Black Sheep Sunday: Alexander Charles Stuart

I have not found anything as far as criminal activity regarding my Great Grandfather, Alexander Charles Stuart, but he still wasn’t a man that his family always looked up to. Alex Stuart was born 2 August 1847 in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland, the son of James Stuart and Helenor Edward. James Stuart was born about 1815 to Robert Stuart and Mary Grant. James’ date of birth and parents’ names have not been proven. They come from obituaries and other sources. The likely parish is Strathdon, Aberdeen, Scotland. The parish records of Strathdon have no entries for a number of years. Helenor Edward was born 30 October 1819 in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, the daughter of James Edward and Magdelene Allardice.

In 1852 James and Helenor and four children born in Scotland sailed to America. They settled in Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Helenor’s brother James Edward/Edwards and family also settled in the same area.

Alex was also called Alec and A. C. In the very early 20th century he left his family in St. Paul, Minnesota, and took off for Salina, Kansas where his brother, Robert, lived. His wife, Emma Louise Slaker, was left behind to raise their seven living children. Two daughters had died previously while they were living in Ripon, Wisconsin and Elgin, Illinois. Alex was a wanderer and two of his grandchildren, Bill and Dorothy, related the stories of him always on the lookout for “something better.” He was constantly on the move. Often, it was not the best thing for his growing family. They moved frequently, even within the same city, likely to stay one step ahead of the rent collector. His main occupation was that of carving tombstones.

When he abandoned his family, his oldest son, Earl James, quit school to support the family. Alex’s granddaughter Dorothy, told that E. J., her Dad, lied about his age in order to get work to support the family. The grandchildren also remembered hearing that Emma was a pretty stern woman.

When Alex was going blind from glaucoma, he did come back to St. Paul permanently, for Emma to take care of him. And she did. Alex died 2 April 1942 and Emma died 11 November 1951. Both died in St. Paul.

© 2009 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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