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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Death has broken life's silver chain"

Julia Kale Alexander

     This is the second in a series I am writing about people whose portraits appear in an album that recently surfaced in the Fredericksburg area.
     Julia Anton Kale was born at 706 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg on July 27, 1833. My detailed overview about her family's history can be read here. Today it will suffice to say that she was the youngest child of Anthony Kale, a Swiss born candy maker and merchant, and Catherine Estes, a sister of my great great grandmother, who was born at Greenfield in Spotsylvania.
     The Kale family prospered and Anthony Kale built both 706 and 708 Caroline Street. Both buildings survive today as, respectively, the Fredericksburg Visitors Center and Beck's Antiques. The Kale store was at 706 and the family lived on the floors above. Julia's three surviving brothers moved west and she and two of her sisters, Mary and Marie Louisa, married well and remained in the Fredericksburg area. A fourth sister, Kate, never married. The story of Kate's dramatic confrontation with Union soldiers at her uncle's farm in Spotsylvania in 1864 can be read here.
     On September 29, 1852 Julia Kale and Fredericksburg printer Robert Brooke Alexander traveled to Weldon, North Carolina, where they were married. Robert was active in the civic life of Fredericksburg, joining the Sons of Temperance in 1849 and becoming a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 4. During the 1850s Robert Alexander was the publisher of The Democratic Recorder, a newspaper he sold to George Henry Clay Rowe in 1860 (after the Civil War The Recorder was known as The Fredericksburg Ledger). During the Civil War Robert Alexander printed provisional stamps for the Confederate government, and his work is prized by modern philatelists.

Lutie Alexander

Lutie Alexander

     Julia's and Robert's daughter Lucy, called "Lutie" by the family, was born in 1858. From these photographs it is not difficult to see that she was a darling child and was adored by her parents. And so it must have been a crushing blow when she died on November 7, 1861. The Alexanders published this heart-rending tribute to their daughter and buried her in the Masonic Cemetery in Fredericksburg.

     Dearest Lutie thou art gone.
     Death has broken life's silver chain; 
     But to heaven thy spirit's flown, 
     Where we hope to meet again.

Headstone of Lucy B. "Lutie" Alexander

     Sometime during the 1860s Robert and Julia Alexander moved from town to the Aquia district in Stafford, not far from the home of Mary Harding, Julia's sister. They lived on this farm for the rest of their lives. Robert Brooke Alexander died on August 31, 1878. He is buried in the Masonic Cemetery.

Headstone of Robert Brooke Alexander

     Julia and her sisters were well to do, and my great grandfather, George Washington Estes Row, obtained loans from Julia and Kate to sustain his cash-hungry saw mill enterprise. Shown below is a check written by him to his cousin Julia in 1881.

George W.E. Row to Julia Alexander, 1881

     Julia Kale Alexander died in Stafford on July 7, 1887. She is laid to rest in the Masonic Cemetery with Robert and Lutie.

The Free Lance, 15 July 1887

Headstone of Julia Kale Alexander

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