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John Henry Alexander

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Subject: Zekiah Swamp, People from Annapolis, Maryland, Kingsville, Maryland, John Alexander, Businesspeople from Baltimore, Maryland
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John Henry Alexander

John Henry Alexander (1812–March 2, 1867) was a noted scientist and businessman, born in Annapolis, Maryland in 1812. The youngest child of William and Mary (Harwood Stockett) Alexander, he attended St. John's College in Annapolis and graduated in 1827 at the age of fifteen.


  • Personal life 1
  • Business experience 2
  • Professional titles 3
  • Notable works 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Personal life

After graduating from St. John's College in 1827, he spent the next four years reading law privately, but apparently he did not take the bar exam. He, instead, chose to begin working for the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad. Alexander also attended medical lectures in Baltimore, though he did not receive a degree in Medicine.

Alexander married Margaret Hammer on June 4, 1836, in Baltimore. They had at least two sons, the second one born in Baltimore in October 1838. Throughout his life Alexander maintained close ties with his older brothers, William (born circa 1803) and Thomas Stockett (born 1801.) The brothers shared a deep devotion to the Whig party, and William often sent Alexander detailed accounts of the actions of the House of Delegates in Annapolis.

Alexander was active in the congregation of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, and wrote a concordance to the Book of Common Prayer as well as two volumes of religious poetry.

Business experience

As part of his work for the railroad, Alexander performed surveys and made maps of the route. This experience, combined with his academic achievements, led to Alexander's 1833 appointment as the Chief Engineer of Maryland. He was charged with the task of creating a complete map of Maryland. While carrying out his surveys for this task, Alexander located several canal route proposals including University of Pennsylvania and professor of physics at the University of Maryland.

Notable works

He published a number of works including his report on a new map of Maryland (1835), a treatise on international coinage of Great Britain and the United States (1857) and an opinion on the location of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Wheeling, Virginia (1850). He edited a treatise on leveling and Sims' treatise on mathematical instruments (1838), used in surveying, leveling, and astronomy (1835). He was a fellow of the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Geographical and Statistical Society and the Maryland and Pennsylvania Historical Societies. In 1847, he was elected an honorable member of the Belle Lettres Society at the College of St. James in Hagerstown, Maryland.


  • Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1963.

External links

  • John Henry Alexander Papers at the University of Maryland Libraries
  • Memoir of John H. Alexander by J. E. Hilgard
  • . (Baltimore, 1845).Report on the standards of weight and measure for the State of Maryland: and on the construction of the yard-measuresAlexander, J. H.
  • National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
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