"It is a rugged but romantic spot, and the mountain and mountain stream under the scenery captivating. I have warm attachments for it . . . "James Buchanan on Stony Batter
The Buchanans enjoyed living on the edge of the wilderness. Just across the mountains was the western frontier. Pack trains of up to 15 horses stopped here daily and were young James' link to the wilder-ness. He saw packhorses from the west load-ed with whiskey and the furs of wolf, bear, panther and beaver. He saw freight wagons from the east filled with farm tools, cloth and salt. These were exciting times for a young lad. The unbroken forest lay at his doorstep, providing endless opportunities for adventure. Some even say James' mother tied a bell on him to prevent losing him among the rocks and brush of Tuscarora Mountain.
When James was six years old, he moved from the deep woods to the civility of nearby Mercerburg, where his father owned a store. He began his education under the tutelage of his mother and later attended Old Stone Academy in Mercersburg. At age 16, James entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. Although he struggled at times to conform to the formal setting of the college, he graduated with honors in 1809. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Lancaster, Pa., then the capital of the state, to further his studies, become a lawyer and begin his political career.