William Patterson Alexander

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William Patterson Alexander
William Patterson Alexander.jpg
Born (1805-07-25)July 25, 1805
Paris, Kentucky
Died August 13, 1884(1884-08-13) (aged 79)
Oakland, California
Occupation Missionary
Spouse(s) Mary Ann McKinney
Children William DeWitt Alexander
Samuel Thomas Alexander
Emily Whitney Alexander
James McKinney Alexander
+ 5 others

William Patterson Alexander (July 25, 1805 – August 13, 1884) was an American missionary to the Kingdom of Hawaii. His family continued to influence the history of Hawaii.


Mary Alexander

William Patterson Alexander was born in Paris, Kentucky on July 25, 1805. His father was James Alexander (1770–1821) and mother was Mary Rose Depuy (1765–1841).[1] He attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and then Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a distant cousin of Archibald Alexander, the founder of the Presbyterian seminary. On October 25, 1831 he married Mary Ann McKinney who was born January 5, 1810 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[2] He was ordained October 13, 1831. They sailed on the Whaleship Averick, under Captain Swain, from New Bedford, Massachusetts, November 26, 1831, and arrived at Honolulu, May 17, 1832.[3] Alexanders and the rest of the fifth company from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions arrived in April 1832 to the Hawaiian Islands.[2]

They were sent on a scouting mission to the Marquesas Islands (at the time called "Washington Islands") with Reuben Tinker and Samuel Whitney. On July 2, 1833 they then traveled back to establish a Marquesas mission with Richard Armstrong, Benjamin W. Parker with their wives via Tahiti. However, they abandoned the Marquesas to European missionaries and arrived back in Honolulu on May 12, 1834.

The Alexanders were assigned to the mission at Waiʻoli 1834 until 1843. Looking for a drier climate, they were transferred to Lahainaluna School in 1843. After the departure of founder Lorrin Andrews and death of Sheldon Dibble, he became principal until 1856. He preferred to live at cooler, higher elevations, and often camped at what would become ʻUlupalakua Ranch. Although the American Board was withdrawing support, he continued to assist efforts such as the Kaʻahumanu Church in Wailuku, Hawaii from November 1856 until 1882. He and his wife traveled back to New Bedford by April 1858 on a fund-raising trip, and returned by December 1859. He helped unite Presbyterian and Congregational churches into the Hawaiian Evangelical Association.[2] He died August 13, 1884 in Oakland, California and was buried in the Mountain View Cemetery.[4]

The Alexanders had 9 children:

  1. William DeWitt Alexander (1833–1913) married Abigail Charlotte Baldwin (1833–1913) in 1861.
  2. James McKinney Alexander was born January 29, 1835. He graduated from Williams College and Princeton Theological Seminary and died in 1911.[5]
  3. Samuel Thomas Alexander was born October 29, 1836, married Martha Eliza Cooke, daughter of Amos Starr Cooke, co-founder of Castle & Cooke on January 26, 1864. Samuel was a co-founder of Alexander & Baldwin who died September 10, 1904.
  4. Henry Martyn Alexander (1839–1910) married Eliza Yates Wight and then Ina B. Weist.
  5. Mary Jane Alexander (1840–1913) of which not much is known.
  6. Ann Elizabeth Alexander (1843–1940) married Charles Henry Dickey. Their son was architect Charles William Dickey, and daughter Belle Dickey married Pineapple planter James Drummond Dole.
  7. Emily Whitney Alexander (1846–1943) married Henry Perrine Baldwin (co-founder of Alexander & Baldwin) in 1869.
  8. Charles Hodge Alexander (1848–1885) married Helen Goodale Thurston (1860–1885), granddaughter of missionaries Asa and Lucy Goodale Thurston and Lorrin Andrews, and sister of Lorrin Andrews Thurston.[6]
  9. Ellen Charlotte Alexander (1852–1924) married Giulio Ferreri and moved to Italy.

The Baldwins were children of fellow missionary Dwight Baldwin.

Mary Ann McKinney Alexander moved back to Maui and lived with family, where she died on June 29, 1888.[3]

A street was named for him in Honolulu at 21°18′4″N 157°49′47″W / 21.30111°N 157.82972°W / 21.30111; -157.82972 (Alexander).[7]

Family tree[edit]


  1. ^ James R. Davis. "Alexander Genealogical Query". Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c James McKinney Alexander (1888). Mission life in Hawaii: Memoir of Rev. William P. Alexander. Pacific Press Publishing Company. 
  3. ^ a b Hawaiian Mission Children's Society (1901). Portraits of American Protestant missionaries to Hawaii. Honolulu: Hawaiian gazette company. p. 34. 
  4. ^ David Johnson (August 8, 2006). "Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, CA". California Tombstone Project, US Genweb archives. Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Guide to the Alexander Family Papers" (PDF). The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ Brown Thurston (1892). Thurston genealogies (2nd ed.). Portland, Maine. p. 288. 
  7. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel Hoyt Elbert and Esther T. Mookini (2004). "lookup of Alexander ". in Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mary Charlotte Alexander (1934). William Patterson Alexander in Kentucky, the Marquesas, Hawaii. Yale university press.  (author is granddaughter)