- 3 September 2015 ?
Alexander "Sandy" Stewart
Alexander Stewart, known to many as "Sandy," was born in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland on December 7th, 1805.[i]
He grew up the son of Dr. Alexander Stewart and Mary McLachlan, who married May 21st, 1805.[ii]
Along with Sandy, the Stewarts had seven other children. There were four boys and four girls. The four boys accompanied their parents to the States in 1817. They set sail around September 1st, 1817. Supposedly, the Stewart family landed in New York, but there has been no evidence found to prove this. The Stewarts arrived in Carmi, Illinois on Christmas day in 1818. The family established Burnt Prairie, Illinois, where they built a farm.
Dr. Stewart began studying medicine, which greatly interested him. His doctorate was in fact, in some other field, but there was no mention of what that was. His wife Mary also studied medicine. So she could accompany her husband as his nurse.[iii]
Sandy and his brothers worked the farm. In 1820, another brother, James was welcomed to the Stewart family. He was the first white child born in the Burnt Prairie area. Two years later, another brother, William, was welcomed to the family. William later went on to become a Captain in the Civil War.[iv]
In 1824, Sandy's parents sent for their four daughters back in Comrie, Scotland. Their voyage took three weeks. When they arrived in New York, their escort took their money and left them at the pier. An older gentleman, who carried a cane, encountered the girls huddled together and crying on the pier. After discovering who they were, he took the girls in and found them temporary homes. This man was Dr. Ferguson, an old classmate of Dr. Alexander Stewart's.
After two years of trying to reach Dr. Stewart, someone from Burnt Prairie was taking a trip to New York and thought that the least he could do, after all Dr. Stewart had done for him, was look for his daughters. The man went to the same pier and found the same old man, Dr. Ferguson, and was taken to the girls.[v]
During all this time, Sandy was learning the blacksmith trade. At this time, he also married. Sandy married Sarah Miller on January 27th, 1826. It was then, in 1827, that they left home and settled in Albion, Illinois.[vi]
After his mother's death in 1862, Sandy's father, Dr. Stewart, with his failing eyesight, came to live with his son. Dr. Stewart died May 5th, 1865 from injuries received from a fall he took off his porch.[vii]
Sandy Stewart and his wife Sarah had 15 children, having only six live to maturity. Sarah died April 20th, 1853, shortly after the birth of their youngest child. Sandy then married Emma Senseman (Sensaman) on April 23rd, 1856.[viii]
Sandy remained a blacksmith for 16 years, until his health began to give way. He then focused his attention on being a merchant.[ix] According to the Edwards County Centennial Celebration, compiled by Walter Colyer in 1918, Sandy Stewart established a pork packing house in Albion in 1843 with a capacity of 3,000 head for the season.[x] Together, he and Emma led very busy lives, running their business and raising the children.[xi]
Sandy Stewart died April 19th, 1884 at the age of 79 and was buried in Albion's first and largest cemetery, simply named Albion Cemetery. His wife, Emma, died on February 5th, 1897 at the age of 72 and was also buried in Albion Cemetery.