Monday, May 25, 2009

Alexander Jones

Alexander and Elizabeth had six children. The first-born son, William, was born in Kentucky. All of the others were born after the family relocated to Cincinnati, about 1843. The Cincinnati City Directories record Alexander as living in the following areas:

1843 - Jones Alexander, carpenter. Race bet 14th and 15th

1846 - Jones Alexander, carp, S s Court, bet Race and Elm

1849-50 - Jones Alexander, carp. w. s. Elm, 3 doors s. of Cooper

1856 - Jones Alex, carp. 502 E. Front

1860 - Jones Alex., carp., n.s. E. Front e. of toll gate

1861 - Jones Alexander, carp., s.s. Front below Foster

This was the height of the steamboat era in Cincinnati. We are fortunate to have a letter in our possession, written by Lillian Amiss Mears, granddaughter of Alexander and Elizabeth. Most of the information in the letter has proved to be correct. Lillian's letter says that Alexander died in 1862. "Doctors called it inflammation of the bowels". From the research I have done on the cholera epidemics in Cincinnati, it is no surprise to me that something like this took his life. There was no water purification or sewage treatment. A famous daguerreotype of the Cincinnati River Front was taken in 1848 by Fontayne and Porter. One of the panels shows children drawing a bucket of water from the Ohio River right next to sewage runoff making its way into the river.

The letter also states that Alexander worked on boats that sailed down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans. Since he is listed as a carpenter and steamboat construction was a booming business in Cincinnati at this time, I am convinced that he participated in the construction of steamboats. Front Street later became Eastern Avenue and more recently was renamed Riverside Drive. After 1860, the family lived close to St. Rose Church. Researchers need to be aware that home addresses were renumbered in Cincinnati in 1896, so you cannot assume that was 502 Front St., for instance would correspond to what would be 502 Riverside Dr.

Cincinnati Skyline in 1848

To the right is the community of Fulton that stretched along the river for two miles. In 1848, Fulton had a population of nearly 3000 and its chief industry was steamboat building and repair.

During the year 1847, 34 steamboats, four steamships, two
barges, one brig and one ship were built here. Fulton had four churches, two public schools, ten ship yards, nine saw mills, one dry dock one foundry and a number of stores and groceries. The Little Miami Railroad passed through a great portion of it by its principal street (now Riverside Dr). Description provided by the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen.

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