James De Buchananne D’Orleans, de Bourbon was my mom’s ancestor, grandfather I think. This is his obituary as can be best interpreted from the old newspaper account that remains.

Approximately Late August 1896

A weird scene on board the Cynthia, ceremony according to deceased’s spiritual belief

James De Buchananne, spiritualist lecturer and alleged duke of Orleans, was buried at sea yesterday afternoon at 3:45, within fifteen miles of Galveston island.

The “doctor”, as he was familiarly known among his intimate friends here, had been a sailor for a goodly portion of his 55 years. The sea had borne him upon its broad bosom to many a distant clime, and he had conceived and retained an affection for it which perhaps can be only understood by him who has made his home upon it. The ocean, with its calms and storms, its pleasures and dangers, its smiling surface and its mysterious depths, was typical of the lights and shadows of his own life, and it is said he often expressed the wish that when his spirit had “passed out” his body should find a sailor’s grave in the heart of the great waters. He had been a sufferer for many years, and looked forward to his release from pain for some time past. A short while ago he became conscious that the end was near, and calling together his grand-niece, Miss Ella Cutler and his intimate friend and spiritualist brother, Mr. T. A. Stone of Dallas, the programme of his own burial was mapped out in detail, even to the selection of the hymns and the reading of the address by Mr. Stone. On Tuesday last the end came, and the programme yesterday was carried out in strict accordance with his wishes.

At 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon a few of the intimate friends of the deceased gentleman gathered in the front room which he has occupied since he has been in Galveston, at 2110 Broadway. In one end of the room stood the casket. Its exterior was covered with white cloth. It had silver handles and bore upon the surface a silver name-plate with the  inscription engraved thereon:


D’Orleans, de Bourbon


Above the inscription was the square and compass, the emblem of the Masonic order, and below it the coat of arms of the Knights of Pythias. Inside the casket had been placed 100 pounds of lead, 50 pounds at each end. Led by Miss Cutler, the few friends sang “Nearer my God to Thee,” after which the pallbearers carried the casket to the waiting hearse, and the party was driven to the foot of Center Street.

The large and powerful steam tug Seminole was in waiting at pier 21. The casket was tenderly carried aboard and placed upon a raised platform in the stern of the boat, with the stars and stripes enveloping it on every side. The invited guests followed, and the Seminole, casting off her lines, stood out for the jetties and the gulf. The boat’s flag was hoisted half way to the (?) and as the boat slipped past a small skiff belonging to an incoming steamer, the inmates of the skiff rose and bared their heads in respectful salutation.

A strong head-sea was setting in as the Seminole passed through the jetties and considerable water came aboard. The boat rolled and plunged quite heavily, which resulted in no little discomfort to several of the ladies aboard. Especially was this (?) (end of column, the next column has been cropped off, it begins in verse)


Oh, these death scenes are sweet, for the soul pens for ages

Vast volumes of thought on unwritten row and

Will be buried the link in life’s mystic chain

Let the harp of the angels be newly restrung

There’s mirth to be made there are songs to be sung

For a pilgrim has passed from the care lands of earth

To the realms of the loved, where the spirit had birth

Twill be joy to stand in that bright world of glory

Where wisdom and love are themes of life’s story

Where the cross shines a crown that to angels is given

With loved ones who glide through the azure of heav’n


Miss Cutler then read the following verses:

Clad in thine immortality,

E’en now we hear thee joyful sing

O grave, where is thy victory?

O death, where is thy sting?

Pass on, sweet spirit, to increase

In every bright, celestial grace

Till in the  land of love and peace

We meet the dear one face to face

Rest then, in peace

With blessings on thy head

Pass to the land

Where sinless spirits dwell

Gone but not lost

We will not call thee dead

The angels claim thee

Dear one, far thee well.

Turning to those present, Miss Cutler then said:

Friends: The ceremony that we are about to perform is one that the spirit if him who now lies there longed for. It is the only wish of his heart that has for many years been carried out. It seemed impossible that fate would allow any desire of his to be gratified. In the presence of him, I thank you each and all for all that you have so kindly done for him.

This is not a solemn day; it is a day of rejoicing – rejoicing because we know that his heart wish is realized and that no more pain can rack is body. His spirit is now in the realms beyond, to which we all must pass sooner or later. I could not resign myself to gibe him up if i did not know that he will be with me always and help me more than he did – not more than he wished to, but more than he was allowed to do. For some unknown reason the hand of fate had been set against him and we all know that when fate undertakes to vale our lives we have no power over it. The early part of his life was very successful; everything he did turned in to money. Later in life things turned against him. Today I have lost my dear (lost)

Mr. Stone followed with some lines, in which he gave a history of De Buchananne’s eventful life, closing with some appropriate thoughts to the friends who all tended the services and the loved ones at home.

Friends, perhaps some of you would like to know something of the history of  a brother whom we have come to (?) today, and to give you a brief history of his earth life I will read to you the doctors birthday present, a poem written for him without the writers knowledge of when his birthday would occur and without any intention on his part of its being a birthday present, written and dated June (?), 18(?) and presented to him of the (?) after his birthday.

The Life of an Elder Brother

By T. A. Stone

Near the foothills of the Alleghany

Was born little James De Buchananne

His mother in aguish akin to joy

Gave her own dear life for there darling boy

And James had scarcely reached the age of 4

When father crossed the shore

His baby heart knew not a mother’s love

Though she often came to him from (above?)

And while playing in the woods and meadows wild

She carefully guarded her little child

But by fate as hard as the granite rock

James fell in the hands of the orthodox

The old puritan couple so devout

Nearby wore this bright little Frenchman out

With the household duties and weekly prayers

Long sermons, Sunday schools and other cares

Friends, there is no death; tis only a change. The body we see lying before us is but the vacant house that our brother used to occupy. We love not the house so much as we do those who dwell within. Sweet memories will ever hover around the (?) home of our dear friend and fellow worker, but it is the brother who is absent from his home that we really love. Twas he who gave us counsel, and taught us the beauties of the inner life. It is of him, the sprit, the intelligence, the real man, the ‘I’ who occupied this form that we are beholding, that I wish to speak. His life was one like our own, only more fully developed than many of us, perhaps that any of us. He was industrious, firm, fearless and unyielding in his search for truth and wisdom, ever holding the holies reverence for his highest conception of the good and endeavoring by the power of thought through the law of attraction and desire to draw himself and humanity the most powerful and potent agencies from the source of infinite love.

With what success he labored many of us have seen, and the thought he would continually impress upon us is that we can all reach the goal of our strongest and purest desire if we will carefully follow the pathway that leads up the rugged mountain of experience to the summit of wisdom. Others ca, as he did, point toe way to success, but no on e can do our work for us, and we must reach the summit we wish to achieve by our own exertions. He taught us that the friends in (lost)


until the end of the casket overhung the water. Immediately upon the conclusion of his address Mr. Stone gave an almost imperceptible signal to the three men who stood at the end of the plank and at the same time whispered to Mr. Walter Hanscom. The men slowly raised the end of the plank until the weight of the casket overbalanced it. There was a flash of white canvas, a severing of the blue waters, a splash of spray and the wish of the sailor heart was fulfilled.

As the waters received the body into its embrace until such time as the sea shall give up its dead Mr. Walter Hanscom commenced singing the beautiful song which was now the sailors requiem:

Rocked in the cradle of the deep

I lay me down in peace to sleep

Secure I rest upon the wave.

For though, o. Lord, hast power to save

I know thou wilt not slight my call

For though dost mark the sparrows fall

And calm and peaceful is my sleep,.

Rocked in the cradle of the deep

And such the trust that still were mine

Though summer wind sweep o’er the brine

Or though the tempest’s fiery breath

Rouse me from sleep to wreck and death

In ocean’s care still save with me

The germ of immortality

And calm and peaceful is my sleep

Rocked in the cradle of the deep

The singer’s voice vibrated with the pathos of the song, which was further intensified by the solitude which reigned all around, and the knowledge that a once animate and beloved form was yet speeding its way to its “ocean’s care” below. The moment was impressive in the extreme, and the tension of emotion was only relived by the renewal of the propellers throb as it urged the boat from the sailors last resting place.

The return voyage was uneventful and (?) passengers (?) (re)corded in Galveston of a burial at sea of a person who died ashore. That was a Mr. Brewster, who as commissioner of insurance during Governor Ireland’s administration, and who was buried beneath the waters of the gulf in the vicinity of the wreck of the Waco about twelve years ago. A curious coincidence is noted in the fact that in both cases the nieces of the dead men attended the burial alone and conducted the services.