The following obituary for Charles Alexander of Sonoma County CA was published in the Healdsburg Tribune newspaper dated Thursday July 1, 1897:
A grand old pioneer laid to rest.
Many friends mourn the loss of this most excellent gentleman.
On Saturday last, Healdsburg lost one of its old pioneers, Charles Alexander, well-known, respected and loved by all residents of this city and surrounding country. The subject of our sketch was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, March 20th, 1820, where he grew to manhood and married Achsah H. Smith.
Stories of rich gold fields of the distant west, and reports from his Uncle Cyrus Alexander who had his house in the beautiful Alexander valley, lured the young man, and, with four companions in the spring of 1850 he set out for California, crossing the plains by pack train to the gold coast. Arriving in Hangtown, now Placerville, El Dorado county, he remained a few months in the mines, but in the fall came to his uncle, a large land-owner after whom Alexander valley was named. He arrived in California July 13th, and at Alexander valley September 1st, 1850. He made his home with his uncle Cyrus for a few years. Cyrus and his nephew were very intimate, going on stock-hunting expeditions and killing grizzlies on the lands where Joe Alexander now resides. His wife, who had been left in Illinois, two years later followed her husband by way of the Isthmus, accompanied by her two children, Amelia and Josephine, the former now Mrs. A. H. May, of Bakersfield, Cal., the latter, now Mrs. Spoon, of Bickleton, Wash. On the arrival of his wife he removed to his home on Maacamas creek, where he resided for thirty years. He was really the pioneer in fruit-growing, planting a large orchard with seed brought from their former home in Illinois. He also engaged in stock-raising.
Hospitable as he was generous, his home ever open to friends and strangers who in the early days visited him from far and near. His son Lawrence, was born at Cyrus Alexander’s, being six months old when he moved to their new home; he now resides at Grizzly Bluff, Humboldt county, Cal. Alice, who became the wife of Rev. Crawford, since deceased, was born at the valley home, as was Julius M., now an employe of Wells, Fargo & Co., San Francisco. His wife died December 13th, 1894, at their home in Healdsburg, to which place they removed from Alexander valley in 1880. For 65 years he had been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, joining the same at the early age of 12 years. He was not so radical in his religious views as he was on the subject of temperance, he being of strong prohibition sentiments. Julius M. was the only one of the children present at the funeral, Lawrence, who came by steamer from Eureka, not arriving until the evening of the day on which the sad rites had been paid to the memory of a worthy citizen, a kind father and husband, and one beloved by an entire community, who followed his remains to their last resting place. H. C. Tallman of Green Valley, a reverend friend of thirty year’s standing, officiated and preached the funeral sermon over the body of his dead friend.
An incident of the early pioneer days is recalled, as related by the deceased. His uncle Cyrus Alexander built a primitive mill at his home and ground the first flour in this county, if not in the State. The old millstones, which now form doorsteps at the old home, were hewn out in the hills back of Fitch Mt. and hauled down on raw hides. A tub-wheel mill was constructed, the bolting being done by hand. Here he ground the flour for his family and his neighbors, the grain being threshed out on the floor by use of horses. The land owned by the Alexanders comprised two leagues square, or about the present size of a township.
[I am a great-great-grandson of Charles and Achsah Smith Alexander.]
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