John A. Alexander was the son of Josiah Alexander (1813-1892), a North Carolinian, and his first wife, Angeline Anthonet Burford (1830-1854). Josiah was one of the earliest settlers in what is now Perry County, Alabama.
On 1 Sep. 1861—at the age of 13!—John enlisted in the Confederate army for the length of the Civil War. He entered service as a private, and was a sergeant of Company D of the 20th Alabama Infantry Regiment by the end of the war. He was among those who were besieged in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and served as a nurse in “Hospital #1” there. His service jacket contains a signed parole from Vicksburg, signed 17 Jul. 1863, in which he swears not to take up arms again against the Union. However, his record contains documents that indicate he did return to service, including a receipt for clothing in 1864. In March 1865, he was furloughed for 60 days because of a diagnosis of “phthisis pulmonalis”—tuberculosis. About that same time he was wounded on duty. In May 1865, he was recorded as a prisoner of war as a “straggler, Confederate States Army.” (U.S. Compiled Service Records)
John attended the University of Virginia in session 46 (1869-1870), where he studied history, Latin, and mathematics. In the 1870 U.S. Census, he was living on his father’s farm and is recorded as a “Farmer.” In 1878, John died and was buried in the Valley Creek Cemetery, Dallas County, Alabama. (Findagrave.com; Pomeroy) I have not been able to find a document giving the cause of his death, but will keep searching.
[Note: The tombstone gives his birth date as “Feb. 10, 1849” while the U.Va. Matriculation Books (in which the information is written by the students themselves) give his birth date as “14 February 1849.”–JLC]
- 1850-1900 U.S. Census. FamilySearch.org.
- “Alabama State Census, 1855,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V6PB-W24 : 14 November 2014), J A Alexande, Perry, Alabama; citing p. 5, Department of Archives and History, Montgomery; FHL microfilm 1,686,107.
- “Alabama State Census, 1866,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V6PY-JV2 : 14 November 2014), Josiah Alexander, Perry, Alabama; citing certificate 25747, p. 48, Department of Archives and History, Montgomery; FHL microfilm 1,533,835.
- “Alabama Estate Files, 1830-1976,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNTJ-TT7 : 12 December 2014), Josiah Alexander, 1892; citing Perry County courthouse, Alabama; FHL microfilm 2,114,393.
- Alexander tombstones, Valley Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Dallas, Alabama. Findagrave.com
- McIntosh, Elise D., Email to Carol Elliott, 31 Aug. 2001, Re: John Sample Alexander, Dallas Co., AL, on Genealogy.com [Note: This name should be “James Sample Alexander.” — JLC] http://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/alexander/6799/
- Pomeroy, Kay & Jean Pickering. Valley Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Dallas, Alabama [tombstone transcriptions]. 2003. http://files.usgwarchives.net/al/dallas/cemeteries/valleycreek.txt
- United States. [Records of John A. Alexander] in Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations , compiled 1903–1927, documenting the period 1861–1865 in Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama. The National Archives, Record Group 109, Publication number M311, roll 0277.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.