as 24 July 1927 at Petroleum, Ritchie County. There is no name for his father but his mother is listed as “Jane Buckhannon.” So, why is he living with Artimacy when his mother is listed as Jane? Please know that I can find no sign of Jane McWiff/McNiff/O’Neill after the 1860 Census; she either died without a death record or possibly abandoned her children to family members, namely Artimacy.

William N. Buchanan was another mysterious figure along with a male named Manoy Buchanan (I wondered if George and Manoy were the same but, the birthdates don’t “jive”). Manoy Buchanan died in 1927 and is buried in the Petroleum Cemetery – the same cemetery in which Hosea is buried. Manoy was allegedly born in 1857 and may be the unnamed male aged 1 month old in the Buchanan household in the 1860 Census. I can find no census listing or other record of Manoy Buchanan other than the Find A Grave website.

William N. Buchanan was apparently an old bachelor as he is found listed in different households throughout the censuses as a boarder/lodger. He died in 1945 and is buried in the same cemetery as Artimacy Buchanan: The Dry Ridge Cemetery in Ritchie County.

That listing led me to locate a makeshift headstone for Artimacy. In the photo, it appears to be a hand painted marker rather than an actual stone but it is a photograph. It is evident that the same person who created it also created the marker for William, as well as Martha Tennant Logue, eldest sister of Artimacy. Artimacy’s marker contains the following information:
“Buchanan Artimacy 1839-1904” with the following names that I took to be her children’s names: “Charles, Sarah, Robert, Ellis, George, Mary.”

Gravestone: Artimacy Buchanan, et al

I also traced as many of these individuals as possible, corroborated by the 1880 Census, Artimacy’s grave marker, above, and concluded the following “tree” with accompanying data:

  • William N. Buchanan, 1858-1945, buried Dry Ridge Cemetery
  • Robert Lee Buchanan, 1863-1931 (Your Ancestor) Poca, Putnam Co, WV
  • George W Buchanan, 1864- no other information
  • Charles Van Buren Buchanan, 1868-1929
    • Married Mary D. Hardwick 26 Mar 1893, the daughter of Anderson Hardwick and Nancy A. Elizabeth Hardwick; Mary D Hardwick’s step-mother was Mary A. Ayers (Anderson Hardwick’s second wife) who was the daughter of Hiram P. Ayres and Lorohama Buchanan (older sister of Artimacy). Mary D. Hardwick died apparently without having any children, at least none of record. Charles then married Naomi Isabelle “Belle” Pierson 5 July 1901 Wirt County, and had 11 children. The family lived in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Charles died 22 Sep 1929 in Wellsville, Columbiana County, Ohio of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Both parents are listed as “not known.”
  • Mary Buchanan, 1875-1898
    • Never married. Mary died at the age of 23. On the record of her death, her occupation is listed as a housemaid at or near Petroleum, Ritchie County, WV. She died after suffering 2 weeks from puerperal sepsis or septicemia, an “infection of the genital tract occurring at any time between rupture of membrane or labor and 42 days postpartum…
  • Sarah Buchanan, 1877 – no other information
  • Ellis Thomas Buchanan, 1879-1953
    • Ellis married first Edna Greta Gillum 12 Mar 1904 Upshur County, West Virginia and had 3 children: Earl Frank (1908), Venita Marie (1910), and Walter Arthur (1913). Edna passed in 1938 and Ellis married a second wife, Emma Yost Fulmer on 26 October 1939. Ellis & Emma lived a short time in Jacksonville, Cherokee County, Texas, where he is listed in the 1950 Census. Shortly after, Ellis and Emma returned to Wellsville, Columbiana, Ohio where Ellis died on 18 Aug 1953. Ellis is buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Wellsville, OH.

The 1880 Census of Ritchie County shows the following for Artimacy Buchanan, Dwelling Number 193, Family Number 145:
• Artimacy, 42, keeping house
• William, 21, son, farm laborer
• George W, 16, son, farm laborer
• Charles, 8, son
• Mary, 5, daughter
• Sarah, 3, daughter
• Ellis, 11 mos, son, born July (1880)

1880 Ritchie County Census

Note the Dwelling Number (193) and Family Number: Listed on the same page of the Census is David A Jordon, Dwelling Number 189 – 5 households from Artimacy – in which is listed Robert Buchanan, 16, Servant, Occupation: Farm Laborer. This leads me to conclude that Robert was the son of Artimacy Buchanan and an unknown father.

It appears that the sons of Artimacy left home without a backward glance and if they spoke of family or their past, it wasn’t common nor well remembered.

= = = Children of William Buchanan & Mary __ = = =
1. Martha Buchanan, b. 1822, d. 1914; m1. Elias Daniel Tennant; m2. __ Lowe/Logue
2. Sarah Buchanan, b. 1824; m. David Enoch
3. _ Buchanan, unknown male, b. ca. 1826
4. Lorohama, b. 1828, d. 1910; m. Hiram P. Ayres
5. Mary Ann, b. 1830, d. 1870; m. Daniel Eddy
6. Eliza, b. 1831; m. William Jeffries
7. Acca, b. 1833; no other info
8. Jane, b. 1836; m. Michael McNiff (?)
9. Artimacy, b. 1839, d. 1904

Note: as for the individuals listed in the 1850 Census, below, I could find no other info any of them. They all seem to have disappeared about the same time.
• Aeea/Acca Buchannan, 17
• Mary A Buchannan, 5
• Minmore [Minerva], 1
• Denins F Staunton, 5

Compiled by Julie McGrew Ayres, Feb 19, 2024 for Joyce Thomas Hanna.

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