Archer is taken to Missouri

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 fifty individuals, white and black.” On this day in 1829, fifty people, would leave everything behind to start a new life. The families of Alexander, McCluer, and Wilson would have their enslaved families with them, that would make up over half of the caravan. Jacob Icenhauer, a German from Pennsylvania, had also joined the group, but didn’t own any slaves.

Journal of William Campbell, Washington and Lee University Library

Part of this caravan was Archer Alexander, owned by James Alexander, whose father had been sold a few years back, because he was uppity. With Archer was his wife Louisa, who had been inherited by James’ wife Nancy McCluer, when her father John McCluer, died a few years back. With them were their children, as Louisa had just given birth to their son Wesley Alexander, and was the wet nurse for the Alexander’s youngest of five children.

This story, of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, making their way to the frontier for a new beginning, is one of the thousands that would come from Virginia at that time. Missouri, had entered the Union in 1821, and was a fast growing slave state carved out of the Louisiana Territory with the Missouri Compromise. With this link, you can follow their journey, day by day, with entries from the Journal of William Campbell, son of Samuel LeGrand Campbell.

You won’t hear the story of those who were enslaved making the trek, but they are there. They feed and water the cattle and the horses, they set up the tents, gather the firewood, cook the meals, and tend the children. They don’t rest when the caravan stops.

To begin Archer’s journey DAY BY DAY begin here

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