History records the name
of Hezekiah Alexander as an administrator and councilor. He held the
post as Magistrate from the first appointed one in the county and
historians have said "He was one of the most clear headed Magistrates in
the County before the Revolutionary War and following the Declaration of
Independence was named one of the members of the State Councul [sic] of
Safety. His most important contribution to Mecklenburg County was his
participation in the Declaration Convention and his signing of that
immortal document, The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
During the Revolutionary War, he was paymaster of Col. Thomas Polk's
regiment. Hezekiah Alexander's first purchased [sic] of land was
recorded in May of 1765. He later purchased land in April of 1767 from
Lord Selwyn on Alexander's Creek. He purchased 400 acres on the Broad
River, now Gaston County from William Minter.
His home was two stories high and built of stone with a full basement
where Mary Alexander stored food for her family of eleven children. The
story is told how English soldiers raided her basement one day and what
food they could not carry they destroyed. It was necessary at times for
her to hide her sons in the weeds to prevent them from being kidnapped
and held as hostages by the British Soldiers.
One of the unusual proofs of Hezekiah's love of religious freedom was a
carving of a fish on his house, the secret symbol, which Presbyterians
used in Scotland and Ireland to signify allegiance to the Presbyterian
From the day when maurading [sic] Indians, killed the settlers; to the
day when Tory neighbors informed the enemy where supplies could be
obtained by foraging; to the days when the British Soldiers burned homes
and confiscated personal belongings, Hezekiah Alexander remained calm
and led the people of his community toward a just peace.
My line came from James Alexander born 1624 in Bughall, Scotland. He
moved his family to Northern Ireland and died there in 1704. The
Alexanders were Presbyterians and didn't get along to well amoung the
Catholics in Ireland. Some time in the late 1600's, James sent his 7
sons and 2 daughters to the New World. They settled in Cecil county
Maryland. A GGreat grandson, Hezekiah, who is in my line, moved to the
Cumberland valley in western Pennsylvania around 1750 only to be ran out
by Indians in the French and Indian war. He wound up in Mecklenburg
county North Carolina where he and several other Alexanders were signers
of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independance. His house built in 1774
is on the grounds of the Charlotte Historical Museum.
came across this passage in a book--should be of interest to descendants
of the Alexanders of North Carolina:
The Scotch-Irish came to America with no love for the British government
whose injustices had caused them to migrate en masse from Northern
Ireland. As the conflict with the motherland developed, they espoused
the Revolutionary cause almost to a man. . . .
More far-reaching, more
truly revolutionary, than either of the above resolutions [i.e.,
Abingdon VA Jan. 20, 1775 and Staunton VA Feb. 22, 1775] were those
adopted by the Scotch-Irish of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Leading men of the county [i.e., the Alexanders] held meetings in March
and April 1775, to ascertain the sense of the people and to confirm them
in their opposition to the claim of Parliament to impose taxes and
regulate the internal policy of the colonies. At one of these meetings
plans were made for a representative meeting in Charlotte.
According to a statement written from memory in 1800 by John McKnitt
Alexander (a Presbyterian elder whose minutes of the meeting had been
burned), a convention was held in Charlotte on May 20, 1775, which
declared "That we the citizens of Mecklenburg County do hereby dissolve
the political bands which have connected us to the mother country and
hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown" and
"That we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people."
Professional historians are inclined to reject this Mecklenburg
Declaration as thus reconstructed. We have, however, a June 1775
newspaper account of a convention held in Charlotte on May 31 which
adopted a series of resolutions that constituted a virtual declaration
of independence. All British authority and forms of government were
declared to be suspended, and steps were taken for the appointment of
officers who should exercise their authority "independent of the Crown
of Great Britain and former constitution of this Province." Any person
accepting office from the Crown was declared to be "an enemy to his
country" . . . .
A copy of these resolves was carried to the North Carolina delegation to
the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. It was not presented
to the Congress, however, probably because its leaders were at that time
discouraging all moves for independence and preparing instead the famous
but abortive "Olive Branch" message to King George.
The action of the Mecklenburgers, therefore, had no [direct] influence
on the Congress’s subsequent action, but there is some justification for
the claim that "the first voice publicly raised in America to dissolve
all connection with Great Britain came, not from the Puritans of New
England, nor the Dutch of New York, nor the planters of Virginia, but
from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians."
When the war came the Scotch-Irish, with few exceptions, were on the
side of the colonies. Many of the Scotch Highlanders in North Carolina,
on the other hand, and a large proportion of all Scots on the Atlantic
seaboard from Maryland south to Georgia . . . along with some of the
Scotch-Irish in South Carolina, remained loyal to the mother country.
(And an interesting sidelight): The battle of King’s Mountain, however,
"was essentially a battle between a revived Highland army in North
Carolina and a force of Scotch-Irish patriots."
(from E. T. Thompson’s *Presbyterians in the South*, Vol. I, pp. 88-91)
James Alexander ("the carpenter")
b. c.1690 d. 1779
married: 1) Margaret McKnitt (daughter of John McKnitt) b. December 26,
1696 d. between 1736 and 1744
Issue of James and Margaret McKnitt Alexander:
1. Theophilus Alexander b. March 13, 1714, in Cecil County MD d. 1768 in
Cecil County Maryland
married: Catherine Wallace b. ? d. 1775 buried in Hopewell Pres. Church
Cemetery, Huntersville NC
2. Jemima Alexander b. February 10, 1716 d. young
3. Francis Alexander b. 1717 married: Eleanor Simonton
4. Keziah (Kesiah, Kizia) Alexander b. May 9, 1720 d. young
5. Hezekiah Alexander b. January 13, 1722 Cecil County MD d. January 10,
1801 Mecklenburg County NC
signer of Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775 married:
Mary Sample, June 12, 1752 in PA
6. Edith Alexander b. January 10, 1725 d. young
7. Jemima Alexander b. January 9, 1727
d. September 1, 1797 married: Thomas Sharpe
8. Amos Alexander b. January 13, 1729
d. [1780 Cecil County Maryland] married: Sarah (Sara) Sharpe
9. John McKnitt Alexander b. June 6, 1733 Cecil County MD d. July 10,
1817 Mecklenburg County NC
signer of Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775 married
Jean Bane (Bean, Bain), 1759
10. Margaret Alexander b. June 6, 1736 Cecil County MD d. young
James Alexander ("the carpenter") -- cont.
married: 2) Abigail (I didn't know Margaret and Abigail were sisters)
Issue of James and Abigail Alexander:
1. Elizabeth Alexander b. November 17,
1746 d. August 1, 1822 married: William Sample
2. Abigail Alexander b. May 24, 1748 d. September 23, 1817 married:
3. Margaret Alexander b. March 30, 1750 d. ? Rutherford County TN
married: Beaty McCoy
4. Josiah Alexander b. August 3, 1752 d. July 14, 1818 in Centre County
5. Ezekiel Alexander b. October 21, 1754
d. after 1832 in Wilson County TN
married: Jemima Esther McCoy
6. Ann Alexander b. c.1737 d. March 3, 1802 (date on tombstone in
Hopewell Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Huntersville NC) married: Moses
Moore b. c.1731, d. October 30, 1782
Hezekiah South Alexander
the very famous Alexander family of New Munster in Cecil Co. MD and
Mecklenburg Co. NC. Colonel Amos was a FULL brother of Hezekiah and John
McKnitt Alexander who signed the Mecklenburg Declaration. Amos did not
move to NC with others of this family, staying in MD. he is buried at
Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church Cemetery in what is now New
Castle Co. DE, beside his oldest brother Theophilus, my 5x
great-grandfather. There's lots of information about this family is
you'd care to correspond. Cordially, David
P.S. There were 15 siblings altogether, 10 children of James the yeoman
Alexander by his first wife, Margaret McKnitt, and 5 more by second wife
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
"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
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.
Following data is my source for disapproving the Rev James Alexander as
the father of the seven original Alexander of New Munster
Norris W. Preyer; Hezekiah Alexander and the Revolution in the
Backcountry; Charlotte, NC, 28207.ph: 704 334-5022 Heritage
Printers,Inc. Charlotte,N.C. second Printing Charlotte, North Carlonia
Sept 1998 Charlotte, NC, 28207 Lib ref E 263.N8 A357 1987
Noris W.Preyer pg 5 " The Alexander forebears came to Raphoe, Ireland,
as tenants of Sir James Conningham, as Scottish nobleman from Ayrshire,
and settled on lands granted him in Donegal County in Laggan district.
In 1640's William Alexander their son left Scotland to seek a better
life fro himself in America .He first settled in on new lands opened up
in Eastern Shore of Va, Northamptons County In 1670 William and his
children left Va and moved to Somerset Co Md
Norris W Preyer pg 11 " William Alexander who came to America was a
first cousin or brother to a John jr.,William, Archibald, Robert, and
Rev.Francis Alexander who remained in Donegal County. Herdon wrongly has
the Somerset Alexanders descended from the Rev.James Alexander of Raphoe
who died without offspring. (see Raphoe,54) unlike Herndon's claim that
Rev. James was the father of the seven brothers, that Susie Ames states
in her document that Rev. James had no heirs. The reference is: " The
Reunion of Two Virginia Counties", Journal of Southern History 8 Nov
MEMORIALS OF THE EARL OF STIRLING", and or the HOUSE OFALEXANDER", by
the Rev. Charles Rogers, LLD, and Chart by Francis Thomas Anderson
Junkin, LLD.,ChicagoVol I Edinburgh William Paterson, 67 Princes Street
Published Scotland 1877 referring to Raphoe, Donnegal, Ulster, Ireland,
looking for Rev James Alexander I found a Rev. James Alexander "at
Raphoe", who was a Presbyterian minister there from when he was ordained
on 12 Dec 1677 until he died 17 Nov 1704 (Reid's Irish Presb. Church,
reference given in book). It says that he left a will dated 13 Mar 1702
(Probate Court record) naming his wife Marian Shaw as executrix and sole
"legatee". She left a will dated 1711 with a bequest to a niece,
Elizabeth Shaw. The book states he died without issue. Your/our Samuel
Alexander could have been a contemporary of his, judging from the dates,
but not his son.
Historical Society of Cecil County: "The "infamous nine" came over with
their father, William. William's father, John(Sir William Alexander's
son), migrated to Virginia with some of his children in 1659. They
apparently decided that Maryland was a better place and migrated there
from Virginia about the same time that William and the nine arrived in
1670. Thus, a father was reunited with a son, siblings were reunited,
and some of the younger nieces and nephews met their aunts and uncles
for the first time.
Register of Maryland's Heraldic Families by Alice Norris Parran,
"Alexanders", Vol 1 and 2 Pub. H. G. Roebuck and Sons 1935, Baltimore AD
pages 57-73 contains information on early lines of Alexander, mentions
Samuel, William Sr. and Jr. and Andrew of Somerset and Cecil Co. lines.
Register MD Heraldic Families pg 64 " One William Alexander came from
Scotland before 1675, and with his son William II bought lands in
Somerset County, Md. The first deed to land recorded in that county is
made to William Sr. Ch--of William Sr. unknown but for William Jr., who
m- Catherine. (Will dated 3/7/1732, Somerset Co., Md., book E. B. 9,
folio 174; made 2nd will after death of his son, James.) Issue--James,
m-- (???) (Will dated 3/30/1725. Somerset Co., Md., book W. B. 9, folio
174.) Samuel; Moses, issue--Mary; Eliza; Samuel. Liston (???); Mary
(???); Agnes, m--William Alexander, her cousin, parents of Col. Adam
Alexander, with line proven.
THE GREAT HISTORIC FAMILIES OF SCOTLAND Bibliography: Taylor, James. The
Great Historic Families of Scotland. London: J.S Virtue & Co., 1889. :
"William Alexander, Earl of Stirling to John Alexander, b.c 1590,
Tarbert,Kintyre, Scotland whose children were William, and seven other
sons .William, son of John had the 7 boys and two girls who came to
Somerset. and Cecil Co."
John McNitt Alexander, a signer of the "Mecklenburg Declaration", and
Secretary to the meeting, was born in 1733, in N.W. Cecil County, Md.,
where his father JAMES ALEXANDER, settled on a tract of land called "New
Munster", in the year 1714. James Alexander shortly thereafter, married
a sister of John McNitt, an early emigrant to Cecil County. John McNitt
Alexander migrated to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in 1754, when
he was about 21 years old, after he had served his apprenticeship to a
tailor He was accompanied on this move by his brother Hezekiah, (who was
also a signer) his sister Jemimah and her husband Major Thomas Sharpe,
also of Cecil County, Md. JOhn McNitt Alexander is said to have married
Jane or Jean Bane in 1759. Jane or Jean may have been from Pennsylvania.
One of John McNitt Alexanders' grandsons was the Hon. J.G.M. Ramsay of
Tennessee, another set of grandchildren were from the daughter who
married Rev. Samuel C. Caldwell and a third from Rev. James Wallis,
famous minister of Providence Church, who sent "Pioneer Empire" bulders
to Alabama and Texas, "where they played important roles in history".
He and Jane bane are buried in the Hopewell Presbyterian Church yard, he
died July 10,1817, at the age of 94.
Richard L. Brown for sending us