Many thanks to Esther Rancier for sharing her information on these biographies. Esther is researching in Richland and Mexico the Soul/Soule, Brace and Daniel P. Smith families, and would appreciate hearing from anyone researching these surnames.   Esther Rancier at:


John Alexander, born ca. 1600 in Scotland, is believed to be the father of George Alexander, born ca. 1620 in Sterling, Scotland.  George married Susan Sage from Camely, Somersetshire, England, on 19 March 1644 in Windsor, CT.  Land records showed that on 13 November 1646 Joseph Rawlings of Roxbury sold George 9 acres near the mill brook and 28 acres of land in the woods.  In 1659, George paid pew rent.  By 1853, his family became part of the first settlement at Northampton, MA.  

George and Susan had seven children born at Windsor.  Their oldest son, John, born 25 July 1645, married Sarah Gaylord on 28 November 1671.  She was the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Hull) Gaylord of Windsor.  They had eight children.  After 1694, he married a second time to Jane Pearce.

Their fourth son, Joseph, born 16 October 1681 in Northampton, was taken captive by the French and Indians during the Battle of Deerfield in 1704.  Luckily he escaped the first night.  On 28 May 1705, at Deerfield he wed Margaret Mattoon of Springfield, MA.  They had 12 children.
The fourth child of Joseph called, John Alexander, born 15 November 1709 at Deerfield, married Ruth from Brattleboro, VT where the couple resided at Fort Dummer.  They had 8 children.  About 1753 they lived at Fort Hinsdale, VT.

Their fourth son, Jonathan Sartle Alexander, born 1749 at Fort Dummer, wed twice.  The name of his first wife remains unknown.  Most records say she became the mother of four children: Robert, Reuben, Aaron and Joseph.  These sons removed with their father and his second wife, Bathsheba (Rice) Hagar [sic] to Henderson, Jefferson Co., NY.  The son some call “Joseph” whose date of birth remains uncertain, may have been born in Vermont ca. 1796 with Bathsheba, as his mother.
Bathsheba was a descendent of Deacon Edmund Rice, an early settler of Shrewsbury, MA. She married first, John Hagar from Petersham, MA.  He served in the Revolutionary War in a Massachusetts Militia Unit.  Soon after he died, on 11 August 1788 when his children were still young.  Bathsheba then wed Jonathan S. Alexander.

Bathsheba and John Hagar had children called Jonas, John, Gardner, Martha and Bathsheba.  After her second marriage, she had a daughter Susanna Alexander who married a Curtis.  She may also have been the mother of Josiah Alexander born ca. 1796 in Vermont.
On the 1800 Brattleboro, VT census, Jonathan and Bathsheba had four sons, one of whom is under 10.  This child might well be Bathsheba’s, as her age was given as 87, in a 1840 document, making her 43 in 1796.  Some family recorders believe this youngest child was born in 1793, making him 27 by 1820.  Family records call him Joseph, a person who seemed to vanish after the 1820 Henderson, NY census.

During the 1820’s Jonathan and Bathsheba Alexander remove to Mexico, Oswego Co., NY.   They were accompanied by Gardner Hagar and his family.  They bought adjoining land in an area which came to be called Hagar’s Settlement or Hagarstown.  Gardner’s family owned part of lot 123 and 135.  Later on this area came to be called South Mexico.  The Parish family owned part of lot 123.  The Parishes gave 80 rods of it to the South Mexico Methodist Episcopal Church Burying Ground Society.  Gardner lived next door to this cemetery which today is called the Wellswood Cemetery.  Gardner was a trustee of the society.

Gardner married Submit Presson after 1805.  They had 8 children, four of whom, Rhoda, Gardner P., Nancy and John were born in Mexico.  These children began to spell their name Hager.  Submit Presson was the daughter of Lemuel Presson who served in the Revolutionary War.  His wife was Lydia Fletcher.

Later in the 19th century several of Gardner’s children moved west into Michigan.  Gardner P. Hager, born 6 September 1825 in Mexico, wed Mary A. Holmes on 23 July 1848 at Richland, NY.  They resided their entire lives in Mexico, having 6 children.  Gardner died in Mexico 10 May 1892.  There is no marked gravesite for him yet located.

Gardner P.’s son, Delos Bibbins Hager, born 28 October 1850, wed 16 February 1870 in Mexico Emma D. Rose.  They had 6 children: Orla J., born 8 February 1871; Lillie B. Hager, born 25 April 1872; Albert Hager, born 19 April 1875; Rose V. Hager, born 13 March 1881; and Karl F. Hager, born 10 March 1885.  Delos, Emma and son, Bert, were buried in the Daysville Cemetery, Pulaski, NY.  Many more Hagers were laid to rest there also. 

Rhoda Hager, born in Mexico ca. 1822/23, wed Ezra T. Whitehead on 8 January 1854.  Ezra Trim Whitehead was born in 1816 at Fabius, NY, the son of Nathaniel B. and Elizabeth (Trim) Whitehead.  The Whiteheads were from Connecticut.  Elizabeth Trim was the daughter of Ezra Trim (1750-1835) who was attacked by Indians who kidnapped him at Lackawaxen, PA in 1763.  His whole family, mother and siblings, were killed by the Indians.  In 1764 the British redeemed him at Fort Niagara, NY.  He then settled in Dutchess County, NY where he reached manhood.  He fought in the Revolutionary War.  Ezra died in Mexico during 1887, age 71.  He was buried in the Wellswood Cemetery.  Relatives state Rhoda died in 1884 and was also interred at Wellswood, but in the 1884 Cemetery Census no stone was located for her. 

Rhoda and Ezra had four children, all of whom left Mexico.  Alta Nancy Whitehead wed Charles B. Joice.  Another daughter, Alice Amelia Whitehead wed George Boots Minthorn and there are known living heirs in Kansas.  The sons were George and Jay Whitehead.

Much is known of Jonathan and Bathsheba Alexander’s later years from his application for a Revolutionary War Pension.  In 1835,  Jonathan was recorded as age 83.  He had served with the Massachusetts Continental Troops.  He was granted a pension, but died on 7 March 1838 in Mexico. Bathsheba had a widow’s pension until her death in Mexico, in the home of her son, Gardner Hager.  Neither Jonathan nor Bathsheba have a marked grave, but were probably interred in the Wellswood Cemetery. 

In the 1830 Parish census there was an enumeration for Josiah Alexander.  He had one son under 5 and a daughter between 5-10.   He and his wife were between 30 and 40 years old.
By the 1840 Mexico census a Joseph Alexander was indexed, but upon close examination of the handwritten census the name was more likely Josiah.  He lived next door to Alsom Alexander.
The 1850 Mexico census gave the following listing for Josiah Alexander:

Alexander, Josiah-56-farmer-$300-MA
Alexander, Catheriune-51------------NY
Alexander, Elizabeth-27--------------NY
Alexander, Sylvester H-18-----------NY
Alexander, Alsom-39-farmer--------VT
Alexander, Lewis B???-6-------------NY
Howard, Louisa-30--------------------VT
Alexander, Laura-4--------------------NY

Another 1850 Mexico family were recorded thusly:
Alexander, Solomon—20-laborer-$100-NY
Alexander, Sarah-25-----------------------VT
Leonard, Ezekiel-66------------------------MA

Alsom already out of the house by 1830 and living with his family in 1840, but it would seem that his wife died so he moved back with his father by 1850. Then he disappeared from all records.  Lewis B? and Laura may be his children, but even that cannot be established.  Louisa Howard was actually Louisa (Benedict) Howard who died in 1893, at age 70.  She was the daughter of Hiram and Elvira Benedict.  She was probably a servant in the household. 

Solomon Alexander was another son of Josiah’s who was born after the 1830 census was taken.  He was one of the sons given in the 1840 accounting.  Ezekiel Leonard was likely the father-in-law of Solomon.

Sylvester H. was counted twice in 1850.  He was listed with his family and again on the job as an apprentice blacksmith for Samuel C. Smith.  Sylvester H. died in 1858 at age 26.  He was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.  His sister, Elizabeth, may be the person in the same cemetery with a stone which said Betsey Alexander, d. 1867, age 46.

In the 1870 Mexico census Josiah and Catherine were both listed as age 74 with a net worth of $4000 and both born in New York.

In a separate household Solomon Alexander’s family was enumerated.  It would appear that Josiah and Catherine were counted twice, each rather differently.

Alexander, Solomon-40-book & shoe maker-$5500-NY
Alexander, Sarah-40--------------------------------------VT
Alexander, Mary-15---------------------------------------NY
Alexander, Josiah-75------------------------------------*VT
Alexander, Catherine-72---------------------------------NY
*For the first time Josiah’s birth was recorded as Vermont, but was it correct? 
Catherine and Josiah each died in 1882.  They were both buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.  Catherine’s age was shown as 82 and Josiah’s,  86.  (The Cemetery Census of 1984 contains a typo, describing him as aged 76.)

Mary, Solomon’s daughter, died in 1875 at age 20.  Her grave was also in the Mexico Village Cemetery. 

Solomon, in later years was called Solomon L. Alexander.  He was president in 1881-87 of the Oswego County Agricultural Society, so he must have engaged in some farming along with his shoe business.

In the 1880 Mexico census he was called Solomon S. (an error).  He was 50 years old, a shoe merchant who stated his father had been born in Vermont.  He continued living in Mexico with his wife, Sarah, who died in 1903, age 79.  Later in 1907 Solomon died too.  The couple were both buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.

The question of Josiah’s parents remains unsolved.  Proximity would suggest that Jonathan and Bathsheba were his parents but what if his first census statement in 1850 that he had been born in Massachusetts was correct?  Was he earlier misidentified as Joseph due to handwriting problems?  He didn’t name a child either Jonathan or Bathsheba, although Solomon and Josiah were Alexander family names used earlier before the movement to Vermont.

Jonathan left no probate. However, even if Jonathan was not the father of Josiah, they were related in some degree of cousinship with their roots in the Scottish dells and hills.

Although Josiah’s initial Oswego County settlement was in the Town of Parish, the town line was adjacent to Mexico.  But he did not remove to Mexico into Hagar’s Settlement ... or Wellswood, as it is now known. The 1850 census showed a nearby neighbor of Josiah’s was lawyer Luke D. Smith.  Luke’s home was burned in 1852 as did the Mexico Hotel located by the Smith home at Main and Church Streets.  The hotel stood only four households away from Josiah.  This location puts Josiah near the center of the Village of Mexico, not in Wellswood in the south portion of town.

Special thanks are due to Alice Minthorn Hall of Leavenworth, KS for the generous sharing of her research over the years.  The online records of Kenneth Ruiz and William A. Brobst offered direction and detail.


Alexander Family Genealogy Forum.  Available [online]  [9 February 2004].
Burnham, Henry.  Brattleboro, Windham County, Vermont.  Brattleboro: Leonard, 1880.
Cemetery Census of the Town of Mexico, Oswego County, New York.  Mexico: Mexico Historical Society. 1984.
A Census of the Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services.  Washington: Clair, 1891.
Daysville Cemetery, Pulaski, N.Y.  Available [online]  [20 February 2004].
Hall, Alice Minthorn.  Notes.  [].
Mattoon, Lillian G. and Donald P. Mattoon.  A Genealogy of the Descendants of Phillip Mattoon of Deerfield, Massachusetts.  Littleton: Courier, 1965.
Pension Roll of 1835.  (LDS microfiche #6046995).
Savage, James.  Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers.  Boston: Little, Brown, 1860-62.
Sheldon, George.  History of the Town of Deerfield.  Greenfield:  Hall, 1896.
Simpson, Elizabeth.  Mexico: Mother of Towns.  Buffalo: Clement, 1949.
Smith, John Montague.  History of the Town of Sunderland, Massachusetts.  Greenfield: Hall, 1899. 
Stiles, Henry Reed.  History of Ancient Windsor, v. II.  Hartford: Case, Lockwood, Brainard, 1891.
U.S. Census, Henderson, Jefferson Co., NY 1820.
U.S. Census, Mexico, Oswego Co., NY 1830, 1840, 1850, 1870 & 1880.
U.S. Census, Parish, Oswego Co., NY 1830.
U.S. Census, Brattleboro, Windham Co., VT 1800.
U.S. Census, Hinsdale, Windham Co., VT 1790.
WorldConnect Project.  Available [online] [9 February 2004].

Biography of Joel Merchant, 
Redding CT >Columbia NY > Columbus NY > Mexico NY
The Merchant/Marchant family seemingly arrived in Fairfield Co., CT in the early part of the 18th century.  John Marchant [sic] married Sarah Gilbert on 27 August 1724 in Stratford, CT.  John and Sarah had at least four children in Stratford.  Their oldest son, Gurdon [sic], born on 5 May 1725 in Stratford, wed on 9 December 1747 Eleanor Chauncey.  They became the parents of 11 children residing in Fairfield, CT.

Gurdon and Eleanor’s oldest son, Chauncey, born on 13 February 1753 at Fairfield, CT, wed on 19 May 1773, Hannah Hamilton from Redding, CT.  Chauncey and Hannah had ten offspring, residing at Redding.

Their youngest son, Joel Merchant, born on 28 September 1786, married Reuena Gray.  It is believed they had eight children.  They were living in New York State during the War of 1812.   Joel served with Prior’s Regiment.  In 1818 when Joel, Jr. was born the family resided in Richfield, Otsego Co, NY.

By 1830 they settled in Columbia, Herkimer Co., NY.  An early history of the town of Columbia written in 1902, Joel Merchant was mentioned a “an early occupant of the premises now owned by Stewart McRorie.”

 In 1838 Joel and Reuena’s son, James B. Merchant, born ca. 1821, died in 1838.  James’ wife’s name remains unknown.  James’ daughter, Caroline E. Merchant was born May 1833 in Delhi, Delaware Co., NY.  She married David F. Boyce in 1856.  They raised eight children in Franklinville, NY.  Several of the Boyce children had known issue.

Joel and Reuena’s oldest son, William G. Merchant, born ca. 1808, married Julia Ann Webster.  The couple had five children, according to the 1850 census in Richfield, Otsego Co., NY. This enumeration showed:

 Merchant, William G. 42 farmer  NY   $5650
 Julia         43 wife                       “
 Maryette  18 daughter                “
 Juliet       14      “                       “
 Aurilla   10        “                       “
 *William   8     son                     “
 Charles H.   1    “                       “
*(Wm.) Later was called, Deloss Wm. Merchant. Charles H. was born 15 May 1849 in Columbia, NY.  In 1860 and 1870 the family resided in Salem, WI. 

Their oldest son, Deloss Wm. Merchant, born in June 1842.  In 1870 he resided in Jackson, Boone Co., Iowa.  By the 1880 Harrison, Boone Co., IA census Deloss had wed Esther _____ from Ohio.  They had four children.  Deloss died before 1920. 

By the 1850 census Joel, age 64, and Reuena, age 63, both born in CT, were enumerated in the 1850 Columbus, Chenango Co., NY census.  Also in their household were the couple, Royal D. Cone, age 28, town clerk, and his wife, Reuena (Merchant) Cone, age 27.  The Cone’s union occurred at New Berlin, NY.  Royal D. Cone, 27 of New Berlin married Reuena Merchant, 25, on 3 July 1849.  Royal’s job as New Berlin Town Clerk involved keeping the official vital statistics.  By 1 June 1856 he had moved his family to Minnesota where he had obtained a public land grant of 160 acres.  Four children were born as the family settled into the 2nd Ward of Winona, Winona Co., MN.  Between 1863 and 1870 -  Reuena died.  

The 1870 Winona census showed the following:

  Cone, Royal D. 49 hardware $88,000 NY; (note: ck NYS census for 1865)
  Ida E.  13 daughter   MN
  Etta M. 11     “           “
  Francis P.  9  son        “
  Hattie R.  7     “         “
 Ten years later  [1880 Winona census], living in the same town, the family was enumerated thusly:
 Cone, Royal D. 56 hardware NY
  Ida E.  23 daughter      MN
  Ella M. 21     “              “
  Francis R. 19 clerk         “
  Mary L. 22 niece            “
  Hattie R. 17 daughter    “
 Thompson, Emma 23 servant - Norway
It was likely that Joel lived at West Monroe, NY after the 1850 census was taken.  He was at West Monroe when he applied to the State of New York for $65 which he claimed as a loss due to the War of 1812. 

Joel, Jr.’s family was recorded in the 1850 census at Winfield, Herkimer Co., NY   Joel, Jr. married on 15 February 1841 Adaline Dodge, born in Winfield.  They had two daughters.  Here was the enumeration:

 Merchant, Joel 30 farmer $1800 NY
  Adaline 31 wife                       “
  Caroline  7 daughter                “
  Elisa   1        “                        “
 Dodge, Caleb  10 other   NY
 Joel, Sr.’s daughter Lucy Ann, born 17 August 1806, married Wheeler Brown of Brookfield, NY.  Wheeler was the son of Asa and Lucy (Dow) Brown. Soon after their marriage the couple settled in New Haven, Oswego Co., NY where he farmed.  They had eight children in New Haven.  After 1844 they removed to Mexico, NY where he operated a wagon-shop.  The business burned after which he did carpentry work.  He built a house in Mexico where to this day his descendants live.  Lucy Ann became a writer of poetry and articles.  They were both Methodists.  He died 18 October 1862 and was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery. Lucy lived to 19 August 1880 when she was found dead in her bed after being in perfect health the day before.  Lucy and Wheeler’s daughter, Sarah Adelle, born 1841, died in 1868.  She also was laid to rest in the Mexico Village Cemetery.

Maurice Wheeler Brown, son of Wheeler and Lucy, had his father’s skill as a carpenter.  He built many fine homes in Mexico and Utica, NY.  He also erected the Oswego County Asylum.  He married Celinda Underwood on 23 January 1855 in Mexico.  They had three children.  Celinda died in 1887; Maurice died in 1899.  Celinda and Maurice both were buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.  They were members of the Episcopal Church. 

 Reuena (Gray) Merchant died in 1867.  She was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.  In 1870 Joel, age 83, lived as the head of household with a net value of $4,000.  He had the family of David Sweetland living with him doing the farming.  In 1873 Joel, Gr. Died and joined his wife in the Mexico Village Cemetery. 

 Joel left a will on 26 September 1871.  It was submitted to the court on 5 December 1873.  Here is a copy of the will:

 “I, Joel Merchant of the Town of Mexico, Oswego County, New York of the age of eighty-five years and being of sound mind & memory do make, publish and declare this my last Will and Testament in the manner following: that is to say, First I give and bequeath to my daughter, Lucy Ann Brown & her heirs the sum of three hundred & fifty dollars to be paid at my decease.
 “Second, I give and bequeath to my daughter, Margaritt [sic] Burrell the sum of three hundred and twenty-six dollars to be paid at my decease.  Third, I give and bequeath to my son, Joel Merchant Jr. and his heirs forever, the sum of two hundred & thirty-eight dollars to be paid at my decease.  Fourth, I give and bequeath to my daughter, Sarah Ann Rutherford, the sum of three hundred and twenty-six dollars to be paid at my decease.
         “Fifth, I give and bequeath to my daughter, Reuena Cone & to her heirs forever the sum of three hundred and fifty-one dollars ($351).  I direct that my household furniture two beds & bedding one bureau and contents and four trucks be sold by my executor & the residue thereof together with all the residue of my personal estate I give & bequeath to my above named children to be divided among them share and share alike and I further appoint my son, Joel Merchant of Grand Rapids, Michigan as sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me recorded in testimony.  Whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 26th day of September 1871. 
Joel Merchant
 “The above instrument consisting of one sheet was at the date thereof signed, sealed, published & declared by the said Joel Merchant as and for his last will and testament in presence of us who at his request & in his presence & in the presence of each other.


L. D. Smith, Mexico, Oswego Co., NY
H.F. Winchester, Mexico, Oswego Co., NY”

 Using the data from the will, other public records and family researcher data, here is a list of all the apparent children of Joel and Reuena. (Incidentally the spelling of Reuena’s name was taken from the Mexico Village Cemetery census of tombstones published in 1984.)  The 1830 census gave the family size as four sons and three daughters.  The oldest daughter, Lucy was married before 1827 and thus not in the household.

 Lucy Ann Merchant b. 17 August 1806; m. Wheeler Brown; d. 19 August 1880 in Mexico.  Issue.
 William G. Merchant b. ca. 1808; m. Julia Ann Webster; d. before 1871.  Issue.
 Hiram Merchant b. bet. 1810/15; d. before 1871.
 Sarah Ann Merchant b. bet. 1810/15; m. ______ Rutherford.
 Joel Merchant b. ca. 1820; m. Adaline Dodge; d. 15 February 1888 in Grand Rapids, MI.  Issue.
 James B. Merchant b. ca. 1821; m. ________; d. 1838.  Issue.
 Reubena Merchant b. ca. 1823; m. 3 July 1849 Royal D. Cone; d. bet. 1863/70 in Minnesota.  Issue. 
 Margaret  Merchant b. unk ; m. _____ Burrell.

The birth order of Margaret and Sarah Ann may be reversed.  Not enough data is available on either daughter.  It was the usual practice for grandfathers to give an equal share of their estate to the grandchildren of deceased heirs.  Joel did not.  He did not mention Hiram, William or James, leaving the conclusion that all three were deceased.  Hiram appeared to have died young, but both William and James had issue.  In other respects Joel’s will was not the standard practice.  Joel wrote a will that suited him without regard for the “community”.  The census records offer no help in establishing the “proof” that Joel was the father of James and William.  Descendants from these two lines will need to do additional research. 

In the 1880 census of Grand Rapids, Kent Co., MI, Joel, 61, and his wife Adaline, 62, were enumerated with a servant.  Their daughter Eliza H. had married Oscar L. Palmer.

Joel, Jr. died in 1888.  He was buried in the Valley City Cemetery in Grand Rapids.  Adaline passed on during 1904 and joined her husband in their plot.  Eliza H. and Oscar L. Palmer were buried in the same plot later on. 


Bailey, Frederic William.  Early Connecticut Marriages.  New Haven, Ct: Bureau of American Ancestry, 1896-1906.
Brown, Cyrus Henry. The Brown Genealogy.  Boston:  Everett, 1901.
Cemetery Census of the Town of Mexico, Oswego County, New York.  Mexico: Mexico Historical Society, 1984.
Closson, William G. - Some of the Descendants of the Closson, Marchant, Thorton and Everingham Families.  Flushing: typescript, 1963.
Dodge, Robert Livingston.  Dodge Family Genealogy, 1898-1988.  Lakewood, CO: Dodge Family Association, 1998.
 Hatch, Mrs. M. M. Columbia’s Early History.  Available [online] [5 January 2004].
Jacobus, Donald Lines.  History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1930-32.
Land Patent Search.  Available [online] 5 January 2004].
N.Y. Adjutant General’s Office.  Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812.  Albany: 1860.
N.Y. Oswego Co.  Probate, v. L, p. 175.  (LDS microfilm #0872713). 
Randall, Frank Alfred.  Randall and Allied Families.  Chicago: Raveret-Weber, 1943.
Town of New Berlin.  Available [online]  [% January 2004].
U.S. Census, Harrison, Boone Co., IA 1880.
U.S. Census, Jackson, Boone Co., IA 1870.
U.S. Census, Grand Rapids, Kent Co., MI 1880.
U.S. Census, 2nd Ward, Winona, Winona Co., MN 1870 & 1880.
U.S. Census, Columbus, Chenango Co., NY 1850.
U.S. Census, Columbia, Herkimer Co., NY 1830.
U.S. Census, Winfield, Herkimer Co., NY 1850.
U.S. Census, Mexico, Oswego Co., NY 187.
U.S. Census, West Monroe, Oswego Co., NY 1850.
U.S. Census, Richfield, Otsego Co., NY 1850.
U.S. Census,  Salem, Kenosha Co., WI 1860.
Valley City Cemetery.  Available.  [online]  [5 January 2004].
World Connect Project.  Available [online] [5 January 2004].

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