Armsted Milton Alexander was born in Clark County, Kentucky, to John Alexander (d. 1844) and his wife, Eliza J. Ragland. The family moved to Monroe County, MO, in 1841.
On 24 Jan., 1850, seventeen-year-old “Armster M. Alexander” was located on “on the middle fork of the American River in the County of Eldorado,” California, where he was apparently hunting for gold. On 9 Nov., 1850, sixteen-year-old “Armstead Alexander” appears in the census of District 39, Monroe County, Missouri, working as a blacksmith. He and his four younger siblings were living in the household of farmer Thomas C. Nelson. (1850 U.S. Census) His Congressional biography reports that he did go to California in the gold rush, so these are likely the same man. It was not uncommon for an individual to be counted more than once in the U.S. Census if he or she moved during the census year.
By 1860, Alexander had graduated from Bethany College, in Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1853, and had attended the University of Virginia in session 33 (1856-1857), where he was enrolled in the Moral Philosophy curriculum, as well as Junior Class Law. The Junior Class studied “Blackstone’s Commentaries [and] Chitty on Contracts,” and attended lectures on “Government, Federalist, Duer’s Outlines of the Constitution, Madison’s Report 1799, Polson’s Law of Nations, [and] Select Chapters of Vattel’s Law of Nations.” (Catalogue of the University of Virginia, session of 1856-’57, p. 35-36)
On 17 Nov. 1858, he married Sarah F. (“Sallie”) Vaughn (Oct. 1832-1903), in Monroe County. Their children were Cicero (d. young), Paul, and William H. Alexander.
In the 1860 U.S. Census, Alexander is listed as an attorney, practicing in Paris, Missouri. However, he didn’t pass the bar until 1862. He was the prosecuting attorney for Monroe County for several years, was a member of the constitutional convention in 1875, and a delegate to the national Democratic convention in 1876. In 1882 he was elected to represent District 2 of Missouri in the House of Representatives in the 48th Congress, 1883-1885. He was not renominated in 1885, so returned to the practice of law in his home city. Alexander was also active in the Christian Church, and was a past grand master of the Odd Fellows. He died in Paris, Missouri, of heart disease, and was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery there.
- Alexander tombstones, Walnut Grove Cemetery, Paris, Monroe County, Missouri.
- Ancestry.com, 1840-1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
- Bench and bar of St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City, and other Missouri cities. St. Louis, MO, 1884, p. 256.
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present. (accessed 11/24/2013) http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=A000090
- “Death of ex-Congressman Alexander.” The State Republican (Jefferson City, MO), 10 Nov. 1892, p.1.
- “Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V28R-72H : accessed 24 Nov 2013), A. M. Alexander and Sallie Vaughan, 1858.
- United States. Congress. Directory of Congress, Forty-Seventh Congress, Second Session. Washington, D.C. 1883, p.179.
- University of Virginia. Catalogue of the University of Virginia, session of 1856-’57. Richmond, VA, 1857, p. 35-36.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
 The name “Armsted” has been spelled “Armstead,” “Armisted,” and “Armistead” in various public records, so I have chosen the spelling that appears in the majority of records.
 The Bench and Bar of St. Louis… gives a brief biography of Armsted M. Alexander, which states that he spent two years in the classical department and one year in the law department. After reviewing the Catalogues and the Matriculation books for sessions 30-35 (1853-1859), there is no mention of Alexander being enrolled in the classical department. In addition the Biographical directory of the United States Congress states that Alexander served in the Confederate army. I have been unable to find any evidence from a primary source supporting or disproving that statement.