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Albert Leander Maxwell Biography

APRIL, 1916



A.L. Maxwell, Aged Eighty-Three
Years, Located in This Vicinity
Eighty Years Ago

Albert Leander Maxwell, one of the pioneers of this county, passed another milestone in his life Friday, April 14, and as we prize him as one of our grand old men, we print the following biography of his life:

He was born in Washington County, Virginia, in 1833, the oldest child in a large family of children born to the wife of Nathaniel Carson Maxwell. In 1836 the family came to Missouri making the entire trip by wagon and a four horse team, and settled on the farm east of Odessa now known as the Gordy farm. At that time there were no schools in this country, but in due time the Murray school was started about three and a half miles south of the home place.

Lexington was the nearest town and the days when trips were made there by wagon and with either horse or ox teams, were gala days indeed. No church was in the vicinity, but now and then preaching services were held at Davis Fork school house. When but a boy he made a profession of religion and has been and still is a regular attendant at the church services. A Presbyterian Church was organized and a church house built at Mt. Hope, the church being known as Hopewell Church. With this congregation he united and for almost 50 years he held the office of elder in his church.

The father died in 1853 and so it fell to the elder son's lot to be the man of the family.
In 1855 he was united in marriage to Martha Tracy who lived but a few years. Two sons were born to this union, one dying in infancy (ed note: John Noland Maxwell, b. 1857, was the survivor).

His second wife, Elizabeth Thomason and he were married in 1861 and a few months after he went to war. For a while he was with Clarkston's Regiment of Confederate Cavalry but later was given detail work and served in the Confederate gunshops, both at Ft. Smith, Arkansas and Washita, Chicasha nation, now Oklahoma.

Soon after his leaving for the war, a baby daughter was born (ed note: Sarah Maxwell ca 1862) and before his return, the young mother had been claimed by death.

He spent about two years in Texas following the close of the war and busied himself at his trades--gunsmith and blacksmith work. In 1867 when he did return to Missouri, he made the trip on horseback. In 1868 he set up a blacksmith and carpenter shop in Mt. Hope which was then a village with five stores, a church, and about one quarter hundred population.

In 1872 he was married to Miss Harriette Brown. To this union four children were born, one child and the mother dying in Mt.Hope.
(Ed note: Nathanial Chester, 1873-1961; Harriet Gertrude 1879-1968; Arthur Leonard 1875-1968)

In 1881 the C & A railroad was built through the county, and as it didn't go through Mt. Hope, Mt. Hope came to it. This was literally true for the Hopewell church, now the Southern Presbyterian church of Odessa, the McChesney Hotel, now the Florence Hotel, and other buildings were moved intact. Mr. Maxwell and his family came with the others and the shop where he now labors daily despite his eighty-thee years, was built. His home was one of the very first houses built in this town though at the time of its building, it stood in the midst of waving wheat fields.

His present wife was Mrs. Sarah Hays a native of Illinois. One daughter was born to them and is the only child at home (ed note: Martha Mae 1883-1944), the other five being scattered in almost as many states.

In 1866 he was made a Mason in Lake Lodge, Lamar County, Texas and became a charter member of Mt. Hope Lodge No. 476. When Mt. Hope proper moved to our present town, of course the Masonic Lodge moved too and it was through an appeal of Mr. Maxwell's that the name"Mt. Hope" was retained,. So far as records show, he is the last of the charter members.

Eighty-three years! What changes can be wrought in a lifetime like that! What joys can be experienced or some of his reminiscenses can tell! His love of music and his love of God's creatures human and otherwise, his keen wit and his busy days--these are the things that make him 83 years young! But interwoven with the joy is the sorrow; out of a family of eleven children one sister, Mrs. Sallie Gordy is living to enjoy with him the autumn days. Not one boyhood friend is left--but a host of pleasant recollections. Here's to him--a grand old man! May he have more happy birthdays with happy days between.

Back to Rev. Brown Portrait

Nathaniel Carson Maxwell (son)
Authur Leonard Maxwell (son)
Albert Leander Maxwell (with Harriet Jane Brown)
Albert Leander Maxwell & Sarah Adeline Hayes
Martha Mae Maxwell (daughter)
Sara M. Baily (grandaughter)