March 1863

In March of 1863, Archer Alexander was the “last fugitive slave”…


In January of 1863, Archer Alexander had overheard the area men, plotting to destroy the Peruque Creek railroad bridge, a vital link for the Union troops. Risking his life, he would make his way to warn the troops of what was about to happen. By February, the identity of the informant was known, and his enslaver had sent the Slave Patrol after the fugitive slave. Caught once by the Patrol, he managed to escape and made his way to the home of a Unitarian minister, William Greenleaf Eliot.

The Provost Marshall in St. Louis had issued a Temporary Order for his protection, and permission to live in Eliot’s home. He was grateful and happy to make himself useful, doing carpenter work, making repairs around the estate, and whatever else was needed. A beautiful spring morning would find him plowing up a garden patch, while the children and their nurse…

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