Arthur Alexander Family Line

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Pioneers of Ellis County

Arthur Alexander Family Line

Contributed by Jane Bell Smith



Mathew Alexander was born March 12, 1816 in Habersham County, Georgia to Arthur and Nancy Tolbert Alexander. He was the first born of twelve children.

2. Arthur T. was born about 1818;
3. Mary Polly was born October 18, 1823;
4. Sarah E. came along November11, 1826;
5. Alzara Adeline was next in 1828;
6. William V. was born in 1831;
7. Elizabeth was born in 1834;
8. Robert H. was born in 1836 or 1837;
9. Rebecca Ann was born on July 4, 1837;
10. Nancy Jane was born in 1846;
11. Henry made his appearance in 1847; and finally
Whittier completed the large family in 1848.
Mathew married Anne Borden on October 28, 1838 in Benton County, Alabama.
They had eight children:

Sarah Alexander married John Arrington. (Johnnie Odelia married Nathaniel Gregory. This was Gregory Bell’s grandmother).


Mary Caroline (Carrie) Alexander married William T. Camp, December 17, 1871. (She wrote that famous and funny letter telling about Joel D. and Josephine’s wedding day).


Rebecca Jane Alexander married John Marion Harper on September 7, 1870 in Cleburne County, Alabama. They had nine children who grew up in Navarro County, Texas.


Clarissa Elizabeth had married John Marion Harper on May 21, 1860 in Alabama. They had one son, Warren Alexander in 1866. Clarissa died August 26, 1869 and John M. married her sister Rebecca Jane.

5. George W. Alexander married Annie Treadaway.

Josephine Helen married Joel D. Treadaway on Sunday morning, May 30, 1869 at Cherry Grove Church, Cleburne County, Alabama. (These are the parents of Mattie H. Treadaway Wright).

7. Ann Elizabeth married W. W. Barnes on February 3, 1873 in Cleburne County, Alabama.

Frances (Fannie) Margaret married William Calvin Maxwell about 1880. William’s father was married to Mathew Alexander’s sister.

Of this family it is interesting to note that Arthur T. Alexander (Mathew’s brother) married Rebecca M. Borden, sister of Anne Borden. So two Alexander brothers married two Borden sisters.

Mary Polly Alexander (Mathew’s sister married Thomas M. Maxwell and were the parents of William C. Maxwell who married Fannie Alexander (Josephine’s sister).

If this sounds confusing, it is fairly common that families in small communities often married their neighbors and friends in the community. The Treadaway’s, Borden’s, Wheeler’s, and Alexander’s were all prominent landowners in Cleburne County. Thomas Treadaway had a large plantation and donated the land for Cherry Grove Church and cemetery where many Treadaways are buried.

However, the Civil War changed everything in that area of the country. There was so much devastation and lawlessness, the dream of a new frontier was powerful and no doubt the motivation for our families’ move to Texas.

Mathew Alexander was 45 years of age when the Civil War broke out in 1861. In September 1861, he organized the Alabama 25th Regiment and served as Captain for a year before his health made it impossible for him to continue in active service. His youngest child, Fannie would have been about four years of age. In the History of the Alabama 25th Regiment, Captain W. P. Howell who followed Captain Mathew Alexander as leader of the unit through the entire war period, praised him for his service. In a tribute at his death, this same Captain Howell called him Major Alexander and listed his titles as captain, major and colonel, during his long military career beginning in 1837 during Indian skirmishes in Alabama. He was also commended for his courage in restoring law and order to his community after the war, even as his life was in danger from lawless criminals plundering the country. Though injured, he stood his ground and lived to see his country restored to peace. He was a successful farmer, owning a great deal of land. Active in his county, he was a member of the Board of County Commissioners when he died. He was also Justice of the Peace.

Mathew was 60 years of age when he died in 1876 at his home in Cleburne County, Alabama.

Our Josephine Helen Alexander, daughter of Mathew and Anne Borden Alexander, and Joel D. Treadaway were married May 30, 1869 and apparently wasted little time getting on the trail to Texas. By August 10, 1871 their first child, James Mathew was born in Lamar County, Texas.

In the 1880 Federal Census, the J. D. Treadaway family, the John Marion Harper family, along with the six Arrington children including Johnnie O. Arrington and husband, Nathaniel Gregory were living in Lamar County. The three Alexander sisters: Sarah, Rebecca Jane and Josephine Helen and their husbands and children must have started out together. The Arrington family (Sarah Alexander) was listed in Cleburne County in the 1870 census and by 1880 only the children were in Lamar County with the Treadaway and Harper families. There was a John Arrington on the death list in Lamar County with no grave site listed. No clue about what happened to Sarah Alexander Arrington. Only Johnnie O. and Nathaniel Gregory are known to have settled in Rice, Navarro County.

These Alexander sisters and their families stayed in Lamar County for about 15 years. Both the Harper’s and Treadaway’s bought land there and built homes. Their children would have been in school. They were located near Honey Grove in Fannin County and Petty or Brockton, which is in Lamar County.

On January 1, 1886, the Treadaway family moved to Ellis County and the Harper family had bought land and built a large home in Chatfield, Navarro County, Texas. The 1900 Ellis County Census also showed William C. and Fannie Alexander Maxwell and their children, Jo and Pat residing in Palmer.

Those three Alexander sisters in the picture (LtoR: Fannie, Rebecca Jane, Josephine Helen , and unidentified) were now all located within a few miles of each other in Texas. (That is why I believe the unidentified person in the picture is their mother, Anne Borden Alexander who lived eleven years after her husband, Mathew Alexander died.)

Joel D. Treadaway, as a successful farmer, continued to accumulate land and cattle in Alma, Ellis County, Texas. He also owned the Alma gin at a time when “cotton was king” in Ellis County.

Annie Caroline, Nancy Fannie, George Thomas, Joel Birch, Henry Borden, and Mattie Hudson had all been born while the Treadaway’s were in Lamar County, along with two babies who died at birth. And on May 23, 1880, little George Thomas Treadaway, at 2 ½ years of age, died of Typhoid Fever and is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, between Honey Grove and Paris in Lamar County, Texas.

Mattie was a baby when the family moved to Ellis County on January 1, 1886. She was two years old when brother Jack Alexander was born in Alma. Three years later Grady Woodfin’s birth completed the Treadaway family.

In the 1890’s, the older family members were beginning to marry: Nancy Fannie to Will DeLoach on December 6, 1892; Annie Caroline to James Everett (Ev) Foster on December 17, 1893; and James Mathew to Amanda Besse on November 18, 1894.

On March 10, 1900, tragedy struck the family in the death of young Joel Birch. He was only 20 years of age when he died of a ruptured appendix. He is buried in the family plot in the Rice Cemetery.

Our Mattie H. Treadaway was married to Thomas Gabe Wright on January 11, 1903 in Kaufman County, Texas.

Her brother, Henry Borden (Dick) was married to Elsie McClure on July 29, 1906 in Alma, Texas. She was a schoolteacher in Alma who came from Kentucky.

Jack Alexander followed the marriage trend on November 3, 1907 when he married Ora Brown and Grady Woodfin married Ruby Phelps in December 1910.

Only three years after Mattie and Tom Wright were married, her father, Joel D. Treadaway was attending a Civil War Reunion in New Orleans in April 1906, when he was assaulted and died in the hospital there. He was 62 years of age. Joel D. had enlisted in Cedartown, Georgia in 1862 as a Confederate soldier in Capt. King’s Battery, Company D, under Johnson, Bragg and Hood. He served through Georgia and Tennessee until the close of the war.

The Treadaway’s had built a large home in Alma and Josephine continued to live there with son, Grady until he married. Josephine died in 1916 at the age of 66 and is buried beside her husband and son Joel B. in the Rice Cemetery.

The estate was divided among the surviving children. Tom and Mattie became the owners of the Treadaway home and lived there a few years while the Wright home was being enlarged and remodeled. Elizabeth Wright was born in the Treadaway home in Alma. Several members of the Wright family also lived there before it was sold and torn down.

This family history has been compiled from many sources including information shared by Sharon DeLoache and Brenda White, federal census records, Cleburne County History, History of the Alabama 25th, Internet, family memories and miscellaneous discoveries by Jane Bell Smith on October 23, 2006.


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This page was last modified: Monday, 10-Sep-2018 10:23:10 MDT