“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.’” —Acts 1:7
The Death of Archibald Alexander,
October 22, 1851
n centuries past, the name given an individual at birth often had significant meaning. Among Scottish families, Archibald and Alexander were common and had strong definitional and historic undertones. Archibald comes from Old German and was derived from erchan, meaning genuine, and bald, meaning bold. Alexander is of Greek derivation and means “defender of man” or just “defender.” Rev. Archibald Alexander encapsulated in his character and life all that his name implied.
Archibald Alexander (1772-1851)
Archibald was born the third of nine children, in a log cabin near Lexington, Virginia in 1772, to a family who had left Scotland and Ireland in that century and settled first in Pennsylvania, then on the Virginia frontier. His grandfather made a profession of faith in Christ under the preaching of Samuel Rowland during the “Great Awakening,” and his father had joined one of the little Presbyterian churches founded in Rockbridge County, Virginia, when they moved out of the Quaker State.
At age ten, Archibald began to attend William Graham’s academy at Timber Ridge meetinghouse which eventually developed into Washington and Lee University
The Alexander children sat under the teaching of Rev. William Graham, a Princeton graduate who came to the area to establish a school for the local children. Archibald became one of his prize students in the school he called Liberty Hall Academy, which became the precursor of Washington and Lee College in the late 19th Century. The Rev. Graham became the pastor of Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church and provided a Christian classical education second to none on the frontiers of the South. Under Graham and other competent teachers succeeding him, Archibald learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and became an accomplished public speaker and rhetorician himself.