Val (Grizzle) Alexander's Descent from
Joseph Lowery Alexander and Margaret Tate

Researched, Organized, and Given Electronic Life
by John Alexander with Contributions by
Karen Youngblood and Ellen Winningham

Work still in progress.

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Chapter 1
Joseph Lowery Alexander

When we began research to find information about the parents and grandparents of Val's Joseph Lowery Dysart, who migrated from North Carolina as a boy or very young man, we not only traced the Dysart line back past the grandparents but also found that Joseph Lowery's mother was Nancy Alexander, who was married to Samuel Dysart. Since I, Val's husband John, had Alexander ancestors nearby at about the time of Samuel's and Nancy's births, it should be no surprise that I began to look into Val's Alexander ancestry.

Very quickly, I found that the 1820 federal census in Burke County, North Carolina, listed a Joseph Alexander living near Samuel and Nancy. Although Joseph's age was in the correct range to be Nancy's father, I could only hold the relationship as a hypothesis. Historical sketches of Burke County that mention Joseph Alexander and the Tates of Burke County give Joseph's full name as Joseph Lowery Alexander; however, neither these sketches nor other passed-down history provide proof of his middle name, although each adds a bit of evidence. Again, although it is only another bit of evidence, the naming pattern of Nancy's and Samuel's children is interesting: the oldest child getting the name of Samuel's father, James Young Stewart Dysart, the second child having the name Joseph Lowery, possibly for Nancy's father, and the third child bearing Samuel's name.

Serendipity occurred when one of the contributors to my (John's) Alexander research found records for Joseph Alexander's and Margaret Tate's son, Tate Alexander, who died, apparently childless, and left his will in Habersham County, Georgia, in 1837 but had tracts of land and other property in Pickens District, South Carolina. For several years, South Carolina could not decide whether to call the divisions within the state districts or counties, but, hereafter I will use county unless quoting directly. At that time, Pickens included the present-day Oconee County, South Carolina and joined Habersham County. The will of Tate included this clause bequeathing slaves to Stewart, Joseph, and Samuel, the children of Samuel Dysart, deceased. Although none of the other estate papers mention the children of Samuel Dysart, I considered this will entry along with other bits and pieces to be sufficient evidence for concluding that Joseph and Margaret were Nancy's parents.

The identity of Joseph Lowery Alexander's parents is not certain; however, in-depth research by Karen Youngblood since the original posting of this history enables us to choose among the theories presented then: (1) that the father was Joseph, a Revolutionary War officer, whose daughter Elizabeth was married to a man named Samuel Tate; (2) that the father was named William; and (3) that his father was Thomas Alexander. The first possibility looked most promising since the Samuel Tate involved seems to have been the son of the Samuel Tate who was Joseph Lowery Alexander's father-in-law, and siblings marrying siblings was a frequent occurrence. The second and third possibilities were based on their presence on a record of 1779 tax payers in Cumberland County, PA, where Margaret Tate and presumably Joseph Lowery Alexander lived before migrating south with her family. The Cumberland County will of Thomas Alexander found independently by Karen and by me after the other records were known makes it seem highly likely that the parents were Thomas Alexander and wife Mary. Thomas's oldest son was William, who was probably the one on the tax record. Some additional finds by Karen helped us to add information about Thomas's and Mary's family.


VA Marriage Records: [database-online], Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850
Elizabeth Alexander to Samuel Tate, 1 February 1785 in Rockbridge County, Virginia Data from: Bentley, Elizabeth Petty, indexer. Virginia Marriage Records: From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly. Baltimore, MD: Genealogy Publishing Co., Inc., 1984

Chapter 2
Joseph Lowery Alexander's Parents and Siblings

William Joseph Margaret Elizabeth Amelia Possibly David

Chapter 3
Joseph Lowery Alexander's and Margaret Tate's Children

Tate Alexander's will (Chapter1) and his estate papers included the names of his brothers and the names of the spouses of his living sisters. The brothers were, perhaps in order of birth, Robert, William L., John P., Joseph, and Samuel Alexander, and the sisters were Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, Jane, Nancy, and probably Rachel. Since only William, who still lived in Burke County, appointed someone to represent him in the estate settlement, it seems that all the other brothers and living sisters were in Pickens County, South Carolina, or just across the state border in Habersham County, Georgia, by 1837, when their brother Tate died.

Although Robert may have been the oldest son, I have found nothing more about him after the estate settlement. Several identify him as the Robert Alexander Alexander who died in Hendricks County, IN, in th 1860s, and others name him as the Robert Alexander who died in Iowa in the 1860s; however, neither of these men appears to match Joseph L.'s son well.

William was probably the next-oldest child, and his usually accepted birth date is 1774 or 1775. On the 1850 census, he reports himself as seventy-five, and his gravestone inscription states that he died 20 August 1850 in the 75th year of his life. Erwin family histories and Burke County histories say that he was married to Sophia Erwin. Their children included Sarah, Samuel, Cynthia, Eugenia, Eliza, Mary, William, Helena, and Martha, and there were probably others. I have found certainty of marriages for only Eugenia, Helena, and Cynthia, although several of the daughters were were probably married. I have not followed the family further. As previously implied, I have found no record of Robert except in the settlement of Tate's estate. He was probably the second or third child, born between 1775 and 1780.

Joseph Lowery's son Joseph -- call him Joseph Jr. -- was likely the Joseph Alexander -- call him Joseph II -- who married Jane Glass Ussery, widow of William Henry Ussery and daughter of Alexander Glass, in Burke County in 1809. Although it is not proof of his identity, it is suggestive that the bondsman and the witness for Joseph II's marriage to Jane Glass were Robert Patton and Robert Patton Jr., who were members of the Dysart family into which Joseph Lowery's daughter Nancy married. If Joseph Jr. was not identical to Joseph II, we lose track of that Joseph Jr. after his inheritance of a portion of his brother Tate's estate. Chapter 4 will discuss identities for two of Joseph Lowery's decendants, including Joseph Jr.

Joseph Lowery's daughter Elizabeth, born between 1777 and 1783, married Robert Ballew in Burke County, and, in 1810, they were enumerated a few lines before her father Joseph Alexander. In 1850, they were in Walker County, Georgia, listed on the census with Harriet Vinzant, apparently their daughter. Their ages were listed as 75 for Robert and 72 for Elizabeth. In 1860, they were enumerated for the federal census in Catoosa County, Georgia, where they apparently lived between her brother John P. Alexander and John P.'s son Joseph C. Alexander. They were listed as ages 80 and 77.

John P., born between 1790 and 1792. The 1880 census in Marion County, Tennessee, where he was living with his daughter Narcissa Jones's family, lists him as being age 95, but no earlier census would have him more than 90 at that time. John P. was married at least twice and had several children, some of whom I will trace toward the present when I address his branch further.

Mary, born 7 March 1791, married John Pulliam in Burke County, North Carolina. They were in Habersham County for the 1850 federal census, and both gave their birthplaces as being North Carolina. Listed near them on the 1850 census was Joseph Pulliam, 39, wife Sarah, 25, and their children. Mary died 28 June 1860 in Murray County, GA, and is buried there.

Tate's birth date and most other facts about him are mysteries, but I do have him on an 1830 census in Burke County, next door to his brother John, and I have information from deeds, his will, and his estate-settlement records. He was born between 1790 and 1800; he apparently never married; and he died in 1837.

Catherine, born about 1788, married Joseph B. Rust. They were in Franklin County, Georgia, by the time of the 1840 census, and both died and were buried there, although the area currently belongs to Stephens County. Catherine's gravestone shows her to have died 1 April 1858 at age 69. The 1840 census suggests that they had at least 7 children, and it appears that one of them aged 17, died a few days after Catherine's death, perhaps as a result an epidemic.

Nancy, born between 1794 and 1798, married Samuel Dysart 30 March 1814. He died 28 December 1824, and she was apparently deceased before 1830, certainly before Tate drew up his will unless, as at least one descendant believes, Nancy and Jane were the same person. The possibility will be addressed and dismissed as improbable when Jane is discussed. Of their children, James Young Stewart II was born 8 June 1815; Joseph Lowery was born 13 November 1817; and Samuel was born 18 June 1824. The Dysart family, beginning with James and wife Margaret, the grandparents of Nancy's husband Samuel, has been addressed separately.

Rachel, born 1 (or 4) July 1797, married William B. Rust, probably a brother of Joseph B. Rust. She lived her short life in Burke County, dying 26 July 1833. Since she pre-deceased her brother Tate, neither she nor her husband was mentioned in the estate settlement records. She appears to have had three chidren, two of whom were probably Robert, who had a long life, and Elizabeth, who died as a young adult after marriage.

Jane, born October 1798, married Jonathan Williams, and they were in Rabun County, Georgia, by 1830. Rabun County joins Oconee County, South Carolina, and, of course, would have joined Pickens County, which then included Oconee County. As mentioned earlier, some people identify Jane with Nancy, but, for this to be true, Jonathan William's four oldest children would have to belong to a wife before Jane. Also, it would require Jane/Nancy to have gone to Georgia with Jonathan by 1830, leaving fifteen-year-old James Stewart, thirteen-year-old Joseph Lowery, and six-year-old Samuel behind in North Carolina, very unlikely for the youngest child if not for the older ones. Jonathan and Jane seem to have been on the census twice in 1840, once in Cherokee County and again in Cass County, where they were next door to recently married Joseph Lowery Dysart. The make-up of the Cherokee family and the Cass family are not exactly the same; however, the discrepancy can mostly be remedied by placing Joseph Lowery and his wife in the family in the earlier listing in Cherokee County. Jane died 30 August 1843, leaving behind her husband and several children. I have been able to find information about only Lina, Edley, Joseph, and Charlotte.


NC Marriage book, Burke County, Record #02 005; Bond #000006391 Dysart, Samuel to Alexander, Nancy, Mar 30, 1814; John Prilliam, BM; J. Erwin, witness. JFA NOTE: The name transcribed as John Prilliam was almost certainly John Pulliam, Nancy's brother-in-law. I don't know whether J. Erwin was part of William Alexander's Erwin family or was only a handy courthouse official.

NC Marriage book, Burke County, Joseph Alexander to Jane Ussery , 13 Dec 1809, Burke Co., NC; Robert Patton, BM, Robert Patton, Wit JFA NOTE: One was Robert Patton, Sr, and the other Robert Patton, Jr. Robert Patton, Sr, was married to Samuel Dysart's aunt, Elizabeth Dysart. This marriage is referred to further in Chapter 2.

Georgia Compiled Marriages, 1754-1850 [database on-line] Original data: Dodd, Jordan, comp. Georgia Marriages to 1850 John P. Alexander to Elizabeth Tate, 28 Feb 1828, Franklin Co., GA. (Very likely Joseph Lowery's John P. but not totally sure.)

Georgia Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Georgia County Marriage Records, 1828-1978. The Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia

Chapter 2
Descendants of Joseph Alexander II and Jane Glass

Joseph Lowery's son Joseph, born about 1776 or 1777, seems quite likely to have been the Joseph Alexander (call him Joseph II) who married Jane Glass Ussery, widow of William Henry Ussery and daughter of Alexander Glass, in 1809. Let's examine the evidence, which is admittedly although only circumstantial. The witness and the bondsman for Joseph II's and Jane Glass's marriage were Robert Patton Jr. and his father Robert Patton, married to the aunt of Nancy Alexander's husband. It may be significant or may be only coincidental that there was also at least one Dysart-Glass marriage in Burke County.

Joseph Alexander and wife Jane Glass may left Burke County for Buncombe County shortly after their marriage, and several descendants point to the Joseph Alexander found on the census in Buncombe County in 1810. Although there is no reason to doubt their move, the composition of the 1810 Buncombe County family requires explanation. There were a male and a female between 25 and 45, correct for Joseph and Jane, two males below 10, correct for Jane's sons from her first marriage, three females under 10, and a female over 45. Perhaps Jane had one or more daughters from her marriage to William Ussery, but it is difficult to fit three into their short marriage. Perhaps one or more of the young females were children of the woman over 45. I will not attempt to address all these issues, nor will I conclude that this family was definitely that of Joseph and Jane.

A tale within the family has Joseph II starting out for Missouri between 1810 and 1820, after Jane's death, and the tale has the family stopping over in Williamson County, Tennessee before deciding to return to the Carolinas. A look at the 1820 census reveals a Joseph Alexander in Williamson County, Tennessee, but, although he is listed only one line away from Thomas Alexander, Thomas's will and estate settlement list no Joseph. and I have found no other Alexander family claiming this Joseph. Still, this family's composition with a male between 25 and 45, one male below 10, who could be Joseph L., three females under 10, and a female between 15 and 26, does not readily conform to that of Joseph II but could be made to do so. If Jane died with Joseph L. or one or more daughters as infants or near-infants, Joseph II would likely have remarried quickly unless he had other family nearby to help. Perhaps the second wife brought children to the marriage or, if early enough, she and Joseph had three daughters. Again, as with the Buncombe County family, I will not attempt to resolve the issue.

We need to introduce Joseph L. Alexander and his wife Sarah Poole into his history. Joseph L. and Sarah migrated with their family from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, to northern Georgia, where they lived near and interacted with Joseph Lowery Dysart and his family for many years, and there is evidence to support Joseph II and Jane as being Joseph L.'s parents. In Spartanburg County, South Carolina, as listed on the 1830 census, there was a Joseph Alexander, age 20-29, living between James Ussery, in the same age range as Joseph, and James Poole, who was in an older age range. Joseph L. and Sarah apparently stayed in Spartanburg for a few years after 1830 since Spartanburg County was listed as birthplace by several of their children, but, after several more years, they moved to northern Georgia.

As discussed in the previous paragraphs, Joseph II could have fathered more than one child, but I are sure of only Joseph L., born about 1810, in North Carolina, either in Burke County or in Buncombe County, which was formed from parts of Burke County and Rutherford County. On the 1850 census, he stated that he was 40 years of age, making his birth year as perhaps 1810 or 1809; however, on later censuses the age he gave would place his birth a year earlier. Since the parents, Joseph and Jane, were married in late 1809, I suspect 1810 is the correct year.

Although I have not found a marriage record for Joseph L. and wife Sarah, the death certificate for daughter Nancy Matilda (married to James B. Smith), in which her son Benjamin Smith gives her parents' names as J. L. Alexander and Sally Pool, and information given by G. W. Alexander for Columbus Sr. and by Rufus Bruce for his mother Mary give the parents' names as Joseph Alexander and Sallie Pool. Family tradition that she was the daughter of James Poole of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, is probably correct. In 1830, Joseph L. and his family were listed on the census surrounded by James Poole, Benjamin Poole, said to be Sarah's brother, and James Ussery, Joseph L.'s half-brother. A descendant of Joseph L. has unearthed a document showing that Benjamin Poole paid a debt for him, and I know of course from the censuses that Joseph and Sarah named a son Benjamin. Although no one of these facts proves that Sarah's maiden name was Poole, each adds an additional bit of evidence for consideration, and the total weight of evidence is enough to convince me.

Joseph L.'s and Sarah's oldest children, who were born in Spartanburg County were Elizabeth Jane, born 22 January 1880, a son identified on the 1850 census as F. P., born 1831 or 1832, Benjamin J., born March 1834, George W., born May 1836, Mary, born 27 February 1838 or 1839, Joseph, born 1840 or 1841, and Nancy Matilda, born 22 October 1843. Birth dates here and elsewhere are taken from censuses unless shown otherwise.

I suspect that Joseph's and Sarah's youngest daughter, Amanda, was born in Georgia since her parents reported that as her birth state on the 1850 census, and because she always gave her birth state as Georgia on censuses from 1870 through 1930, except on the 1900 census when she gave her birth state as South Carolina and the date as September 1845, earlier than other reported time. She was very likely born September 1847 or 1848 in Georgia, which means that Joseph and his family moved from South Carolina to Georgia in the span from 1843 to 1848. I know that Joseph's and Sarah's youngest, William J., was born in Georgia June 1853, as reported on the 1900 census.

Joseph and Sarah raised their family and lived on through the Civil War and its aftermath to see the birth of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Most of the time, they lived near the dividing line between Cherokee County and Bartow County, and Sarah died there 9 February 1884 while Joseph lived on until 22 February 1897. They are buried in the family cemetery, along with son Columbus and some of his family. I have limited the family discussion to grandchildren of Joseph and Sarah.

Elizabeth Jane married Alberry Lipscomb 13 March 1849 while the family was still in Hall County, Georgia, and they had three children who survived childhood, William T., born 21 January 1850, Nancy Lanora, born 14 June 1854, and Alberry, born April 1865. Alberry and Jane raised their family mostly in Bartow County, where Elizabeth and Alberry died and are buried in Stamp Creek Baptist Cemetery.

Benjamin J. was married twice, first to Sarah Cockram 29 January in Hall County, and they had at least two children, Emala (Emaline? Emily?), born about 1855, and Joseph, born about 1859. The children may not have survived to adulthood since I could find no record of them after 1860. Sarah apparently died before Benjamin went away to war in 1861. Benjamin was severely injured in battle early in the war and spent most of it in a prison in Louisville, Kentucky. At the end of the war, his second wife, Jemina Catherine Raper apparently went to Jefferson County to marry him and bring him back to Georgia. A copy of the marriage certificate retained for Kentucky records shows that they married 18 July 1865. Benjamin and Catherine, as she was known, had eleven children, but perhaps Nancy, born 26 September 1866, Susan A., born Aug 1870, Laura B., born 1 January 1873, Ida, born 23 June 1876, Benjamin T., born 21 November 1877, Pearl, born 2 February 1884, Doc Felton, born 18 July 1881, Charles, born 25 July 1886, and Lillie, born 6 November 1888 were the only ones to survive to adulthood.

George W. was married to Evaline Fry in Bartow County, but, after a brief time in Fulton County, they seem to have lived their lives in Cherokee County. The children they parented and raised there included Susan, born 1860, Calvin M., born January 1862, Joseph L., born June 1865, Rebecca Jane, born 1868, Amanda, born 11 September 1869 Thomas, born March 1874, Georgia, born January 1877, Nancy, born 19 May 1880, and George, born November 1882.

Mary married Rufus Bruce in Cass (now Bartow) County, although they lived most of their lives in Cherokee County after a short stay in Fulton County. Before Rufus's early death, they had children including Joseph, born September 1859,George W., born 1861, Nancy J., born 1867, Mattie or Mary, born 1870, Rufus N., born 1874, and Columbus, born 15 July 1876. Of interest to members of Val's family, Columbus married Vinnie King, sister of her great-grandfather Adolphus King.

Joseph L. Jr. appears never to have married and to have died as a young adult in the Civil War while serving as a Confederate soldier.

Nancy married James B. Smith, and they were parents of Susan, born early 1860, Sarah, born about 1862, Benjamin, born December 1864, Mary J., born 1867, Thomas P., born 1870, Nancy, born about 1873, Marcus, born about 1876, and Arabella, born about 1878, Fannie P., born July 1882, and Ruby A., born June 1886.

Columbus Ewel married Emily Dean in Bartow County, where they live throughout their lives and raised their family. This family included George W., Joseph J., Sarah J., born 17 December 1874, Columbus E. Jr., born 9 January 1883Amanda, and Emily Nora, born December 1888, and Susan Ann, born May 1893.

Amanda married Andrew J. Bruce, younger brother of Rufus. Their children were William, born 29 October 1873, Lenora, Susan, April 1877, Bell Lee, 28 June 1881, Joseph A., February 1884, Amanda A., April 1889, and Jackson, October 1893.

Footnote 1: On the 1900 census, Benjamin Alexander's family in Floyd County, Georgia, included Polly Cook, who is listed as his aunt, aged 95, born in South Carolina. This would mean she was born around 1805 and, if the sister of Benjamin's father, Joseph L., would have been born to Jane and William Ussery instead of to Jane and Joseph Alexander II. Of course, it's always possible that Polly was the aunt of Benjamin's wife Catherine Raper.

Footnote 2: While I have questioned information in the death certicate of Samuel Tate Alexander (addressed in Chapter 3), I lean toward accepting the accuracy of the certifates for Nancy, Columbus, and other siblings because of other evidence that supports their statements.

Footnote 3: Although several people have identified Thomas Alexander (wife Rebecca), who was in White County, Georgia, at least as early as 1860 and continued there through at least 1900, as this son of Joseph L. and Sarah, in 1860, the White County Thomas lived alongside Samuel Alexander, old enough to be his father, and Pleasant Alexander, Elijah Alexander, and William Alexander of Thomas's generation. I suspect this group constituted a family.

Footnote4: The entry in the marriage record shows the year of the marriage as 1866 instead of 1865, as is on the certificate, but that 1866 date is obviously incorrect since all entries surrounding it are July 1865.

Footnote 5: Since the Joseph L. on the census in 1910 in Etowah County, AL, is listed as born in Indiana with his parents also born there, I must establish a basis for accepting him as George W.'s son Joseph L. I find from other censuses that Joseph was married to Minnie Lee and that their children included Harry, born about 1898 or 1899, and Myrtle, born about 1908 or 1909, and, in the application to marry William Kritsky, she provides the names of her parents as Joseph L. Alexander and Minnie Lee (The name Abernathy was added later in different handwriting.) and her birth as 23 December 1908 in Gadsden, AL. Myrtle Odelphia Alexander's and William Kritsky's marriage information is recorded on page 178 of the Jefferson County, Alabama, Marriage Book for 1939 through 1942.

Footnote 6: Although the trail to data on Georgia is somewhat twisted, different researchers had already provided the paths to various pieces, and I had only to follow them. Georgia Clara Alexander was married to George W. Holden as shown by the marriage application of their son William Alexander Holden (Page 64 of the Jefferson County, Alabama, Marriage Book for 1941 and 1942). In 1900, in Etowah County, Alabama, George and Georgia were enumerated on the same page as Joseph L.'s family, and she and Joseph L. reported the same birth state information.


Families of Southeastern Georgia, Jack N. Averitt, Clearfield Press, originally published as Georgia's Coastal Plain: Family and Personal History, Volume III
Excerpt from the article about Columbus Ewell Alexander, Georgia Superior Court Judge: "He was born January 9, 1883, in Bartow County. He was the son of Columbus Ewell, Sr., and Emily Jane (Dean) Alexander. His paternal grandparents were Joseph Alexander, who had come to this country from Scotland, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Glass, a native of Ireland. . . ."
NOTE by JFA: The grandparents of Columbus Jr. were Joseph L. and Sarah Poole. Joseph II and Jane Glass, who was probably Elizabeth Jane since the oldest daughter of Joseph L. and Sarah was so named, were the grandparents of Columbus Sr., although the text does not make this clear.

Obituary, Rome Times-Tribune, 21 February 1955; Ida A. Brewer, born 23 June 1876; mentions Benjamin Alexander and Jemima Catherine Raper as her parents. [database on-line] U.S., Cherokee Baker Roll and Records, 1924-1929
Original data: The 1928 Baker Roll and Records of the Eastern Cherokee Enrolling Commission, 1924-1929 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, The National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
Pearl Bing, applying for membership in the Cherokees of North Carolina as 1/32 Cherokee, reveals that her parents were B. J. Alexander and Catherine J. Raper. (NOTE: several of Pearl's sisters applied and provided the same data.)

Chapter 3
Descendants of John P. Alexander and Elizabeth Tate

John P. must have lived near Pickens County, South Carolina, in 1837 since he needed no representative in the settlement of his brother Tate's estate. He had likely lived just across the border in a Georgia county since the early 1830s because the 1850 federal census in Gilmer County, Georgia, states that his daughter Margaret A., then 17, was born in Georgia.

John was married in 1828 in Franklin County, Georgia, to Elizabeth Tate, who was probably a cousin. Their children included Tayton, Joseph C., Margaret A., born January 1833-1835, Narcissa, born 19 March 1835-1838Footnote 1. Elizabeth, and Sara. Elizabeth was deceased before the time of the 1850 census. No children under age 10 are listed on that census in Gilmer County. I attempted to trace the children and have addressed Tayton, Joseph C., Margaret, Narcissa, and Sarah in the following paragraphs; however, I found nothing about Elizabeth after the 1850 census.

In 1851 in Gilmer County, John P. and Adaline Penley were married, but I have found no record of their parenting any children together. By 1860, John P. and Adaline, along with some other family members had left Gilmer County and were located in Catoosa County in the northwest corner of Georgia. The 1860 census in that county shows John's age as 70 and hers as 49 and no children under 10. If any of the children listed with as Alexanders in John's and Adeline's family are really John's children, the children's ages as given on this census are incorrect by several years. I suspect Adaline brought children fathered by a prior husband to the marriage.Footnote 1 I have been unable to find them on a census in 1870, but, in 1880, John was living in the family of Narcissa, married to Patrick H. Jones, in Marion County, Tennessee.

Listed on the same census page as John P. and Adaline in 1860 were also families of his children, Margaret and James G. Gudger, Joseph C. and Julia A. Alexander, as well as the family of John P.'s sister Elizabeth and Robert Ballew.Footnote 2

After 1850, when he was in his father's family, I was able to find Tayton only on the 1870 census in Marion County, where the family consisted of Taton and Malinda Alexander with no other family member. Although I have not visited the county archives to search, no marriage record for Tayton and Malinda has shown up. Apparently Tayton preceded other members of the family in migrating to that area.

Joseph C. married Julia A. Allen in 1858 in Gilmer County, but they were in Catoosa County by 1860, where they lived near his father's family and next door to his aunt Elizabeth (Alexander) Ballew and her husband Robert. They had one child, Mary, listed as M. E., age 9 months, on that census, in their family. In 1870, they had moved across the state line to Marion County, Tennessee, where their family now included Mary, age given as 12, and also John, age 11, and James, age 2. Joseph's age given, 49, is inconsistent with his age as given on other censuses and is probably incorrect, and son John's age must be incorrect since he wasn't on the 1860 census. All children were listed as born in Georgia, and, if James's age is correct or nearly correct, it reveals the approximate date of their move to Marion County.

While searching, I followed a false trail of a Joseph C. Alexander who married Eva Brown in Marion County in 1887 but discovered that he was not John P.'s son Joseph.(Footnote 3) After a long search, I found J. C. Alexander, blind, on a Missouri state census in Greene County in 1876, where he lived in Cass township near Julia's Allen relatives. The census showed that Julia had died before that time and that the family consisted of Joseph plus two males under 10, one male between 10 and 18, and a female between ten and 18. The female and the older male were, of course, Mary E. and John, and the younger males were either James and a son born after 1870 or, if James had died, two sons born after 1870. Further searching in Cass Township on the 1880 census revealed William Alexander as a nephew of Robert Allen (listed as Allan) with Robert's and Julia's mother Amelia also in the family.(Footnote 4) William's data included his age of 7 and his birthplace of Missouri, and further research revealed that he was born January 1873 and died June 1886. The gravestone for William states that he was the foster son of R. H. and M. L. Skeen, and it was the home of Harris and Mary L. Skeen in which William's brother John had lived at the time of the 1880 census.

Early in this history, I mentioned evidence against equating the Joseph Alexander who married Jane Glass with Joseph Lowery Alexander's son Joseph. A man named Samuel Tate Alexander died in the state of Washington, and his death certificate states that he was born in Tennessee and that his parents were Joseph C. Alexander and Julia Allen. The information was given by his son, who certainly knew what his father had told him; however, if Samuel Tate was Joseph's and Julia's son, either their son James died before the 1876 Missouri state census, or James changed his name to Samuel Tate and reported his birthplace and birth date differently from what was reported in 1870. If James died by 1876, it also means that Samuel Tate was born after June 1870 since he was not present for the 1870 census in Tennessee. I was unable to find either James or Samuel Tate, by first or middle name, in Greene County, Missouri, with other family members or even non-family in 1880.

Although I found more-promising parents for Samuel TateFootnote 5, it is difficult to promote them in the face of his death certificate.

Joseph C. and Julia had at least two children, Mary and John, who married and had families, although Mary, known as Mollie, died quite young. From Mollie's marriage to William R. Robertson, she had Wilbert, born March 1878 and listed as Fred on the 1880 census, and Harvey, born August 1879. Son John R. and wife Dora J. Mortemeier had a family that included Andrew J., William J., Ransom Harris, born February 1888, Mary E., Samuel E., John L., and Willis A., born August 1904.

Of John R.'s and Dora's children, my brief investigation turned up no information about Andrew, William, Mary, Samuel, or John, but Ransom Harris and Willis had offspring. Ransom Harris and wife Jessie had at least five sons and one daughter. The daughter was named Jesse L., the same as her mother but spelled without an i in all document I found, and the sons were Harris Lee, Paul, Charles, Jack R., and George W. Willis had at least one son, Andrew Jackson, variously known as Andy, Jack, or Jackie, and at least one daughter, Dora Jane.

Returning to earlier generations, John P.'s daughter Margaret married James Galiton Gudger, and their children included John, William, Ann, James, Martha, and Samuel.

Narcissa married Patrick Henry Jones, and their children were John W., born 1856, James, born 1858, and Josephine, born about 1861.

John P.'s daughter Sarah is almost certainly the Sarah J. Alexander who married John B. Dunagan. Although I have found no documentary evidence of this, they lived out their married life in Catoosa County, where John P. and offspring Joseph C., Margaret, and Narcissa re-settled from Gilmer County. Sarah's and John Dunagan's children included Charles, born 1861, Mattie (Martha), born 1866, John, born 1868, Robert, born about 1872, Joseph, born about 1876, and Mary, born about 1878.

Footnote 1: For example, the female N., age on the 1860 census in Catoosa County does not match any of John's children, even if the age is incorrect. She could not have been Narcissa because one face on the gravestone of Norcissa A. Alexander Jones and Patrick Henry Jones states "P. H. Jones and N. A. Alexander married Oct. 26, 1854." The gravestone also states that Norcissa/Narcissa was born 19 March 1838 and died 2 November 1906. The 1838 date for Narcissa's birth is probably off by at least a couple of years.

Footnote 2: On this page, there were also several members of a Pool/Poole family, the older members of which were born in South Carolina; however, I have not done the investigation needed to determine whether they were related to Sarah Poole, wife of Joseph Alexander II.

Footnote 3: Joseph C. Alexander and Eva Brown married 30 October 1887 in Marion County, TN. They were likely the Joseph Alexander and Eva Alexander found on the 1900 census in nearby Jackson County, Alabama. Some of the census information is not correct since it states that Joseph was born January 1873 and was 37 years old in 1900. Eva's age, 25, and birth date, 1875, are self-consistent, but they combined with the number of year listed for their being married, 12 (consistent with marriage in 1887), would make her not yet 13 at the time of marriage. I believe this is the correct family because next door to them is an older couple, John and Parlin(?) Brown. Joseph and Eva are listed as born in Tennessee. On the 1910 census, Joseph gave his age as 37, and Eva gave hers as 27, and Eva's gravestone in Rocky Springs Cemetery in Jackson County gives her birth date as 11 April 1873.

Footnote 4: The data from Robert Allen's family in 1880 in Greene County (page 24) are: Robert Allan, 28, Amelia M. Allan, 67, mother of head of household, Wm Alexander, 7, nephew, Salome Pierce, 28, sister, John Pierce, 12, nephew.

Footnote 5: I found Samuel T. Alexander, age 11, born in Tennessee, in the family of J. P. and M. M. Alexander, on the 1880 federal census in White County, Tennessee, and, working back, found J. P. and M. M. in White County on the 1870 census with Samuel F., age 2 (listed as born in Texas) and E. F., age 17, in their family. All members except Samuel were listed as born in Tennessee.


Chapter 4
What YDNA Reveals

Early in this history, I mentioned that there was some evidence against equating the Joseph Alexander who married Jane Glass with Joseph Lowery Alexander's son Joseph. The Washington state death certificate of Samuel Tate Alexander, who appeared in the narrative in Chapter 3, states that he was born in Tennessee and that his parents were Joseph C. Alexander and Julia Allen. The information was given by his son, who certainly knew what his father had told him; however, I will restate what I have already written: if Samuel Tate was Joseph's and Julia's son, either their son James died before the 1876 Missouri state census, or James changed his name to Samuel Tate and reported a different birthplace and a different birth date from that his parents had reported in 1870. If Samuel T. was their son and was not the same person as James, he was born after June 1870 since he was not present for the 1870 census in Tennessee. I have already mentioned that I was unable to find either James Tate or Samuel Tate, with those as first or middle names, in Greene County, Missouri, with other family members or as Alexanders with non-family in 1880.

Any reader who doesn't understand YDNA testing and its importance for surname genealogy may wish to refer to the discussion of YDNA. We sought a male-line descendant of Samuel Tate Alexander and secured a test from him to determine if he belonged to one of the known Alexander families whose descendants had already tested. At about the same time, we found that a descendant of Joseph Alexander II and Jane Glass had taken the YDNA test. The descendant of Samuel Tate, with Samuel T.'s death certificate as the only evidence that he descended from Joseph Lowery Alexander, and the other man, with much indirect evidence that he was Joseph Lowery's descendant, proved to have very different test results as illustrated below with red showing mis-matched values. There is no way that both can be male-line descendants of the same man. The descendant of Joseph II and Jane Glass matches no other project tester closely except a second or third cousin, he appears to have a male-line ancestor in common with some other groups within the past five to eight hundred years. One of thsee groups is the largest Alexander family group in the nation, the so-called seven brothers of Cecil County, Maryland. The descendant of Samuel T. can lay claim to being part of a family likely descended from Balkan centurions serving the Roman Empire during their occupation of Britain. This group has the more-interesting story, but Val's Alexander ancestor Joseph Lowery is very unlikely a member because of reasons explained earlier..

Comparison of Modal Values of Families
Samuel Tate Alexander's Family Group 13 24 13 10 16-18 11 12 13 13 11 30 15 9-9 11 11 26 14 20 33 14-16-17-17 9 11 19-21 17 12 19 21 30-37 12 10
Joseph Alexander II's Family Group 13 24 15 10 11-14 12 12 12 13 13 30 18 9-10 11 11 25 15 19 30 15-15-17-18 11 12 19-24 17 15 17 17 37-38 12 12

A Bit on Genetics: Cells, Chromosomes, and DNA Molecules

To begin, we need to introduce cells, chromosomes, and DNA. Our bodies are formed of cells, and the nucleus of every normal human cell contains 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. Occasionally, there are people with exceptions, but the exceptions are very rare. Each chromosome is made up of a DNA molecule wrapped around other material.

Two of these 46 chromosomes are the sex chromosomes. For each female, the sex chromosomes are both X chromosomes, one given by her mother and one given by her father. For each male, one sex chromosome is an X chromosome from his mother, and one is a Y chromosome from his father. The Y chromosome is always inherited from the father; so it comes down to each male from his father, from a grandfather, from a great-grandfather, and on back to a very ancient human male.

The DNA in the Y chromosome passed from a male to his son is usually an exact copy of the father's, but there is occasionally a change, a mutation, as the chromosome is passed. No one can predict when this mutation will occur, and, in some cases, there may be many generations without a change, while a mutation may occur in consecutive generations in other cases. Over several hundreds of years, say five hundred, there will have been enough change that men can be sorted into family groups by the closeness of the match of their YDNA.

Suffice it to say, although no one can predict when a mutation in the YDNA will occur, genetic scientists have established the probability that a mutation will occur each time the YDNA is passed. Using the probability of change from one generation to the next, one can determine, with fairly high certainty, the likelihood that two men whose YDNA has been analyzed will have a common male-line ancestor within a given number of generations.

For cases in which thirty-seven sites on the YDNA molecule have been analyzed and show many values that don't match, as in the table above, there is an extremely low (almost zero) probability that they men have a common male-line ancestor since surnames were adopted. In fact, with more than three different values on thirty-seven sites, I would question a family relationship without additional testing at more sites on the molecule.

Further Investigation of Samuel Tate Alexander, Married to Dollie V.

In Chapter 3, we mentioned that we have been unable to find any evidence of the existence of Samuel Tate Alexander before 1900, unless he was the Samuel T. in the family of J. P. Alexander and wife M. M., as addressed in Footnote 5 of Chapter 4. Searching through Tennessee records reveals that this couple is probably J. Perry Alexander and Martha Margaret Cobb, married Knox County, TN, 17 January 1850. The 1850 census in Knox County shows Perry, 29, Martha Margarett, 24, and three Cobb children aged 2 through 6, implying that they were Martha's children from a previous marriage. In 1860, also in Knox County, there was the addition of Thomas E. Alexander, 9.

In 1870, Thomas E., in what was almost certainly the same family in White County, TN, a bit west of Knox County, was listed as E. F., and there was a second son, Samuel F., 2. In 1880, also in White County, Samuel F.'s listing had become Samuel T. Listed just below the family of Perry and Martha was that of Martha's son William Cobb, and below them was E. T. Alexander and wife M. E. Also in the family was William Gillem, listed a brother.

After 1880, I was unable to find any records for Samuel T./F. in White County, and didn't know whether he died young or left the area. If he left, I had no inkling where he might have migrated. Thus, I turned my attention to his brother E. T., hoping that, as sometimes occurs, he could lead me to Samuel T., but, although I found numerous records on E. T.Footnote 1, who was Ephraim Thomas, none of it gave me leads on Samuel T. He appears to have disappeared from history after 1880.

There are claims that J. Perry Alexander's parents were Ephraim Alexander, born about 1770, and Lucy Perry, whose marriage is documented. Although I have found no records directly supporting their being Perry's parents, Perry could have received his name from his mother's maiden name, and Perry named his older son Ephraim. A man who claims descent from the older Ephraim has taken a YDNA test that shows him to be a member of the Seven Brothers Alexanders, the same large Alexander family to which the descendant of Joseph II, married to Sarah Poole, belongs. This claimed descendant of Ephraim has weak links in his line of descent earlier than Ephraim, and I am unsure how certain he is that he descends from Ephraim.

Footnote 1: Suspecting that William Gillem on the 1880 census was E.T.'s wife M. E.'s brother, I did a bit of additional research and found a marriage record for Ephraim T. Alexander to Mary E. Gillam 5 November 1875 in White County. Ephraim Alexander's Tennessee Certificate of Death (#16388, 18 July 1939) lists him as Eifrom Thomas Alexander, son of William Alexander and Martha Perry Alexander (names as on certificate). [database on-line] Tennessee Marriage Records, 1780-2002 Original data: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN [database on-line] Tennessee Marriage Records, 1851-1900 Original data: Dodd, Jordan R comp.. Tennessee, Marriages, 1851-1900

Tate Alexander's Will, Habersham Co., GA

Last Will & Testament: Tate Alexander
11 March 1837, Habersham Co., GA Court of Ordinary
(spelling & capitalization as they appear in the text)

This is to certify before these witnesses that I Tate Alexander doth will and bequest my soul to God who gave it and my body to the grave to be buried in a Christian like menner, and the children of Samuel Dysart, desceased, to Stewart Dysart one Negro man by the name of Isom, and to Joseph one Negro boy named Ted and to Samuel one Negro woman named Lina, also one Negro woman named Caroline to be Eaqually divided between the three above named children, also to Evaline Williams the first child that either of the above mentioned Negro women have to live and do well, the above mentioned Negroes to belong to the heirs of Samuel Dysart, desc., at my decease, any more than George W. Balleau is to have the use of Ted untill the first of January, 1838. I have Three Thousand Dollars, more or less, in Money and other property that I leave to be Eaqually divided between my brothers and sisters. I do certify this to be my last will and Testament.

Tate Alexander

Test. Asa Smith, George W. Balleau, Elisha Williams, JP

It appearing to the Court that the necessary application has been made for Letter of Administration on the Estate of Tate Alexander desc., It is therefore ordered by the Court that Letters be forthwith Granted to John Pullan on the complying with the Laws in such case made and provided.

Minutes of the Court of Ordinary, Habersham Co., GA June 1837
In the matter of the Will of Tate Alexander, desc.

And now at this term came John Pullan and Joseph Rees heirs at Law of the said Tate Alexander who caveat the said Will now offered for probate and for cause of caveat they say that the said Tate Alexander at the time he made and published the said Will was insane & not of sound & disposing mind & memory & of this they pray Judgement of the Court. Return to text.

From Tate Alexander's Estate Papers, Pickens District, SC

Jun 1837 - William Alexander of Burke County, NC appointed Robert BALLEW, Jr of Pickens County, SC his atty to collect of John Pulliam, adm of Tate Alexander decd late of Habersham County, GA his part as a heir. (Pickens County Real Estate Sales Books A&B 1830-1875: Book A, Pg 14)

Aug 1837 John Pulliam applicant in right of his wife, vizt. Robert Alexander, William Alexander, Robert BALLEW,John Alexander, Joseph Rusk, Jonathan Williams, Joseph Alexander, Samuel Alexander defendants. (Pickens County Real Estate Sales Books A&B 1830-1875: Book A, Pg 34)

Note: I'm unsure of the distinction between the preceding and the following. Perhaps the first refers to court action filed during the August session.

29 Aug 1837 - Tate Alexander, Book 1, pg 34. Heirs John Pulliam in right of wife, Robert Alexander, Wm. Alexander, Robert BALLEW, John Alexander, Joseph Rust, Jonathan Williams, Joseph Alexander, Samuel Alexander. Owned 500a Longnose Creek waters of Tugaloo River, adj land of Christopher Whisenant, Major David Humphreys & others. (Pickens County Real Estate Sales Books A&B 1830-1875: Book A, Pg 14) Return to text.


Will of Thomas Alexander, died 1783, Cumberland County, PA

Transcript of Thomas's Will

Last Will & Testament
of Thomas Alexander Dec.
(- - - 3) characters not numerals

In the name of God Amen. I Thomas Alexander of Hopewell Township in Cumberland County and the state of Pennsylvania ????? being in perfect health Blessed be God for the same do make this my last will and testament. Imprimis I give my soul to God that give it to me and my body to the earth to be buried at the discretion of my executors hereafter named.

Item, my mind and will is that my just debts and funeral charges first be paid and satisfied out of my real and personal estate by my executors hereafter named. Item, it is my mind and will and I do leave and bequeath to my beloved wife Mary Alexander all that tract or parcel of land whereon I now live with all benefits and yearly profits thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining during her lifetime and at her decease all the ???? cattle then remaining is to be desposed of as my wife and my son William Alexander shall think most proper. Item it is my mind and will and I give and bequeath to my son William Alexander all that tract or parcel of land whereupon I now live containing two hundred and seventy six acres with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining to him and his heirs forever and also his assigns forever after the decease of my wife Mary Alexander. Providing alwise(?) and it is my mind and will that my son William Alexander shall pay to me the sum of two hundred pounds and also to David (no surname stated) the land he now lives on ajoyning my land whereon I live and land belonging to Nicholas Evert containing eighty six acres. The land is to be equally divided and conveyed by my son William between my two daughters Elizabeth and Amey Alexander and my will is that my son William Alexander shall pay to my daughter Margaret Alexander the sum of one hundred pounds or fifty acres of land to be divided at the end of the land I now live on and ajoyning the land my son William Alexander now lives on. My son William is to convey the said land to my three daughters Elizabeth, Amey, and Margaret and their heirs and assigns forever. Item - I give to my son Joseph Alexander all that tract or parcel of land whereon James Burns now liveth containing sixty eight acres ajoyning the land whereon I now live and Edward Shippen Esqr to him and his heirs and assigns forever. And I do nominate to constitute and appoint my wife Mary and my son William Alexander executors of this my last will and testament in witness hereof I have hereunto set my hand seal this twenty eight day of September in the year of our Lord 1778.

Signed sealed published and declared by the said Thomas Alexander to be his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers of our names and as witnesses hereunto in the presence of the testator.

James Cisney
Joseph Ferguson Thomas Alexander (Seal)
Samuel Derry or Perry

Be it remembered that on the twenty sixth day of Novr in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty five the last will and testament of Thomas Alexander was legally proved (of which the foregoing record is a true copy) and letters testamentary ?????? in common form to William Alexander executor herein named on the said 26 day of NovR 1785. Inventory and account(?) to be exhibited into the register's office in the time appointed by law.
Witness my hand Wm Lyon, Reg.

Addendum to the Transcript from South Carolina
Presented by Karen Youngblood

Note: neither Karen,who found it, nor I can vouch for the authenticity of this transcript presented as an addendum to Thomas's will, but it appears credible.

William Alexander makes division of land with sisters Elizabeth and Amy 1786 Oct 18th. 1787 Hopewell Township Book H page 388 Deed Book H page 345 (uncertain of 5) for following record- We Robert Killoch, of the county of York, state of South Carlina, Yeoman, and my wife Margaret, late Margaret Alexander, one of the daughters and heirs of Thomas Alexander late of Cumberland County, Penna deceased. Thomas made will 28th Sept 1778. William Alexander paid to said Margaret and her husband share of her father's estate and release is hereby made to all claims to father's estate. Dated 1st Mat (as transcribed; probably March) A.D 1788
Signed Robert Killogh
Margaret Killogh
Joseph Alexander
John Wallace
York County, N. (as transcribed) Carolina


Thomas Alexander's Daughter Elizabeth


Plot of Alexander and Allen Graves in Cave Spring Cemetery


Death Certificate of Samuel Tate Alexander, Washington