William Alexander was born in 1746 in Maryland, at that time an English colony.
His family moved to North Carolina, where he grew into a young man and married Mary Brandon in 1769.
As you can imagine, in the War for American Independence, William fought on the winning side, achieving the rank of captain.
His story interests us because Alexander moved to the frontier … Middle Tennessee … by 1796. His home stood just off of East Main Street in Hartsville.
Alexander, who we wrote about in last week’s article, was a friend of Andrew Jackson, and the two developed a close personal relationship. Alexander was known to address Jackson as “my dear son.”
The two men exchanged letters.
The original copies of those private letters are now in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Those are the letters we wrote of in last week’s article.
But, they were not the only correspondence between the two men.
We need to first recall the dramatic rise to national prominence of Andrew Jackson … born in the Carolinas, orphaned at a young age, a lawyer on the Tennessee frontier, a military hero at the Battle of New Orleans and a politician representing Tennessee in our nation’s capital.
In 1828, Jackson was running for president of the United States.
Without the television coverage of today’s elections, political candidates had to depend on personal appearances and positive newspaper coverage to get elected. The roads and means of transportation in 1828 limited Jackson’s ability to campaign … but, it didn’t stop him.
Realizing that the man running for president lived just down the road, the citizens of Carthage invited candidate Jackson to appear in their town for a Fourth of July celebration.
Not to be outdone by their neighbors, the people of Hartsville decided to take advantage of Jackson’s trip to invite him to their town the following day as he would be passing through here to return home.
We have a transcript of the original letter. It reads as followes:
Hartsville June 4, 1828
Your fellow Citizens of Hartsville have been advised that an invitation by the Citizens of Carthage has been given you to participate with them in the celebration of the approaching 4th of July and that it has been accepted by you.
It is hoped that this arrangement might be convenient to you on your return to visit us.
We therefore for ourselves and as the organ of the committee of arrangements on that occasion invite you to partake with us the 5th of July or any subsequent day that you will indicate for dinner, supper and Ball in Hartsville.
On behalf of the Comm. of arrangements
The letter was signed by Alexander and by his fellow Hartsville resident, William Lauderdale.
Jackson accepted the invitation and our Trousdale County Historical Society has a copy of the actual invitation to the Jackson Ball, held in a downtown inn on the evening of July 5, 1828.
We have written of that ball in an earlier series of articles and how a large inn, belonging to Capt. Francis Duffy, was decorated up for the evening. All of the prominent men and women of Hartsville were there and dressed in their best attire.
Traveling with Jackson and also at the Ball was Sam Houston.
Like the earlier letters, the original copy of that letter is also in the Library of Congress. We thank the descendants of the Alexander family for sharing their family history and correspondence with us.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.