Biography of J. O. Alexander

J. O. Alexander. It is now nearly half a century since Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Alexander laid the foundation of their home and fortune by their marriage and during all that time they have lived in the vicinity of Rantoul, have been materially prospered and have also fulfilled that great duty of bearing and rearing children to usefulness and honor in the world’s work.

Mr. Alexander is one of the honored old soldiers of Champaign County. He was born near the Sangamon River in Illinois, a son of Henry and Polly Alexander. He grew up on the farm and had a district school education. He was twenty-four years of age when the war broke out and he soon afterward enlisted in Springfield in the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry. He saw three years of active service. He went to the front at Cairo, then to Memphis and on to Vicksburg, and altogether fought in thirty distinct engagements. He was wounded in the breast and wrist and was mustered out at Memphis.

In October, 1868, he married Sarah Hamm. Mrs. Alexander was born in Indiana, a daughter of John and Harriet Hamm. They started house-keeping seven miles west of Rantoul and lived and prospered as farmers until they removed to their present comfortable home on Main Street in the village of Rantoul.

The children born to their marriage are: Charles; Ollie, now Mrs. Schwarts; Mrs. Edith Swayze; Harry; Mabel, deceased (she was Mrs. Mabel Green); Mrs. Nettie Thayre; Mrs. Inez Messenger; Gertrude; and Ada E. The children were well educated, most of them finishing in the Rantoul High School. Ada became a successful teacher, taught two years in the district schools of this county, two years in Mansfield and for the past three years has been connected with the Rantoul High School and is still a member of its faculty of instruction. Mr. and Mrs. Alexander also have the solace and comfort of grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The great-grandchild is Claude Alexander. Their son Charles has three children, Roy, Fay and Lessley. Ollie’s children are Harold, Alton, Freda and Fern, twins. The children of Edith are Mabel, Gwendolin (deceased), Clyde, James, Eugene, Bernice (deceased), Harry, Evelyn and Melvin. Nettie is the mother of Russell. Inez has one child, Horace. Don and Dale are sons of Mabel, who is deceased. Harry has two children, Evalyn and Melvin.

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander are active members of the Baptist Church at Rantoul. Politically Mr. Alexander is a Republican. Mrs. Alexander during her girlhood knew Champaign County’s great pioneer Henry Sadorus. She talked with him many times and she thus stands as a link connecting the modern present with the very early times of this section.


Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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