Biography of Jay G. Buchan

Jay G. Buchan. The natives and their descendants of Scotland, the land of hills and heather, have played important parts in the history of the United States, and it is something that justifies pride to be able to trace a direct Scotch ancestry. This good fortune belongs to Jay G. Buchan, one of Newcomb Township’s best known and most esteemed citizens. His father and grandfather were natives of Scotland, but his own birth took place in Champaign County, Illinois, March 12, 1877, being the fourth in a family of six children born to Rahymond and Margaret (Buchan) Buchan. The survivors are: James, a farmer and stockman, residing at Clarion, Iowa, married Luzetta Thompson; Raymond, who is in the automobile business at Spencer, Iowa, married Mary Ann Peterson; Mary E., who resides with her younger brothers in Newcomb Township; Colin C.; and Jay G.

Rahymond Buchan, father of the above family, was born in 1830, in the parish of Alford, twenty-seven miles from Aberdeen, Scotland, a distance he thought nothing of covering on foot. He grew to manhood in his native parish and received excellent school instruction, the minister of the Presbyterian Church being his teacher, and the name of this church was the “Priory of Money Musk.” It was an old landmark, having been erected in 1080 A. D., and the entrance to the tower was built of Norway pine. For 400 years the ancestors of Mr. Buchan had been laid to rest when their lives were spent in the cemetery adjoining this ancient house of God. Another noted relic of long ago which Mr. Buchan knew well in his boyhood days was known as “The Breda House,” which was probably built in 1700 and stood two miles from the village of Alford.

Rahymond Buchan was about twenty-three years of age when he took passage on a sailing vessel at Glasgow bound for Montreal, Canada, which consumed eight weeks crossing the Atlantic Ocean, but staunchly contended with every menace of the deep and safely landed its passengers. In June, 1854, Mr. Buchan located in Savannah, Ohio, remained there one year, and then came on to Bloomington, Illinois. There he engaged to work for Isaac Funk, one of the pioneers of McLean County, with whom he remained eighteen months. He was anxious, however, to secure land, and although he had to go into debt for a part of the purchase price he then bought 120 acres in Newcomb Township, in 1866, this being the present home place of Jay G. Buchan. With the thrift that is a marked characteristic, and an exceedingly commendable one, of the Scotch race, Mr. Buchan kept adding to his acreage, tract by tract, until it aggregated 2,500 acres, situated variously in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Mr. Buchan developed into a very wealthy man, but his reputation was founded on other things than his wealth. He was known far and wide for his neighborly kindness and his name was a synonym for integrity. Public office in his township was almost thrust upon him because of his known honesty, but he served willingly as school trustee and director because he took a deep concern in educational matters and his suggestions and advice were welcomed by his fellow officials because they were sensible and practical. He was a strict Presbyterian and not only kept faithful to the word but the spirit of the law. He passed away in the present home residence, which he built in 1874, on March 23, 1907. His wife was born in Ashland County, Ohio, March 4, 1842, and died July 16, 1916, leaving behind her the memory of a beautiful, unselfish, helpful life. She was laid by the side of her husband in Shiloh Cemetery and a monument of Montello granite marks their last resting place.

Jay G. Buchan attended the public schools, but the larger part of his very liberal education has been self-secured through a love of reading. He early took an interest in his father’s large farming operations and even in boyhood took pride in the fine herds of Shorthorn cattle that have been a feature of agricultural industry here. Mr. Buchan pays taxes on many acres of fine land, 876 acres lying in Champaign County and in Piatt County and 160 acres in Palo Alto County, Iowa. Although preferably independent in politics, he has served in public office when called upon to do so for the public benefit, being school director for three years and for eight years was a member of the drainage commission. He is an adherent of the Presbyterian Church and has been a liberal contributor to it and to other religious organizations. Mr. Buchan owns an Interstate touring car and with his brother and sister make it a means of pleasant relaxation on many occasions.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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