James Waddel Alexander, D. D. (1804-1859)
James Waddel Alexander, the eldest son of Rev. Archibald and Janetta (Waddel) Alexander, was born in Louisa country, Virginia, March 13th, 1804. Surrounded by the happiest influences, his active mind developed freely and rapidly; he was a frank, open-hearted, generous boy. At college, though the most youthful of his class, the attractive simplicity and loveliness of his character won for him the affection of all. He graduated at the College of New Jersey, in 1820, was appointed Tutor in the same Institution in 1824, and was licensed by New Brunswick Presbytery the same year; he resigned his tutorship in 1825, and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Charlotte C. H., Virginia; here he labored two years, when he received a call to the First Presbyterian Church, Trenton, New Jersey, which he accepted. In 1830 he resigned his charge, and became editor of the Presbyterian, published in Philadelphia. In 1833, he accepted the appointment of Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the College of New Jersey, and discharged the duties of this office until 1844, when he became pastor of the Duane Street Presbyterian Church, New York. In 1849 he was appointed Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey.
In 1851 Dr. Alexander accepted a call to become pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, where he continued until his death, which took place at the Red Sweet Springs, Virginia. His health had been somewhat feeble, and he had visited the Springs in hope of restoration, but in this he was disappointed. He died July 31st, 1859. His body was taken to Princeton, New Jersey, where it was buried by the side of his sainted father. Dr. Alexander was eminent as a Christian, gifted as a writer, and successful as a preacher and pastor. His excellent talents, fine scholarship and large influence were all consecrated to the cause of Christ. Among his numerous and valuable publications were: "The American Mechanic and Working Man," "Good, Better, Best, or, the Three Ways of Making a Happy World," "The Scripture Guide, a Familiar Introduction to the Study of the Bible," "Thoughts on Family Worship," "Poverty and Crime in Cities," "Forty Years' Letters," "Plain Words to a Young Communicant," "Consolation, in discourses on select topics addressed to the suffering people of God," and "Discourses on Common Topics of Christian Faith and Practice."