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

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…

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

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.

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…

A journey into the past

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.

The Emancipation Memorial

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.