October 8, 1829 – the final entry

When Archer arrived in Dardenne Prairie in Saint Charles County on October 8th in 1829, he was 23 years old. Born in 1806, his parents Aleck and Chloe were the property of the Alexander family. He was owned by James Alexander of Rockbridge County, near Lexington, in Virginia. His wife Louisa, born as property of the McCluer family, and was part of the dowry of James’ wife Nancy. Together Archer and Louisa would have ten children, Ralph, Nellie, Wesley, Eliza, Mary Ann, Archer, Jim, Aleck, Lucinda, and John.

1 & 2 October 1829 – Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh entry

The enslaved person called Archey, was named for William Campbell’s maternal grandfather, Archibald Alexander, who was also an ancestor of the Alexander and McCluer families also in the caravan. All Presbyterian elders, and farmers in Virginia, they had served in the Revolutionary War and all owned slaves. Archer, who was born in 1806, also had a son named Archer Alexander who may have born as early as 1828. Archer’s father Aleck, was said to have been born in Africa, and brought to America. He had heard the Declaration of Independence read many times, by his owner’s sons and grandsons who had fought in the War with Great Britain. He knew the words well… read more

30 September 1829 – Thirty-fifth entry

Forty one days ago, on August 20, 1829 William Campbell first wrote: I started from Lexington, Virginia on a journey to the state of Missouri. My own object in going to that remote section of the Union was to seek a place where I might obtain an honest livelihood by the practice of law. I travel in company with four families containing about 50 individuals, white and black.

29 September 1829 – Thirty-fourth entry

Like his father and mother before him, Archer had never been away from Rockbridge County Virginia where he had been born in 1806. He had never seen anything what he’d encountered these past six weeks. The caravan had entered Illinois, where the first state Constitution in 1818 stated that while slavery shall not be “thereafter introduced” it was still to be tolerated. Illinois was a ‘free state’ all the same, and this was something that Archer would always remember. He also thought No sight can be more magnificent…

28th September 1829 – Thirty-third entry

The caravan completed its’ crossing of the state of Indiana. America was on the move.These things are not on the mind of these fifty weary travelers, of which Archer Alexander is a member. In 1876, the Freedom’s Memorial a monument in Washington, D.C. was the vision of thousands of the formerly enslaved people that President Lincoln had helped free. The monument with Archer Alexander (1806-1880) portrays a slave who had worked to free himself, had broken and thrown off his shackles and was rising with the vision of the future on his face. The face of freedom.

27 September 1829 – Thirty-second entry

On the 27th of September the caravan is crossing Indiana. This is the journal of William Campbell, moving four families from Rockbridge County Virginia to Saint Charles County Missouri. The caravan is made up of just four families. Between the Alexander, McCluer and Wilson families, they own twenty-five people, half of the caravan. Archer Alexander is a part of this. Its’ 1829, and America is on the move.

26 September 1829 – Thirty-first entry

On the road for thirty-seven days, William Campbell’s journal tells us that Archer and the caravan have traveled over five-hundred miles. As these four families, and their enslaved people from Lexington, Virginia move to Saint Charles County in Missouri they would also travel through today’s West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. In 1829, roads were… read more

25 September 1829 – Thirtieth entry

The caravan is on the migratory route of buffalo, known as the Buffalo Trace, facing several difficulties now. The roads are bad and rocky, and are thickly wooded. When their best horse dies from eating green corn, William Campbell blames the locals. Things are not going well for Archer and the group that left Lexington, Virginia, back on August 20. William Campbell seems to feel the local population is not the most welcoming he’s encountered either. They are near Portersville, crossing DuBois County in Indiana…

22 September 1829-Twenty-seventh entry

This is the journey of Archer, the enslaved property of James Alexander of Lexington, Virginia. Alexander is a member of a caravan of families moving from Rockbridge County, Virginia to Saint Charles County Missouri. If we listen closely to this journal of William Campbell, we might hear the voices of the enslaved… after all this is their story too. Archer Alexander is the face of freedom on the Emancipation Monument in Washington DC.

21 September 1829 – Twenty-sixth Entry

This is the journey of Archer, the enslaved property of James Alexander of Lexington, Virginia. Alexander is a member of a caravan of families moving to St. Charles County in Missouri being led by his cousin William Campbell, a young attorney hoping to set up a law practice there. If we listen closely to Campbell’s words, we might hear the voices of the enslaved… after all this is their story too.

15 September 1829 – Twentieth Entry

from William Campbell’s journal…with the slave Archer Alexander…moving from Virginia to Missouri,,,
Hard rain in the morning. Very wet. Proceeded to Flemingsburg, a flourishing town of about 1,000 persons. It has a large proportion of well built brick houses. Saw a cotton factory, on a small scale. Encamped at Sulphur Spring one mile from Flemingsburg… read more

13 September 1829 – Eighteenth Entry

from the journal of William Campbell of Lexington, Virginia…with a slave named Archer… It being Sunday we laid by to rest man and horses, Rain in the morning. Crossed the river in a skiff and took a walk in the great free State of Ohio. Campbell has halted the caravan in the small town of Vanceburg, Kentucy as it is the County Seat of Lewis County. Its raining and the group needs rest, Campbell wants to attend church.
read more….

12 September 1829 – Seventeenth Entry

Today’s entry describes a recent uprising against a slave trader named Gorden, that had occurred nearly three weeks earlier. His partner Petit, and his wagon driver named Allen had been killed. Six slaves were to be hung for their murder. This is the same road that Campbell and thousands of other families are using to travel to Missouri. The incident would also make the newspapers as far away as Philadelphia ten days after the event.

9 September 1829 – Fourteenth Entry

This is the journal entry of William Campbell who was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and kept a journal the fall of 1829 as he and four other families: Alexander, McCluer, Wilson and Icenhower moved to Dardenne township, in Saint Charles County Missouri. This entry shares the roads, rivers and villages they encountered. What it doesn’t share is the voices of the enslaved people, that we now know includes Archer, that are also part of this journey from Virginia to Missouri…

25 August 1829 – Sixth entry

We entered on a very mountainous region crossed Meadow Mountain, Big and Little Sewell and numerous other ridges, for which the inhabitants say thay cannot afford names. Written in 1829, this is the journal of William M. Campbell. This is also the story of Archer Alexander, an enslaved man born in Lexington, Virginia, who was taken to Missouri in 1829 and who is with President Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. today.

24 August 1829 – Fifth entry

Staid in Lewisburg until evening. It was a quarterly court and a day of great resort in Lewisburg. Started in the evening and came to Pierce’s [Pierie’s] ten miles over the Muddy Creek Mountain. Fared well. This is also the story of Archer Alexander, an enslaved man born in Lexington, Virginia, who was taken to Missouri in 1829 and who is with President Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. today. Excerpt of the journal of William Campbell.

23 August 1829 – Fourth entry

Came to Callahan’s for breakfast. A fine Tavern stand. Finely kept by the owner who is much a gentleman. We now commenced traveling on the turnpike. The road is very excellent considering the mountainous regions through which it passes – crosses the Alleghany. Passed the White Sulpher Springs where there were two hundred visitors. Written in 1829, this is the journal of William M. Campbell. This is also the story of Archer Alexander, an enslaved man born in Lexington, Virginia, who was taken to Missouri in 1829 and who is with President Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. today.

22 August 1829 – Third entry

Written 191 years ago, this is the journal of William M. Campbell. This is also the story of Archer Alexander, an enslaved man born in Lexington, Virginia, who was taken to Missouri in 1829 and who is with President Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. today. Campbell’s journal is being shared so that we may hear all the voices, including those whose voices were not shared originally.

21 August 1829 – Second entry

On this date, this is the journal entry of William M. Campbell. This is also the story of Archer Alexander, an enslaved man born in Lexington, Virginia, taken to Missouri in 1829, who is with President Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. today. Our story began on August 20th in Rockbridge County Virginia. Four families, the McCluer, Alexander, Wilson and Icenhauer. They were well-educated and whose fathers had fought for America’s Independence.. These were families that had small farms and large plantations, worked by their enslaved, just as many generations had before them. Missouri was a young state with lots of inexpensive land that would allow these families to continue the only way of life they had known since 1619. Fifty people, both black and white would make this journey together…

20 August 1829 – First entry

In 1829, over fifty people from Virginia, both black and white would fill a caravan from Lexington, in Rockbridge County and head for Dardenne Township in St. Charles County Missouri. This is their story, as taken from the Journal of William Campbell, who first settled on the Boone’s Lick Road. If you look closely and listen, you might hear the voices of the enslaved. Follow their journey, along the way babies will be born and children will die. More would join them in Kentucky and others will depart in Ohio. They were headed to the land of opportunity, and what the Germans called the Garden of Eden.

Freedom

“Now I’m free! I thank the good Lord that he has delivered me from all my troubles, and I’ve lived to see this.” Such were the words of Archer Alexander when he saw the photograph of himself on the Emancipation Monument, which was to be dedicated in 1876 by the great orator Frederick Douglass in Lincoln Park on the 11th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Totally paid for by the former enslaved people of America. The first such monument in Washington, D.C. and the first ever to feature Lincoln with the people he saw achieve their freedom. Our treasured right that we all celebrate today!

An American Hero

Archer can still be seen today, rising from his knees, his shackles broken, looking up towards Lincoln. Archer Alexander is no longer just a local boy, as he rises next to Lincoln on the Emancipation Memorial today, in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C.. Please sign the Petition to save the monument .

Save the Emancipation Memorial in DC

It is said that those that do not know their history, are doomed to repeat it. Let us all rise up, by learning the truth of our history. Our ancestors, fought side by side to put an end to slavery. There are those of us that are willing to stand side by side, to once again raise our voices and take a risk for something we all believe in.

Keep the Emancipation Memorial Statue

Who was Keith Winstead’s ancestor Archer Alexander? In 1863, he was a man who chose to do the right thing. When he overheard his master plotting to sabotage the local railroad bridge, he risked being lynched and reported it. He fled from St Charles County to St. Louis, where he was taken into the home of Eliot, who worked to see Archey emancipated. Eliot wrote “His freedom came directly from the hand of President Lincoln”. When Archey saw a picture of the final monument his words were “Now I’se free.”*

Eyes of the Time

It would take years, but in 1876, with the help of the Western Sanitary Commission, that monument would become a reality. That simple bronze monument, with two figures, a tall white man, and a black man rising on one knee, alongside him. The first ever to include a black person in our Nation’s Capital.

St. Louis

When Lincoln, a personal friend to Eliot, was assassinated, the formerly enslaved wanted a monument to Lincoln, and St. Louis’ former slave, Archer Alexander would be the one, to represent them, rising up and as Eliot says “breaking his own chains”.

William Greenleaf Eliot

Within two years, he would take in a Fugitive Slave from St. Charles County, and under that law, could have been jailed himself. However, he would instead assist that slave in achieving that freedom, an act that he said President Lincoln himself (who was a personal friend) helped in.