William Alexander Fought The British

  • Wednesday, April 5, 2017
  • John Wilson

William Alexander fought the British in the Revolutionary War and also went on expeditions against the Cherokee Indians. He spent his last days at the home of his son, David Alexander, at Dallas in Hamilton County. Several of his descendants were in the Civil War on the Union side.

William Alexander was born in 1749 and was residing in Augusta County, Va., in September 1774 when he was drafted as a militia man under Capt. James Ewing and Lt. George Gibson.They "marched to the Warm Springs, then to Warwick's Fort on Greenbrier River and then to George Westfall's fort on a branch of the Monongahala River in Tiger Valley where they remained to guard the fort.'' At the end of July 1776, he volunteered for an expedition against the Cherokees under Capt. John Lyle, Lt. William McCutcheon and Ensign Joseph Long. They marched "by way of Anderson's Ferry on James River, English's Ferry on New River and Fort Chissel to Maj. Anthony Bledsoe's on the waters of Holston.'' He was among the troops building a fort on Long Island under Col. Russell, then under Col. William Christian.

William Alexander in 1778 moved to Washington County, Va., and in August 1780 he was drafted under Ensign William Davidson "who was engaged with a detachment in hunting the celebrated Tory Isaac Lebo who had done considerable damage to the inhabitants.'' The troops took Lebo's stock of horses and cattle and sold them "for the benefit of the United States.'' That same September, Alexander joined the regiment commanded by Col. William Campbell along with Cols. John Sevier and Isaac Shelby. They "marched by way of Holston and Watauga rivers, Yellow Mountain, Green River, Broad River, and at Cherokee Ford (four days march from King's Mountain) the mounted troops were ordered ahead and the foot troops to follow. After marching a day or two they met the troops returning, the battle of King's Mountain having been fought.'' Alexander assisted in escorting British and Troy prisoners to Salisbury, N.C.That December, Alexander marched under Col. Arthur Campbell and John Sevier to the Holston, the French Broad and on to "Highwassee River, crossing little Tennessee at Toquotown. The troops were fired at by the Indians in crossing rivers and from the mountains but had no battles. They took several prisoners and destroyed 18 towns.''

William Alexander later moved to the rich country at Knox County he had passed on that expedition. An article in the Knoxville Register of July 25,1838, noted that William Alexander had died "at the residence of his son, David Alexander, near Dallas, Hamilton County, June 15. Age abt. 89 yrs.''

David Alexander, who was born in Virginia in 1792, made his way to Blount County, Tn. There he married Elizabeth Conn in 1815. The Alexanders and the Conns pushed on down to Hamilton County, settling at Harrison near the Ganns, Madduxes and Daughterys. David Alexander died in the 1850s.

Elizabeth Conn Alexander was living at Harrison with her children Abigail, Eliza J., Martha and Samuel D. at the time of the start of the Civil War. Eliza J. never married. When she died in 1910, she was buried with other family members at the Maddux Cemetery at Harrison.

Several years after the end of the war, Abigail married Francis M. Capps, who was keeper of the toll bridge over Chickamauga Creek. Martha married William Capps, a son of Francis Capps. They had a daughter, Sarah Capps, before William Capps marched away with Union troops. He was among those killed in the war. Sarah Capps later married George Oliver McDaniel.

Another son of David and Elizabeth Alexander was Hugh C., who was born in 1817. He married Margaret Denny, a daughter of the early Hamilton County settler Robert Denny. Hugh Alexander lived near Ooltewah close to the Bradley County line. The editor of the Cleveland Banner commented sarcastically on Nov.17, 1870, at the time lines were being run for the formation of James County. He said, "All right,you can come ahead provided you run the line so as to leave Peter Monger and Hugh Alexander in Hamilton. Bradley has enough of ugly men already without taking in new recruits, especially such hard favored gents as Pete and Hugh.'' Hugh Alexander's occupation was listed as carpenter.

The 10 children of Hugh and Margaret Alexander were Daniel Jefferson, Melsey Jane, Nancy, Robert Denny, Thomas A., Joseph, Drucilla Margaret, Virginia, Mary C. and Clarinetta. Daniel Jefferson Alexander joined the Union's Co. E of the Fifth Tennessee Infantry along with his uncle, Samuel. They enlisted at Harrison in October 1864 and served until mustered out at Nashville the following July. Daniel J. Alexander rose to the rank of sergeant and Samuel Alexander was elevated to corporal. Samuel Alexander never married and he died in 1911. He was buried at the Maddux Cemetery.

Daniel J. Alexander married Jane McCormick Ritchie, whose first husband, Charlie Ritchie, had been shot and killed at his front door. They had one child, Charlie Ritchie Jr. Children of Daniel J. and Jane Alexander were Margaret Jessie who married Will Hodge, William who died as an infant, Robert Denny who married Jessie Coffman, John who married Grace Carter, Daniel Jefferson Jr. who married Lena Henry, Martha Ellen who married Ernest Matheny, and Samuel Burke who married Alma Ozelle Rutledge. Nancy married William Humphrey and they both died of tuberculosis. She died in 1878 and he died in 1880. Drucilla married Daniel Ross. Mary C. married Thomas Andrew Parrott. Clarinetta married James Madison Davis. Nancy, Drucilla, Mary C. and Clarinetta and their families are buried at the new Harrison Cemetery.

The Robert Denny Alexander family moved to Oklahoma, and Thomas and Joseph Alexander made their way to Texas. Robert Denny Alexander married Elizabeth Jane Henry. Robert Denny Alexander died in 1923 and his wife in 1932. They are buried at Wilson, Okla.

Juanita Barnard Johnson of Harrison researched the Alexander family. She is a descendant of Thomas Andrew Parrott and Mary C. Alexander.

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