According to some family history passed down to me, sources quoted where known, here is what I have on the Alexanders:
The Clan McAllister was a collateral branch of the Clan Donald, and it is of this branch of the clan – the Allister of Tarbert – that the “Alexanders” were a part.One of the most outstanding Alexanders was Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling.He was a favorite at the Court of King James…monarch wrote together a metrical version of the Psalms.
Sir William Alexander was a poet of note in his day, and three volumes of his work are preserved in the British Museum, as worthy examples of the poetry of his time.He was granted large tracts of land in America, chiefly Newfoundland and Canada.He was Secretary of State of Scotland and held may other offices.He was very ambitious, politically, thereby incurring heavy expenses, and at his death was greatly involved in debt.Some of his kinsmen settled on the encheated lands in Ireland, many of them later emigrating to America.
One branch of these Alexanders settled in New Jersey, and from that branch descended William Alexander, “Lord Sterling,” who was one of Washington’s generals.Another branch settled in Pennsylvania, Archibald Alexander, and they were the Princeton Alexanders.
Foote’s HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA tells of the emigration of seven Alexander brothers and their widowed mother from Ireland to the eastern shore of Maryland.Unable to endure the persecution preceding the revolution of 1688, they decided to come to America where they could worship in peace.Before leaving Ireland, they sent back to Scotland for their minister to come and bless the voyage and administer the Lord’s Supper.Everything was ready, and all the families were on board the vessel partaking of the Lord’s Supper, when a company of English soldiers boarded the ship, broke up the meeting and took the minister to jail.All were distressed over the plight of the preacher, and none knew just what steps to take.Finally, an aged woman who had been piously covenanting all day for her grandchildren, suggested that they wait until nightfall, then raid the jail, rescue the preacher, and take him to America with them.Her plan was acted upon and before dawn, the ship was at sea with the minister on board.Having no family, he cheerfully proceeded to America with the colony.
These seven brothers joined a settlement of Scots in Somerset County, Maryland, later removing into Cecil County, Maryland, at the head of the Chesapeake, “on the main fresh of the Elk River,” across from New Castle in Delaware.This was the scene of George Talbot’s ambitious project of founding his “County of New Ireland,”Talbot was the alert Irish cousin of Cecil Calvert, the third Lord Baltimore.He had come into the Maryland Colony in 1680 from County Roscomon in Ireland, with Baltimore.Lord Baltimore was soon to learn, if he did not already know, that the English Stewarts wwere about to pay a debt to Willimam Penn with the same land which their father, Charles I, had granted Baltimore.Consequently, this land at the head of Chesapeake Bay was in dispute for many years, being claimed by both Maryland and Pennsylvania.The certificate for the settlement of the “New Munster” tract in the New Ireland Colony was issued by George Talbot in 1863 in these words:
“Surveyed for Edwin O’Dwire and fifteen other Irishmen by virtue of
warrant from his Lordship, August 7, 1683…a certain tract of land called New Munster lying and being in the County of Cecil…on the main fresh of the Big Elk…containing 6,000 acres more or less….”
The Cecil County, Maryland, records (Deed Book 2, J.D., 2 pg 28, 81, 82, 83) show deeds from Thomas Stevenson and his wife, Sarah, of part of this tract called “New Munster” to a group of Alexanders who were led into the colony by Matthew Wallace.This deed stated that the land had originally been granted to Edwin O’Dwire and others.Those purchasing from Stevenson were:
James Alexander, farmer
Arthus Alexander, weaver
David Alexander, weaver
Joseph Alexander, tanner, and his son, James
James Alexander, weaver, and his son Moses
This deed speaks of Matthew Wallace and “his company,” indicating that Matthew Wallace, whom we know from the records to have been living in Somerset County, Maryland, on the eastern shore of Maryland, led this company (probably relatives) into Cecil County to settle on this New Munster tract.The first deed was a –ase [possibly lease?] deed dated 1714, and set forth that the settlers had been on this land for some years, as the improvements which they had made were taken into consideration of the price.As Matthew Wallace gave Power of Attorney to his kinsman, William Alexander, back in Soemrset in 1707 to sell his land there, this migration must have taken place very much earlier.These Alexanders who came with him were probably some of the seven brothers mentioned by Foote, or their sons, Ross McKendrick states:
“To Mecklenburg county, N.C., a great wave of Scotch-Irish migration flowed directly from New Munster in Cecil County, Maryland, through the Shenandoah Valley.Numerous descendants of George Talbot’s tract had brought their families and taken up lands (in North Carolina) prior to 1732.Wills of certain Alexanders of New Munster, indicate that this family was strongly represented in the North Carolina settlement.The importance of Maryland’s part in the settlement of N. C. may be drawn from the story of the famous Mecklenburg Convention of May 31, 1775 ----of the seven signers, more than half may be directly traced to Cecil County, Maryland, and adjacent settlements.This action (The Mecklenburg Resolves) anticipated more than a year before the actual Declaration of Independence by Congress, and reflected the spirit which emigrated from George Talbot’s County of New Ireland.The Maryland immigrants to North Carolina only made great asserveration of purpose, but were to be found in the thick of the flight at King’s Mountain….”
In this compilation, we are concerned only with “James Alexander” and his son, “Moses Alexander,” both of whom were weavers and farmers.
James Alexander was probably from Ulster, North of Ireland.The date of his birth is not known.It is reasonable to assume that he was the same James who “transported” to Somerset County on the eastern shore of Maryland in 1678 (Index of Early Settlers, Vol. I, Land Office, Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland).This James Alexander, of Cecil County, was probably a brother or near relative of William Alexander, Sr., Andrew and Samuel, of Somerset County, as well as a brother of Joseph Alexander of Cecil County, who was a tanner.
Assuming that James Alexander was the one who “transported” in 1678 to Somerset County, he was doubtless one of the Alexander group who removed to the “Head of ye Bay" and for whom George Talbot, Surveyor General, surveyed the New Munster lands in 1683.The fact that he had a son, Moses, old enough in 1714 to received title to land, proves that he was of middle age and could have been in Cecil County for many years.
James Alexander and his son, Moses, both were weavers and farmers.The name of his wife does not appear in the records, nor any reference to her birth or death.
In 1718, Thomas Stevenson confirmed each of the purchasers of his land in a separate deed.James Alexander and his son, Moses, had land located in the New Munster division known as Milford Hundred.
There are no further records of James Alexander until 1735 when we find him selling this land:
“DEEDS, CECIL COUNTY, MARYLAND, BOOK 5, p. 97, APRIL 8, 1735
This indenture the 8th day of April 1735, between James Alexander with Moses his son, and Mary, wife to ye said Moses, of the one part…and William Sample, of Chester County, Pennsylvania of the other part….
The said James Alexander, Moses Alexander, and wife Mary, do sell unto the said William Sample, a parcel of land being a part of the 92 acres purchased from Thomas Stevenson, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania…1718.
Wit: Signed: James Alexander
David Alexander Moses Alexander
John McCallmont Mary Alexander
Then came Captain James Alexander, Moses Alexander, and Mary, wife of the said Moses….
DEEDS, CECIL COUNTY, MARYLAND, BOOK 5, p. 235 1736
James Alexander, Gentleman, of Milford Hundred, releases to his son, Moses Alexander, the remainder of the tract of land jointly purchased by them from Thomas Stevenson.
James Alexander disappears from the record about 1740, and it is supposed he died about that time, but no will or administration has ever been found for him.
He probably married in Ireland, and his wife may have been dead when he came to America.
Children of James Alexander
As for children:We know he definitely had one son, Moses, and he seems to have had a son, James, Jr.
David Alexander, weaver, bought land adjoining his, but whether this David was his older son, or whether he was a brother, is not known.
Moses Alexander, son or James Alexander, was born probably about 1690-1693.His wife was Mary.She seems to have been Mary Wallace, the daughter of Jane Wallace, a widow with two daughters, who died in 1736.In her will, Jane Wallace mentions two daughters: Mary Alexander and Hannah, who married George Welsh.Mary Alexander is buried in the churchyard of the Head of the Christian Church.The tombstone inscription reads:
“here lies the Body of Mary Alexander, wife of
Dyed ye 25th, of October, 1758
Aged 58 years”
It is possible that this Mary may have been his second wife.In his will, Moses Alexander singles out a granddaughter named Hannah for a special bequest, not naming any of his other grandchildren.She may have been named for his first wife.Mary also seems to have been quite a few years younger than her husband.Moses Alexander died in Cecil County, Maryland, 1762.His will, dated 2 February 1762, was filed December 1762 (Source:Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland, Book 31, p. 820).No wife is named, as she preceded him.
Children of Moses and Mary (Wallace) Alexander
1. Nathaniel Alexander:His wife was Elizabeth.---To N.C.
Two known sons:George Alexander
2. Abraham Alexander:(No record)
3. Pricilla Alexander:Married ** White.Had a daughter, Hanna White
4. James Alexander:Married Mary Steel, daughter of James Steel, who died 1751.
5. Zebulon Alexander:Died 1784 in N.C.Married (first) Hanna Hodgson, daughter of Phineas Hodgson; Married (second) to Jane McClung.
6. Moses Alexander:Died about 1772; Married Sarah Taylor Alexander.One of their sons, Nathaniel Alexander, born 1756. graduated from Princeton in 1776, studied medicine and was a surgeon in the Continental Line from 1778 to 1782.After the Revolution Nathaniel practiced medicine in South Carolina, but returned to N.C.He filled many political offices, was elected Governor of N. C. in 1805, resigned in 1807.He died in 1808, and is buried at Charlotte, N.C.No children.
Moses was one of the most outstanding men of his community.He was a colonel in the British Army before 1776.He was High Sheriff in 1763, and filled many offices of trust and distinction.