William Alexander Caruthers

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William Alexander Caruthers
Born 1802
Rockbridge County, Virginia
Died 1846
Savannah, Georgia
Education Washington and Lee University
University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Novelist
Relatives Archibald Alexander (uncle)

William Alexander Caruthers (1802–1846) was an American novelist.


William Alexander Caruthers was born in 1802 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. His uncle, Archibald Alexander, served as the fourth President of Hampden–Sydney College.[1] He was educated at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) and later in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.[1] In 1837 he moved to Savannah, Georgia, where he resided until his death in 1846.[2]


Caruthers' first novel, The Kentuckian In New York, published in 1834, is important for expressing skepticism about slavery, as well as arguing that termination was impractical at that point. The novel includes a subplot about a narrowly avoided slave revolt, which was likely influenced by Nat Turner's rebellion. Some credit a short inclusion of a letter by a slave in Arabic as influencing a similar subplot in Edgar Allan Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. His later and somewhat better known works include The Cavaliers of Virginia, or the Recluse of Jamestown and The Knights of the Horse Shoe.


  • The Kentuckian in New-York; or, The Adventures of Three Southerns, by a Virginian (1834)
  • Cavaliers of Virginia; or, The Recluse of Jamestown. An Historical Romance of the Old Dominion (1834–1835, released in two parts)
  • The Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe, a Traditionary Tale of the Cocked Hat Gentry in the Old Dominion (1835)


  1. ^ a b Hurt, Matthew. "William Alexander Caruthers (1802–1846)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Cartwright, Keith (2004). Reading Africa Into American Literature: Epics, Fables, and Gothic Tales. The University Press of Kentucky. pp. 160–161. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Carroll Davis, Curtis (1947). "Chronicler of the Cavaliers: Some Letters from and to William Alexander Caruthers, M. D. (1802-1846)". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 55 (3): 213–232. JSTOR 4245489. 

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