Biography of Archibald Alexander
Prominent Persons in Virginia, Biographies





Alexander, Archibald, born in Rockbridge county, near Lexington, April 17, 1772, was of Scotch Irish stock. He was one of William Graham's pupils at Liberty Hall (now Washington and Lee University). It was at Samuel Stanhope Smith's recommendation that Graham was chosen to take charge of this academy and he conducted it for twenty years. During the revival of 1788, Alexander accompanied William Graham to Prince Edward, and assisted in the work, aiding further in similar efforts upon his return to Rockbridge. In 1791 he was a member of the general assembly, and in 1794 was again in Prince Edward as pastor of Briery church. Upon the resignation of Drury Lacy, in 1796, Archibald Alexander was called to the presidency of the college at the early age of twenty four. Dr. Alexander made an extended tour through the northern and New England states in 1801, coming in contact with the representative men of the day in theological thought. In Louisa county. Virginia, he stopped at the house of James Waddell, the famous blind preacher in William Wirt's "British Spy," and met for the first time Janetta Waddell. who later became his wife. He returned to Hampden Sidney in 1802. and resumed the duties of his office, remaining until 1806. In that year he accepted a call to the Pine street church. Philadelphia. In the following year he was moderator of the general assembly. In his sermon before this assembly he made a suggestion as to a theological seminar. This was at last established in 1812 at Princeton, New Jersey, and Dr. Alexander was chosen senior professor and remained there the rest of his life. Dr. Alexander was preeminent for piety, and possessed unrivaled powers as a pulpit orator. He is no less known today through his liumerous theological and philosophical works. The most important are : "Evidences of the Christian Religion" (1825); "History of the Colonization of the Western Coast of Africa" (1846); "History of the Israelitish Nation" (1852); "Outlines of Moral Science" (1852); "Biographical Sketches of the Founder and Principal Alumni of the Log College" (See Princeton). Of his sons, two were distinguished Princeton professors and theological writers, Dr. James W. Alexander and Dr. J. Addison Alexander. A grandson, Dr. Henry Carrington Alexander, was for twenty two years professor in the Theological Seminary of Hampden Sidney. Dr. Alexander died October 22, 1851.


FROM:
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
Volume II
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915



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