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…… Read more “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”.
It had taken them nearly two months to travel from Lexington, in Rockbridge County Virginia to Dardenne, in St. Charles County Missouri. This is where the enslaved Archer Alexander would spend the next 34 years of life, dreaming of freedom.
This is the journal of William Massilon Campbell written from August 20, 1829 until October 8, 1829, describing a journey from Rockbridge County Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri. The transcript is located in the collections of Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia. We are deeply indebted to the Library, and Lisa McCown. Editor is Dorris Keeven-Franke.
On the 27th and 28th of September the caravan crossed Indiana. This is the journal of William Campbell, traveling to Saint Charles Missouri with Archer Alexander.
An epidemic of cholera broke out in Hindostan in 1820. Water- and insect-borne illnesses were the bane of many towns on the Midwestern frontier. Situated along rivers for the purpose of easy transportation, towns were often built on flood plains that bred insects in huge numbers.
Next day came through a rough country with a miserable population of the lowest order. Country is limestone. Some stone coal. Water bad from wells.Encamped at Markells,,…… Read more “Entry 30 – Date 25 September 1829”
This would have been 23 year-old Archer Alexanders first encounter with freedom!
Archer Alexander is leaving Kentucky and passing through the free state of Indiana… Next day proceeded on our way to Lewisville (now called Louisville) a handsome well…… Read more “Entry 28 – Date 23 September 1829”
THIS IS THE JOURNAL OF WILLIAM CAMPBELL (1805-1849) LEADING SEVERAL FAMILIES FROM LEXINGTON, IN ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA TO ST. CHARLES COUNTY MISSOURI, WRITTEN IN 1829. AMONG THEM IS ARCHER ALEXANDER, BORN IN 1806, IN ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA THIS JOURNAL IS LOCATED IN THE COLLECTIONS OF THE LEYBURN LIBRARY, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, LOCATED AT THE WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY, IN LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA, AND FOR WHICH WE ARE DEEPLY INDEBTED TO LISA MCCOWN. EDITOR IS DORRIS KEEVEN-FRANKE
It being Sunday Staid next day to rest our horses and selves, it being Sunday.*This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849) leading four families from Lexington,…… Read more “Entry 26 Date 21 September 1829”
Trailblazer, Daniel Boone (1734-1820) lived his final years in St. Charles and Warren County, Missouri. Originally buried on another hillside overlooking the Missouri River, next to his wife Rebecca, his body was supposedly disinterred and returned to Frankfort, Kentucky in 1845.
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.
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 and encamped on the land of James McDowell.
Passed by the spot where two negro traders had been murdered by their chained slaves 2 or 3 weeks before. The torn fragments of their clothes were…… Read more “Entry 17 Date 12 September 1829”
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.
Travelers relied on the surveyors and their notes, maps like this one, and published travel diaries often published in the newspapers, to make their journey. Routes followed rivers for watering their cattle and horses, and breaks in the mountainsides, which were called a “pass” meaning you could get through, certain months of the year.
This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849) leading four families from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, written in 1829. There are 55 people in this caravan, 25 of which are enslaved. Among the enslaved is Archer Alexander, born in 1806, and with him is also his own son, Wesley. His mother is the nurse for the McClure’s youngest child. This journal is located in the collections of the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, and for which we are deeply indebted to Lisa McCown. Editor and author is Dorris Keeven-Franke.
A great profusion of Peaches were found all along the road from Greenbrier Virginia to Greenup Kentucky. We fared well on peach pies, etc.
…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…
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.
This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849),, on a journey from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, written in 1829, and includes the story of the enslaved Archer Alexander. It can be found in the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia.
We entered on a very mountainous region crossed Meadow Mountain, Big and Little Lewell and numerous other ridges, for which the inhabitants say thay cannot afford names.
8.24.29 Staid in Lewisburg Staid in Lewisburg until evening. It was a quarterly court and a day of great resort in Lewisburg. Started in the evening and…… Read more “Entry 5 From Virginia to Missouri”
A Fine Tavern Stand 8.23.29 Came to Callahan’s for breakfast. A fine Tavern stand. Finely kept by the owner who is much a gentleman. We now commenced…… Read more “Entry 4 From Virginia to Missouri”
Made an early start, crossed the Warm Spring Mountain, lately improved by turn piking. Passed the Warm Springs where there were forty visitors and Hot Springs, where there were sixty.
Took a final leave of all my fathers family and turned our faces toward the West. We found the roads very bad and of course traveled slowly. Crossed the North Mountain and at noon ate a harty meal of bread, beef and cheese at a spring on the side of Mill Mountain.
Our purpose is to share the story of these people, both white and black, who made this trek of over 800 miles, and not only the mountains and the plains that they crossed, but the rivers they followed. In 1829, they would all walk the same pathway, climb the same hillsides, and follow the same rivers. The women and children would ride in the wagons, and the men and many of the enslaved would follow on foot. Join us as we follow their journey, and share photos taken today in July of 2019, in order to gain a better understanding of their journey.
In an effort to trace Alexander’s early roots Keith Winstead and I will begin in Virginia. Join us as we take a journey along the same route, footstep by footstep, laid out in Campbell’s diary that brought these people to Missouri. Winstead, who shares the DNA of his cousin Muhammad Ali, has been researching his family for thirty years. We invite you to share in this journey of Discovery.
Archer Alexander descendant Keith Winstead and I will make that journey again and share that story on the Archer Alexander blog. Starting in July, you too can follow the Archer Alexander blog and join in the journey. To truly know an ancestor, we sometimes have to take a walk in their shoes. What better way to understand a story, than to take the journey for oneself?
The search for that special slave known as Archer Alexander has begun and needs to be found. Only then can that “true” story, as Keith Alexander calls it, be really known. Not easy when you are trying to find the genealogy of a slave. This is what is known as thorough and exhaustive research, for those of you who like the leaf, click and save method. And while it is not easy, the rewards are truly “Amazing”!
Beginning on July 15, 2019, we will once again make a Journey to Missouri and share the story from Virginia, through Kentucky, and visit all of the places in their journal. Join us in our journey as we share the past and the present, and the untold story of Archer Alexander.
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,…… Read more “Searching for more descendants”
Using DNA the family is looking for other descendants of Archer Alexander. They are planning a reunion in St. Charles County in August 2019.
When his friend William Greenleaf Eliot shared a photograph of the Emancipation Memorial with Archer Alexander, he emotionally exclaimed I’se free![i] The bronze monument features Alexander, an enslaved African-American on one knee and wearing a slave’s cuff and rising before President Abraham Lincoln. It was dedicated April 14th, 1876, marking the 11thAnniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The beautiful monument located in Lincoln Park was placed[ii]in direct view of the U.S. Capitol during America’s period of Reconstruction, and is the only Washington, D.C. monument featuring an African-American and funded entirely by America’s former enslaved themselves.
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.
Originally posted on Dorris Keeven Franke:
I thought I was familiar with the story of Archer Alexander, the slave that portrays the gratitude the African Americans felt…