In March of 1863, Muhammad Ali’s ancestor Archer Alexander was brutally beaten and thrown in the St. Louis slave pens, to be sold south.
The Emancipation Monument “Freedom’s Memorial” was paid for entirely by funds from the formerly enslaved. It sits in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. today. It was dedicated by Frederick Douglass on April 14, 1876.
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.
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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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…
This would have been 23 year-old Archer’s first encounter of a place where blacks enjoyed freedom! Campbell would write: Next day passed through a barren corner of Harrison Co. It is destitute of both wood and water. Poor soil covered with low brush. The roads alternately good and bad.Crossed Blue River at Fredericksburg…
Next day proceeded on our way to Louisville, a handsome well built business-like place on the Ohio River. Staid sometime in market house which was abundantly supplies with fish, flesh, fruit and vegetables. Supplied ourselves with provisions and left…
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.
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.
The sharing of this journal shares the story of twenty five enslaved people owned by the Alexander, McCluer and Wilson families on their way to Missouri…While the enslaved people handled the children, cooked the evening meal, set up the tents, gathered water at the river and fed the livestock, William Campbell entered the day’s activities into his journal…
Entered Lexington, KY, a large town with many fine brick houses, but it has the appearance to be declining. No new buildings are going up. It has got its growth. Took road to Frankfort. Staid that night at William McCluer’s 7 miles from Lexington.
from the journal of William Campbell of Lexington, Virginia…with the slave Archer Alexander… writes… Entered Bourbon County. A fine rich county with elegant brick houses. Went through Millersburg, a small town with four churches and Paris the County town. In and about Paris are a number of extensive hemp and cotton factories. Traveled 23 miles…… Continue reading 18 September 1829 – Twenty-third Entry
from the journal of William Campbell as they journey from Virginia, through Kentucky, to Missouri, with Archer Alexander…Traveled 17 miles. Passed over Fleming River into Nicholas County. County and roads rough. Crossed Licking River. Passed through the county town of Nickolas County, a handsome town with a fine courthouse..
of the journal of William Campbell, leading four families and their enslaved people from Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County, Missouri… Rain. Fleming County is richer than those we had before passed through; some good houses.
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
William Campbell was a young attorney, in search of a place to set up a law practice in the future. The weather has become rainy, and the terrain is very rough, with only small settlements. Determined to see the Courthouse in every County Seat along the way, he has moved on to Clarksburg, Kentucky…
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.
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.
Passed by Greenupsburg, KY, a handsome little village on a bottom of the Ohio River. The beautiful new steamboat Virginia cam sailing majestically down the Ohio River. My brother, [Charles Fenelon Campbell] took passage on her for Ripley, Ohio.
William Campbell’s journal – Had great difficultly ferrying the mouth of Big Sandy. The ferry and ford filled with quick sands and the banks almost impassable for heavy loaded wagons. We here left the state of Virginia, and entered Greenup Co, Kentucky.
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…
This is Archer Alexander’s journey from Virginia to Missouri in 1829, as told by William Campbell “Made an early start; left the river. Crossed the Cole Mountains a small bridge, roads tolerable and encampted at two fine springs near Mud River, a branch of Guyandotte…
7 September 1829…crossed the river in the horse boat. Our party now consists of fifty five persons, 20 horses, 10 dogs and 4 cows. One of our carriage horses had become very lame in Charleston and we had to leave it with Mr. Calhoun…
The Journey continues… This is the journal of William Campbell, leading four families, Alexander, McCluer, Wilson and Icenhower from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to Dardenne Prairie, in Saint Charles County Missouri. ” Our wagons arrived and we put 5,000 pounds out of them into a keel boat to go by water”…
“We this day passed through the rich narrow bottoms of Kanawha, a great part of which is covered with a heavy crop of corn. Ten miles of the valley are called “the Licks” from their being covered with salt works. There are sixty furnaces which manufacture 2,000,000 bushels of salt annually” through the labor of the enslaved. Read more…
This is the journal of William Campbell leading a caravan in 1829, with Archer Alexander… to read more….
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.
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.
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…
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.
https://videopress.com/v/5vcVWNtH?preloadContent=metadata Stop Congress from removing the Emancipation Monument from our Nation’s Capitol. Add your name to the Petition today. This is the only memorial entirely paid for by thousands of formerly enslaved and U.S. Colored Troops in our Nation’s capitol. https://www.change.org/EmancipationMonumentDC Emancipation Monument or Freedom’s Memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places…… Continue reading Stop removing our history
In July 2019, Archer Alexander’s great-great-great grandson Keith Winstead and author Dorris Keeven-Franke visited Lexington and the Rockbridge Historical Society in Virginia.
“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!
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 .
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.
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.”*
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.
Take a closer look please, as Archer’s shackles have been broken and he is rising to stand next to Lincoln.
Boston’s copy was placed there as a tribute to the people of Boston who were the nation’s largest contributors to the Western Sanitary Commission. That is what people of America saw when they visited your statue in the 1870s.
In 1829, a small group of four families, Campbell, McCluer, Wilson and Alexander, all wealthy and well educated . planters from Virginia, came with their enslaved, about two dozen of them. They settled in “Dardenne” along the Booneslick Road, south of the Zumwalt place, (O’Fallon) in St. Charles County, Missouri. They were all members of…… Continue reading Looking for descendants
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”.
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.
Learn the Hidden History of the Emancipation Monument from historians, researchers and authors.