W. J. D. Alexander, physician, Confederate military officer, real estate agent, and notary public, was born on February 1, 1836, in Fayette County, Tennessee, to Silas and Mary (Kennedy) Alexander. Alexander’s father was a blacksmith by trade and moved the family to Texas in 1849 to engage in farming. As a youth, Alexander lived on a farm in Smith County, Texas, but he gained a formal education and eventually graduated from the Nashville Medical College (now known as Vanderbilt University). Upon his graduation, Alexander returned to Texas and established a practice in Denton County before moving to Stephenville and then later residing in Meridian, Texas, where he remained until the outbreak of the Civil War.
On December 21, 1861, Texas passed an act calling for the defense of Texas’s western frontier from Indian incursions. In response, on March 15, 1862, James E. McCord’s Mounted Frontier Regiment, Texas State Troops, was organized into nine companies for state service. Alexander was appointed major. On February 11, 1863, Alexander’s regiment was reorganized at Camp Verde with ten companies, and he was commissioned as a major in charge of companies F and G. The unit served primarily as a defensive force against Indian incursions. On March 1, 1864, the unit was transferred to service in the Confederate Army and became known as McCord’s Frontier Regiment Texas Cavalry, although it is often referred to as the Forty-sixth Regiment and placed under the command of the Trans-Mississippi Department. From June 22 to August 1864, Alexander was the acting commander of the regiment. It appears his service was relatively uneventful, and he seemed to have suffered from bilious remittent fever. On one request for a sixty-day leave, he argued that he needed to “go to a section where my health will be more likely to recover soon than in this county [camp near Harrisburg] where I am continuously exposed to the first cause of my disease.” Alexander surrendered with his unit on May 26, 1865, along with the rest of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith’s army.
After the war, Alexander moved to Maury County, Tennessee, where he resided for about nine months. In 1866 he moved to Arkansas and settled in Prairie County where he established a medical practice. Alexander married Fannie Conner in 1869; they had two sons. He moved to Grand Prairie, Arkansas, in 1872 before going on to Carlisle where he again established a medical practice, farmed, and sold real estate. He was commissioned a notary in 1883. Alexander died on March 10, 1927, in Center Point, Texas, and was buried at Center Point Cemetery.
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Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski, Jefferson, Lonoke, Faulkner, Grant, Saline, Perry, Garland and Hot Spring Counties, Arkansas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1889). Joseph S. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).
Health and Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Regimental and Staff Officers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Matthew K. Hamilton,
“Alexander, W. J. D.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 20, 2012
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 14, 2017
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: