From: Wally McGahan
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2000 1:03 AM
To: Edna Kokenour
Subject: Your Alexander family records

Importance: High

Dear Edna,

I have received your Alexander file and have been busy studying it.  It was a huge amount of work to compile all that data and I want to thank you for your enormous effort.  I have been struggling now for the better part of a year to try and accomplish far, far less than what you have done, so I understand the scope and value of what you have sent. I am honored and privileged that you will share it with me.

During my own research into my Alexander ancestors I ran across many blind alleys and conflicting pieces of data.  Now that I have your records, I see what appears to me to be some conflicting information, and I want to discuss that with you here.  You may feel that I am somewhat presumptuous to question your data, but I do so with all humility and a sincere interest to ensure that we have the correct facts

My interest and questions only relate to the First and Second Generations, which are those that relate to my own great grandfather Allen.  By the way, you asked about the name Albert Allen, which I used to refer to him.

This comes from a very large piece of genealogical work published in 1988, called “A Stonyford Pedigree“.  This is a 776 page tome that gives the pedigrees of all of the early settlers of Stonyford CA in Glenn and Colusa counties.  It is compiled from the usual sources, census, cemetery, marriage , death and birth records, and family records.  In there they list his name as Albert Allen, born in Brown Co., Ill. 27 Nov. 1833.  I have a copy of his death certificate from March 1, 1921, on which the name Allen Alexander is given.  The data was supplied by my grandfather Charles Alexander and he may not have been sensitive to the niceties, like second names.  Also I note on the death certificate that he lists the birthplace of Allen’s widow, Annie Huffman, as Illinois, whereas we know it was Kentucky.  My grandfather was not a stickler for details.

Now, getting back to your Alexander family records:  my own data agrees (almost) with yours in respect to the children in the second generation.  These are the ones you list as Nos. 4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and 11.  However, my data suggests there was another son, named Elihu, born 23 October 1826, died 4 March 1901, and married Lucinda Logsdon1 on 8 Nov. 1846.2

As I said above, I have the death certificate for my ggfather Allen and the name of his father does not appear there either.3  Finally, I also have a copy of the death certificate for John Houston Alexander, the third son of Allen Sr., and it does not give his parents names either!!  Yet the info was supplied by his daughter Elizabeth Huffman, who should have known.  Women always seem more sensitive to those things, but his parents names are not given.  By the way, the name given on the death certificate by Elizabeth was John Houston Alexander, not Hustead.

But I have some other info that convinces me that Allen is indeed the father of the three men above.  If you go to the web site  www.macomb.com/~ilschuyl/  and find the document “Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Cos., Illinois, 1882” and browse through there you will find a couple of references to Allen Alexander.

I quote here one of the pieces:

“the first school in Woodstock Township was taught by John Taylor in 1827.  The first school in the northern part of the township was taught by Charles Hatfield, in 1833, in a house built that fall of elm poles in an elm grove near Joshua Griffith’s.  The pupils and teacher mixed the mud on the floor of the schol house, after school began, with which they daubed the house at recesses and noon.  Pupils in attendance were William T. and Isaac Black, children of Richard Black; Sarah and Rebecca, children of Jacob Fowler; Houston and Elihu, children of Allen Alexander; James and Thomas, children of Isaaac Sanders; Anderson, Isaac S. and Pressly, children of Mrs. Amelia S. Riley.  The day before Christmas, Anderson and Pressly Riley took the teacher out and wallowed him in snow and left him tied, because he would not treat to whiskey.  The teacher treated to two gallons of whiskey on New Year’s.”  ((emphasis above is mine))

Houston and Elihu were nine and seven years old, respectively, and Allen was just born.  Considering their age, those kids were pretty good drinkers weren’t they?   So, this history quotation establishes to my satisfaction that Allen was the father of both Houston and Elihu, and by connection, Allen as well.  Now let’s look at that connection next.

Turning to the 1840 U.S. Census records for Brown Co. I will try to connect the information there about the Allen Alexander household to that for the subsequent 1850 census for the same family.

Allen Alexander was listed as the head of a household having the following members:4

Probable         *assumes census done in July, so age given reflects that

No.        Sex        Age                       Name            Age*            D.O.B.

1            M          15/20                   John H.           16          11/1824
1            M          10/15                   Elihu                13          10/1826
1            M           5/10                    Allen                 6           11/1833
1            M           40/50                 Allen, Sr.        40/50     /1790-/1800
1            M           60/70                 father?            60/70     /1770-/1780
3            F           under 5                Mary            under 1       1840

Lucy                1              1839

Martha             3             1837

1            F            5/10                    Nancy              5             1835
1             F            10/15                  Margenia         10           1829
1            F            30/40                  wife                30/40       /1800-/1810

Octavia does not appear in this group because she was not yet born in 1840.

The above family group can be coordinated with the 1850 census, which shows John H. Alexander as head of the household, having the following members: 5

Sex        Age            Name                P.O.B.

M            26            John H.                Tenn
M            16            Allen                    Ill.
F              15            Nancy C.              Ill.
F              13            Martha E.             Ill.
F               11            Lucy                    Ill.
F              10             Mary                    Ill.
F               8              Octavia                Ill.

Allen Sr. is missing because he died in 1841, as your data shows

wife is missing because she died in 1847, as your data shows

Margenia is missing because she was probably married, but I don’t know

Elihu is missing because he was married in 1846 & had set up his own household

All the ages given differ by ten years from the 1840 numbers I included.  The ages selected by me for 1840 were consistent with the birthdate information from your records, except for Lucy, whose birthdate you gave in your data as Jan. 1841.  In 1850 she would have been 9 years old, but the 1850 census data lists her as 11.  Do you have any thoughts about this discrepancy?

There are two other discrepancies that I want to point out.  In your Second Generation description of James H. Alexander you say that he died on 4 Dec. 1835.  If so, he could not have been the father of the four girls Martha, Mary, Lucy and Octoavia, because they were all born after he died.  Furthermore, if he was born in 1780, he would have been 44 years old when his first child John H. was born.  This does not seeem likely to me because in those days most people married and had their families early in their life.  For these reasons, I think we have to conclude that he was of an earlier generation, the First, actually the same generation as Allen Sr.

Maybe James was a brother of Allen’s.  Do you have incontrovertible records that show James was Allen’s son?

I believe that what I have shown above leads to the conclusion that Allen Sr. was the father of the nine children, and not James.  In fact, curiously, in your description of Allen in the First Generation, you say “He had 6 daughters and three sons”  I think we know who they are.

One more small piece of information that adds a little bit to the conclusion above are the land records. We know from the 1850 census that the  Alexander home was located in Cooperstown Township.  It was in this township where Allen Sr. bought 40 acres of land in March 1836 in section 6 and an adjacent 40 acres to the north in July 1836.  Section 6 is where Cooperstown Twp. is located.  This transaction can be found at the “Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales Data Base

and at this site enter Brown Co. and name Alexander.  At this same site you can also find that in 1835 Matthew Alexander purchased 80 acres in section 26 in Brown Co. and John Alexander purchased 40 acres in Schuyler Co., section 35.

It appears to me that the land above purchased by Allen is the same land in Cooperstown where the Alexander family lived when the 1840 and 1850 censuses were taken.

If anything I  have presented above seems to be wrong I sure would like to hear from you why it is, because I am no skilled geneologist like you clearly are, so I may have been led astray.

Footnotes

  1. b. Ky 1819 

  2. One of Elihu’s descendants, Priscilla Alexander of Carmel Valley CA, has a family bible with inscriptions supporting all these three dates, but her records do not indicate the name of Elihu’s father. 

  3. How could my grandpaw not have known that name?  Like I said he was not a stickler for details. 

  4. Though the data at the left was given in the census info, the three columns on the right side are the names and ages that I have filled in as my best guess. 

  5. all given info is from the census data