Alexander W. Monroe

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Honorable
Alexander W. Monroe
Alexander W Monroe.jpg
Alexander W. Monroe as Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1875.
Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates
In office
1875–1877
Preceded by William M. Miller
Succeeded by Eustace Gibson
Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
from the Hampshire County district
In office
1875–1877
Preceded by George Deaver, Jr.
Succeeded by Asa Hiett
In office
1879–1883
Preceded by Asa Hiett
Succeeded by Henry Bell Gilkeson
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the Hampshire County district
In office
1850–1851
Serving with William P. Stump
Preceded by Robert Massey Powell
William P. Stump
Succeeded by James Allen
Thomas B. White
Personal details
Born (1817-12-29)December 29, 1817
Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia), United States
Died March 16, 1905(1905-03-16) (aged 87)
Hampshire County, West Virginia, United States
Resting place Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney, West Virginia, United States
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Sarah A. French (first)
Margaret E. Pugh (second)
Relations Robert Monroe (father)
Elizabeth Monroe (mother)
Children James W. Monroe
Robert Pugh Monroe
Sallie E. Monroe
Ella G. Monroe
Annie H. Monroe
Residence Barnes Mill, West Virginia, United States
Romney, West Virginia, United States
Profession schoolteacher, farmer, lawyer, surveyor, military officer, politician, newspaper editor, and newspaper publisher
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861–1865 (CSA)
Rank Confederate States of America Colonel.png Colonel (114th Regiment, Virginia Militia)
Confederate States of America Major.png Major (18th Virginia Cavalry)
Commands Virginia 114th Regiment, Virginia Militia
Virginia 18th Virginia Cavalry
Battles/wars American Civil War

Alexander W. Monroe (December 29, 1817 – March 16, 1905) was a prominent Virginia (later West Virginia) schoolteacher, farmer, lawyer, surveyor, politician, newspaper editor and publisher, and an officer in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Monroe served as a member of the Virginia General Assembly (1850–1851 and 1862–1865) and West Virginia House of Delegates (1875–1877 and 1879–1883) representing Hampshire County. Monroe served as Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates during the 1875–1877 legislative session. Monroe also represented Hampshire County in the West Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1872.

Early life and family relations[edit]

Alexander W. Monroe was born on December 29, 1817[1] in Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Monroe.[2][3][4][5] Monroe's parents were of Scottish descent.[2] Monroe's great uncle, Dr. John Monroe, was an early physician and Baptist minister in Hampshire County.[6] Monroe's brother, Robert W. Monroe, was appointed by United States President Grover Cleveland as an Indian agent in Idaho.[7]

At the age of 18, Monroe and his siblings were orphaned and Monroe took responsibility for the rearing and education of his four younger brothers and two sisters.[1] To accomplish this feat, Monroe taught school during the winter months, and worked the family's farm during the growing season.[1][8][9]

Early professions and political career[edit]

Monroe began his career in public service as the county surveyor for Hampshire County.[4] Monroe read law in Romney, Virginia (now West Virginia) under prominent local attorney, Alfred P. White.[1][3] While studying law, Monroe was elected to represent Hampshire County in the Virginia House of Delegates alongside William P. Stump between 1850 and 1851.[10][11][12] Monroe served in the Virginia House of Delegates during the 1851 reform of the Constitution of Virginia.[10] He later served again between 1862 and 1865 while serving in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.[1][3][10] Monroe served in the Virginia General Assembly during each legislative session during wartime, and would return to military duties following session adjournments.[1] Monroe was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1858 at the age of 41[1][3][10] and engaged in a lucrative law practice in Romney.[3] The following year, Monroe was elected the Commonwealth's Attorney for Hampshire County.[1][4][10]

Monroe and Job N. Cookus purchased the Virginia Argus and Hampshire Advertiser newspaper in Romney and continued serving as its editors and publishers until its closure by the Union Army in August 1861, after which, the newspaper was not revived.[9][13][14] During their joint ownership, the offices for the Virginia Argus and Hampshire Advertiser were located in an old stone building that formerly housed the Romney Academy behind the Hampshire County Courthouse.[15]

Military career[edit]

Following the outbreak of the American Civil War in July 1861, Monroe commanded the 114th Regiment of the Virginia militia in the Confederate States Army with the rank of colonel.[2][9][10][16][17] Aged 43, Monroe was the oldest colonel, by his commission, serving in the Virginia militia.[2][9] On October 26, 1861, the 18th Virginia Cavalry, under Monroe's command, took part in a skirmish against a unit within the left column formation of Union Army troops under the command of Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Kelley.[18] The skirmish took place at present-day Blues Beach where a wire bridge carried the Moorefield and North Branch Turnpike across the South Branch Potomac River at the Lower Hanging Rocks.[18] Monroe also led 300 soldiers of the 114th Regiment in the Battle of Blue's Gap on January 7, 1862.[16] He remained the commanding officer of the 114th Regiment until its disbandment by the Congress of the Confederate States in April 1862.[2][16]

Following the passage of the Conscription Bill by the Confederate States Congress, Monroe volunteered and raised a battalion of cavalry,[1][10][17] known as the 18th Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.[9][10][17] He was elected major of the 18th Virginia Cavalry shortly after its creation.[9][10][17] Monroe was later in command of the rear guard during the withdrawal of Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee from the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.[2][9] In this capacity, Monroe successfully protected the 27-mile (43 km)-long wagon train.[2][9] Monroe fought for the Confederate Army throughout the duration of the war, until 1865.[2]

Later political career[edit]

Following the American Civil War and his parole by Union authorities, Monroe resumed his practice of law in Romney and in 1872, he represented Hampshire County at the West Virginia Constitutional Convention.[3][10][19] In 1875, Monroe returned to politics when he was elected as a Democrat to represent Hampshire County in the West Virginia House of Delegates for one two-year term.[1][20][21] It was during this legislative session that Monroe served as Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates.[1][3][22] Monroe again served as a member of the House of Delegates representing Hampshire County from 1879 to 1883.[1][20][21] Monroe served upon the Revisory Committee to amend West Virginia House of Delegates statutes in 1881.[1] Monroe was the first delegate to represent Hampshire County in both the Virginia General Assembly and the West Virginia Legislature.[4]

On February 23, 1871, the West Virginia Legislature passed an act incorporating the South Branch Railway Company, responsible for the construction and operation of a branch line connecting Romney with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad main line at Green Spring.[23] Monroe was named by the legislature as one of the commissioners of the South Branch Railway Company, charged with the responsibility of signing up investors to purchase capital stock in the company.[23]

Later life and death[edit]

Gravestone at the interment site of Alexander W. Monroe and his wife Margaret in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney, West Virginia.

During his later years, Monroe resided on his farm in the Barnes Mill community of Hampshire County.[2][9] Monroe succumbed to heart failure and died on March 16, 1905 at his home near Romney.[4][9][24] Monroe was survived by his second wife Margaret and their four children.[9] Monroe is interred with his wife Margaret at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney, West Virginia.[25]

Marriage and children[edit]

In 1852, Monroe married his first wife, Sarah A. French, daughter of John and Eleanor French.[2] Monroe and his wife Sarah had one son:[2]

  • James W. Monroe

Following Sarah's death, Monroe married (November 21, 1866) his second wife, Margaret E. Pugh,[2][5] daughter of Benjamin and Sarah Pugh.[5] Monroe and his second wife Margaret had children, of which one son and three daughters survived to adulthood:[2][4]

  • Robert Pugh Monroe (1867–1924)
  • Sallie E. Monroe
  • Ella G. Monroe
  • Annie H. Monroe

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Atkinson 1890, p. 487.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 718.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 495.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 178.
  5. ^ a b c Marriage Record Detail: Alexander Monroe, West Virginia Vital Research Records (West Virginia Division of Culture and History), retrieved April 25, 2014 
  6. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 492.
  7. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 496.
  8. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 297.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Special Dispatch (March 23, 1905), Col. Alex. Monroe Dead: Commanded Section of Lee's Rear Guard in Retreat, The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), retrieved April 25, 2014 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ritter 1989, p. 449.
  11. ^ Virginia State Library Board 1917, p. 171.
  12. ^ Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 47.
  13. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 357.
  14. ^ About Virginia Argus and Hampshire Advertiser, 1850–1861., Chronicling America (Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities), OCLC 11111337, retrieved April 25, 2014 
  15. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 298.
  16. ^ a b c Hinkle 2003, p. 50.
  17. ^ a b c d Hinkle 1986, p. 60.
  18. ^ a b Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 565.
  19. ^ Lewis 1889, p. 451.
  20. ^ a b Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 278.
  21. ^ a b Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 180.
  22. ^ West Virginia Legislature 1922, p. 232.
  23. ^ a b West Virginia Legislature 1871, p. 121.
  24. ^ Death Record Detail: Alexander Monroe, West Virginia Vital Research Records (West Virginia Division of Culture and History), retrieved April 25, 2014 
  25. ^ Indian Mound Cemetery: Hampshire County's Most Historic Cemetery - List of Interments, HistoricHampshire.org (HistoricHampshire.org, Charles C. Hall), retrieved April 25, 2014 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]