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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  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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JOHN S. BUCHANAN was for a number of years the efficient postmaster at Ambler, and one of its most energetic and successful business men. He is a native of Rouseville, in Venango county, Pennsylvania. The family are of Scotch- Irish descent, as the name indicates, the grandfather of Mr. Buchanan having been, however, a resident of Venango and Crawford counties in his later years. He died in 1879, at the age of eighty-seven years. John S. Buchanan was born March 4, 1861. He is the son of John and Jane (McClay) Buchanan, both of whom were natives of Ireland and came to America in early life, being married in Pennsylvania.

John Buchanan (father) grew to manhood near Titusville, in the oil regions of Pennsylvania, whose enormous resources in the way of the product were as yet unknown at that time. On reaching manhood he removed to where is now Oil City, where he purchased a farm, and when the oil fever broke out he at first leased it and afterwards sold it to the firm of Rouse, Mitchell & Co. Sometime later he bought another farm near Titusville, which he sold in 1864. In 1865 Mr. Buchanan visited Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and purchased a farm in Upper Dublin township, near where is now located the borough of Ambler, at that time a small village known as Wissahickon, intending to remove to it at once with his family. This was not to be, however, for on Mr. Buchanan’s return to his old home in the western part of Pennsylvania, he was stricken with pneumonia, and after a brief illness died. He was an energetic farmer, without any desire to figure in politics or otherwise in public notice. He was a highly valued member of the community in which he lived, being of a social and accommodating disposition. As a business man he displayed sound judgment, making good investments, accumulating a considerable estate, and leaving his, family in good circumstances. In religious predilections he was a Presbyterian. Mrs. Buchanan survives him, residing at Ambler. Soon after the death of her husband she decided to follow out the course, upon which he had determined in his lifetime, and she accordingly removed with her two sons to Ambler and took possession of the farm which he had purchased prior to his last illness. When her sons, Joseph and John S., were grown to manhood, they, after acquiring the necessary knowledge to enter upon business careers, sought other pursuits than that of farming. The family then rented the farm and, securing a desirable home within the limits of Ambler, removed thereto, becoming citizens of one of the most enterprising of the many prosperous boroughs along the line of the North Pennsylvania Railroad within the limits of Montgomery county.

The parents of Mrs. Buchanan never came to America, but died as they had lived, in Ireland. Their children took a different view of things, however, and after the death of both parents decided to seek a home in the new world. Leaving behind them the old associations and severing old ties, they, first having made all necessary preparations for the voyage, emigrated to America and settled in Pennsylvania. They consisted of the following: Joseph McClay; Jane, mother of John S. and Joseph Buchanan; Mary, unmarried; Anna (Mrs. A. Buchanan); Sarah (Mrs. John Hopkins); and another sister who yet remains in Ireland. Mrs. Buchanan is a member of the Presbyterian church. Her son Joseph is engaged in the real estate business at Ambler.

John S. Buchanan was but four years of age when he came to Montgomery county. He remained on the farm until he married, when he bought the farm, rented it and removed to Ambler. His first employment in Ambler was in the capacity of teller in the Ambler National Bank, in which position he remained for five years. He then engaged in the real estate business, in which he continued until 1898, when he received the appointment of postmaster from President McKinley through the influence of Congressman Wanger. Under his management of the post-office at Ambler it became one of the most important as well as one of the best conducted in the county. He established it in a new and commodious building, fitted up with every requirement needed for the accommodation of its patrons. Besides being the center of a large and increasing business, the Keasby & Mattison Company contribute very largely to its prosperity, because of the enormous amount of mail which they send out daily. Several lines of rural free delivery radiate from Ambler, increasing very materially the business of the post office. While Mr. Buchanan was in the real estate business his energy and good business ability aided greatly in developing Ambler and in securing for that borough a share of the advantages derived from the establishment of manufactories within its limits. He did all that was possible to attract the attention of those seeking new locations for industries, favored street and other improvements, and everything in general that was calculated to advance its interests and its growth. He was one of those who made the town a borough. He was a member of the first town council of Ambler, and for several years the honored president of that body, serving twelve years in all, and being a member when he was appointed to the position of postmaster. He was a notary public for twelve years, and served in that capacity for the Ambler Bank. He is, as a matter of course, a man of pronounced views in politics, being an active Republican and an earnest advocate of its principles and candidates. In religious faith he is a member of the Presbyterian church. He was one of those who were prominent in the erection of the new church of that denomination at Ambler, and has for a number of years been one of its trustees. Mr. Buchanan is a broadminded, liberal and progressive business man who is a benefit to the community in which he lives. He is a large stockholder and also a director in the Ambler National Bank. He is also a director of the Pettit Ornamental Iron Company of Ambler. He is president of the Wissahickon Loan Association. In February, 1904, he resigned the position of postmaster, and was elected cashier of the Ambler National Bank on the retirement of John J. Houghton, who had acted in that capacity for a period of twenty years from the time of its organization. Fraternally, Mr. Buchanan is a member of the Masonic order, being a Royal Arch Mason. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Buchanan married, in 1884, Miss Ellen H. Hough, a native of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, who was born in 1863, being a daughter of J. Finley and Margaret (Freas) Hough. J. Finley Hough was a son of Benjamin Hough, and Benjamin was a son of Benjamin, Sr. The last named married Hannah Simpson, whose brother, John Simpson, was the maternal grandfather of Ulysses S. Grant, the distinguished general who succeeded in overthrowing the rebellion, and afterwards served two terms as president of the United States. The generations of Houghs prior to Benjamin, Sr., were: Septimus, Robert, John, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph and Richard, the last named of whom was a native of Macclesfield, in the county of Chester, in England. Richard Hough arrived at Philadelphia in the ship “Endeavor,” from London, July 29, 1683, bringing with him four dependents, as follows: Francis Hough, Thomas Wood and wife, Mary; and James Sutton. Richard Hough settled in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where he acquired two tracts of land, both fronting on the Delaware river, one of them two miles south of the present borough of Yardley, and the other immediately adjoining the manor of Highlands. Richard Hough married Margery Clows, January 17, 1684. He was a member of Falls Meeting of the Society of Friends. William Penn also lived for a time in the vicinity, at Pennsbury or the manor of Penn, and occasionally attended Falls Meeting. Richard Hough was one of the commissioners concerned in the organization of the county of Bucks. He also took an active part otherwise in the government of the province, representing Bucks county in the provincial assembly of 1684, 1688, 1690, 1697 and 1700, and also in 1703-4. He was a member of the provincial council, the governing body of the colony, in 1693 and 1700. His first two terms in the assembly, in 1684 and 1688, were eventful periods, owing to the appearance of a dissatisfied element. Richard Hough was among the most trusted friends of the proprietor, William Penn. He was a justice of the peace in Bucks County in 1700, and Penn appointed him, in conjunction with Phineas Pemberton and William Biles, a member of a court of inquiry to investigate the state of his affairs in the province of Pennsylvania, showing his confidence in the capacity and sound judgment of Hough. The original name of the family, De la Haugh (Norman French) was changed at first to De Hough, and in the sixteenth century to Hough. The family came to England in the year 1066, with William the Conqueror. Richard Hough was drowned in the Delaware river in 1705. The accident happened on the twenty-fifth of March, when he was on his way to Philadelphia.

Some idea of the estimation in which William Penn held Richard Hough may be gained from the fact that when he heard of his death, he wrote to James Logan: “I lament the loss of honest Richard Hough. Such men must needs be wanted where selfishness and forgetfulness of God’s mercy so much abound.”

J. Finley Hough, father of Mrs. John S. Buchanan, married Margaret Fries, a daughter of Jacob Fries, of Bucks county, the family being of French descent. Finley Hough was a miller by trade, conducting that business very extensively in Bucks county. He died in 1888, and his widow resides with her daughter, Mrs. Buchanan, in Ambler. Her other children are Dr. C. B. Hough, of Ambler, and Horace Hough, who resides in Philadelphia.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Buchanan: Joseph, born in July, 1885; Charles, born in April, 1888; Helen, born in December, 1895.

Mr. Buchanan, in addition to what the public schools afforded him in the way of education, took a full course at the Pierce College of Business in Philadelphia. He is a member of Ambler Lodge, No. 1045. I. O. O. F., and of Fort Washington Lodge, No. 308, F. and A. M. He was for many years secretary of the Ambler Real Estate Improvement Company.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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