Origin of the Alexander Families of Mecklenburg County

The name, Alexander, is of frequent mention among the nobility of Scotland. About the year 1735 John Alexander married Margaret Gleason, a “bonnie lassie” of Glasgow, and shortly afterward emigrated to the town of Armagh, in Ireland. About 1740, wishing to improve more rapidly his worldly condition, he emigrated with his rising family, two nephews, James and Hugh Alexander, and their sister, who was married to a Mr Polk, to America, and settled in Nottingham, Chester county, Pa. These two nephews, and their brother-in-law, Polk, soon afterward emigrated to Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, then holding forth flattering inducements for settlement. These families, of Scotch-Irish descent, there prospered in their several callings, and early imbibed those principles of civil and religious liberty which stamped their impress on themselves and their descendants, and shone forth conspicuously preceding and during the American Revolution.

About the time of this emigration of the Alexander’s to North Carolina, John Alexander moved to Carlisle, Cumberland county, Pa. While he resided there his son James (James the first) married “Rosa Reed,” of that place. Soon after his marriage he left Carlisle, and settled on “Spring Run,” having purchased a tract of land which covered “Logan’s Springs,” where the celebrated Mingo chief, Logan, then lived. After Logan’s death he moved to the Springs, which valuable property is still owned by the Alexander heirs.

John Alexander, partaking of the roving spirit of the age, left Carlisle, and finally settled in Berkeley county, Va., where he purchased a large farm, and spent the remainder of his days. His son James had twelve children, seven sons and five daughters. One of his daughters, Rachel, married Joseph Vance, of Virginia, the ancestor of ex-Governor Vance, of Ohio, and other descendants. He gave Vance a farm of three hundred acres as an inducement to settle near him. Vance accepted the gift, and soon afterward removed to the farm; but Indian troubles breaking out at that time, he sold his possession and returned to Virginia, selecting a location near Martinsburg.

James Alexander (James the second) had four sons and six daughters. The eldest son (James the third) married his cousin Celia, youngest daughter of Robert Alexander, of whom was a descendant, Robert Alexander (perhaps a son), a captain in the Revolution, who married Mary Jack, third daughter of Patrick Jack, of Charlotte, and settled in Lincoln county, where he died in 1813.

James Porterfield Alexander (James the fourth), and son of James the third, married Annie Augusta Halsey, grand-daughter of the Hon. Jeremiah Morton, and resides, in this centennial year, on the St. Cloud plantation, Rapidan Station, Culpeper county, Va.

Hugh Alexander, son of James the first, married Martha Edmundson, settled in Sherman’s Valley, Pa., and had a large family. He died at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, while sitting as a member to form a State Constitution.

Another prolific source of the Alexander’s in America is traceable to the descendants of seven brothers, who fled from Scotland, on account of political troubles, to the north of Ireland, and passing through the Emerald Isle, sailed for America, and landed in New York in 1716. One of their descendants was William Alexander, born in New York in 1720, a son of James Alexander, of Scotland. He became a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary war, known as “Lord Stirling.” He married a daughter of Philip Livingston (the second lord of the manor), a sister of Governor Livingston, of New Jersey.

From these prolific sources (Scotch and Scotch-Irish) North Carolina, and other States of the American Union, have received their original supplies of Alexanders, embracing, in their expansion, many distinguished names.

In the list of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of the 20th of May, 1775, six bear the name of Alexander, and a “host” of others, officers and privates, honored the name in their heroic achievements during the Revolutionary war. Two of the distinguished teachers in Rowan county, preceding the Revolution, were James Alexander and Robert Brevard.

It is also worthy of mention that one of the “twenty-six” persons who met in Charleston, in the fall of 1766, after the repeal of the Stamp Act, under the leadership of that early patriot, General Christopher Gadsden, rejoiced under the duplicated name of “Alexander Alexander”. He had strayed off from the paternal roof in North Carolina, and was employed there in the honorable calling of schoolmaster. Johnson, in his “Traditions and Reminiscences,” thus speaks favorably of his eminent worth:

“Alexander Alexander was a school-master of high character and popularity. He was a native of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, and educated in the Whig principles of that distinguished district.”

9 thoughts on “Origin of the Alexander Families of Mecklenburg County”

    1. Calvin – I would say yes. I wish there was more information on tracking the brown and black ancestry of this family. My husband belongs to this family in Charlotte. My son in law has done much genealogy research. I know there were many slaves, which was terrible. It is heartbreaking to me the black family history was not better recorded.

    2. Have you submitted your DNA to any of the testing companies? If you do, make sure you then upload it to Gedmatch, to cast a wider net. Very important to do so, especially for descendants of enslavers.

    3. Lauressa Bradshaw

      Dear Calvin,
      In sesrching our heritage, the answer is yes. Last name of my grandmom was Alexander. John Alexander her husband. We are mixed and a very large family. We are dark brown, light brown, beautiful colors. Some as light as white. Lauressa Bradshaw
      Fairing originally from PA, N Carolina.
      Then onto Darke County , Oh. They were mullatos and still investigating. Send an email. We can compare.

  1. Calvin – I would say yes. I wish there was more information on tracking the brown and black ancestry of this family. My husband belongs to this family in Charlotte. My son in law has done much genealogy research. I know there were many slaves, which was terrible. It is heartbreaking to me the black family history was not better recorded.

  2. Thank you for posting this information. I am writing children’s books based on my family history and my husband’s: FitzRandolph and Alexander. We began to research my maiden name this month. We believe I am from the Alexander’s of New York. Yes, I am writing a children’s book about “Lord Stirling” Alexander Revolutionary with General George Washington. Thank you again “Victoria” Darlene Alexander-Randolph

    1. Betsy Alexander Waggoner

      I believe, based on DNA links to Alexanders descended from the Stirling Earls, that these are my ancestors. I would be very interested in purchasing your book when it is published. Can you give me any more information as to when that might be published and how I might purchase it?

  3. Many of the Alexander families of Mecklenburg County, NC were slave owners and later moved to Tennessee, where they continued to own slaves until the emancipation. In my Alexander family very little information was listed in their Tennessee wills, not even their own children. Some of them are listed on the slave schedules in Tennessee, but not on the census. So, I am assuming, as was common, that they owned land in both Tennessee and other states. Several of the Alexander families living in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina during the Revolution later moved to South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, and then to Tennessee. I hope this helps someone. It’s complicated for sure!

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