Lake County Ohio GenWeb
This biography is taken from Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio, Embracing the counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake; Lewis Publishing Company, 1893.
Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.
John W. Alexander, the capable and popular President of the Painesville Gas Company, Painesville, Ohio, an enterprising business man and worthy citizen, was born in Rochester, New York, in 1844. His grandfather, John Alexander, was a native of Scotland, who came to America in 1756 and settled in Saratoga county, New York, where he followed farming and died at an advanced age. Here William B. Alexander, father of the subject of this sketch, was born and reared. He became a lawyer, and in 1816 settled in Rochester, New York, where he spent the rest of his life in the active practice of his profession. He married Harriet Halsted, born in the same State as himself, in 1800. The father was an ardent Whig and Republican in politics and was a member of the Presbyterian Church, while the mother adhered to the tenets of the Episcopal faith. The mother died in 1866, aged sixty-six years, and the father expired at the age of sixty-nine. Both inherited stanch mental and moral characteristics, and passed busy, useful lives.
The subject of this sketch was reared and educated in his native city, attending the public schools, his greatest advantages being those of a cultured home and solicitous care of enlightened and refined parents. Thus happily passed his youth until the war cloud enveloped the country, and then, in August, 1861, at the age of seventeen, young Alexander enlisted in Company C of the Thirty-third New York infantry, and participated in the engagements of the Potomac army, including Williamsburg, first and second Fredericksburg, Antietam, and many others of minor note. On the expiration of his two years' enlistment with the Thirty-third New York Regiment, he returned to the Empire Stae and assisted in organizing the First New York Veteran Cavalry, in which he was commissioned Quartermaster. He served through the Shenandoah Valley campaign and was mustered out in July, 1865.
He then returned to his home in Rochester, New York, and shortly afterward settled in Titusville, Pennsylvania, where he entered the clothing and gentlemen's furnishing goods business. This he subsequently abandoned to engage in the oil and oil-well supply industry, which he followed until 1881. He then came to Painesville, Ohio, and bought an interest in the gas plant, of which company he was elected President the same year and in which capacity he has ever since acted. The continued prosperity of this company speaks well for the management of its director and head, whose energy is infatigable and whose ability, both financial and executive, is unsurpassed.
February 15, 1871, Mr. Alexander was married to S. Alice Steele, a lady of education and refinement, a native of Painesville and a member of an old and respected family. They have two children: Laura and George S.
Politcally, Mr. Alexander is a Republican and has served his constituents as a member of city council, in which capacity his influence was always thrown in the scale of municipal progress. Fraternally, he belongs to the Masonic Order and is Commander of Dyer Post, No. 17, G.A.R. Both he and his worthy wife are useful members of the Baptist Church, and socially are much esteemed by all who know them.
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