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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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GEORGE VICTOR BUCHANAN, A. M., Superintendent of the public schools at Sedalia, is, and deservedly so, one of the most prominent educators of Missouri. Life to him has meant one grand opportunity for the enlightenment and betterment of mankind and the advancement of the cause of education, and the public, with a constantly increasing appreciation, is endeavoring to second his efforts. In reviewing his history one is forcibly reminded of Ruskin's words: “The thoroughly great men are those who have done everything thoroughly, and who have never despised anything, however small, of God's making.”

Mr. Buchanan is a native of Illinois, and was born near Mt. Carmel, Wabash County, February 14, 1859. He is the son of Hiram Buchanan, who was born in Lawrence County, that state, and who was in turn the son of Walter Buchanan, also a native of Lawrence County. The grandfather engaged in agricultural pursuits, and also did surveying. He was wholly uneducated, but was a natural mathematician, having a state reputation for ability along this line. He was County Surveyor for thirty years, and made the drawings for the first map of Lawrence County, the original survey of which still exists. He was a Presbyterian in religious belief and a faithful member of that denomination. A Republican in politics, he was very active in the ranks of that party and was a popular and public-spirited man. His death occurred in 1880, at the age of seventy years.

The great-grandfather of our subject, who was numbered among the early settlers of Illinois, came from eastern Pennsylvania. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, and served as a soldier in the War of the Revolution. Hiram Buchanan, our subject's father, was interested in farming in Wabash County, remaining there until his death. He was quite prominent in that section of the country, and helped to establish the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central Railroad. An active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he was much beloved, and many sincere friends deplored his early demise, which occurred at the age of thirty-two years.

Helen Blood was the maiden name of our subject's mother, and her birth occurred near Middlebury. Vt. Her father, Horace Blood, was one of the sturdy pioneer farmers of Wabash County, and died when about seventy years old. On account of the early death of her husband, Helen Buchanan had the entire responsibility of the rearing of her family, and bravely did she strive to train them for positions of usefulness. She now makes her home in Carbondale, surrounded by many comforts, and is spending her declining days in the enjoyment of a well earned rest. She is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In the parental family were five children, of whom we make the following mention. Walter is a farmer of Wabash County, Ill.; Addie, now Mrs. Wilson, resides in Bennington, Kan.; G. V. is the subject of this sketch: Clara, Mrs. Merryman, lives in Carbondale; and Mary, who resides with our subject, is advertising manager for the Central School Journal, published at Sedalia.

Reared to manhood on a farm in Wabash County, Mr. Buchanan attended the district schools, his first experience being in the old log schoolhouse, with its primitive furnishings. At the age of seventeen, however, he left home and went to Olney, Ill., where he worked for his board and tuition, and also attended the high school, graduating from that institution in 1879. While a high-school student he taught two terms of school in Wabash County and in 1880 graduated in the teacher's course at Central Normal College at Danville, Ind. The following winter he was engaged as Principal of the Mt. Carmel High School, and in the fall of the next year, with his mother and two sisters, he removed to Carbondale. He then entered the Southern Illinois Normal University, taking the classical course, while his two sisters pursued the English course. During his summers he read law with Judge Andrew D. Duff. In 1884 the brother and sisters graduated, and Mr. Buchanan was chosen Superintendent of the Salem (Ill.) public schools, continuing there two years.

In 1886 Mr. Buchanan was called to fill the chair of mathematics in his Alma Mater, and remained in that connection seven years. In the autumn of 1893 he became Superintendent of the Sedalia public schools, in which capacity he is giving the greatest satisfaction. The high school has been brought up to a high standard since his connection with it, and graduates are thoroughly prepared to enter the freshman classes of our best colleges, the course calling for four years of Latin. He gives instruction in only one study, that of pedagogy, but finds his time quite taken up with the various duties of his position. The school system of Sedalia includes ten schools (graded), besides the high school. The latter is located in an elegant new stone building, modern in every particular. Nine rooms have been added since our subject came here, and in all seventy-one teachers are employed. In 1894 McKendree College bestowed on Mr. Buchanan the degree of A. M., an honor well deserved.

In 1886 Mr. Buchanan chose a wife in the person of Miss Hattie Starr, the ceremony being performed in Kankakee, the home of the bride. She is a daughter of Judge C. R. Starr, who is a native of Nova Scotia, and received his education in New England. He was a prominent attorney of Kankakee, and is now Judge of the circuit. Mrs. Buchanan was educated at Kankakee, graduating from the high school of that city and later attending the St. Louis Art School. She is the mother of the following children: Helen, Agnes, Rachael and Richard Bell.

In religious affairs our subject is connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he is serving as Steward. Politically he is a Republican. Socially he is a Master Mason, and is also identified with the Royal Tribe of Joseph, Lodge No. I, of which he is a charter member. He is very prominent in literary circles, being connected with almost every organization which tends toward the advancement of educational interests, and is a member of the State Chautauqua, being Vice-President of its executive board. He is also Vice-President of the Sedalia Public Library Association, being one of its organizers. The Board of Managers of the Young Men's Christian Association claims him as a member, and he is an active member of the State Teachers' Association. Besides being a regular participant in the deliberations of the National Educational Association and the National Superintendents' Association, he is an active member of three of the six distinct teachers' associations of Missouri. He also contributes to many of the educational papers, having written articles for the following publications: Central School Journal, Southern Illinois Teacher, Kindergarten Magazine, and the New England Journal of Education.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Pettis County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Pettis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Pettis County, Missouri family biographies here: Pettis County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Pettis County, Missouri here: Pettis County, Missouri Map

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