Alexander, William McFaddin, D.D.; LL.D. --
New Orleans.--Was born at the old family homestead, near Union, Monroe
county, Va., (now West Virginia), Nov. 7, 1861; son of Michael Caperton
Alexander, whose birthplace was the same as that of the son. The father
was the son of a Virginia planter, but on account of threatened failing
health, removed to Beaumont, Tex., previous to the Civil war, and there,
with his brother and brother-in-law, organized the firm of "Ross
& Alexander," a lumber and mercantile firm which built the
first saw-mill at Beaumont. Mr. Alexander was thus one of the pioneer
lumbermen and merchants of the Southwest.
Mr. Alexander's health was restored, his
business prospered, and on Dec. 13, 1860, he was married in Beaumont to
Miss Sarah L. McFaddin, a daughter of William McFaddin, a large ranch
owner of Texas, and who served under Gen. Sam Houston in the army that
achieved independence for Texas. He took part in the battle of San
Jacinto, and was present at the capture of Santa Anna. William
McFaddin's sons are numbered among the wealthy citizens of Texas, and
are prominently identified with the affairs of the Lone Star state.
Mr. Alexander in the summer of 1861, with
his bride of a few months, returned to his old Virginia home on a visit.
While there the war-cloud burst and, leaving his wife under his father's
roof, he enlisted in the Confederate army under Col. Barbee. After a
time, he was paroled on account of illness. However, he remained in
Virginia during the war and for four years after the war, when he
returned to Texas and became a planter; later he became associated with
a lumber company and continued this connection until his retirement from
business activities. He died at Beaumont, Feb. 10, 1912, aged 75 years.
He accumulated a comfortable fortune. He is survived by his widow, one
son, Rev. William McFaddin Alexander of New Orleans, and one daughter,
Miss Sibbie V. The widow and daughter reside at Beaumont. A son and
daughter are deceased.
Mr. Alexander was a Presbyterian elder,
and came from a long line of Presbyterians originally from Scotland. His
family is the Virginia branch of Alexanders, who have for generations
been prominent in church, state and nation. As is well-known, the
Virginia Alexanders trace their descent in direct line back to the Earls
of Stirling in Scotland. Stirling is one of the most historic spots in
Scotland--the former seat of kings and the ''key to the Highlands."
The castle, the former seat of the Alexanders, is still standing and is
one of the best preserved castles of the United Kingdom and one of the
show places of Europe. It now belongs to the crown by confiscation. Sir
William Alexander, poet and man of affairs, was the last Earl of
Stirling. The paternal grandfather of Rev. W. McF. Alexander was John
Ervin Alexander, great-grandfather Capt. Michael Alexander, and
great-great-grandfather James Alexander; all of whom were natives of
Previous to the Revolutionary war, James
Alexander went from Augusta--now Rockbridge--county, Va., to Union,
Monroe county, though at that time there was no such place as Union, the
whole region then being a wilderness inhabited only by Indians. He
selected the present sight of Union, cleared and planted a field, built
a house and returned to the old home to be married. On his return with
his bride, he found the house burned down and the field laid waste. The
Indians had made a raid. Nothing daunted, the house was rebuilt and the
field replanted, and from this lonely dwelling in the heart of the
wilderness grew the ancestral home of the subject of this sketch.
William McFaddin Alexander was educated
in the private and public schools of Beaumont, in a private academy at
Woodville, Tex., following which he returned to Virginia for his college
course in Washington and Lee university. Then he entered Union
Theological seminary, at Hampden Sidney, Va., completing the course in
1887. He then became pastor of the Presbyterian church at Bainbridge,
Ga., remaining there three years; after which he became pastor of the
Alabama Street Presbyterian church in Memphis, Tenn., where he remained
In the summer of 1899, he came to New
Orleans as pastor of the Prytania Street Presbyterian church, which he
continues to occupy at this time. The degree of D.D. was conferred on
him by two universities the same week, the Southwestern Presbyterian
university and Washington and Lee university, the latter his Alma Mater.
In 1911, the degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by the University of
Georgia, a university that throughout its history has been rather chary
in conferring honorary degrees. Dr. Alexander has been prominently
identified with the progress of the Presbyterian church in the South.
On June 24, 1891, Dr. Alexander was
married to Miss Ceneilla Bower of Georgia, a daughter of Judge Isaac E.
Bower, who for years was judge of the Superior court of the southwestern
district of Georgia, and who was finally succeeded by his son Judge
Byron B. Bower. The Bower family has been prominent in Georgia since a
time prior to the Revolutionary war, in which several representatives of
the family participated, as did the great-grandfather of Mrs. Alexander.
Dr. and Mrs. Alexander have one child, a daughter, Miriam Caperton.
Source: Louisiana: Comprising Sketches of
Parishes, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in
Cyclopedic Form (volume 3), pp. 26-27. Edited by Alcée Fortier, Lit.D.
Published in 1914, by Century Historical Association.