Alexander family has long history here

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

The current Alexander residents in Covington County and surrounding areas are mostly descendants of the Alexanders who settled just over the western county line in Conecuh and Butler Counties. John Johnson Alexander was the earliest known of this family to reside in this area.

Johnson Alexander who was born in 1799 in Guilford County, North Carolina, and he died in 1883 in Conecuh County, Alabama. Family legend has it that he came to South Alabama to serve in the Indian Wars of 1836 and 1837. He did meet his future bride here, and he returned after the war to marry Sarah Ray in 1843. Sarah was the daughter of Matthew and Holly M. May Ray (Rea is the Irish form.), natives of South Carolina.

Johnson and Sarah had at least five children: Mary, b. 1844, d. 1898, m. John Jackson Haskins; James "Jim," b. 1846, d. 1927, m. Mary Alice Brown; William, b. 1848, d. 1932, single; George, b. 1851, d. 1946, m. Mary Margaret "Maggie" Brown; and Martha, b. 1854, d. 1929, single. James and George married sisters.

Mary's husband, John Haskins, was married first to Nancy and had four children. He served in the War Between the States and later moved to Texas for a few years after Nancy's death. He had returned to Conecuh County by 1877 and here he was married to Mary. He and Mary had the following children: Ida, b. 1877, d. 1879; Ada, b. 1877 (twin), d. 1936, m. Jeff Williams; Sarah, b. 1879, d. 1888; and Martha, b.&d.1885. After the twins were born John and Mary returned to Texas.

James "Jim" served as a private in Co. F, 2nd Ala. Inf. Reg't of the Confederate Army. After the war he returned home and was married to Mary Alice Brown in 1869. He was a farmer and later became a Justice of the Peace for his area. Relatives have reported memories of him having held court under a chinaberry tree. One incident recounted is of him being under the influence of alcohol when a young couple came to be married. He just pronounced them married and completed the paper work the next day. Jim had an unusual feature--one blue eye and one green or brown.

Jim and Mary A. had the following children: Katherine Saphronia, b. 1870, d. 1946, m. (1) Charles Madison Varner (2) Nicholas Travis Aaron; George Washington, b. 1871, d. 1950, m. Mary Alabama Jones; Mary Alice, b. 1872, d. 1936, m. Britton James Smith; John Johnson, b. 1874, d. 1901, single; Minnie Lee, b. 1879, d. 1960, m. J. Leonard Davis; Dora Belle, b. 1881, d. 1953, m. John Daniel Hartley; Ella A., b. 1883, d. 1913, m. George W. Coleman; Anderson L., b. 1885, d. 1981, m. Carlie Barfield; Sarah Olive, b. 1887, m. Henry Augustus Travis; Ida Mae, m. William James J. Travis; and Ada, b. 1892, m. Haywood Cleve Nunnery.

William as well as his younger sister, Martha, remained single. They shared a home and farmed together near their relatives.

George and his wife, Maggie, had the following four children: James B., b. 1875, d. 1962, m. Beulah Diamond; John Henry, b. 1878, d. 1961; William Walter, b. 1880, d. 1963; and Sarah, b. 1884, d. 1966.

In the next generation, Jim and Mary Alice's children are presented. The oldest daughter, Katherine, and her husband Charles Madison Varner had the following children: Della, b. 1888, m. J. Henry Diamond; James Madison, b. 1889; Ada, b. 1892, m. L. Richard Peacock; Ida, b. 1898, m. Olando Claude Darby; and Bessie, b. 1903, m. Thomas Alvin Snowden. Katherine and her second husband, Nicholas Travis Aaron, had four children: Claude Hubert, b. 1905; Clyde, 1908; Daisy, b. 1909, m. John Comer Hammond; and Mae, b. 1911, m. Lloyd Harper.

George Washington and his wife Mary A., had five children: Mary Ruth, b. 1912, d. 1986, m. Sam Franklin; Lewis Ralph, b. 1910, d. 1983, m. Ruth Elizabeth Salter; Lawrence Anderson, b. 1905, d. 1964, m. Leola Sander; Alvin Lee, b. 1902, d. 1981, m. Naomi Palmer; and James Amos, b. 1918, m. Mildred McGee.

Mary Alice and her husband, Britton J. Smith, had four children: Rufus G., b. 1904; John D., b. 1906, m. Ertis Sowell; Estelle, m. ? Mr. Heaton; and Leola, m. Murray Eugene Hyde.

Minnie Lee and her husband, James Leonard Davis, had 15 children: Two infants; Ora, b. 1894, d. 1916, single; Albert, b. 1896, d. 1974, m. Carrie Kervin; Marvin or Martin V., b.&d. 1897; Mary Belle, b. 1899, d. 1988, m. Elder Clint G. Myers; James Aubrey, b. 1901, d. 1919, single; Lena Mae, b.&d. 1903; Ida Mae, b. 1904, d. 1984, m. Hillary Benjamin Hester; Clifford, b.&d. 1906; Jasper Newton, b. 1908, d. 1971, m. Sallie Maude Cook; Claude Casey, b. 1910, d. 1955, m. Lucille Loftin; Vera Lois, b. 1914, d. 1997, m. Grady Lee Browder; Era Victoria, b. 1917, d. 1992, m. (1) Julian E. Ulm (2) Thomas J. "Jack" Gossett; and John M., b. 1918, d. 1997, m. Doris Bennett.

Dora Belle and her husband, John Daniel Hartley, had four children: Lee Roy, b. 1905, d. 1975, m. Emily Bantaa; Pauline, b. 1907, d. 1983, m. Dillar Murphy; John Thomas, b. 1908, d. 1985, m. Doris Belle Pierre; and James Auston, b. 1911, d. 1978, m. Avis June Herman.

Ella A. and her husband, George W. Coleman, had three children: Walter, b. 1908; Lewis J., b. ca 1910, m. Aline Black; and Oscar W., b. ca 1913.

Anderson L., and his wife, Carlie, had nine children: Wesley, b. 1913, d. 1917; William, b. 1921, m. Dorothy Ethridge; Winston, b. 1927, d. 1983, single; Austin Roosevelt "Sam," b. 1933, d. 1987, m. Alma Margaret Emmett (Emmert in German); Winton, single; Lucile, m. Bill Findley; Mary, m. Bert Taylor; Vivian, m. Milton Pate; and possibly Ailene.

The daughter, Sarah Olive, and her husband, Henry Augustus Travis, had four children: William C., b. 1908, d. 1909; Mark Augustus, b. 1911, d. as infant; Mary Opal, b. 1913, d. 1994, m. Jack Ellis Barlowe; and Helen Louise, b. 1911, d. 1946, m. Roy Roland.

The daughter, Ida Mae, and her husband, William James Travis, had five children: Ola Alexander, b. ca 1907, m. George Daniel "Bo" Sellers; James Calloway, b. 1912, d. 1993, m. Mary Francis Cary; Saphronia Inez, b. 1918; Mark Augustus "Bo," b. 1921; and Virginia Dare, m. Otha V. "Dee" McLain.

Most of these members of the Alexander family lived in the areas between Old Town in Conecuh County and McKenzie in Butler County and just west of the Covington County line. Many moved into Covington as they established their own homes.

One family of these was Sam and Alma Margaret whose son, Frank Alexander, shared his family history records for this review. Appreciation is expressed to him and known researchers of this family: John H. Davis, Kenneth and Elvy Hammond, and Faye Rodgers Travis who shared family data.

Anyone who has corrections or additional information to the above is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email:


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, at the Andalusia Public Library.