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Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt Oct 1777, d 10 Aug 1852 - Magnolia, Putnam, IL)

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Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt Oct 1777, d 10 Aug 1852 - Magnolia, Putnam, IL)

Posted: 1464451076000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Alexander, Bowman, Clarkson, Brown, Moore, McCarty, Barnes, Evans, Radcliff, Mann
Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt Oct 1777, d 10 Aug 1852 - Magnolia, Putnam, IL) is mentioned within several secondary accounts of the history of Evans and Magnolia Townships.

Within the book Records of the Olden Time; or, Fifty Years on the Prairies: Embracing sketches of the discovery, exploration and settlement of the country, the organization of the counties of Putnam and Marshall, incidents and reminiscences connected therewith, biographies of citizens, by Spencer Ellsworth (Lacon, IL: Home Journal Steam Printing Establishment, 1880), we are told:

"In 1840 or 41, Thomas Alexander came from Kentucky and bought the old Darnell or fort farm, from Jos. D. McCarty, also the now David Moore place from Wm. Brown, and the following year sent hither his sons Hiram and Hugh who took possession, and the next season came with his family consisting of himself, wife and son Thomas Jr., and daughters, and William C. Alexander, a son-in-law. Mr. Alexander and Clarkson, each brought with them a herd of thorough-bred cattle, as fine short-horns as could be found in the celebrated blue grass region. This stock was a valuable acquisition to the region, and from it has descended numerous specimens of superior graded stock. To Mr. Alexander also the community is indebted for fine blooded horses.

Mr. Alexander transferred to an unmarried daughter and to Mr. Clarkson the south end o f the fort farm, and the latter built the first house on what is now know as the Wilson estate in 1845. This was the first house built on the prairie, south of Sandy Creek timber. He was the lone pioneer in that direction for years. C. W. Barnes had settled and improved upon the first farm north of the timber some years previous. He afterward moved to Whitefield, where he now resides a prosperous and prominent citizen."

See:

Records of the Olden Time, Pages 446-7.
https://archive.org/stream/recordsofoldenti00ells#page/446/m...

It perhaps bears mention that while the account doesn't expressly state that Thomas ALEXANDER came from the "Blue Grass Region," it somewhat implies that he might have. While Kentucky is known generally as the Blue Grass State, the Blue Grass Region is a particular part of the state.

The Kentucky Bluegrass, in Northern Kentucky, is bounded on the east by the Cumberland Plateau, with the Pottsville Escarpment forming the boundary. On the south and west, it borders the Pennyroyal Plateau, (also called the Pennyrile), with Muldraugh Hill, another escarpment, forming the boundary. Much of the region is drained by the Kentucky River and its tributaries.

Mention of the Blue Grass Region may signal that Thomas ALEXANDER was from Northern Kentucky.

* * *

A little later we are told:

"In 1841 the Society [Methodist congregation] was strengthened by the Alexander family, who moved into the neighborhood from Kentucky."

See:

Records of the Olden Time, Page 453.
https://archive.org/stream/recordsofoldenti00ells#page/453/m...

* * *

A much later published newspaper account gives much the same information:

"Mr. A. Clarkson, who came to Evans township with Thomas Alexander about 1843, built a home on the southern part of the Darnell (fort) farm in 1845, the first house built on the prairies, south of the Sandy timber. C. W. Barnes had settled upon and improved the first farm north of the timber sometime previous.

Both Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Alexander brought herds of shorthorn cattle with them from their homes in Kentucky, the first to be introduced in Marshall county. Mr. Alexander had purchased both the Darnell farm and the William Brown place in 1840 or 1841 and sent his sons, Hiram and Hugh to take possession the next year. The following year he and the rest of his family came, and he deeded the prairie land mentioned above to Mr. Clarkson and one of his daughters. To Mr. Alexander, too, the community was indebted for fine blooded horses."

Attributed to: Daily Times-Press (Streator, Ill.), Sat. July, 25, 1953
(I have not seen the underlying article.)

* * *

Records of the Olden Time also asserts that the eldest daughter of Joshua EVANS and Elizabeth RADCLIFF married a Mr. ALEXANDER.

See:

Records of the Olden Time, Page 719.
https://archive.org/stream/recordsofoldenti00ells#page/719/m...

This seems to describe the marriage of Sarah EVANS to Hugh ALEXANDER on 17 Jan 1843.

* * *

Records of the Olden Time also asserts that Robert MANN married Anna ALEXANDER in 1870, identifying children Wilbur and Elizabeth.

See:

Records of the Olden Time, Page 721.
https://archive.org/stream/recordsofoldenti00ells#page/721/m...

In the 1880 Census, Robert MANN, age 33 (b abt 1847 - Scotland) is shown to be residing with Emily, age 30 (b abt 1850 - IL) and two children, Wilbur, age 7, and Isabell, age 1. There is an Emily ALEXANDER, age 10 (b abt 1850), residing in the household of Sarah ALEXANDER, age 42 (b abt 1818 - KY) in Evans Township in 1860. Emily and Anna may be one and the same person. This Sarah ALEXANDER (b abt 1818 - KY) may have been the widow of Hiram ALEXANDER (b 16 Mar 1808 - d 21 Mar 1859 - Marshall, IL), in which case Anna (or Emily) would seem to be a granddaughter of Thomas ALEXANDER.

* * * * *

1850 CENSUS

In 1850, we find Thomas ALEXANDER residing with his wife Lucy and one other in Magnolia, Putnam County, IL:

Thomas ALEXANDER, age 77 (b abt 1773 - VA), Male, Farmer, born Virginia
Lucy Ann, age 67 (b 1783 - VA), Female, born Virginia
Melinda ALEXANDER, age 40 (b abt 1810), born Kentucky

[Image 43 of 84]

See:

Although Thomas ALEXANDER is shown to be age 77 (b abt 1773 - VA) in this Census record, he is apparently shown to have been YOUNGER than that age when he died on 10 Aug 1852. As further related below, I believe that the burial marker is being misread, but even with that correction, there seems to be a remaining discrepancy in either the age given in the 1850 Census OR in the age as shown on the grave marker.

* * * * *

1840 CENSUS

Based upon the published secondary accounts, it appears that Thomas ALEXANDER arrived in the Sandy Creek area about 1840-1.

The deed from William and Elizabeth BROWN was apparently dated 11 June 1842. Deed Book E, Page 253 (Recorded 22 Feb 1848).

The ONLY ALEXANDER enumerated in the U.S. Census in LaSalle County, IL, in 1840 was a James ALEXANDER, age 30 to 39 (b abt 1801-10). There were no ALEXANDERs in Putnam County that year, at least as heads of households.

In 1840, there were seven (7) Thomas ALEXANDERs shown to be enumerated residing within Kentucky as heads of households (shown in descending order of age shown):

Thomas ALEXANDER, age 70 to 79 (b abt 1761-70), of Cumberland, KY
Tho ALEXANDER, age 60 to 69 (b abt 1771-80), of West of Slate Creek, Bath, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 50 to 59 (b abt 1781-90), of Jessamine, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 40 to 49 (b abt 1791-1800), of Breckinridge, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 40 to 49 (b abt 1791-1800), of Louisville, Jefferson, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 40 to 49 (b abt 1791-1800), of Nicholas, KY
Ths M. ALEXANDER, age 20 to 29 (b abt 1811-20), of Wayne, KY [Indixed as W. M. ALEXANDER]

* *

ONLY Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1771-80) of Bath, KY, is consistent in age with Thomas ALEXANDER, of Magnolia, Putnam, IL:

Tho ALEXANDER: 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 2 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [West of Slate Creek, Bath, KY 1840]

NOTE: If the age other believe is given on the grave marker (b abt Oct 1780) was trustworthy, then Thomas ALEXANDER, age 70 to 79 (b abt 1761-70), of Cumberland, KY, might be the almost as good a candidate (by a few months). There seems to be some disagreement among secondary sources as to the correct date of death of Thomas ALEXANDER, of Cumberland, but there seems to be near universal agreement that he died in Cumberland before 1850.

* *

Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1781-90), of Jessamine, KY, Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1791-1800), of Breckinridge, KY, Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1791-1800), of Louisville, Jefferson, KY, and Ths M. ALEXANDER (b abt 1811-20), of Wayne, KY can also be REJECTED as candidates on a second very persuasive basis. Each can be found STILL residing in the same place in the 1850 Census, rather than residing in Putnam, IL.

* *

Bath, KY, Jefferson, KY, Jessamine, KY, Nicholas, KY, would each generally be considered to be part of the Blue Grass Region.

Although along the Ohio River Breckinridge, KY, would generally be considered to be part of the Mississippi Plateau Region.

Cumberland and Wayne counties are in Southern Kentucky adjacent the Tennessee boarder and defeinitely wouldn't be considered to be the part of the Blue Grass Region.

While the description of the Blue Grass Region in the accounts supports only a weak inference that this was the area from which Thomas ALEXANDER arrived, this is also generally an area from which Kentucky residents migrated to Illinois. It would also be a somewhat more natural migration from Breckinridge, KY, to Illinois.

By contrast, those residing in far Southern Kentucky, such as Cumberland and Wayne counties might be more likely to drift down into Tennessee and follow the Natchez Trace overland to the Mississippi.

* *

In 1840, Thomas ALEXANDER is enumerated at Image 37 of 46 within this cluster of names:

Wm WILLIAMS
James MAPPIN
G.W. RALLS
Wm MAPPIN
Tho ALEXANDER: 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 2 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [West of Slate Creek, Bath, KY 1840]
Othey HEYTON
Randolph B. WILLIAMS
Isaac RENCHEY
Wm HOUSE
Wm STUART

* *

Hiram ALEXANDER is enumerated at the bottom of this Census page:

Hyram ALEXANDER: 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [West of Slate Creek, Bath, KY 1840]

This Hiram ALEXANDER is shown to be age 20 to 29 (b abt 1811-20).

Hiram ALEXANDER, age 42 (b abt 1808 - KY) is enumerated residing in Marshall County, IL, in 1850. Wife Sally ALEXANDER is shown to be age 33 (b and 1817 - KY). The eldest child Mary is shown to be age 10. While the Census record of Hyram ALEXANDER [1840] shows a slight deviation in age from the Hiram ALEXANDER shown in the 1850 Census in Marshall, IL, the records are otherwise reasonably consistent.

Hiram ALEXANDER's (b 16 Mar 1808, d 21 Mar 1859) Find A Grave memorial shows his dates of birth and death, but these seem to be taken from a modern grave marker at the Cumberland Cemetery seemingly erected well after Hiram's death. Such grave markers are NOT evidence whatsoever. UNLESS the dates can be verified by other primary sources, they cannot be relied upon as trustworthy. However, I have no specific reason to doubt these dates and the date of birth is very consistent with the 1850 Census record.

See: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=79...

* * * * *

1830 CENSUS

In 1830, there were four (4) Thomas ALEXANDERs shown to be enumerated residing within Kentucky as heads of households:

Thos ALEXANDER, age 60 to 69 (b abt 1761-70), of North of Cumberland River, Cumberland, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 50 to 59 (b abt 1771-80), of Bath, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 30 to 39 (b abt 1791-1800), of Breckinridge, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 30 to 39 (b abt 1791-1800), of Nicholas, KY

ONLY Thomas ALEXANDER of Bath, KY, is consistent in age with Thomas ALEXANDER, of Magnolia, Putnam, IL [1850]:

Thomas ALEXANDER: 0 - 1 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 1 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [Bath, KY 1830]

See:

Thomas ALEXANDER, of Bath, KY, is the best candidate no mattee whether the implict year of birth is taken from the 1850 Census record (abt 1773) or the grave marker (Oct 1777 or 1780).

* *

In 1830, Thomas ALEXANDER is enumerated at Image 13 of 88 within this cluster of names:

Francis TRIPLETT
John FREELAND and T. DICKENS
Daniel GOODEN
William RICE
Margaret MAPPIN
Thomas ALEXANDER: 0 - 1 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 1 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [Bath, KY 1830]
Peter CARTRIGHT
William HOUSE
William ROGERS
William HONAKER
James WHALEY

This is unmistakably the SAME Thomas ALEXANDER shown in the 1840 Census enumeration.

* * * * *

1820 CENSUS

In 1820, there were six (6) Thomas ALEXANDERs shown to be enumerated residing within Kentucky as heads of households:

Thomas ALEXANDER, age 45 or more (b bef 1776), of Cumberland, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 45 or more (b bef 1776), of Fayette, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 45 or more (b bef 1776), of Hopkinsville, Christian, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1776-94), of Bath, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1776-94), of Nicholas, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1776-94), of Stephens Port, Breckinridge, KY

The Thomas ALEXANDERs shown to reside in Bath, Nicholas and Breckenridge (b abt 1776-94) are most consistent with Thomas ALEXANDER's implicit year of birth as implied by the grave marker. Thomas ALEXANDER (b bef 1776), of Cumberland, KY, or Thomas ALEXANDER (b bef 1776), of Hopkinsville, Christian, KY, might seemingly be the slightly better candidate if the age shown in the 1850 Census record is correct. However, Thomas ALEXANDER (b bef 1776), of Cumberland, KY, seems to have been much older (b abt 1761-70) as shown in the 1830 and 1840 Census enumerations and also seems to have been dead by 1850.

* *

Thomas ALEXANDER: 1 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 3 - 2 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [Bloomfield, Bath, KY 1820]

This Thomas ALEXANDER is shown to be age 26 to 44 (b abt 1776-94). This is consistent with the implict age suggested by the the 1850 Census record, but a few years younger than indicated by the 1850 Census record.

* *

Thomas ALEXANDER is enumerated at Image 10 of 11 within this cluster of names:

Thomas TRIPLETT
Robert TURNER
Samuel RIDGERS
Owing UMPHREY
William HOUSE
James DORREL
Lewis HARDIN
Thomas ALEXANDER: 1 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 3 - 2 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [Bloomfield, Bath, KY 1820]
Rawly BUSBY
Margaret MAPPIN
John ROLSTON
Henry SANDERS
George BUTCHER

Once again, it is very clear that this is the SAME Thomas ALEXANDER enumerated residing in Bath, KY, in 1830 and 1840.

There is a Daniel BROWN shown to be residing in Bath, KY, at Image 8 of 11.

* * * * *

1810 CENSUS

In 1810, there were six (6) Thomas ALEXANDERs shown to be enumerated residing within Kentucky as heads of households:

Thomas ALEXANDER, age 45 or more (b bef 1766), of Knox, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1766-84), of Hopkinsville, Christian, KY
Thos ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1766-84), of Burksville, Cumberland, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1766-84), of Montgomery, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 26 to 44 (b abt 1766-84), of Somerset, Pulaski, KY
Thomas ALEXANDER, age 16 to 25 (b abt 1785-94), of Nicholas, KY

Of these, Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1766-84), of Hopkinsville, Christian, KY, Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1766-84), of Burksville, Cumberland, KY, Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1766-84), of Montgomery, KY, and Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1766-84), of Somerset, Pulaski, KY, are consistent in age with both the 1850 Census record and the grave marker in Putnam, IL, for Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt Oct 1777, d 10 Aug 1852 - Magnolia, Putnam, IL).

Thomas ALEXANDER (b bef 1766), of Knox, KY, seems to be too old to be the Thomas ALEXANDER who migrated to Putnam, IL, while Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1785-94), of Nicholas, KY, seems to be too young.

Of the four most viable candidates, Thos ALEXANDER (b abt 1766-84), of Burksville, Cumberland, KY, is shown to be born abt 1761-70 in the 1830 and the 1840 Census, as previously discussed above and also seems to have been dead by 1850.

Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt 1766-84), of Hopkinsville, Christian, KY, is shown in the 1820 Census to be born before 1776 and is therefore somewhat older than implied by Thomas ALEXANDER's (b abt Oct 1777, d 10 Aug 1852 - Magnolia, Putnam, IL) grave marker, though still consistent with the implicit age suggested by the 1850 Census record.

This leaves:

Thomas ALEXANDER: 1 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 2 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 0 - 0 [Montgomery, KY 1810]
Thomas ALEXANDER: 0 - 2 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 3 - 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 0 - 0 [Somerset, Pulaski, KY 1810]

* *

The Census record of Thomas ALEXANDER, of Montgomery, KY, is precisely consistent with the Census record of the Thomas ALEXANDER later found in Bath, KY, in 1820:

Thomas ALEXANDER: 1 - 1 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 3 - 2 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 [Bloomfield, Bath, KY 1820]

The composition of the household of Thomas ALEXANDER, of Somerset, Pulaski, KY, is very different. It bears mention that Thomas ALEXANDER, of Somerset, Pulaski, seems likely to be somewhat older, possibly closer to the upper end of the Census age range since he has one male and two females shown to be age 10 to 15 (b abt 1795-1800) residing in his household in 1820. Thomas ALEXANDER, of Somerset, Pulaski, seems likely to have married before 1797 and if he was at least age twenty at his marriage, he would have had to be born before 1777. This places him right at roughly the right age, but if he married after age 20 and/or the children didn't come in rapid succession he would seem likely to have been born even earlier.

Moreover, as further related below, Thomas ALEXANDER (b abt Oct 1777, d 10 Aug 1852 - Magnolia, Putnam, IL) is shown to have had a wife named Lucy in the 1850 Census and other evidence shows that he married Lucy BOWMAN In 1805. The Census record of Thomas ALEXANDER, of Montgomery, KY, is rather precisely consistent with an 1805 marriage date, while the Census record of Thomas ALEXANDER, of Somerset, Pulaski, could only be reconciled if we assume the death of a first wife and a remarriage, for which there seems to be no evidence.

There is yet another reason to expect that the Census record of Thomas ALEXANDER, of Montgomery, KY, is the correct one. Bath County was created from Montgomery County on January 15, 1811. Thomas ALEXANDER didn't necessarily move between 1810 and 1820, the county boundaries changed with the creation of Bath County.

Finally, it bears mention that this record makes sense locationally. Thomas ALEXANDER seems to have previously resided (as will be further discussed in a future post) and to have married in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia). One can follow the route of modern Interstate 64 from Greenbrier, WV, to Bath County, Ky, a course of about 245 miles. Of course the highway didn't exist then, but the Interstate snakes its way through rugged terrain following well defined river valleys, as with its course along the Kanawha River. Although rugged, there is a path through the mountains from Greenbrier to Bath County.

By contrast, one would have typically arrived in Pulaski following a very different path, following the valleys on a diagonal the length of Virginia and then following the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and turning North. But frankly, one wouldn't set out for Pulaski from Greenbrier, if other choices were presented. Even though there are other paths, as the crow flies to get from Greenbrier to Pulaski, a modern route planner suggests taking Interstate 64 THROUGH Bath County and then turning South, a journey of some 344 miles.

My point here isn't that Pulaski is an impossible destination, but rather that Pulaski would tend to draw its pioneers (and did) from the South Central Virginia and Western North Carolina areas which were more immediately accessible to the Wilderness Road, rather than from Greenbrier.

* * * * *

MARRIAGE OF THOMAS ALEXANDER

Thomas ALEXANDER is shown to have married Lucy BOWMAN on 19 Jul 1805 in Greenbrier, Virginia (now West Virginia).

See: "West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FRF5-H3T : accessed 26 May 2016), Thos. Alexander and Lucy Bowman, 19 Jul 1805; citing Greenbrier, West Virginia, p2, county clerks, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 595,040.

* * * * *

DEATH AND INTERMENT

The Find A Grave Memorial has Thomas ALEXANDER's date of birth as "1781" and his date of death as 10 Aug 1852.

See: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=42...

There is also a photo of the grave marker at the Find A Grave memorial.

The date of birth shown seems to have been computed based upon a reading of the grave marker to say "Aged 71 Yrs 10 Ms." (October 1780 would be the better estimate if the marker says 71 years.) However, I believe based upon a close inspection of the images shown that the "1" people are reading in "71" is actually a "4" and that the correct reading may be "Aged 74 Yrs 10 Ms." This is clearest from this photo:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=42...

That still doesn't totally resolve the discrepancy with the 1850 report of Thomas ALEXANDER's age as 77, but it would seem to reconcile what would otherwise seemingly be a slight discrepancy with 1830 and 1840 Census records. If Thomas ALEXANDER died at age 74 and 10 months, then the 1830 and 1840 Census records agree with the grave marker, while if he was only age 71 and 10 months at death, his age would have had to have been over reported in those two Census enumerations.

I will certainly admit that I haven't seen this grave marker and am relying upon the photos, but it looks like a "4" rather than a "1" to me. Others are encouraged to inspect the photos and/or the grave marker themselves and to reach their own conclusions.
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