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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 98

ALEXANDER MCKIM DUBOIS was born in Baltimore, Maryland, January 11th, 1812. At about the age of twelve years was placed at school in an academy at Ellicott's Mills, a village near Baltimore, now Ellicott city, where he completed his scholastic course; he was pretty thoroughly drilled in the English branches; he also acquired some knowledge of Latin and Greek.

Before he had completed his sixteenth year was taken from school and placed with one of the most prominent commercial houses of the day in the city of Baltimore, in which his mercantile education was carefully looked after, and with which he remained until he attained his majority, having in the interim passed through all the gradations of clerkship, from boy to principal accountant. In the fall of the year 1833, seeing nothing in his future in Baltimore beyond a salaried clerkship, he determined, in the hope of bettering his situation, to cast his fortune in the "great west". On consultation with his employer, his plan met their approval, and they gave him encouragement to make the venture. After five days' journeying by stage from Baltimore to Wheeling, and thence by steamboat, he reached cincinnati early in November of that year, where he soon obtained employment as an accountant in an extensive wholesale grocery establishment, with which he remained until the summer of 1834, when the house retired from business. In furtherance of his plan to locate in the west, the 4th of July, 1834, found him in Carlinville, on which day he rented for business purposed the house on the east side of the public square, now occupied as a drug store by Milton McClure, or, more properly stated, he occupied so much as remained of the original building, there being now left of it only the side walls.

On reaching Carlinville, shortly after (July 4th, 1834) he commenced business with another in a "general store;" it not proving profitable, sold out in 1836. He was elected justice of the peace in 1837, and held the office till August, 1839, when his term expired. Was a candidate for recorder at the August election of that year, but was unsuccessful. Was, in May, 1841, by Hon. Samuel D. Lockwood, presiding judge of the circuit, appointed clerk of the circuit court, and under this appointment held the office until 1848, when it was made elective. At the first election under the new law, in August of that year, he was the successful candidate. Re-elected in 1852, without opposition. Re-elected in 1856, and retired in 1860, at the expiration of his term of office.

In July, 1845, he was appointed master in chancery by Judge D. Lockwood, and held the office under successive appointments until 1857. At the close of the litigation concerning the lands given for the founding of Blackburn seminary, now Blackburn university, was in 1855, by Judge David Davis, appointed one of the trustees of said seminary, and at the first meeting of the board thereafter was appointed its treasurer. Held both positions till February, 1878, when he resigned them; at the request of the board, however, continuing to act as treasurer until their annual meeting, in June, 1878, when his successor was appointed.

At March term, 1866, was by the county court appointed one of the commissioners for building the Macoupin county court house, and the banking house of which he was a partner; was made the financial agent of the county for the sale of its bonds; this agency they discharged, and as the proceeds of the sale accounted to the county authorities, after the payment of all charges, for a sum of money very considerable in excess of the face value of the bonds intrusted to the, they having been sold for their par value with accrued interest, which after the deduction of all charges for commissions, etc., resulted to the county as above stated.

On retiring from the circuit court clerkship in December, 1860, he took the active management of the banking house of Chesnut & Dubois, which had then been doing business for some three years, and continued in its control until January, 1878, when the firm ceased to do business. These several positions and vocations have brought him somewhat prominently before the people of Macoupin county. Having spoken somewhat of his public career, we now turn to the more private events of his life. He was married on the 17th of October, 1837, to Miss Elvira G., the daughter of Rev. Jno. T. Hamilton. She was also the granddaughter of Rev. Gideon Blackburn. She died in May, 1839, and on the 31st of October, 1844, Mr. Dubois was married to Miss Amelia McClure, the daughter of James A. McClure, Sen. By this union three children were born to them. One died in infancy. Their son, Nicholas Dubois, is now a resident of Springfield, Ill. Catharine M., is the wife of E. A. Snively, now supreme court clerk, and a leading journalist of central Illinois. Death again entered the household of Mr. Dubois, and carried away his wife, July 19th, 1851, and on the 27th of October, 1853, Mr. Dubois was married to Sarah T. Fishback, the daughter of Charles Fishback, an old resident of this county. By this marriage seven children were born, of whom only three are now living, two daughters and one son. In politics Mr. Dubois was formerly a whig, and since 1860 has acted with the republican party. He is also a member of the Protestant Episcopal church.


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