Alexander, William, 1726-1783

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1726
Death 1783
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

American Revolutionary soldier; Lord Stirling.

From the description of Document signed : [n.p.], 1772 July 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132554

Revolutionary soldier; better known as Lord Stirling. During the French and Indian War, he was aide and secretary to Governor Shirley, and defended Shirley before the House of Commons in 1756.

From the description of Letter : on board the sloop Massachusetts, to Governor Robert Hunter Morris, 1755 July 6. (Buffalo History Museum). WorldCat record id: 56357674

American general; claimed title of sixth Earl of Stirling.

From the description of ALS, 1778 Sept. 15, Camp White Plains, New York, to Benjamin Lincoln. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86165751

William Alexander (1726-1783) of New York City, popularly known as Lord Stirling, was a merchant, public official, the first governor of King's (Columbia) College, and a soldier in the American Revolution. He joined the British army at the onset of the French and Indian War, acting as commissary, aide and secretary to Governor William Shirley. In 1757 the House of Lords officially revoked his appeal as rightful heir of the earldom of Stirling; despite the ruling, Alexander assumed the title of Lord Stirling. On his return to America in 1761 he was made a member of the New Jersey Council and he acted as surveyor-general and assistant to the governor of the colony. He subsequently became the leader of the first New Jersey Regiment of the Revolutionary army. Alexander fought throughout the war in the Battles of Long Island, Trenton, Princeton, Matouchin, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In 1781 Alexander took command of a battalion in Albany, New York, and two years later he died after preliminary peace negotiations were drafted.

From the guide to the William Alexander papers, 1709-1835, 1762-1812, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

General in the Revolutionary War.

From the description of William Alexander papers, 1717-1783 (bulk 1746-1783). (New York University). WorldCat record id: 58781985

William Alexander was an astronomer and member of the New Jersey Council. He served in the Continental Army as a major general.

From the description of Variation of the compass, 1773. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 86138558

Continental Army officer. Unsuccessfully claimed earldom of Sterling but was commonly known as Lord Sterling.

From the description of William Alexander papers, 1776-1826. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79455585

From the description of Papers of William Alexander, 1774-1782. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71070210

American general, claimed title of sixth Earl of Stirling.

From the description of LS, 1782 May 20, Fishkill, N.Y., to George Clinton. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122616986

From the description of ALS : Highlands of the Hudson, N.Y., to Robert Hunter Morris, 1755 July 6. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86165755

William Alexander (1726-1783) of New York City, popularly known as Lord Stirling, was a merchant, public official, the first governor of King's (Columbia) College, and a soldier in the American Revolution.

He joined the British army at the onset of the French and Indian War, acting as commissary, aide and secretary to Governor William Shirley. In 1757 the House of Lords officially revoked his appeal as rightful heir of the earldom of Stirling; despite the ruling, Alexander assumed the title of Lord Stirling. On his return to America in 1761 he was made a member of the New Jersey Council and he acted as surveyor-general and assistant to the governor of the colony. He subsequently became the leader of the first New Jersey Regiment of the Revolutionary army. Alexander fought throughout the war in the Battles of Long Island, Trenton, Princeton, Matouchin, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In 1781 Alexander took command of a battalion in Albany, New York, and two years later he died after preliminary peace negotiations were drafted.

From the description of William Alexander papers, 1709-1835, bulk (1762-1812). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122626550

Known as the "Republican Earl", William Alexander, "Lord Stirling", was born in 1726 to James and Mary Sprat Proovost Alexander in New York City. Though he studied law with his father, he later joined his mother in her New York merchant house. He solidified his ties to the merchant and political elite with his marriage to Sarah Livingston.

During the Seven Years' War, Alexander served as an aide to Governor Shirley. In 1756, he accompanied the Governor to England, remaining there until 1761. During this time, Alexander applied to Parliament to assume his family title as the sixth Earl of Stirling and to claim the substantial North Amercan land grants accruing to it. His request was denied, but Alexander adopted the title nonetheless. Upon his return to the colonies, he became involved in land speculation and iron manufacturing and built a county seat at Basking Ridge, NJ. He served on the Provincial Councils of New York and New Jersey, and in 1775, joined the Whigs in rebellion against the Crown.

After serving as colonel of the 1st New Jersey Regiment, in March 1776 Alexander was appointed brigadier general and took chief command of the defense of New York City. In this capacity, he advised General Washington. In 1777, he was promoted to major-general. In October 1782, Alexander received his first independent field command, the Northern Department headquartered at Albany. He died in January 1783 of fever and gout.

From the description of Selected papers, 1767-1782. 1776-1782 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 476442328

Earl of Stirling, William Alexander, was a prominent politician in colonial New Jersey who served as a general in the Continental Army. Alexander was born in New York City in 1726. He was the sole heir to the earldom of Stirling. He was born into wealth and further secured his standing amongst the elite of New York by marrying into the Livingston family.

He worked as a merchant for much of the colonial period. He provided supplies to William Shirley’s Canadian offensive during the Seven Years’ War. As a result, he received some of the blame for Shirley’s failure. In 1757, he traveled to London, in part to clear his name.

He returned to the colonies in 1761 and served in a variety of political positions in New York and New Jersey. But with the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he resigned all British appointments and served in a number of revolutionary organizations in New Jersey. He was put in charge of the New Jersey militia and eventually became a brigadier general in the Continental Army, serving under Washington, with whom he began a close friendship.

From the guide to the Variation of the compass, 1773, 1773, (American Philosophical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Science and technology
  • Astronomy
  • Compass
  • Learned institutions and societies
  • Embezzlement
  • Trusts and trustees
  • Long Island, Battle of, New York, N.Y., 1776
  • Real property
  • Courts-martial and courts of inquiry
  • Subpoena
  • Trade
  • Counterfeits and counterfeiting
  • Lotteries
  • Trenton, Battle of, Trenton, N.J., 1776
  • Administration of estates
  • Waterways
  • Shipment of goods
  • Inheritance and succession--Estates
  • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763--Campaigns
  • Surveying and Maps
  • Embezzlement--New Jersey
  • Brandywine, Battle of, Pa., 1777
  • Astronomy--18th century
  • Lotteries--Delaware

Occupations:

  • Revolutionary army officers
  • Army officers
  • Merchants

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Schenectady (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Oswego County (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Delaware (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Morristown (N.J.) (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)