Joseph C. Alexander

Civil War Soldier

Co. K, 66th O.V.I.

by John Quist

      Joseph C. Alexander was born on January 11, 1808. (1)  The state of his birth seemed to change with every U.S. census:  Pennsylvania (1850), New York (1860), Ohio (1870), and Pennsylvania (1880).  The Delaware County record of his death stated that he was born in New Hampshire. (2)  According to one family record, his place of birth was Eire County, PA. (3)  Eire, PA seems most likely to be correct.

      His father, William Washington Alexander, was born on February 27, 1777 in Cecil County, MD, (4) the oldest of five children. (5)  In 1803 in Erie, Erie County, PA, he married Lucy Sprague, (6) who was born in 1787 at Union, Tolland County, CT, the youngest of eight children. (7)  William and Lucy would have five children: William C. (1805-1899), Joseph C. (1808-1889), Louisa Elizabeth (1811-1900), James Samuel (1813-1895), and Pierce (1814-1816). (8)  William served in the War of 1812.  At an unspecified date, he and Lucy moved to Mt. Vernon, Knox County, OH, where Lucy died on November 27, 1816. (9)  The U.S. federal censuses tell where William was living at ten year intervals:  Columbus Township, Bartholomew County, IN (1850), Marysville, Union County, OH (1860), as a “pauper” at the county infirmary, Brown Township, Delaware County, OH (1870).  William died on February 6, 1871 in Marysville, Union County, OH “in his 94th year of age” and was buried there in Oakdale Cemetery. (10)

      “Joseph C. … carried the first mail from Mt. Vernon to Cleveland, O[hio] in 1817, being but 9 years of age.  He rode an Indian pony and was 9 days making the trip, stopping with the Indians on the route.  He went to Delaware [OH] in 1826, engaged in the mercantile business, but after a time went into the Recorder’s office and for many years held offices of public trust.” (11)  His occupations varied from census to census:  boarding house (1850), mechanic (1860), “huckster” (1870), and nothing listed (1880). 

      On September 22, 1833 in Delaware County, Joseph married Delight Sweetser, (12) born on February 13, 1813 in Dummerston, Windham County, VT, one of nine children. Her father, William Sweetser, was born on February 14, 1774 at South Reading (now Wakefield), Middlesex County, MA, (13) the oldest of eight children. (14)  On November 28, 1799 in Royalston, Worchester County, MA, William married Delight Pierce, (15) born on March 19, 1778 in Royalston.  William and Delight would have nine children: Eliza (1801), Almira (1802), Earl (1804), William (1806), Charles (1808), Madison (1809), Delight (1813), James (1815), and Mary (1817). (16)  William and Delight Sweetser were some of the earliest arrivals in Delaware County, OH.  Baskin’s History of Delaware County told of their arrival:  “Mr. Sweetser came from Dummerston, Vt., in the fall of 1815, after a forty days’ journey through the wilderness.  He had a family of five boys and three girls, the youngest child only six months old, when he came into Delaware.  The journey was full of such mishaps as breaking the wagons or harness, causing at times a tedious delay of days to effect repairs.  The family came in two wagons, Mrs. Sweetser driving a single horse all the way from the East, caring for her young babe beside most of the time.  When they arrived in town, they went to the house of Thomas Butler….  The next spring they moved on to their farm, where but little clearing had been done.” (17)  There would be one more child, Mary, born in 1817.  William and Delight (Pierce) Sweetser died in Delaware and were buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, he on July 29, 1842 (18) and she on May 2, 1854. (19)

      Joseph and Delight would have five children:  Cecelia (1836), Ruby Iantha (c.1837), Hosea William (1839), George B. (1840), Drayton P. (c.1848). (20)

      On December 10, 1861 at the age of “45” [really 53], Joseph C. Alexander enlisted as a Private in

Delaware County’s Co. K, 66th Oho Volunteer Infantry Regiment (66th O.V.I.). (21

      The regiment was organized at Camp McArthur, Urbana, Champaign County under President Lincoln’s second call for troops (22) and was mustered in on December 17. (23)  On January 17, 1862, the regiment was ordered to New Creek, Mineral County, (W)VA.  From there, they served at Martinsburg, (W)VA, Winchester, VA, and Strasburg, VA through April.  They then marched to Fredericksburg, VA (May 22-June 7) and Port Republic, VA.   During the Battle of Port Republic, VA, on June 9, (24) the 66th Ohio fought against overwhelming numbers and lost over 100 men dead and wounded. (25)  In the Battle of Cedar Mountain, VA (August 9), the regiment suffered similar casualties. (26

      In the 1886 book, The Military History of Ohio, it was stated that Joseph was wounded and disabled at Culpeper Court House, VA. (27)   No date was given, but it most likely was August 9th during the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County.  Joseph’s wounds were severe, for he was hospitalized until he was discharged on October 20, 1862 from an unnamed hospital in Alexandria, VA and the service (28) on a surgeon’s certificate of disability. ­­(29)  On June 7, 1879, he applied for a U.S. government pension as an “invalid” Union veteran of the Civil War. (30)  According to the pension records of 1883, he was receiving $6.00 per month for wounds to his left arm, left shoulder, and left side. (31

       An 1894 family history stated:  “The [William W.] Alexander family are well known for their patriotism. … The youngest son of Wm., Joseph C. and two sons [i.e., Hosea in Co. I, 4th O.V.I. and George in Co. F, 138th Indiana V.I.], James S. and two sons, and two sons of Louisa having served in the late civil war.” (32)

      Delight (Sweetser) and Joseph Alexander died in Delaware and were buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, she on December 22, 1886 (33) and he on January 4, 1889. (34)   A military tombstone was provided for Joseph’s grave in 1901. (35)


Compiled by John W. Quist

Delaware, Ohio




1  “Joseph C. Alexander.” Find A Grave Memorial, (online) 

2  “I.C. Alexander.” Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997,


 3  “Joseph C. Alexander.” Comstock [Family Tree], (online)

 4  “William Washington Alexander.” Blake Family Tree,

 5  “William Washington Alexander.” Alexander [Family Tree],

 6  Footnote 4

 7  “Individual Report for Thomas Sprague.” The Sprague Project, (online)

8  “Lucy Sprague.” Voigt Family Tree,

9  “William Washington Alexander.” Find A Grave Memorial

10  Ibid

11  Ibid

12  “Descendants of William Alexander.” Family Tree Maker’s Genealogy Site, (online)

 13  “William Sweetser.” The Paul Steiner Family Tree, RootsWeb’s
       WorldConnect Project, (online)

 14  “Michael Sweetser.” One World Tree,

 15  “Delight Peirce.” Massachusetts Marriages, 1633-1850,

 16  Footnote 13

 17  History of Delaware County and Ohio, O.L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, IL, 1880,
       page 318

 18  “William Sweetser.” Find A Grave Memorial

 19  “Delight Pierce Sweetser.” Find A Grave Memorial

 20  Footnote 12

 21  “Joseph Alexander.” American Civil War Soldiers,

 22  “66th O.V.I.” (online)

 23  Footnote 17, page 294

 24  Footnote 22

 25  “66th Ohio Infantry.” (online)

 26  Footnote 22

27  “Alexander, Jos. C.” The Military History of Ohio, H.H. Hardesty,

       Publisher;New York, NY, 1886 with special section for Delaware County),
        page 303

 28  Footnote 21

 29  “Alexander, Joseph C.” Co. K, 66th O.V.I., Official Roster of the Soldiers of

        the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Vol. V, Th
        Werner Ptg. and Mfg. Co., Akron, OH, 1887, page 558

30  “Joseph C. Alexander.” Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension
        Files, 1861-1934

31  “Alexander, Joseph C.” List of Pensioners, Ohio, Delaware County, The
        Executive Documents
Printed by Order of the Senate of the United States for

       the Second Session of the Forty-Seventh  Congress, 1882-’83. Vol. V-Part
       3, page 83

 32  Footnote 9

 33  Footnote 19

 34  Footnote 1

 35  “Joseph C. Alexander.” Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War

       Veterans, 1879-1903,

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