Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Greenville Osborn McAlexander (1871-1940)

Portrait from the History of Roanoke County, Virginia, 1912.

   Anyone sporting a "place name" like Greenville will obviously bring to mind the like named city in South Carolina, but, despite what you may be thinking, the above-pictured man has no connection to that South Carolina city whatsoever! A native of Virginia, Greenville Osborn McAlexander rose to prominence in Republican Party circles in Roanoke County, being a Special Revenue Agent, candidate for the state house of delegates and member of the state senate. 
   The son of Charles McAlexander and the former Lucinda Wood, Greenville O. McAlexander was born in Patrick County, Virginia on January 13, 1871. He removed with his family to Franklin County at the age of five and here would attend the public schools. On Christmas Day 1890 Greenville McAlexander married to Metamora Ingram (1872-1942). The couple were married for nearly five decades and would continue the predilection for odd names by bestowing curious names on their several of their children. Amongst the McAlexander offspring were sons Ophir (1891-1975) and Archa (birth-date unknown) and daughters Mintoria (1893-1982), Leora (born 1895), Debora (1897-1997, died aged 100), Una (born 1905) and Odessa (birth-date unknown).
   McAlexander's career in public life began at the age of 22 in 1893 when he won election as Constable for the Franklin County's Long Branch district. Four years later he began a stint as Franklin County's Deputy Sheriff and would later serve ten years as the Postmaster of Endicott, Virginia. In 1905 he was nominated by the Republicans as their candidate for the Virginia State House of Delegates and despite a strong showing lost that election to Democratic candidate John R. Guerrant by only 115 votes.
   Two years following his defeat for the house of delegates McAlexander's political fortunes changed when he successfully campaigned for a seat in the Virginia state senate. Taking his seat early in 1908, McAlexander sat on the senate committees on Privileges and Elections and Enrolled Bills. Elected to serve a term of four years, McAlexander resigned from the senate midway through his term and after removing to South Salem, Virginia ventured into farming and orchard cultivation. In addition to farming McAlexander worked as a special revenue agent under President Taft for Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.

G.O. McAlexander and family, from volume 84 of the "Country Gentleman".

   The remainder of Greenville McAlexander's life saw him continue farming, and in the late 1910s served as the president of the Augusta County Loan Association. McAlexander's stewardship of that organization was highlighted in Volume 84 of the Country Gentleman in 1919, and in an interview in that magazine he touted the Association's benefits in aiding local farmers, noting that:
"One good feature of the farm-loan association is the friendly advice given by the officers to backward members to improve their agricultural methods. The backward ones are told they must fix up their fences or do this or that so as to reflect credit on the Government Bank as well as to help themselves and their neighbors."
  Greenville O. McAlexander died in Virginia on January 4, 1940 at age 68. His widow Metamora survived her husband by just two years, dying in March 1942. Both were interred at the Graham Cemetery in Orange, Virginia.

                            Greenville O. McAlexander, from a Virginia State Senate composite photograph.

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