October 8, 1829 – the final entry

The final entry in the journal that shares the journey of Archer Alexander, from Rockbridge County Virginia to St. Charles Missouri, to St. Louis, Missouri to the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C’s Lincoln Park…

Archer alexander

The final entry of William M. Campbell’s journal* simply reads…

Reached home*


When Archer arrived in Dardenne Prairie in Saint Charles County on October 8th in 1829, he was 23 years old. Born in 1806, his parents Aleck and Chloe were the property of the Alexander family. He was owned by James Alexander of Rockbridge County, near Lexington, in Virginia. His wife Louisa, born as property of the McCluer family, was part of the dowry of James’ wife Nancy. Together Archer and Louisa would have ten children, Ralph, Nellie, Wesley, Eliza, Mary Ann, Archer, Jim, Aleck, Lucinda, and John. By 1835 their owners James and his wife Nancy had succumbed to the cholera epidemic. James Alexander’s final Will expressly demands that absolutely none of his slaves are to be sold, but to be rented out for the support and to pay for the education of his four small…

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German America Day 2020

Join me as we celebrate German American Day – St. Louis Style

German American Committee



OCTOBER 6, 2020




Dorris Keeven-Franke,

President German-American Committee

and Missouri Germans Consortium, Executive Director

In St. Louis, Missouri, one of the largest strongholds of German-American heritage, the German-American Committee of St. Louis, was officially founded. We work to preserve, educate and promote the German-American heritage of St. Louis.

Germans have been part of America’s history since 1683, when a group of immigrants, thirteen families, from Krelfeld landed at Philadelphia, and founded Germantown, Pennsylvania. In 1688, they filed the first petition ever written, to abolish slavery, in the colonies. In 1883, German Americans in Philadelphia, began to celebrate this heritage with Deutsch-Amerikanischer Tag or German American Day. This spread throughout the United States, and every German-American community would also use this day to honor this heritage. This tradition has even survived the anti-German sentiment of…

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1 & 2 October 1829 – Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh entry

Some stories are harder to tell than others, which makes them more important. And in some stories, it is hard to hear the voices of the enslaved people, who we know were there.

Archer alexander

The Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements by David Cole 2007

William Campbell’s journal of his move to Missouri, written in 1829, tells us the story of fifty people both black and white. They left Rockbridge County, Virginia on August 20th, and travelled across today’s West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, for a trip of over seven-hundred miles. They are still one-hundred miles from their destination on this day.

With Campbell are the Alexander, McCluer, Wilson and Icenhauer families, their children, and their enslaved… including Archer Alexander. Many of them had left their families behind. William Campbell’s family had served in the Revolutionary War fifty years earlier. His grandfather Charles Campbell, grandson of Robert, who with his brothers Dougal and John, all sons of of Duncan, removed from Scotland (where Duncan Campbell died) to Ireland in 1700, and all later removed to Pennsylvania in 1730, then to Virginia…

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30 September 1829 – Thirty-fifth entry

I travel in company with four families containing about 50 individuals, white and black… this is their story…

Archer alexander

Forty one days ago, on August 20, 1829 William Campbell first wrote: I started from Lexington, Virginia on a journey to the state of Missouri. My own object in going to that remote section of the Union was to seek a place where I might obtain an honest livelihood by the practice of law. I travel in company with four families containing about 50 individuals, white and black.

Next day rode over miles of very bad roads between Muddy Fork and Little Wabash, said to overflow in winter. Passed through Maysville, the county town of Clay county. It consists of a small wooden court house and jail, two houses and three cabins. Crossed one prairie 10 miles wide, through which passed a small stream called Elm River. The rising and setting of the sun on the prairie is a glorious sight. Encamped in a prairie near a skirt of wood.

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29 September 1829 – Thirty-fourth entry

Archer encounters the magnificent site of the FREE state of Illinois…

Archer alexander

While the Illinois state constitution did not have a clause forbidding an amendment to allow slavery, religions leaders like John Mason Peck, and voters had rejected a proposal for a new constitutional convention that could have made slavery legal, five years before, in 1824. Despite these laws toleratingde factoslavery, in a series of legal decisions the Illinois Supreme Courtdeveloped a jurisprudence to gradually emancipate the enslaved people of Illinois. The justices decided that in order for a contract of servitude to be valid, both parties must be in agreement and sign it, and it was registered within 30 days of entering the state. In one of the predecessors of the Dred Scottdecision, Moore v. People, 55 U.S. 13 (1852), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a conviction for harboring a fugitive slave from Missouri, as had the Illinois Supreme Court a few years earlier.

Crossing the River

Slave catchers…

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28th September 1829 – Thirty-third entry

Follow the Journey…The journey of Archer Alexander and twenty-five enslaved from Rockbridge County Virginia…to Saint Charles County Missouri…continues….

Archer alexander

The caravan completed its’ crossing of the state of Indiana and is starting across Illinois. America was on the move. They have come over 600 miles from Rockbridge County in Virginia on their own journey. These things are not on the mind of these fifty weary travelers, headed for Saint Charles County in Missouri, of which the enslaved Archer Alexander is a member. In 1876, the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. was the vision of thousands of the formerly enslaved people that President Lincoln had helped free. The monument with Archer Alexander (1806-1880) portrays a slave who has worked to free himself, has broken and thrown off his shackles and is seen rising with the vision of the future on his face. The face of freedom.


Next day came through Vincennes, a beautifully situated town, on the bank of the Wabash, with a number of fine brick houses and…

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27 September 1829 – Thirty-second entry

This is September 27, 1829 and the journey of Archer Alexander to Missouri.

Archer alexander

On the 27th of September the caravan is crossing Indiana. This is the journal of William Campbell, moving four families from Rockbridge County Virginia to Saint Charles County Missouri. The caravan is made up of just four families. Between the Alexander, McCluer and Wilson families, they own twenty-five people, half of the caravan. Archer Alexander is a part of this. Its’ 1829, and America is on the move.

Next day had incessant hard rain nearly all day. We pushed on to get over the Little White River. Got very wet. Crossed the river easily. A fine stream nearly the same size as Big White River. Roads very muddy after the rain. The country between the forks of the White is level, a part of it is good land but part is barren. Encamped at [Andrew] Purcells, road and country level; many movers.*

Even before the U.S. and President Thomas…

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5 September 1829 – Eleventh Entry

Archer Alexander’s journey continues…

Archer alexander

The Journey continues… This is the journal of William Campbell, leading four families, Alexander, McCluer, Wilson and Icenhower from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to Dardenne Prairie, in Saint Charles County Missouri. It includes at least 25 enslaved people, including the enslaved Archer Alexander, who today is found on Washington, D.C.’s Emancipation Monument. The journal is located in the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia. They had departed Lexington on August 20, 1829… Campbell has spent the past five days in Charleston, (West) Virginia waiting on the wagons that are loaded with household goods to catch up to him in Charleston..

5 September – Our wagons arrived and we put 5,000 pounds out of them into a keel boat to go by water and they lay one day at Daniel Ruffner’s. Encamped on a short turnpike at Hamiltons. Staid…

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24 August 1829 – Fifth entry

On ArcherAlexander.blog you can follow Archer Alexander’s journey from Virginia to Missouri

Archer alexander

Staid in Lewisburg until evening. It was a quarterly court and a day of great resort in Lewisburg. Started in the evening and came to Pierce’s [Pierie’s] ten miles over the Muddy Creek Mountain. Fared well.

Prior to the Civil War, most Courthouses were the necessary site for the important slave auction. Usually the earliest settlement in the area, the roads leading to the County Seats were also the best maintained. Drawing from Lewis Miller, Sketchbook of Landscapes in the State of Virginia, 1853-1867. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia

William Massilon Campbell graduated in 1825 from Washington College, later Washington and Lee University. His father Samuel LeGrand Campbell was a President of the esteemed college.As a lawyer, he had a keen interest in the affairs of each County Seat, and would spend several hours visiting and attending the court’s proceedings. This allowed time for…

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Stop removing our history

A member of Congress wants to remove the Emancipation Monument that was paid for by thousands of the formerly enslaved of America.

Archer alexander

Stop Congress from removing the Emancipation Monument from our Nation’s Capitol. Add your name to the Petition today. This is the only memorial entirely paid for by thousands of formerly enslaved and U.S. Colored Troops in our Nation’s capitol. https://www.change.org/EmancipationMonumentDC

Emancipation Monument or Freedom’s Memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located in Lincoln Park, the first public park in Washington, D.C.

Freedom’s Memorial, also known as the Emancipation Monument in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. has a plaque that reads “in grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln this monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission. of Saint Louis Mo: with funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States declared free by his proclamation January 1st A.D. 1863. The first contributionof five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott, a freed woman of Virginia being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her…

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