Now over 150 years later we will honor the life of this hero with two important events, on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Saint Charles City and County will recognize this hero Archer Alexander at 10 am in the morning in front of the OPO Startups at 119 South Main, where the courthouse stood in 1863. At 1 pm, that afternoon, his family invites the public to join them for a Memorial Service for this heroic man’s life, in the St. Peters UCC Cemetery at 2101 Lucas and Hunt Cemetery in St. Louis County (Normandy).
Imagine yourself enslaved in a state that is caught between two hostile forces. On a cold winter’s night in Missouri in January 1863, Archer Alexander overheard his enslaver Richard Pitman holding a secret meeting in the back room of the local Postmaster and storeowner James Naylor, in his mercantile on the Boone’s Lick Road in St. Charles County. Area slave owners were plotting the destruction of a vital rail link for the Union Army at the Peruque Creek Bridge, about five miles away. Without a word to his wife Louisa, who was enslaved by Naylor, he took off in the dark for the Union troop’s guardhouse, to warn them of the impending danger and what he knew.
On April 14, 1876, a 70-year-old black man named Archer Alexander, would be immortalized as the man that represented the former enslaved on the Freedom Memorial in our Nation’s Capital. President Lincoln was the very man who had given him freedom …
Archer’s wife was Louisa, property of Nancy McCluer, James Alexander’s wife. James and Nancy Alexander lived together with their four children in their cabin which was on the Boone’s Lick Road.
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.
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”.