Rabbi Abraham Alexander

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Abraham Alexander, Sr.

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Death: February 21, 1816 (73)
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rabbi Joseph Raphael Alexander and Judith Raphael
Husband of Ann Sarah Alexander
Father of Abraham Alexander, Jr. and Moses Alexander
Half brother of Judah Alexander

Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Abraham Alexander

A Patriot of the American Revolution for SOUTH CAROLINA with the rank of LIEUTENANT. DAR Ancestor #: A001121

Link to Headstone photos: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=33835816&PIpi=37331496

Son of a rabbi and a noted Hebrew scholar, at age 23 Abraham Alexander sailed from London to South Carolina to become the second hazzan, or religious leader, of congregation Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. He resigned in 1784 when he married his second wife, Huguenot widow Ann Sarah Huguenin Irby, whom he had befriended during the British siege of the city.

Abraham Alexander, Sr. Timeline 1743-1816 By: Ill. Bro. McDonald "Don" Burbidge, 33°

    Ill. Bro. Abraham Alexander, Sr., was the son of Joseph Raphael. His mother’s name is not known. He was born in London, England and arrived in Charleston, S.C. around 1760.
    Ill. Bro. Abraham Alexander was a Scrivener and Hebrew Scholar and for about twenty years was the Minister of the Congregation Beth Elohim (House of God) of Charleston from 1764 to 1784 without remuneration, for which service his name is mentioned annually in that Congregation in the seventh escaba (prayer in memory of the dead) on Yom Kippur.


    Born in London


    Arrives in Charleston, South Carolina at the age of 21 years old


    The Jews of Charleston were meeting in a building located on King Street and relocated their place of worship to a building in Beresford near King Street. A misunderstanding having occurred between the congregation and the Rev. Mr. De Costa at this time resulted in his resignation and Mr. Abraham Alexander officiated in this temporary Synagogue as Hazan.


    Return to London to be married, his first son is born


    May 12, shows Abraham Alexander served in the War as a Lieutenant in Burns Troop, Wade Hampton’s Regiment of Light Dragoons, Sumter’s brigade. During the Carolina campaign; and as Lieutenant of Dragoons in Captain William McKenzie’s Troop, in Lieutenant Colonel William Hill’s Regiment.


    Return to Charleston, South Carolina. His wife dies in London.


    Abraham Alexander remarries during this year to Mrs. Ann Sarah Huguenin Irby.
    Mr. Abraham Alexander resigned his position of Hazan of the Jewish Synagogue.


    The Charleston census lists Abraham Alexander as a head of a family in the district of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s Parish. The listing only shows him and his wife at the time with no mention of his son that was born in London by his first marriage.


    Abraham Alexander’s first son born in London arrives on September 4 at Charleston.


    Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 214 King Street.
    Under the direction of Count Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse-Tilly, Abraham Alexander established in Charleston the Mother Council of Scottish Rite Masonry, of which he was Secretary-General.


    After the Revolution, Abraham entered the services of the new Government of the United States in the Customs House at Charleston, where he held the office of Auditor (collector of the Port) for Charleston.


    He is listed as the Fourth Officer of the Grand Council, as Grand Secretary of the Chapter of Rose Croix and holding the same office in the Consistory and in the Supreme Council.
    Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 183 King Street.


    Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 129 King Street


    Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 129 King Street


    February 21, Abraham Alexander, Sr. passes away. His widow who had been a Protestant Huguenot by birth and converted to the Jewish faith after her marriage to Abraham survived him.

Abraham Alexander was the fourth founder of the Supreme Council to pass away. He is buried in the Jewish cemetery on Coming Street.

Birth of the Scottish Rite [edit]

Although most of the thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite existed in parts of previous degree systems,[18] the Scottish Rite did not come into being until the formation of the Mother Supreme Council at Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1801. The Founding Fathers of the Scottish Rite who attended became known as "The Eleven Gentlemen of Charleston", .

John Mitchell - Received a patent April 2, 1795, from Barend Moses Spitzer granting him authority as Deputy Inspector General to create a Lodge of Perfection and several Councils and Chapters wherever such Lodges or Chapters were needed. Born in Ireland in 1741, he came to America at an early age, was Deputy Quartermaster General in the Continental Army, and the first Grand Commander of the Supreme Council. Frederick Dalcho - A physician. He served in the Army and for a while was stationed at Fort Johnson. He formed a partnership with Dr. Isaac Auld, another of the original members, in 1801. He was an outstanding orator and author. In 1807 he published the 1st Edition of Ahiman Rezon. He became an editor of the Charleston Courier, was a lay reader and deacon in the Episcopal Church and in 1818 was ordained a Priest. Alexander Francois Auguste de Grasse Tilly - A son of a French Admiral, and perhaps the most famously connected of all the original eleven. He was the youngest of the members and was named to become the Grand Commander of the West Indian Islands. He later moved to France and established the Supreme Council of France. Jean Baptiste Marie deLaHogue - He was a native of Paris and was a member of La Candeur Lodge in Charleston. Thomas Bartholemew Bowen - Was the first Grand Master of Ceremonies of the new Supreme Council. He was a Major in the Continental Army and a printer by trade.

==Abraham Alexander - Was one of the first Sovereign Grand Inspectors General. He was born in London in 1743, immigrated to Charleston in 1771. He was a very prominent Jew and had been described as "a Calligraphist of the first order", which may account for his election as the first Grand Secretary General.==

Emanuel de la Matta - A Sovereign Grand Inspector General. He was by trade a merchant and auctioneer. He was a member of Friendship Lodge and was reported to be quite devoted to the study of Jewish Literature and Masonic Study. Isaac Auld - An eminent physician, associated in medical practice with Dr. Dalcho. He was a rigid Congregationalist. Israel de Lieben - A Sovereign Grand Inspector General and the first Grand Treasurer General. He was born in Prague and emigrated to America upon reaching Majority age. He was known as "the liberal-headed Jew", who was "tolerant in his religious opinions and was considered to be intelligent, enterprising, liberal and generous. Moses Clava Levy - Was born in Krakow, Poland. He was a prosperous merchant, was generous and helpful to the unfortunate and devoted to his adopted city and country. James Moultrie - Was the only native South Carolinian among the original members. He was a Doctor of Medicine, and according to Albert Pike, "was one of the foremost Citizens of South Carolina". Isaac De Costa, one of the deputies commissioned to establish Morin's Rite of the Royal Secret in other countries, formed constituent bodies of the Rite in South Carolina in 1783, which eventually became, in 1801, The Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. All regular Scottish Rite bodies today derive their heritage from this body. Subsequently, other Supreme Councils were formed in Saint-Domingue in 1802, in France in 1804, in Italy in 1805, and in Spain in 1811.[19]

On May 1, 1813, an officer from the Supreme Council at Charleston initiated several New York Masons into the Thirty-third Degree and organized a Supreme Council for the "Northern Masonic District and Jurisdiction". On May 21, 1814 this Supreme Council reopened and proceeded to "nominate, elect, appoint, install and proclaim in due, legal and ample form" the elected officers "as forming the second Grand and Supreme Council...". Finally, the charter of this organization (written January 7, 1815) added, "We think the Ratification ought to be dated 21st day May 5815."[20]

Officially, the Supreme Council, 33°, N.M.J. dates itself from May 15, 1867. This was the date of the "Union of 1867", when it merged with the competing Cerneau "Supreme Council" in New York. The current Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States, was thus formed.[21]


The American Revolution in South Carolina The SC State Troops

Regiment Date Started Date Ended On ContinentalLine? FirstCommander SC 1st Regiment (Infantry) 6/6/1775 5/12/1780 Yes Col. Christopher Gadsden SC 2nd Regiment (Infantry) 6/6/1775 5/12/1780 Yes Col. William Moultrie SC 3rd Regiment (Rangers) 6/6/1775 5/12/1780 Yes Lt. Col. William Thomson SC 4th Regiment (Artillery)


5/12/1780 Yes Lt. Col. Owen Roberts SC 5th Regiment (Rifles) 2/22/1776 Feb. 1780 Yes Col. Isaac Huger SC 6th Regiment (Rifles) 2/28/1776 Feb. 1780 Yes Lt. Col. Thomas Sumter SC Light Dragoons Feb. 1779 5/12/1780 No Col. Daniel Horry SC 1st Regiment of State Dragoons April 1781 1783 No Col. Wade Hampton SC 2nd Regiment of State Dragoons April 1781 1783 No Col. Charles Myddleton Hampton's Regiment of Light Dragoons April 1781 1783 No Lt. Col. Henry Hampton Polk's Regiment of Light Dragoons April 1781 Dec. 1781 No Lt. Col. William Polk Hill's Regiment of Light Dragoons April 1781 1782 No Col. William Hill Hammond's Regiment of Light Dragoons September 1781 1782 No Col. Samuel Hammond SC 3rd Regiment of State Dragoons Nov. 1781 1783 No Col. Hezekiah Maham SC 4th Regiment of State Dragoons Nov. 1781 1782 No Col. Peter Horry On June 6, 1775, the SC First Provincial Congress resolved "that two regiments of foot, each to consist of seven hundred and fifty rank and file, be forthwith officered, raised, paid, and disciplines, and put under the direction of Congress." That same day, it also resolved "that a regiment of rangers, to consist of four hundred and fifty privates, be also forthwith officered, raised, paid, and disciplined, and put under the direction of the Congress."

These three regiments were South Carolina Provincial Troops and yet many considered them to be a State militia. In some ways they were simply a militia until the SC Second Provincial Congress met and on November 21, 1775 they resolved "that the commissioned officers of the colony regular troops take precedence of officers of equal degree in the militia, without regard to prior dates of commissions in the latter, provided nevertheless, that a 2nd Lieutenant in the regulars shall be subordinate to a 1st Lieutenant in the militia, and so on in gradation in the regulars and militia respectively."

The two regiments first raised in the Charles Town District became the nucleus for the first two SC State Regiments of Infantry, and the regiment raised by Lt. Col. William Thomson in the Orangeburgh District became the nucleus for the third SC State Regiment of Rangers. The remainder of the Charles Town District Regiment of Militia was given to Maj. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and he was soon promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. The Orangeburgh Regiment of Militia was turned over to Lt. Col. Christopher Rowe.

In August of 1775, these three regiments of SC Troops went on a recruiting trip to North Carolina, Virginia, and the South Carolina backcountry to try to raise more men to fill their rosters. While away, the leaders in South Carolina established a training station within Charleston for the new recruits to gather and to learn the art of warfare.

As some of the citizens were not settled as to which side of the Revolution they wanted to support, the South Carolina legislature decided to fix the wavering and to intimidate those disaffected by marching a large body of SC State Troops through the interior of the State. On August 10, 1775, Col. William Thomson and his SC 3rd Regiment of Rangers were ordered to send three companies of the Rangers to Orangeburgh, then to the Three Runs area, then down the Savannah River to Purrysburg, then to Pon Pon, and downwards by the high road. He was instructed to send another three companies to Kingstree, Waccamaw, and Pee Dee, then to Georgetown, and finally to Wambaw. He was instructed to send two more companies to Monck's Corner, then to Edisto Saw Mills, then through Horse Shoe and Round O, and finally to Parker's Ferry.

In November of 1775, Col. William Moultrie ordered that Fort Dorchester be established to serve as a backcountry storehouse for ammunition, ordinance, stores, and public records.

On November 14, 1775, the SC Second Provincial Congress resolved "that, as there is a great want of men to manage and fire the artillery in Fort Johnson, and the other fortifications now erected, and such batteries as it may hereafter be thought necessary to erect, a regiment of artillery be forthwith raised and embodyed, to serve either in garrison or otherwise, by land or water, as the service of the colony may require, to consist of three companies of one hundred men each, including non-commissioned officers and gunners."

This regiment of artillery was designated the SC 4th Regiment of Artillery, with command given to Lt. Col. Owen Roberts, seconded by Maj. Barnard Elliott. They were authorized 500 rank and file and were stationed on James Island near the old Fort Johnson. This new regiment was soon busy repairing old batteries - Broughton's, Lyttleton's, Grenville's, and Craven's; and constructing new batteries - Gadsden's, the Exchange, Beal's, and Gibbes'.

On February 22, 1776, the SC Second Provincial Congress, under pressure from the Continental establishment, resolved "That a regiment of expert Rifle-men, to take rank as the fifth regiment, under proper field and other officers, be immediately raised, to consist of seven companies; each company to consist of one Captain, two Lieutenants, one Ensign, and one hundred men, including four Sergeants, and four Corporals."

Six days later, the SC Second Provincial Congress resolved "That a second regiment of Rifle-men, to rank as the sixth regiment, in the colony service, be raised as soon as possible; to consist of five companies of one hundred men each, under a Lieutenant Colonel Commandant, and a Major; upon the same terms and establishment as the first regiment of Rifle-men." Within a month, these two new regiments of SC State Troops were raised.

Several appointed captains in these new regiments declined to serve since they had already created companies of militia and felt that their service would be better utilized in that capacity.

On June 18, 1776, the Continental Congress resolved "That the battalion of artillery and the two other battalions of foot raised in South Carolina and kept up in that Colony for the defence of the same, be considered as Continental forces and allowed the same pay, rations and disbursements as other forces on the Continental Establishment.

"That the two battalions under the command of Colonels Gadsden and Moultrie be allowed all the advantages of the Continental Establishment from the fourth day of November last, and the regiment of artillery from the time when the same was ordered to be raised by the Provincial Congress or Convention in South Carolina.

"That the two battalions of rifle men, raised in and for the defence of the said Colony, be considered as Continental troops from the 25th day of March last, and be intitled to all the advantages of the same.

"That all the above mentioned troops be liable to the Articles for the government of the forces in the said Colony.

"That the said forces be continued on the Continental Establishment until the expiration of their inlistment, unless they shall be sooner disbanded by the Congress.

That not more than one third of the effective men of the above mentioned forces be ordered out the said Colony without the express order of Congress, or the consent of the President of that Colony."

On July 24, 1776, the Continental Congress resolved "That the regiment of Rangers now in the pay of the State of South Carolina be placed upon Continental Establishment, and that it consist of a Lieutenant Colonel Commandant, a Major, ten Captains, twenty Lieutenants, a Surgeon, a Paymaster, twenty Sergeants and five hundred Privates.

"That the pay of the Lieutenant Colonel Commandant be the same as a Colonel of Foot, a Major that of a Lieutenant Colonel, a Captain that of a Major, and the Lieutenants that of a Captain, and Sergeants that of Ensigns of Foot of the Continental forces. That the Surgeon be allowed thirty-three and one third dollars per month, the Paymaster twenty-six and two thirds, and the Privates twelve and an half dollars per month to provide themselves with horses, guns, and provisions for themselves and horses.

"That the said Rangers be liable to act on horseback or foot as occasion may require.

"That the like number of Rangers be raised in the State of Georgia and put upon Continental Establishment.

"That these be intitled to the same pay, and subject to the same duties, as the Carolina Rangers.

"That the Rangers raised in the State of South Carolina be subject to the Articles formed by the convention of that State for the government of the forces raised therein."

On September 20, 1776, the South Carolina General Assembly resolved "That this House do acquiese to the Resolves of the Continental Congress of the 18th of June and 24th of July, relating to putting the two Regiments of Infantry, the Regiment of Rangers, the Regiment of Artillery and the two Regiments of Riflemen in the service of this State, on the Continental Establishment."

As a response to British advancements in January of 1779, the State of South Carolina determined that it would be prudent to have another regiment of State Troops at its disposal and not allocated to the Continental Line. Lt. Col. Daniel Horry (of the Georgetown District Regiment of militia) was commissioned as Colonel and directed to muster and command the SC Light Dragoons in early February.

All of the State Troops were effectively decimated during the Siege of Charleston - either by action or by surrender on May 12, 1780. Horry's SC Light Dragoons were not at Charleston, but were effectively silenced in battles just before and just after the Fall of Charleston.

In April of 1781, Brig. Gen. Thomas Sumter had authorization from Gov. John Rutledge to raise five new regiments of SC Troops. Two regiments were established by Col. Wade Hampton and Col. Charles Myddleton, and they remained effective until the end of the war. The three other regiments were established by Col. William Hill, Lt. Col. Henry Hampton, and Lt. Col. William Polk, and these regiments were disbanded prior to the end of 1782. One source asserts that Lt. Col. James Hawthorn also created a regiment of State Troops, but no other documentation seems to support this, especially since all during 1780 through 1782, he seems to be aligned with Col. William Hill in all known military activities during that period.

Richard Hampton wrote, "The troops are to enlist for ten months - each regiment to have one Lieut. Colonel, one Major, five Sergeants, ten Lieutenants; Each company two Sergeants, twenty-five privates - the pay to be as follows: Each Colonel to receive three grown negroes and one small negro. Major to receive three grown negroes. Captain two grown negroes. Lieutenants, one large and one small negroe. The Sergeants, one and a quarter negro. Each private, one grown negroe. And to be furnished with one coat, two waistcoats, two pair overalls, two shirts, two pair stockings, one pair shoes and spurs, one horseman's cap, one blanket and one half bushel of salt to those who have families...and to be equipped with a sword, pistols, horse, saddle and bridle." He went on to explain that "negroes under 10 years, or over 40, was a half a negro, a full negro being valued at $400."

In September of 1781, Gov. John Rutledge authorized a new regiment of SC Troops to be created by Col. Samuel Hammond, and this regiment was placed under Brig. Gen. Andrew Pickens for the duration of the war.

In November of 1781, Brig. Gen. Francis Marion was authorized by Gov. John Rutledge to establish two new regiments of SC Troops. These were established by Col. Hezekiah Maham and Col. Peter Horry. Over the course of the next year, these two regiments were so depleted of manpower that Marion was ordered to combine them into one. Since Maham had been promoted to Colonel sooner than Horry, Maham was given all of Horry's men and retained his regiment. Col. Horry resigned and retired from service. Maham was then captured by the British and paroled - and essentially sat out the remainder of the war, although his regiment remained intact.

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Rabbi Abraham Alexander's Timeline

January 2, 1743
London, England, United Kingdom
Age 27
London, England, United Kingdom
Age 34
February 21, 1816
Age 73
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, United States