Robert J. Alexander
For thirty-four years Robert J. Alexander has been connected
with merchandising in Waukon, where during that time he has built
up a large and profitable patronage as a dealer in clothing and
mens furnishings. He is one of the active and progressive
business men of the city, where his long residence, her sterling
qualities of character and his straightforward business dealings
have made him widely known and honored. He was born in Linn
county, near Mount Vernon, July 18, 1852, and is a son of Charles
Alexander, a native of Nw York, who went south with his parents
when he was still a child and settled in Mississippi, where he
grew to maturity. As a young man he came to Iowa, locating in
Linn county, where he married Miss Susan Smyth, a native of
Ireland but reared in the United States. Her parents came to Iowa
and settled in Linn county when she was sixteen years of age.
Charles Alexander was subsequently one of the earliest settlers
in Cedar county, where he opened up a new farm, which he improved
and developed into a valuable agricultural property. He reared
his family upon the homestead and there spent the remainder of
Robert J. Alexander spent his childhood upon his fathers farm, aiding in the work of the fields and acquiring his education in the public schools. He supplemented this by three terms at Cornell College and upon laying aside his books taught for three winter terms, engaging in farming during the summer months.
In 1879 he came to Waukon, where he formed a partnership with Levi Armstrong under the firm name of Armstrong & Alexander. They put in a large and complete stock of clothing and mens furnishings and opened for business in the same building now occupied by Mr. Alexander, where he has conducted a prosperous mercantile concern for thirty-four consecutive years. The association continued for twelve years and at the end of that time Mr. Alexander purchased his partners interest and since 1891 has conducted the business alone. He carries a complete line of clothing and mens furnishings, his stock being varied and well selected, and he has gained a large and growing patronage, accorded him in recognition of the excellent quality of his goods, his upright and honorable business methods and his reasonable prices. Mr. Alexander is doing an annual business amounting to thirty thousand dollars and is one of Waukons most successful merchants and most progressive business men.
In 1882 Mr. Alexander was united in marriage to Miss Carrie L. Hayward, who was born in Wisconsin but who was reared in Waukon, in the home of her sister, Mrs. Alonzo M. May. Mr. and Mrs. Alexander have two daughters: Susan, who married B. H. Keller, a civil engineer in Kansas City, Missouri; and Ruth, who is a student in Cornell College. They lost two children, Emma and Hayward, both of whom died in childhood. The family residence is located on Wooster street, near the public school , and is modern and up-to-date in every particular, Mr. Alexander having recently remodeled it throughout.
Mr. Alexander attends the Methodist Episcopal church of Waukon and is a man of exemplary character. A resident of Iowa all during his life and of Waukon for over one-third of a century, he has thoroughly identified his interests with those of the community with the result that his name stands for a synonym for progressiveness in business, for public-spirited citizenship and for all that is honorable and upright in every relation of life.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich
Return to 1913 biographies index