The Scottish Clan Alexander, which I am Chief of, is a small but important branch clan of Clan Donald, the largest clan in
The first Earl of Stirling, Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, was the Secretary of State for
The first Lord Stirling was instrumental in the founding of English-speaking
This was a matter that upset many feudal barons at the time, and one sometimes stills hears complaints over the issue, but what most people forget is that the baronets were also barons of their Canadian lands. The acquiring of baronial rights until modern times required a ceremony whereby the new baron received rights to his land, held in baronium of the Crown, upon his lands. At this ceremony the new baron was presented with a small amount of earth and stone from the caput of his barony. Since the lands in
In ancient days all Scots peers were considered to be but barons with a higher personal dignity. The King was considered to be the chief of chiefs and he was crowned on what was called “Boot Hill” at Scone Abbey. The small hill was actually a man made mound created over the centuries by the earth and stones (from their own caputs) carried to the spot, at each crowning, by the barons, chiefs and peers of Scotland in a spare set of boots, hence the title “Boot Hill” ~ making Boot Hill the “caput of caputs” of Scotland. Today Scone Abbey is known as
Sir William was “Sir” due to holding a knighthood but also became “Sir” on the basis of being a Baronet of Nova Scotia as that is the style taken by baronets. Scottish/Nova Scotian Baronetage Law does allow for female succession and there is at present one baronetess in her own right, she is allowed the styles of both “Lady” (which is what wives of baronets use) and “Dame” (as a woman who is knighted is called) and may also be addressed as “Madam” (a style used by wives of Chiefs and female Chiefs in their own right). Americans always snicker at “Madam” since the term is generally linked to a woman running a whorehouse in American history/culture.
Sir William was given title to all of Canada ~ of course the French King with his possession of New France/Quebec did not agree with this ~ and the land patent read “from the islands offshore in the Atlantic, to the islands offshore in the Pacific, down to that land held by the King of Spain known as California”. Thus we Alexanders became the largest land owners in history (outside of crown heads who at various times of history and in various places claimed ownership of all land in their domains). It also meant that Sir William was both an “outside of the box” thinker (his idea of selling land with baronetcies to colonize Canada) and a real estate promoter/developer, as well as being a well educated religious man, in fact he was one of the translators of the King James Edition of the Bible ~ three things which I, his successor as Earl, value greatly.
The land grant to Sir William formed the basis for the British claim to several northwest American states as well as to the west and northwest of Canada.
Sir William also owned some land near what became
My late father (and his father before his death over 80 years ago) and I spend a great deal of time researching our ancestry and heritage. One of the interesting things that we discovered was that we are also Edwards and that our Edward ancestors owned a farm on the outskirts of early
It is simply too late to obtain clear title to the land now. Damn, I could have made The Donald (Donald Trump) look like a poor man. Again, not even close and no cigar.
The fifth Earl of Stirling, in the early 18th Century acquired some land in the Hudson Highlands in
The famous wine growing area of
The Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Company was founded by Samuel Timothy Alexander and his in-laws the Baldwins. This Samuel was from
The third nation that the Alexanders played a key role in founding was the United States of America. About a year before the American Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, my kinsmen in
A William Alexander, who was the Surveyor-General of the Providences of New York and New Jersey (his father had held the position in New York before him) went about claiming the then dormant Earldom of Stirling and related titles and great offices-of-state after the fifth Earl died without male issue. This William had Scottish law courts declare him to be the successor to the Earldom due to a descent from a common ancestor of the first Earl. This is something allowed under Scots Peerage Law, but totally unknown under English Peerage Law.
He moved to
He became an early supporter of the Revolution and served first as a Colonel, then as Brigadier General, and finally as a Major General in the American Revolutionary Army. He was a close friend to Major General George Washington and perhaps the most important financier behind
At the Battle of Long Island, he personally saved General Washington and his Army from a trap by holding a key bridge allowing the American Army to escape from General Lord Cornwallis. Eventually, as he kept allowing more and more of his men to leave, after the Army had gotten over the bridge, he was taken prisoner of war with only a few men remaining from his brigade.
Lord Cornwallis paid his enemy a great honor by saying, “Lord Stirling fought like a wolf”. Eventually, he was released as part of a high level POW exchange during the war, but, unfortunately, he died before the war was over. It is believed that his imprisonment was a contributing factor to his health’s decline and to his eventual death.
Major General Lord Stirling had been a very wealthy man, but almost bankrupted himself in the fight to make
There were three famous noblemen who fought as generals on the American side in the Revolutionary War, Major General Lord Stirling was one and Major General the Marquis de Lafayette was another. One of
A very important group of Alexanders were those who lived in
The Custis estate was eventually taken into a branch of the famous Lees of Virginia by the marriage of the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis to Robert E. Lee. This was the famous General Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. This officer had been offered command of both the
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy was born into a branch of this family. During the Civil War the union army crossed the
Originally when the states of