William Fontaine Alexander

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 341-342

William Fontaine Alexander found his early practice only a
threshold to a more practical business career, mainly in the
field of insurance and banking. He has for many years been
an influential citizen of Charles Town and represents one
of the historic families in this section of the state.

Mr. Alexander was born at Duffields in Jefferson County,
son of Dr. William F. Alexander, born on a farm in Kable-
town District in the same county, and grandson of William
P. Alexander, a native of Virginia and of Colonial ancestry.
William P. Alexander after his marriage settled on a plan-
tation in Kabletown District, this plantation being his
wife’s inheritance. It was operated with slave labor. The
wife of William P. Alexander was Hannah Lee Washing-
ton, a daughter of Bushrod Washington (Cunningham), and
granddaughter of Corbin and Hannah (Lee) Washington.
Hannah Lee was a daughter of Hon. Richard Henry Lee.
Corbin Washington was a son of John Augustine Washing-
ton, youngest brother of President George Washington.
Dr. William F. Alexander acquired his early education
under private tutors, and early took up the study of
medicine, entering the University of Pennsylvania, where
he graduated after completing his medical course. He then
established his home at Duffields in Jefferson County, and
practiced successfully there until his death. Death came to
him early in his career, at the age of thirty-five. He was
the father of four children: Herbert Lee, of Martinsburg;
Mary Virginia, of Charles Town, widow of Rev. Dallas
Tucker; William Fontaine; and Hannah Washington, wife
of Edward Esten Cooke.

William Fontaine Alexander attended private school until
he was twelve years of age, then entered the Charles Town
Male Academy under Edmund Randolph Tucker, the prin-
cipal, and when he had completed his course of study there
took up the subject of law in the office of Col. Forrest W.
Brown. He was admitted to the bar and practiced two
years. He was then elected county clerk, and by re-election
held that post of duty in the county for twelve consecutive
years. After retiring from office Mr. Alexander became
a member of the firm of Washington, Alexander & Cooke,
proprietors of a general insurance agency. This is one of
the leading firms of the kind in the Eastern Panhandle. The
members of the firm are also interested in the manufacture
and sales distribution of commercial fertilizer. Mr. Alex-
ander besides his active connection with this firm is vice
president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Charles

At the age of twenty-seven he married Cecily de Graffen-
ried Woolley. She was born at Lexington, Kentucky, a
daughter of Frank W. and Lucy (McCaw) Woolley. They
have two children, Cecily Fontaine and Ann Catherine. Mr.
Alexander is a vestryman of Zion Episcopal Church and is
affiliated with Malta Lodge, F. and A. M.