About this Famous Person
15th President of the United States
Source : Tim DOWLING
James Buchanan, Jr., was born in a log cabin in Cove Gap (now Buchanan's Birthplace State Park), Franklin County, Pennsylvania, to James Buchanan, Sr. (1761–1833). He was a well-to-do businessman, merchant, and farmer, and married Elizabeth Speer, a literate and smart woman (1767–1833). His parents were both of Scots-Irish descent, the father having emigrated from Donegal, Ireland in 1783. He was the second of eleven children, three of whom died in infancy. Buchanan had six sisters and four brothers, only one of whom lived past 1840.
In 1797, the family moved to nearby Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. The home in Mercersburg was later turned into the James Buchanan Hotel.
Buchanan attended the village academy (Old Stone Academy) and later Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Expelled at one point for poor behavior, after pleading for a second chance, he graduated with honors on September 19, 1809. Later that year, he moved to Lancaster, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1812. A dedicated Federalist, he initially opposed the War of 1812 because he believed it was an unnecessary conflict. When the British invaded neighboring Maryland, he joined a volunteer light dragoon unit and served in the defense of Baltimore.
An active Freemason, he was the Master of Masonic Lodge #43 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and a District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
- Category American politician