The Valley of Heart's Delight


 Bio- Pen Pictures

            R. B. Buckner, the subject of this sketch, was born in Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky, in 1822.  He received his education at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, and at the age of nineteen years he joined his parents in Missouri, where they had gone several years previous, leaving him attending school, and bought a farm in Jackson County.  His father resided on this farm until his death, which occurred in 1854.  The judge engaged in school-teaching in Missouri, close to the Kansas line, until the breaking out of the Mexican War, when in 1846 he enlisted in the First Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, Colonel A. W. Doniphan commanding.  The regiment marched to Santa Fe, which was then in Mexican territory, where, the Navajo Indians being troublesome, Judge Buckner’s and another company of soldiers were sent out to quell them, which they did, making a treaty of peace with them; and then, continuing their march, they passed through the country of the Zunis and Laguna tribes, and joined their regiment at Socorro, on the Rio Grande, and marched on into Mexico.  On Christmas-day of that year they met the Mexican troops in the battle of Brazito.  The enemy having twelve hundred cavalry, a regiment of infantry, and a small piece of artillery, his own regiment consisting of but eight hundred men, a battery of six guns, and fifty cavalry, the chances were decidedly against them; but, notwithstanding that fact, they were victorious, as they were also at the battle of Sacramento, fought later.  They entered the city of Chihuahua, Mexico, March 2, 1847, the principal battles having been fought before their regiment reached there.

            On the twenty-seventh of the following April they were ordered to General Taylor’s headquarters at Monterey, which they reached in June; there they were ordered to New Orleans for muster.  Sailing from Point Isabel they reached that city the fifteenth day of June, 1847; immediately on their arrival they were mustered out of the service, and the judge returned to his home in Missouri, where he spent the winter.  In the spring of 1848 he made a trip into Mexico for the purpose of trading.  On his return, at Santa Fe, he heard of the discovery of gold in California, and, hastening home, began preparations for a trip to the land of gold.

            In the spring of May, 1849, he started, with the celebrated “Hudspeth Train,” consisting of sixty-four wagons with ox-teams.  They had the usual experiences of parties crossing the plains in that early day, and reached the Sacramento River at Lassens, on the tenth day of October, 1849.  The judge came immediately to San Jose, but the gold fever being upon him he left for the mines soon after, and in two months returned to this city completely cured.  He then engaged as clerk for various firms in the mercantile business, which occupation he only followed a short time.  Having studied law while he taught school in Missouri, he concluded to put his knowledge into practice, and accordingly opened an office with Judge Bowdon, of Santa Clara.  In 1853 he was elected judge of Santa Clara County, which office he held for three years, when he was elected mayor of San Jose, and filled that position one year.  For the past eleven years Judge Buckner has been the police justice, now including the office of city justice of San Jose.  When not engaged in public office he has continued the practice of law to this date.

            In 1854 he was united in marriage to Miss Louisa McCabe, a native of Washington County, Missouri, who came with her parents, P. T. McCabe and Martha (Davidson) McCabe, across the plains to this State in 1849.  Her father, who, at the ripe old age of eighty-five years, still lives, was sheriff of Santa Clara County in the years 1854-56. Judge Buckner and his wife have an adopted daughter and a niece, Miss Fannie Montgomery, who has lived with them all her life; she is at present an employe of the post-office in San Jose.

            The judge is a member of San Jose Lodge, No. 10, F. and A.M., and of the Mexican War Veteran Association of San Jose, and supports the Democratic party.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p. 92-93

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler