William Alexander, Earl of Stirling

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William Alexander, Lord Stirling, Major General (Continental Army)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: New York
Death: Died in Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Alexander, Attorney General of New Jersey and Maria Alexander
Husband of Sarah Livingston, Lady Sterling
Father of Mary Watts (Armstrong) and Catherine Duer
Brother of Mary Livingston; James Alexander; Elizabeth Stevens; Catherine Rutherfurd; Anne Alexander and 1 other
Half brother of John Provoost

Occupation: Military Officer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Alexander, Earl of Stirling

Son of James Alexander of New York the de jure 6th Earl of Stirling. He was the de jure 7th Earl of Stirling. Due to the political rights to Nova Scotia his exact descent from the first Earl was hidden.

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NEW JERSEY with the rank of Major General. DAR Ancestor #: A001259

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Alexander_(American_general)

William Alexander (1726 New York City – January 15, 1783), who claimed the disputed title of Earl of Stirling, was an American Major-General during the American Revolutionary War.

Alexander was an educated, ambitious and bright young man and was proficient in mathematics and astronomy. He joined his mother in a successful provisioning business and, in 1747, married Sarah Livingston, the daughter of Philip Livingston (1686-1749) and sister of Governor William Livingston. The couple had two daughters. One of his daughters, Mary Alexander, would marry wealthy merchant, Robert Watts of New York.[1]

During the French and Indian War, he joined the British Army Commissariat, where he became aide-de-camp to Governor William Shirley. He traveled to London in 1756 to testify on behalf of Shirley, who was facing charges of dereliction of duty. While there he claimed the vacant title of Earl of Stirling, in the Peerage of Scotland, as senior male descendant of the first earl's grandfather, and was permitted to vote in an election of the Scottish representative peers. The British House of Lords refused to recognize his claim without proof of descent, but he continued to style himself Earl of Stirling all his life long. The right to the earldom would have implied his right to a land grant that consisted of much of the New England coast, parts of Nova Scotia and the entire St. Lawrence River valley, given to the heirs male of the first earl; his grandson, William Alexander Duer, wrote that this was his chief reason for pursuing it. He took the nephews of the fifth, and last, Earl (Henry Alexander, 5th Earl of Stirling) into partnership on the land claim. (see his profile: Henry Alexander, 5th, and last, Earl of Stirling

Satisfied by the partial acceptance of his claim, he returned to America in 1761, now using the title Lord Stirling. Stirling was appointed Surveyor-General of the Province of New Jersey and was also a member of the Provincial Council. He was one of the founders of King's College (predecessor of Columbia University) and became its first governor.

Stirling was a socially prominent and wealthy man, having inherited a large fortune from his father. He dabbled in mining and agriculture and lived a life filled with the trappings befitting a Scottish Lord. This was an expensive lifestyle and he eventually went into debt to finance it. He began building his grand estate in Basking Ridge, N.J. and upon its completion, sold his home in New York and moved there. George Washington was a guest there on several occasions during the revolution and gave away Stirling’s daughter at her wedding.

American Revolution When the American Revolutionary War began, Stirling was made a colonel in the New Jersey militia. He outfitted the militia at his own expense and was always willing to spend his own money in support of the cause. He distinguished himself early by leading a group of volunteers in the capture of an armed British transport.

Congress appointed him brigadier general in the Continental Army in March 1776. At the Battle of Long Island, in August of that year, Stirling led the 1st Maryland Regiment in repeated attacks against a superior British force at the Old Stone House near what is today named the Gowanus Canal and took heavy casualties. Outnumbered 25-1, his brigade was eventually overwhelmed and Sterling was taken prisoner, but not before repelling the British forces long enough to allow the main body of troops to escape to defensive positions at Brooklyn Heights. Because of his actions at Long Island, one newspaper called him "the bravest man in America" and he was praised by both Washington and the British for his bravery and audacity.

He was released in a prisoner exchange (in return for governor Montfort Browne), promoted to major general,[2] and became one of Washington’s most able and trusted generals. Washington held him in such high regard that he placed Stirling in command of the entire Continental Army for nearly two months, while he was away on personal business and throughout most of the war he was considered to be 3rd or 4th in rank behind Washington. Though he cast his lot with the Patriot cause during the American Revolution, officers (including Washington) and men alike often referred to him as Lord Stirling. At Trenton he received the surrender of a Hessian regiment. On 26 June 1777, at Matouchin (now called Metuchen), he awaited an attack, contrary to Washington's orders. His position was turned and his division detested, losing two guns and 150 men in the Battle of Short Hills. Subsequent battles at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth cemented his reputation for bravery and sound tactical judgment. At the battles of Brandywine and Germantown he acted with bravery and discretion. At the battle of Monmouth he displayed tactical judgment in posting his batteries, and repelled with heavy loss an attempt to turn his flank. In January 1780, he led an ineffective raid against Staten Island. Lord Sterling also played a part in exposing the Conway Cabal, a conspiracy of disaffected officers looking to remove Washington as Commander-in Chief and replace him with General Horatio Gates.

When Washington took his army south in 1781, he appointed Stirling commander of the northern army and he was sent to Albany. Stirling, always a heavy drinker, was in poor health by this time, suffering from severe gout and rheumatism. He died in Albany on January 15, 1783. His untimely death just months before the official end of the war is the probable reason that he is not as well known today as many of the other generals. Still, his significant contributions made him one of the most important figures of the American Revolution. He was buried at Trinity Churchyard, New York City.[3]

Legacy His nephew was Senator John Rutherfurd (1760–1840). His son-in-law was Congressman William Duer'qon was College president William Alexander Duer (1780–1858). His great-grandson was Congressman William Duer (1805–1879). His great-grandson was General Stephen Watts Kearny (1794–1848)

MS51, a Middle School on the former Gowanus battlefield, is named William Alexander Middle School for him.[4] The Stirling, New Jersey in Long Hill Township is located a short distance from Alexander's house in Basking Ridge. Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge, New Jersey is located on part of his estate. Stirling Hill Mine was named after him, as he once owned the property Lord Stirling 1770s Festival [5] The town of Stirling, Massachusetts was named in his honor.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Alexander_(American_general)

William Alexander (1726 New York City – January 15, 1783), who claimed the disputed title of Earl of Stirling, was an American major-general during the American Revolutionary War.

Alexander was an educated, ambitious and bright young man and was proficient in mathematics and astronomy. He joined his mother in a successful provisioning business and, in 1747, married Sarah Livingston, the daughter of Philip Livingston (1686-1749) and sister of Governor William Livingston. The couple had two daughters. One of his daughters, Mary Alexander, would marry wealthy merchant, Robert Watts of New York.[1]

During the French and Indian War, he joined the British Army Commissariat, where he became aide-de-camp to Governor William Shirley. He traveled to London in 1756 to testify on behalf of Shirley, who was facing charges of dereliction of duty. While there he claimed the vacant title of Earl of Stirling, in the Peerage of Scotland, as senior male descendant of the first earl's grandfather, and was permitted to vote in an election of the Scottish representative peers. The British House of Lords refused to recognize his claim without proof of descent, but he continued to style himself Earl of Stirling all his life long. The right to the earldom would have implied his right to a land grant that consisted of much of the New England coast, parts of Nova Scotia and the entire St. Lawrence River valley, given to the heirs male of the first earl; his grandson, William Alexander Duer, wrote that this was his chief reason for pursuing it. He took the nephews of the fifth, and last, Earl (Henry Alexander, 5th Earl of Stirling) into partnership on the land claim.

Satisfied by the partial acceptance of his claim, he returned to America in 1761, now using the title Lord Stirling. Stirling was appointed Surveyor-General of the Province of New Jersey and was also a member of the Provincial Council. He was one of the founders of King's College (predecessor of Columbia University) and became its first governor.

Stirling was a socially prominent and wealthy man, having inherited a large fortune from his father. He dabbled in mining and agriculture and lived a life filled with the trappings befitting a Scottish Lord. This was an expensive lifestyle and he eventually went into debt to finance it. He began building his grand estate in Basking Ridge, N.J. and upon its completion, sold his home in New York and moved there. George Washington was a guest there on several occasions during the revolution and gave away Stirling’s daughter at her wedding.

American Revolution When the American Revolutionary War began, Stirling was made a colonel in the New Jersey militia. He outfitted the militia at his own expense and was always willing to spend his own money in support of the cause. He distinguished himself early by leading a group of volunteers in the capture of an armed British transport.

Congress appointed him brigadier general in the Continental Army in March 1776. At the Battle of Long Island, in August of that year, Stirling led the 1st Maryland Regiment in repeated attacks against a superior British force at the Old Stone House near what is today named the Gowanus Canal and took heavy casualties. Outnumbered 25-1, his brigade was eventually overwhelmed and Stirling was taken prisoner, but not before repelling the British forces long enough to allow the main body of troops to escape to defensive positions at Brooklyn Heights. Because of his actions at Long Island, one newspaper called him "the bravest man in America" and he was praised by both Washington and the British for his bravery and audacity.

He was released in a prisoner exchange (in return for governor Montfort Browne), promoted to major general,[2] and became one of Washington’s most able and trusted generals. Washington held him in such high regard that he placed Stirling in command of the entire Continental Army for nearly two months, while he was away on personal business and throughout most of the war he was considered to be 3rd or 4th in rank behind Washington. Though he cast his lot with the Patriot cause during the American Revolution, officers (including Washington) and men alike often referred to him as Lord Stirling. At Trenton he received the surrender of a Hessian regiment. On 26 June 1777, at Matouchin (now called Metuchen), he awaited an attack, contrary to Washington's orders. His position was turned and his division defeated, losing two guns and 150 men in the Battle of Short Hills. Subsequent battles at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth cemented his reputation for bravery and sound tactical judgment. At the battles of Brandywine and Germantown he acted with bravery and discretion. At the battle of Monmouth he displayed tactical judgment in posting his batteries, and repelled with heavy loss an attempt to turn his flank. In January 1780, he led an ineffective raid against Staten Island. Lord Stirling also played a part in exposing the Conway Cabal, a conspiracy of disaffected officers looking to remove Washington as Commander-in Chief and replace him with General Horatio Gates.

When Washington took his army south in 1781, he appointed Stirling commander of the northern army and he was sent to Albany. Stirling, always a heavy drinker, was in poor health by this time, suffering from severe gout and rheumatism. He died in Albany on January 15, 1783. His untimely death just months before the official end of the war is the probable reason that he is not as well known today as many of the other generals. Still, his significant contributions made him one of the most important figures of the American Revolution. He was buried at Trinity Churchyard, New York City.[3]

Legacy His nephew was Senator John Rutherfurd (1760–1840). His son-in-law was Congressman William Duer (1747–1799). His grandson was College president William Alexander Duer (1780–1858). His great-grandson was Congressman William Duer (1805–1879). His great-grandson was General Stephen Watts Kearny (1794–1848)

MS51, a Middle School on the former Gowanus battlefield, is named William Alexander Middle School for him.[4] The Stirling, New Jersey in Long Hill Township is located a short distance from Alexander's house in Basking Ridge. Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge, New Jersey is located on part of his estate. Sterling Hill Mine was named after him, as he once owned the property Lord Stirling 1770s Festival [5] The town of Sterling, Massachusetts was named in his honor.

General William Alexanders lineage: The First Earl of Stirling, Novo Scotia and Virginia · 11 September 2015 · 0 Comments Major General William Alexander was an American who claimed the Earldom of Stirling. His claim was eventually rejected by the House of Lords. The Alexander family came from a Scotch-Irish branch of the family descended from the 1st Earl of Stirling Sir William Alexander through his son Lord John Alexander who married Agnes Graham daughter of Robert Graham of Gartmore. Lord John (b. 1605) eventually moved to America due to the overthrow of the Monarchy. It was his son the Honourable John Alexander (b.1625) who was called John of Antrim. The Hon. John lived in Antrim before they fled to France. The Alexander family descended from John of Antrim and Gartmore also later lived at Temple Patrick Antrim Ireland after their return from America.

Sir William Alexander the 1st Earl of Stirling was made the Ruler of Novo Scotia by King James I and confirmed by King Charles I. His son Lord William Alexander led some settlers to Novo Scotia during the 1620's and 1630's. In reading one of the articles in the 'William and Mary' journal [about the Alexander family] one sees a confusion in the genealogy of the Alexander family. The American General William Alexander knew that he descended from a John Alexander. Which John Alexander they weren't sure and decided on John an uncle of the 1st Earl. This of course was impossible. In fact he descended from Lord John Alexander the son of the 1st Earl who left Britian in 1641 and then eventually moved to Virginia. As supporters of the Stuart monarchy these were years in which the family suffered great losses.

The Struggle for the Rights to be The Last Earl of Stirling

Profile for Henry Alexander Henry Alexander, 5th, and last, Earl of Stirling

The First Earl of Stirling, Novo Scotia and Virginia · 11 September 2015 · 0 Comments Major General William Alexander was an American who claimed the Earldom of Stirling. His claim was eventually rejected by the House of Lords. The Alexander family came from a Scotch-Irish branch of the family descended from the 1st Earl of Stirling Sir William Alexander through his son Lord John Alexander who married Agnes Graham daughter of Robert Graham of Gartmore. Lord John (b. 1605) eventually moved to America due to the overthrow of the Monarchy. It was his son the Honourable John Alexander (b.1625) who was called John of Antrim. The Hon. John lived in Antrim before they fled to France. The Alexander family descended from John of Antrim and Gartmore also later lived at Temple Patrick Antrim Ireland after their return from America.

Sir William Alexander the 1st Earl of Stirling was made the Ruler of Novo Scotia by King James I and confirmed by King Charles I. His son Lord William Alexander led some settlers to Novo Scotia during the 1620's and 1630's. In reading one of the articles in the 'William and Mary' journal [about the Alexander family] one sees a confusion in the genealogy of the Alexander family. The American General William Alexander knew that he descended from a John Alexander. Which John Alexander they weren't sure and decided on John an uncle of the 1st Earl. This of course was impossible. In fact he descended from Lord John Alexander the son of the 1st Earl who left Britian in 1641 and then eventually moved to Virginia. As supporters of the Stuart monarchy these were years in which the family suffered great losses.

Lord John went to America for a time and died there (in 1667) and two of his grandsons left descendants there. His four grandsons were Alexander, John, Robert and Philip by his son Hon. John Alexander (1624-1677). Lord John's grandson John ended up settling in Antrim in Ireland after spending time in Europe on behalf of the Stuart cause while his two brothers remained in Virginia. John Alexander of Antrim's brother Alexander Alexander (b.1650) also returned to Europe and was the ancestor of Major General William Alexander.

In 1739 when Henry Alexander the 5th Earl of Stirling died the true heir to the Earldom according to one opinion was Alexander's grandson James Alexander of New York. James like his father David Alexander were staunch Jacobites and James fled to America after the defeat of the Stuart Rebellion in 1715. Nevertheless Major General William Alexander his son claimed to be the 6th Earl of Stirling and was recognised as such by many and was known as Lord Stirling in America.

It is believed that the descendants of Lord John Alexander went to America to Virginia. It seems that the descendants of another John Alexander (John of Eredy) of Donegal Ireland who also went to America were confused with the descendants of Lord John Alexander's descendants. Due to the troubles of Charles I and the later Jacobite cause, much secrecy and confusion resulted in order to protect the family. Lord John fled to France on the overthrow of the Monarchy and King Louis (through the intercession of Queen Henrietta Maria of England) granted them permission to return to the Alexander's secret Estate in Novo Scotia (at New Ross) now under French rule. However they were forced to leave their Estate and hidden life when Cromwell's supporters in the American colonies attacked Novo Scotia in 1656. They then moved to Virginia which was a colony with more Royalist sympathies.

Lord John Alexander's two eldest grandsons left America and returned to Europe and Alexander became the ancestor of Major General William Alexander the 6th Earl of Stirling. It seems that Lord John's Parliamentary protector Sir John McKenzie faked Lord John's death and helped him to escape to France or Ireland. Alexander, John, Robert and Philip were born in the Nova Scotia hideaway which was later called New Ross. Lady Agnes was the mother of Hon. Janet and Hon. John Alexander.

John first appears in Virginia in 1656 and there seems some confusion whether his wife was Agnes or Catherine Graham. It is possible that after Agnes' death (possibly in 1636) he remarried to one of her relatives Catharine Graham as documents in Scotland do mention a wife of Lord John after 1636. Other sources state that his second wife was Elizabeth Maxwell of Londonderry. Miss Maxwell may have been the wife of his son John. Some other sources state that Elizabeth FitzHugh was his son John's wife.

It would seem that after Lord John escaped from Scotland in 1641 he went with his son John to visit his mother at Mount Alexander in Ireland at the home of her daughter Lady Montgomery. Later John and his son John fled to France and then to Novo Scotia as mentioned above. In 1656 they went to Virginia and in 1659 they bought an Estate and called it Caledon after their Province of Caledonia where they were in Novo Scotia. Lord John died in 1667 and his son Hon. John in 1677. 

John's sons Robert and Philip remained in America while John and Alexander returned to Europe. Their second property in Virginia which he left to his son Philip was called Alexandria after the Province of Alexandria in Canada. The names of these two properties demonstrates clearly that these were of the family of the Earl of Stirling. The town built on Alexandria in 1749 retained the name of the property in honour of Philip Alexander and his family. Philip's brother John Alexander (b.1648 d.1712) was the great-grandfather of James Alexander 1st Earl of Caledon (son of Nathaniel Alexander). John Alexander's connection to the 1st Earl of Stirling was concealed by deliberately confusing him with John Alexander son of Captain Andrew Alexander due to the political implications. Captain Andrew Alexander was his maternal uncle or grandfather not his father.

Even more confusion insured when Alexander Humphreys claimed his ancestor was John of Antrim and through his mother Hannah Alexander claimed the Earldom of Stirling. Others who do not accept his claims believe his ancestor was James Alexander of another branch of the Alexander family. Alexander Humpreys claimed that the wife of John of Antrim was called Mary Hamilton. However it was Robert Alexander son of the 1st Earl that married Mary Hamilton according to other sources. They lived in County Tyrone where his tombstone bears the arms of the Earls of Stirling. He has been confused with another Robert Alexander (of Boghall) who married Mary Hamilton's sister Marion. It does seem that members of the Alexander family lived in Antrim Ireland and deliberately hid themselves among the other Alexander families. However even if Alexander Humphreys claims about his family were true he would still not have been the senior heir of the Earldom of Stirling even if female descent was allowed.

General William Alexander only had the traditions and stories he received from his father James and then had to find the documented connection with the 1st Earl of Stirling. Unfortunately his researchers were trying to connect him with the wrong branch of the family as it was assumed that the 1st Earl had no more male descendants. There was also a vested interest in Britain to discredit his claim due to the whole issues of the rights to Novo Scotia. However he was supported by the leading Scottish nobles such as the Earl of Bute and the Earl of Argyle and many others including the Jacobite banker Henry Drummond.

Alexander Alexander (b.1650 New Ross Nova Scotia)had at least four sons William, David, Michael and James (b.1668). William remained in TemplePatrick Ireland but David, Michael and James moved back to Kintyre in Scotland. James married Margaret Dewar in 1700 in Perth Scotland. James Alexander's son James Alexander of Campbelltown (b.1709 Perth Scotland) descendants also went to America to Pennsylvania. He had at least three sons James (b.1733), John (b.1735) and Henry (b.1740) named after his recently deceased relative Henry Alexander 5th Earl of Stirling. James (b.1668)'s son John Alexander (b.1700) (married Ann O'Reilly and is the ancestor of the Bloomer family of Cavan as well as many families named O'Reilly or Riley.

Alexander Alexander married Margaret Falconer the daughter of Sir John Falconer and his Dutch Jewish wife Esther Briot. Their son Michael Alexander (b.1672) married Elizabeth Shimoni or Simon who was a granddaughter of Abraham Simon the famous English medallist. These families were all conected with the Mint. Michael was the ancestor of the English Jewish families of Alexander. One of his descendants was Rabbi Michael Solomon Alexander who became the first Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem. Due to the Rabbi's conversion to Christianity his Jewish uncle Alexander Alexander (known also as Sender)changed his surname to Abrahams. Michael Alexander's son William Wolf Alexander (b.1690) was the father of Isaac Alexander (b.1729) the grandfather of Bishop Alexander. Michael Alexander's daughter Rachel Alexander (b.1700)married Rabbi Joseph Raphael.

General Sir William Alexander of New York:

Alexander Alexander and Margaret Falconer's son David Alexander was the ancestor of Sir William Alexander. David married Elizabeth Sinclair and their son James (b.1691 d.1756) and his wife Mary Spratt were the parents of Sir William Alexander Lord Stirling.

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William Alexander, Earl of Stirling's Timeline

1725
December 27, 1725
New York
1749
April 1749
Age 23
1755
March 8, 1755
Age 29
1783
January 15, 1783
Age 57
Albany, Albany County, New York, United States