From Mecklenburg to Moore: Four North Carolina Families

John Smith Alexander and Margaret Matilda Stilwell


Margaret S. Alexander, Loula R. Alexander and children, ca. 1926

Telemacus Alexander
& Hannah Smith, parents
of John Smith Alexander
John Smith Alexander &
Margaret Matilda Stilwell
Silas Nelson Stilwell
& Mary Williamson,
Parents of Margaret Stilwell
Children of John Smith & Margaret Stilwell Alexander:
Julia Oscar Oswald Frank Lelia Belle

John Smith Alexander and his twin, Silas Washington Alexander were born December 22, 1826 in Mecklenburg County, to Telemacus and Hannah Smith Alexander.1 Smith's father died when he and his twin were fifteen years old, and they lost their mother only four years later. They continued to live on the family farm near Sharon Presbyterian Church with their brothers and sisters through the time the 1860 census was taken. All of them became members of the church and attended together on a regular basis.

During the Civil War, Smith served in Company F of the 63rd Regiment of North Carolina Troops, 5th Regiment North Carolina Cavalry, along with his brothers James Wallace and William.2 Washington and their other two brothers served together in the infantry.

After the war, in 1868, a member of Sharon Church named William McCall married a young woman from the Sardis community, Frances Stilwell.3 Frances's identical twin sister, Maggie, lived with her4 and became a member of the church on April 13, 1867.5 Margaret Matilda Stillwell (photograph above, far right, 1926), and Smith married on December 11, 1873.6. Maggie and her twin were the daughters of Silas Nelson Stillwell and Mary Williamson7.

In 1881 Maggie and Smith bought a farm from her father, located near Matthews, in the Morning Star Township,8 where they raised cotton. All their children were born in Mecklenburg County. Around 1896 they moved their family to Moore County, to a farm on River Road, by the Deep River. There they joined Euphronia Presbyterian Church in October of 1896.9 He died November 24, 1904. Maggie continued to live on Deep River until she died on July 16, 1931. Their graves are at Euphronia, in Lee County.10

Click here to read more about Smith and Maggie Alexander


Children of Smith and Maggie Alexander


John Smith Alexander and Margaret Stillwell had 6 children:

Julia L. Alexander was born September 25, 1874 and died July 29, 1875. She may have been named for the daughter of Stonewall Jackson, who was greatly admired by her father. She was buried at Sharon Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. In 1954, her brother Oswald found the gravesite and had a monument placed there.11

Oscar Sample Alexander, the oldest son, was born October 11, 1876.12 He apparently was named for Reverend Oscar Sample, whose grave is in the Sharon Presbyterian Church cemetery. Oscar owned a farm on River Road, on the same side of the road as his parents. He married Mary Belle (Mamie) Reynolds of Moore County.13 Mamie was born February 14, 1888. Her parents were George W. Reynolds and Annie M. McPherson.14 Oscar and Mamie Reynolds Alexander, 1930

During the Great Depression, Oscar suffered heavy financial losses as a cotton broker. The couple had seven children, and Mamie was determined that all of them would attend college. For several years during the 'thirties, while Oscar ran a hardware store in Goldston, Mamie ran a boarding house for students in Durham, so that her sons could attend Duke University. Her establishment served meals for as many as forty students and furnished lodging for a few, including nieces and nephews, one of whom was Willie Alexander, who waited tables.15 Mamie's determination enabled her children to later pursue careers in education, dentistry, law, and politics.

After the Depression, Oscar and Mamie moved to Kannapolis, where Oscar was executive secretary for the Merchants Association, and Mamie worked in his office as a secretary.16 They later went into the real estate business and built and rented houses.

Oscar died April 2, 195017 and Mamie died in 1951.18 They were buried at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis.


Read about Oscar and Mamie Alexander's children--
the success story of a determined mother.



Oswald Alexander

Oswald Ulysses Alexander (photograph at left, at home in Carthage around 1955) was born October 3, 1878.19 After the family's move, he attended Salemburg Academy in Sampson County, where he coached the baseball team.

Oswald owned a farm on the other side of River Road from his parents.20 He married Rosa Cagle, the sister of Mamie Cagle Richardson.21 She was born December 18, 1890. They had one child.

Oswald was an elder in both Euphronia Presbyterian Church22 and the First Presbyterian Church at Carthage, and was a Mason for over fifty years. He died November 7, 1964, and Rosa died November 4, 1978. Their grave is at Cross Hill Cemetery in Carthage.23


Frank and Loula Alexander

William Franklin Alexander was born October 20, 1880, in Matthews, N.C.24 He was educated at Salemburg Academy, where he also played baseball. He farmed and owned a saw mill and ran a butcher shop in Vass during the Depression years, and was an elder in Vass Presbyterian Church.25 He married Loula Isabella Richardson (in group photograph above, center), born April 21, 1891.26 (Wedding photograph at right.) They had nine children. She died February 26, 194327, and he died August 4, 194528. They were buried at Johnson Grove Cemetery in Vass, N.C.

One of their sons, Quenton Carlisle Alexander (in photograph at top, to left of baby), was also buried at Johnson Grove. He was born July 19, 1920 and died January 27, 1935.29 Their oldest son, Jack Harrison Alexander, (the boy in the cap in the photograph) was born in 1915 and died in 1992 in Durham, N. C., where he was a fireman.30 The girl standing between Loula and Maggie in the same photograph is Willie Pearl Alexander, their oldest daughter, who married Chalmers Rankin Carr in 1933. Willie was born April 15, 1911, and died April 2, 2005. Her husband passed away March 31, 1984.

Read the story of Frank and Loula Alexander and their children--
how one family survived the Great Depression.


Oswald, Lelia & Belle Alexander, with Oswald's son

Lelia Pearl Alexander, in center of photograph behind her brother, Oswald, was born September 2, 1883.31 She attended Salemburg Academy around 1900. She never married, but lived with her mother and her sister Belle at the homeplace on Deep River. She worked for a brief time in a lace factory, but returned home. After her mother's death, she and Belle lived with Oswald and Rosa on River Road, and several years later moved to Kannapolis. Their brother Oscar managed the building of their house and two rental properties they owned there. Lelia was known to be opinionated but very intelligent. One of her nephews was able to answer a question on his bar exam with information he learned from his Aunt Lelia32 She died April 21, 1948 and was buried in Carolina Memorial Park, Kannapolis.33

Lena Belle Alexander (far right in photograph, around 1935) was born December 29, 1885.34 She was educated at Salemburg Academy and Elise Academy, located in what is now the town of Robbins. She also taught at Elise,35 and later taught in a one-room school in Moore County. After moving to Kannapolis, she worked at Corrier Mills as a sweeper. She helped organize Second Presbyterian Church in Kannapolis. After Lelia's death, Belle went to live with her brother Oswald in Carthage.36 She died August 25, 1973 and was buried at Euphronia Presbyterian Church.37


Oswald, Belle, and Lelia were good story-tellers and shared their
experiences from the time of the Civil War through the turn of the
century with Oswald's son and their nieces and nephews.
Click here to read some of their stories .


Footnotes:


Clicking on the number of the footnote will take you back to the section of text you were reading.

1. Dr. Alvah Stafford, Alexander Notebooks, Volume 1, (Charlotte NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1985) pp. 80-81.

2. Louis H. Manarin, North Carolina Troops: 1861-1865 A Roster, Vol. 2--Cavalry, (Raleigh: NC State Dept of Archives and History, 1968), p. 413.; Janet B. Hewett, The Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865, Vol. I (Wilmington, NC, 1995), p. 92.; Confederate Muster Rolls in the files of the NC State Dept of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

3. Marriage License of Wm. McCall and Frances Stilwell, Microfilm # C.065.62001, Mecklenburg County Marriages, (Raleigh: North Carolina State Archives) p. 376.

4.Population Schedule of the Ninth Census of the United States: 1870, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Series M593, Roll 1148, (Washington: National Archives and Record Service) p. 290.

5.Records of Sharon Presbyterian Church, 1830-1960, Reel HF 202, (Presbyterian Historical Society, Montreat, N.C.: 1969.) Vol. 1855-1873, p. 105.

6. Margaret Stilwell Alexander's Family Bible, owned by Willie Alexander Carr; transcribed by the author, Oct. 30, 2002, Charlotte, NC.

7. Population Schedule of the Seventh Census of the United States: 1850, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, (Washington: National Archives and Record Service), Sardis District: Dwelling #1403, Family # 1410.

8. Grantor: S.N. Stilwell and wife Jane Stilwell/Grantee: J.S. Alexander, Deed Book 31, Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, p. 529.

9. George W. Willcox, A History of the House in the Horseshoe: Her People and Her Deep River Neighbors, 1999, Historical Research Services, Wilmington, NC, pp. 380, 594; Oral accounts by Oswald Alexander, son, in conversations with the author circa 1963, and Henry Alexander, grandson, interviewed by the author, 2001.

10. Death Certificate of Margaret Matilda Alexander, (Raleigh: North Carolina State Archives) Vol. 1531, p. 077.; Gravestones in the cemetery of Euphronia Presbyterian Church, Lee County, NC.

11. Family Bible, cited above.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Sharon Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC.; Henry Alexander, cited above.

12. Family Bible, cited above.; WWI Draft Registration Card of Oscar Alexander, World War I Selective Service System, North Carolina, Moore County (#48) A-Z, Microfilm Roll List M1509, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration), Card No. 1136.

13. Margaret Stilwell Alexander's Family Bible, cited above.

14. Family Bible, cited above; Lewey Alexander, nephew, interviewed by the author in 2001; Dewitt Glasgow, The Reynolds Family of Upper Moore County, North Carolina, (Fremont CA: published by the author, 1998) p. 33.

15. Interview with Lewis Alexander by the author in 2001; interview with Willie Alexander Carr in 2002.

16. Greater Kannapolis North Carolina City Directory, Master Edition 1940, (Baldwin Directory Company, Inc., and Kannapolis Merchants Association), p. 81.

17. "O.S. Alexander Dies After Long Illness," The Daily Independent, Kannapolis, NC, April 3, 1950, p. 1.; Death certificate of Oscar Sample, Roll 73, (Raleigh: North Carolina State Archives) p. 07A-353; Gravestone in the cemetery of Carolina Memorial Park, Kannapolis, NC.

18. "Mrs. O.S. Alexander Dies At Home Here," The Daily Independent, Kannapolis, NC, May 9, 1951, p. 1A.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Carolina Memorial Park, Kannapolis, NC.

19. Margaret Stilwell Alexander's Family Bible, cited above.; Draft Registration Card of Oswald Alexander, World War I Selective Service System, North Carolina, Moore County (#48) A-Z, Microfilm Roll List M1509, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration), Card No. 1129.

20. Henry Alexander and Lewey Alexander, cited above.

21. Family Bible, cited above.

22. Willcox, cited above, p. 603.

23. Gravestones in the cemetery of Cross Hill, Carthage, NC.

24. Family Bible, cited above.; Draft Registration Card of Frank Alexander, World War I Selective Service System, North Carolina, Moore County (#48) A-Z, Microfilm Roll M1509, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration), Card No. 639.

25. Lewey Alexander, cited above.

26. Family Bible, cited above.

27. "Mrs. Lula Alexander," The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, Feb. 27, 1943.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Johnson Grove, Vass, NC.

28. "William F. Alexander," The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, Aug. 5, 1945.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Johnson Grove, Vass, NC.

29. "Quentin Alexander," The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, Jan. 29, 1935.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Johnson Grove, Vass, NC.

30. "Jack H. Alexander," The Herald-Sun, Durham, NC, Jan. 14, 1992, p. B10.

31. Family Bible, cited above.

32. Lewey, Lewis, and Henry Alexander, cited above.

33. "Miss Alexander Succumbs Here to Heart Attack," The Daily Independent, Kannapolis, NC, Thursday, April 22, 1948, p. 3.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Carolina Memorial Park, Kannapolis, NC.

34. Family Bible, cited above.

35. Edwin Arthur West, Elise High School and Upper Moore County, (New Bern, NC: Owen G. Dunn Co., 1974), p. 54.

36. Henry Alexander, cited above, and Patsy Rodgers, niece, interviewed by the author in 2001.

37. "Miss Lena B. Alexander," The News and Observer," Raleigh, N.C., August 26, 1973, p. 18-I.; Gravestone in the cemetery of Euphronia Presbyterian Church, Lee County, NC.


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