February 11, 2015

William Preston "Press" Buchanan

William Preston "Press" Buchanan was born in Tennessee - probably Giles Co. -  in about 1844 to Charles Clayton and Mary Abernathy Tarpley Buchanan.  "Press" was the third child and second son of their eight children consisting of five sons and three daughters, most of which were born in Mississippi.

Charles Clayton Buchanan was a son of Robert and Elizabeth Ezell Buchanan. A brother to Charles was Kensington who had a son named Chesley.  Chesley was the father of William Kensington Buchanan who married Kate Hawkins  in 1895, and raised a family in Nevada Co., AR.

Press served in the Civil War with Co. H, 33d Arkansas Infantry,  In 1868 he married Miss Helen Buchanan of Clark Co., AR.  Helen's surname could be completely coincidental, or perhaps she was some cousin kin to Press.  I have not discovered the link.  She was 16 years old on their wedding day; he was 24.

I find no record of Press acquiring land in Nevada or Hempstead counties in SW Arkansas.  Two of his brothers, Tilmon D. and Charles Clayton, Jr. both patented small plats, Press is said to have acquired large amounts of timbered acreage.  Along the way he established large lumber companies throughout SW Arkansas and NW Louisiana.  

The largest of his companies was the Bodcaw Lumber Company.  Originally incorporated in Miller Co., AR in 1889, the largest of their mill was in Stamps, Lafayette Co., AR.  A tram at that mill eventually became the Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad that brought lumber down to the Mississippi in the Vidalia, La.,/Natches, MS area.

All of these interests were under the leadership of William.

Press and Helen had five children:
Mary L., born c1872, married J. A. Billingsley in 1894, Nevada Co., AR.
William Thad, born 1874 in Prescott
Joseph Pledger, born 1876, married Lillie Elba Morrow in Nevada Co. on Dec. 20, 1908
Esther, born c1879 and Hattie M., born c1891.  No further information.
William Thad was born Aug., 29, 1874 in Prescott, Missouri Twp., Nevada Co., and died there on Feb. 8, 1938.  He married Ocia Bell Coffee in Nevada Co. on Dec. 20, 1906.  Ocia was born Sep. 25, 1882 in Hempstead Co. and died in Houston, Harris Co., TX on Nov. 5, 1959.*

From the Prescott Daily News, Nevada Co., AR, February 11, 1938.
"Prescott lost one of its real pioneers when Thad Buchanan died here last Tuesday.  Mr. Buchanan was the son of W. P. (Press) Buchanan who came to Prescott in the fall of 1873 to work on the Cairo & Fulton Railroad. This railroad was built through here in July, 1873.
"Thad Buchanan was the first child born in Prescott, and his father's house is the oldest residence of the city.  It is located on West Third Street, between Hazel and Walnut next to the home of Mrs. George Kizer and is now occupied by John Smith."
Ocia was a daughter of John Fielding¹ ² and Frances "Fannie" Thompson Coffee.  John was the eldest son of  Lilburn Jackson and Sarah Hannah Taylor Coffee and, was also brother to my great-grandfather, James M. Coffee.

Children born to William and Ocia were:
Floyd Fields, born Sep. 29, 1908, died Jan. 30, 1966 in Houston, Harris Co., TX.  Floyd married Florence Biggs in Nevada Co. on Oct. 19, 1929.  She was a daughter of Henry and Carrie Biggs, born Dec. 21, 1907 in AR, died in Prescott on May 2, 1974. Floyd was buried at San Jacinto Memorial Park in Houston.  Florence was returned home to Prescott and buried there at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
Ota Albert, born Mar. 29, 1910 in Nevada Co., died in Nacogdoches Co., TX on Dec. 12, 2001.  He married Claudia Irene Woodward on Aug. 5, 1933 in Nevada Co.  Claudia was born on Mar. 23, 1914 in AR and died in Nacoghoches on Nov 26, 2005.  Both are buried there at Sunset Memorial Park.
Clyde Curtis, born Nov. 11, 1914 in AR, died Jan. 8, 1991 in Nevada Co.  He married Margaret L. "Petty" Barnard, a daughter of William and Anne Barnard, on July 20, 1940. She was born Jun. 7, 1918 in Prescott and died there on Aug. 27, 2003.  Both are buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Prescott.
John Preston, born c1914, died before 1930 in Prescott.  He was buried at the Old Smyrna Cemetery in Prescott.
Edmond Lewis, born 1922 in Nevada Co., married Imogene Clark on Jun. 30, 1932 in Nevada Co.  Nothing else known.

*My wife and I were married that same year, one day after her death.

¹I was fortunate in that I was able to interview Myrl Eunice Crank Coffee, the widow of Ernest Vernon Coffee, a grandson of John Fielding.  I met her in her home in 1989.  She told me that John's middle name was Fielding.  However, Ocia named her first son Floyd Fields Buchanan, which gives me reason to believe Murl - using the vernacular of today - "misremembered."

²John's birth year is questionable.  In 1850 he was 4 years old, meaning he was born between 1845 and 1846.  In 1860 he was 18 years old, meaning he was work between 1842 and 1843.  In 1880 he was 43 years old, meaning he was born between 1846 and 1847.  In 1900 he gave Dec., 1842 as his birth date.

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