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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (A)
Alexander, Hezekiah

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.

[Page] IV
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 faith.

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: Francis Bradley

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 PA

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 Abigail MNU.

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:

Matthew Wallace
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:


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….

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
Moses Alexander
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
Nathaniel 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.

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, 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 1942: 536-48
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.

Thanks to Richard L. Brown for sending us this information

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