Family Stories

Alexander Family – Cumberland County

My collection of Kentucky county histories keeps growing.  I have books on 65 of the 120 counties – just over half.  There is more than one book on many counties, and I have sectional books such at The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky and Early Families of East and Southeastern Kentucky, as well as books on the state.  With my library, online resources, cemetery photographs we’ve taken and information I have collected while visiting the different counties, I offer you all the resources at my fingertips.

Today I share information from History of Cumberland County, Kentucky by J. W. Wells.  We know from experience that every word written in a book, online, or other source, may not be entirely accurate.  But I have found that there are truths in every source, which must be backed up with information from the time period in which the person(s) lived – gravestone information, wills, marriages, deeds, census records, etc.  Within the following section on the Alexander family are gravestone photos Ritchey and I took while visiting Cumberland County.  For those who do not know, Cumberland County is on the Tennessee border, sandwiched between Monroe and Clinton counties.  If you traveled due north from Cumberland you would travel through Adair, Taylor, Marion, Washington, Anderson/Nelson, Shelby, Henry and Carroll counties, the last lying on the banks of the Ohio River.

The Alexanders that populated Cumberland County had their beginning in Scotland.  Due to religious persecutions in Scotland many of them fled to Ireland prior to 1740.  There were seven brothers who left for Ireland not far from the above time.  From there they crossed the waters to America and settled in Pennsylvania.  They then came down the Shenandoah Valley to Virginia and North Carolina.  Attached to the Mecklenburg Resolutions, which was the forerunner of the Declaration of Independence, are the names of five Alexanders.  Frankfort records 13 names as soldiers of the Revolution from Virginia.

John Alexander, Kentucky, Sgt. Lee’s legion, Continental Troops, Revolutionary War, 1741-October 17, 1830.  Alexander Cemetery, Cumberland County, Kentucky.

John Alexander, born in Scotland in 1741 (by a reliable record), heads the family of Cumberland County.  John married Lucy Martin. 

Lucy Ann Alexander, 1752-July 19, 1815.

They were from Henry and Pittsylvania counties, Virginia.  This same record gives the names of eleven children: Thomas, Martin, Ingram, Robert, Reuben, Joseph, Philip, Sally, Obedience, Elizabeth and Susan.  Most of them were born and several married before their parents came to Cumberland County.  They arrived in 1805 and opened up a settlement on Marrowbone Creek, on the same farm now owned by Will Ed Davis.  Lucy died in 1815, he in 1830, and both lie at rest on the place of settlement.  The seven boys all came to the county, Joseph being the last one to come, 1824.  Five of them settled on Marrowbone and two on Big and Little Renox creeks.

The Alexanders have furnished some of the very best families of the country.  They have been law-abiding citizens and always interested in the welfare of their community from a social, educational and religious standpoint.  Very seldom do you find one arraigned in the criminal courts.  Farming, mercantile business, banking and teaching are their hobbies.  The first bank in Kentucky was established by Robert Alexander.

I shall state briefly the genealogical status of these children.

Reuben Alexander, died October 26, 1864, aged 76 y, 7 m, 3 d.

Reuben.  One of the seven sons of John, the settler, was Reuben. 

Eliza, wife of Reuben Alexander, died April 6, 1955, aged 70 y, 5 m.

He married Eliza A. Miller in 1806.  To them were born nine children:  (1) Louisa, who became the wife of John P. Monroe; (2) Mary A., who married A. Hays, no issue; (3) Sarah, who married Tom Duerson, and reared two, John and Salina who married James Skinner; (4) William, who married Eliza Ellington and reared a family; (5) Charles Fountain, who married Malinda Lucas and had three girls and two boys in Metcalfe County; (6) Millard, who went to Missouri; (7) Reuben H.; (8) Carolina, who married a Strange; (9) John Edward (1811-64), married first, Elizabeth Strange of Marrowbone, 1845.  She lived less than one year and he then married Elizabeth McDaniel of Warren County.  To them eight children:

  1. Emma M., who married Nathan Chism and left for the West about 1880, whose eight children are in Oklahoma.
  2. Melvin who married Carrie Preston of Warren County and reared three, Edward and Preston who are owners of the Alexander Motor Company, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Mrs. Emma Harvey of Glasgow, Kentucky.
  3. Edward Gideon who married Belle Paull, daughter of William Edward Paull, and reared five children.
  4. Lelia who married Ritchey Young.
  5. Maurice who married Mary Lawhorn and had a family.
  6. Frankie who married Ed Eberhard of Alliance, Ohio.
  7. Ledman (see Pace).
  8. Lucy who married Dick Lawhon and reared a family on Marrowbone.
  9. E. (of John Edward) moved to Kansas, 1882, where he married Laura Vaudiver and reared 10 children around Sumner County, Kansas; Reuben (of John E.) married Jennie Wade of Marrowbone and moved to Kansas, 1895, with one son, Frank at Wellington, Kansas, where they had Clifton, Russell and Ruth. John Otis (of John E.) married Bertha Needham and has spent his life near Waterview on Marrowbone, where he has served his district as Justice of the Peace for 44 years. He reared three children – Samuel, Frank E., and Agnes, all of whom live near Waterview.  Samuel is at present (1946) Superintendent of Schools.

Joseph Alexander (1780-1859) waited until 1824 before he came to Big Renox, Cumberland County.  He married Ann Bouldin, a daughter of Joseph Bouldin, 1807, who was son of Maj. Thomas Bouldin of Charlotte County, Virginia.  To this union were born four – Anna Clark, Fayette W., Sarah and Hugh.  Hugh died in infancy, Sarah Martin married Eleazer Clay Baker, 1831 (see Bakers, of William).  Anna Clark married Joseph Baker (see Bakers).

Fayette Wood Alexander (born 1811) married Nancy Gertrude King, 1840, daughter of Milton and granddaughter of John E. King, both long Clerks of the County.  To F. W. were born ten children – Preston, Charles Wickliffe, Mary E., William F., Susan (wife of Dr. Hutchins), Sally (see Owsley), Horace K., Victoria, Nancy A. (see Ritcheys).

  • Preston of this group died in the West. Mary E. and Victoria died young.  William F. Alexander married Georgia Phelps, daughter of Capt. Abner Phelps (1818-85) and Anna Hooker, his wife, who had come to Cumberland County from New York in the interest of oil and who set up a large store in 1870 and served as postmaster at Burkesville, 1870-74.  To W. F. and Georgia were born three – Lillian, 1873; Lalla; Addie Hooker.  Lalla married Jacob McGee; no issue.  They were leaders in church and benevolent work of the county.  He was cashier of Bank of Cumberland.  She possessed that kindhearted personality that made her a lovable character.  Hooker married Dr. H. B. Simpson and moved to Greensboro, where she was very much like her sister in service.
  • Charles Wickliffe spent most of his life in Burkesville, where he operated the bank and carried on other needed activities. W., Jr., took up his father’s work in 1936 as president of the Cumberland Bank.  He married Mary Keen, no issue.

Settler Joseph secondly married Sarah Bouldin, cousin to his first wife, and daughter of Richard Bouldin, in 1818.  To them were born seven – Richard B.; Milton J.; Judge Tom Tyler; Martha B.; Margaret; Joseph H. M.; and Dr. Robert M.  Dr. Robert M. married Ellen B. Alexander, daughter of John M., Jr., who was a son of Thomas, Sr. (see Thurman).  To them were born ten children – John J.; Hortense C.; Lavell M.; Robert A.; Mary C.; five died.  These children severed in many official capacities as noted elsewhere, under “Outstanding Men.”

Robert Alexander, born February 28, 1775, died April 3, 1857.

Robert, the Settler, married Mary Ann Miller, daughter of Dabney Miller of Henrico County, Virginia.

Sacred to the Memory of Mary Ann Alexander, wife of Robert Alexander, died September 12, 1829, aged 52 yeas.  A wife beloved, a mother dear, in death’s embrace reposes here.

 Their farm lay in “The Bowling Green” of that county.  He came to Cumberland County and purchased part of the farm taken up by James Coleman, 1796.

Settler Thomas Alexander was married twice.  First, he married Polly – and had ten children – Frances, Robert, Edward, Bonaparte, Peter, Thomas, Harriet, John and Walthall Waller.  He secondly married Nancy, and reared Nancy who married John Pace; Philp and Susan (Gearhart); John M. Jr.; Greenwood.

Philip, the Settler, married Susan Bouldin, sister to Joseph’s wife, Eliza, and came to Little Renox Creek.  They reared John B., Paull, Hillery, Sarah and James Bouldin

Elizabeth Alexander, born August 23, 1781, died August 30, 1871.

Ingram Alexander, the Settler, married Elizabeth Nunn in 1800 and located on Marrowbone. 

Ingram Alexander, April 8, 1772-June 11, 1841.

He came from Henry County, like the others.  His children – John; Sally, wife of Richard Wade; Philip; Nancy; Reuben; James.

Settler Martin Alexander married Winnie Davis in Henry County in 1798 and came to this county with the others.  He left many descendants on Marrowbone in the Davises, Grubbs, Allens, etc.

Obedience (called Biddy) (of John) married Peter Gearhart and reared – John, Margaret, Susan, Thomas, Lucy Ann, Joseph, Sarah (Dudley), Peter, Jr.  Peter, Sr., was a leader in his church at Casey Fork and a merchant of power in the 1830’s.

For more concerning the Alexanders see “Outstanding Men” of the county.  We note from old records that J. Martin gave $1,500 to his Presbyterian Church on Casey Fork in 1885.  Also that ? Alexander gave $500 to the college if it would bear his name.  Right here we might state that too much stress has always been laid on characters of this caliber.  While those people were able to contribute to such causes of their means there have always been others that gave their time and talent in other ways to good causes, to whom little publicity has been given.  May praised be their good name.  James R. Alexander spent his life in the Bowling Green school, where he had world recognition as a mathematician.

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