Saturday, April 3, 2010

Alexander Majors

Alexander Majors ( 1814 - 1900). Best known for his shipping firm and for the Pony Express. Alexander emigrated with his parents, Ben & Lauraina, to Missouri territory in 1819 from Kentucky. They settled in the future Jackson County. Elder Ben Majors, Alexander's father, was ordained previous to Concord Cumberland Presbyterian's organization along with Ezra Gregg in April of 1826. Within ten years Concord divided; one group moving to Independence and the other to Westport. After Alexander grew up, he became a ruling elder in the Westport Cumberland Presbyterian church and served for many years.
Alexander married his sweetheart, Katherine, who had migrated with her parents, James and Rebecca Stalcup from Tennessee. At first, they were farmers, but after seven children (five daughters & two sons), he began to carry freight to Santa Fe in 1848. Alexander decided each man he hired for his freight company and Pony Express had to agree to a code of conduct during employment: (oath paraphrased)

Before the great and living God, I hereby do agree to conduct myself as a gentleman while in the employment of Russell, Majors, and Waddell. I will uphold the principles of the Bible and in every respect I will be honest, faithful to my duties, and act so as to win the confidence of my employers. I will under no circumstances use profane language, nor drink any intoxicating liquors, nor quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm. Should I fail to follow the standards of the company, they have the right to terminate my employment without due payment; so help me God.

Alexander also did not believe in working on Sundays.
The residence Alexander built for his family in 1856 is the third-oldest structure in Kansas City. In the day when closets were taxed as rooms, he had several built into his home as well as glass windows.

NOTE: I wish to thank Nancy Ehrlich, a Heartland Presbyterian Historian for graciously sharing information with me on the Presbyterian church in Missouri. I would be remiss without her help.

More to Read:
1. Alexander Majors: The Man Behind the Opening of the West Tourist Brochure.
2. Kansas City Directory Alexander Majors’ Great Transportation Line to Pike’s Peak Tourist Brochure.
3. Seventy Years on The Frontier. By Alexander Majors. 1873 (or 1892).
4. Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. 1975.
5. Tramping Through Western Missouri. By Martin Rice. 1893; reprinted 1994.
6. Frontier Freighter: Alexander Majors. By J. L. Wilkerson. Acorn Books, 2000.
7. The Pony Express: A Photographic History. By Bill & Jan Moeller. Mountain Press, 2002
8. Pony Express: A Hands-on-History Look at the Pony Express. By Mary Tucker. Teaching & Learning Company, 2004.
9. Here Lies Kansas City. Wilda Sandy. 1984.
10. National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide: Western Missouri Through Northeastern Kansas, National Park Service, US Dept. of the Interior, Sept. 2005.
12. Following the Santa Fe Trail: A Guide for Modern Travelers. Marc Simmons, 1986.
13. Findagrave #7097
14. Wm. Bradford Waddell Findagave #7098

Historical Note: Territory v. Benjamin Cochran, Jan. 1, 1856

Places to Visit in MO. & KS.
1. Alexander Majors Historic House and Park, 8201 State Line Rd., Kansas City.
2. Russell, Majors & Waddell Park, Ward Parkway & 83rd Street, KCMO
3. Lexington Museum, Library Building, 112 South 13th St., Lexington, MO. (a replica of a Pony Express saddle, print of Russell, Majors, & Waddell & other Santa Fe Trail memorabilia)
4. Hollenberg Pony Express Station, on State Route 243 two miles northeast of Hanover, KS.
5. Pioneer Park, Westport Road & Broadway, Kansas City, MO 
6. 1963 Westport Historical Society Marker Dedicated to the Memory of the Pioneers Who Settled the Town at the Westport Shopping Center, 1002 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO.
7. Patee House (Pony Express Business Office), 12th & Penn Street, St. Joseph, MO.
8. Pony Express Museum, 914 Penn, St. Joseph, MO.
9. Original Pony Express Home Station NO. 1 Museum, 106 S. 8th St., Marysville, KS.
10. National Frontier Trails Center, 318 W. Pacific Ave, Independence,
11. The Santa Fe Trail
12. Red Bridge, spans Red Bridge Road between Blue River Parkway and Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO.
13. Westport Historical Society, 4000 Baltimore, Kansas City
14. Westport Presbyterian, 201 Westport Road, Kansas City (burned 12/29/2011)
15. Union Cemetery, 227 E. 28th Terr, Kansas City, MO 64108-3277

Our Field Trip:
My husband and I visited the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, MO. during its 150th anniversary celebration. I took a photo of the Pony Express Motel sign while there. (click on photo to enlarge)


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