Searching for more descendants

The untold story of Archer Alexander is the life of an enslaved Virginian born in 1806, and brought to Missouri in 1829. An intelligent man, considered uppity, he wanted freedom. He would work with his fellow slaves in 1836 to build the home of William Campbell on the Boone’s Lick Road. By 1844, he was sold and had become property of John Pitman.

Home of William Campbell, built in 1836, on Hwy N in St. Charles County Missouri.

In February of 1863, Archer Alexander would overhear the area men talking about how they had sawed the timbers on the Peruque Creek Railroad Bridge and that there were arms stored for the Confederates in Campbell’s icehouse. Risking his life, he warned the Union troops called Krekel’s Dutch stationed at the bridge. Immediately under suspicion, he fled via the Underground Railroad and friendly Germans in the area. If caught he would definitely been lynched like Absolom White. Taken into the home of William G. Eliot, a Unitarian minister and head of the Western Sanitary Commission, who was also in danger due to Missouri’s Fugitive Slave Act.

In February of 1863, Union troops called Krekel’s Home Guard would be assigned the vital link, the railroad bridge at Peruque Creek in St. Charles County, Missouri. Archer Alexander would run five miles at night in the dark in the dead of winter, to risk his life to warn the troops that area slaveholders had worked to undermine the bridge by sawing the timbers.

Later, Eliot would write a fictionalized account of Archer Alexander and see that he was the slave represented on the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, DC. Today, we know the site of Archer Alexander’s grave, where he was buried on December 8, 1880 and the names of nine of his children born before 1845 after he and his wife Louisa were separated. If you are a descendant please email stcharlescountyhistory@gmail.com and share your story. A reunion is being planned in August of 2019 in St. Charles. Please share our story!

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