New Hampshire’s First Female Banker and Financier: Winchester’s Jane Grace Alexander (1848-1932)

Jane Grace Alexander of Winchester NH

Jane Grace Alexander of Winchester NH

Jane Grace Alexander, was born October 26, 1848 in Winchester, New Hampshire, daughter of Edward & Lucy M. (Capron) Alexander.   She was the first woman in New Hampshire to be elected treasurer of a bank. In 1881,  she was elected treasurer of the Winchester’s Security Savings Bank, having worked at the Winchester National Bank since 1872.

[Editor’s note: Though some biographies state that she was the first woman in the United States to be elected treasurer of a bank, it appears that Mrs. Susanna Duncklee, of Newton, Massachusetts has the distinction of being the first woman bank treasurer in America. Miss Duncklee was elected to that office in 1874.]

The book, “A Woman of the Century,” indicates that she was educated in the local

Glenwood Seminary, a female seminary in Brattleboro VT

Glenwood Seminary, a female seminary in Brattleboro VT

Winchester schools and finished her course in Glenwood Seminary, Brattleboro VT. This was a female seminary that would have offered her instruction in vocal music, drawing, painting and gymnastics.  After graduation, she taught school for a time. She was very interested in her father’s business dealings, and early on became his bookkeeper, and later managed his affairs.  In 1872 she began employment with the Winchester Savings Bank as its bookkeeper, until she was promoted to assistant cashier.

Winchester Bank, Winchester NH

Winchester Bank, Winchester NH

On Thursday Nov 24 1881 the New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper of  Keene NH announced: “Miss Grace Alexander of Winchester NH has been a clerk in a bank for the last ten years, doing the larger share of the work. The treasurer of the savings bank of the place is at present in prison awaiting his trial for appropriating the funds to his own use. A charter of a new savings bank has just been obtained, and Miss Alexander has received every vote for its treasurer. She enters upon her now duties with the esteem of the whole community. She also keeps her father’s books at his place of business and is an active little woman in church matters and in society generally. The villagers are justly proud of her abilities–Woman’s Journal.”

She continued in the position of treasurer from 1881 until her retirement in 1923–a period of fifty-one years employment in banking. New Hampshire: A History, Vol V, by Hobart Pillsbury, published in 1928 states, that Miss Alexander was, “an important factor to its [the bank’s] progress and in its prosperity.”

Jane Grace Alexander was also greatly involved in the societies and organizations in her town.  She was a trustee and treasurer of the Public Library Association, and one-time treasurer of the school district. Socially she was affiliated with Electa Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star of Winchester,  serving as its first Worthy Matron. She was a member of the Universalist Church, and for many years was the superintendent of its Sunday school, and president of a Chautauqua class.

The book, “A Woman of the Century,” goes on to say: “She drives her own horses and indulges in a flower garden. The bank is made cheery and bright with blossoms of her own growing, and through all the details of her official duties the woman’s presence shines out, glorifying and beautifying the whole place.”

I did not realize until I had almost finished compiling her genealogy, that Jane Grace Alexander and I are cousins–her 5th great-grandfather George Alexander is also my 9th great-grandfather.

SOURCES:

FamilySearch, Church of the Latter-day Saints https://familysearch.org

A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches, edited by Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore Moulton, 1893, page 18

The American Blue Book of Biography: Men of 1912-, American Publishers, 1914; page 14

New Hampshire: A History, Vol V, by Hobart Pillsbury, 1928

Alexander Family Records by William M. Clemens, 1914

E.L.M.M.C.C.

=====GENEALOGY of JANE GRACE ALEXANDER of Winchester NH=====

John Alexander, born ca. 1600 in Scotland, is believed to be the father of George Alexander.

George Alexander, son of John Alexander, b. ca 1620 in Sterling, Scotland; d. 5 May 1703; m. 18 March 1644 Susannah “Susan” Sage from Camely, Somersetshire, England. She was b. 1 October 1621, and d. 3 May 1684 in Northampton MA. He resided first in Windsor CT, removing to Northampton, MA and later Northfield MA. Land records showed that on 13 November 1646 Joseph Rawlings of Roxbury sold George 9 acres near the millbrook and 28 acres of land in the woods. In 1659 George paid pew rent. By 1853 his family became part of the first settlement at Northampton, MA. George and Susan had seven children born at Windsor CT.  He was one of the accusers of Mary Randall of Northampton MA of witchraft.  [Editor’s note, George & Susan (Sage) Alexander are my 9th great-grandparents]
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Children of George & Susanna (Sage) Alexander:
1. +John Alexander, b. 25 July 1645 Windsor CT
2. **Abigail Alexander, b 16 June 1647 in Windsor MA and d. Aug 1688 in Northampton MA; married 16 June 1663 at Hadley MA to Thomas Webster, son of Gov. John Webster.  [Editor’s Note: Abigail is my 8th great-grandmother].
3. Mary Alexander born in Windsor, CT October 20, 1648; married Micah Mudge.
4. Daniel Alexander was born in Windsor, CT January 12, 1650/1. On January 4, 1688/9 in Northampton, Hampshire Co, MA.  Daniel signed a petition to to the General Court at Boston protesting imposts on corn. He was wounded in King Philip’s War, unmarried
5. Nathaniel Alexander was born in Windsor, CT December 29, 1652. On  May 30, 1690 Nathaniel’s name was listed among those who were freemen in Northampton, Hampshire Co, MA; m. Hannah Allen
6. Susan or Sarah Alexander  was born in Windsor, CT December 8, 1654. Source calls her “Susan (or Sarah)”; m. Samuel Curtis.

John Alexander, son of George & Susanna (Sage) Alexander, b. 25 July 1645 Windsor CT; d. 31 Dec 1733 Northampton MA; m. 18 Nov 1671 in Windsor CT to Sarah Gaylord. He lived in Northfield MA and other places in Massachusetts.
————————
Child of John & Sarah (Gaylord) Alexander:
1. +Ebenezer Alexander, b. 17 Oct 1684 Northfield MA

Ebenezer Alexander, son of John & Sarah (Gaylord) Alexander, b. 17 October 1684 Northfield MA; d. 22 January 1768; m. 10 October 1709 in Coventry CT to Mehitable Buck, dau of Henry & Elizabeth (Churchill) Buck, b. 4 Jan 1683/84 in Wethersfield, Hartford Co. CT and d. 6 March 1767 in Northfield, Franklin Co. MA. Ebenezer lived in Wethersfield and Coventry CT and later settled in Northfield MA. He was prominent in civil and military affairs, and for gallant conduct was commissioned captain by Sir William Pepperell. He accompanied Governor Shirley on an expedition to Canada (the Louisburg Expedition in 1745), and at the age of sixty-four years led a company of rangers through the woods in search of Indians . Deacon of the Northfield Church for forty years, known as the “fighting deacon.”
———————
Children of Ebenezer & Mehitable (Buck) Alexander:
1. Elias Alexander, b. 25 July 1710; drew lot #37 in the new town of Winchester NH.
2. Mehitable Alexander, b. 11 Aug 1713; d. 28 Dec 1792
3. +Ebenezer Alexander, b. 2 Sep 1714 in Northfield MA
4. Asa Alexander, b c1715 Northfield MA; d. 29 July 1788; m. Abigail Rockwood; lived in Northfield MA and Winchester NH; served in the French & Indian War.
5. Anne Alexander, b. 1720 in Northfield MA, d. 27 Jan 1806; m. Samuel Taylor
6. Simeon Alexander, b. 26 May 1722, d. 14 Feb 1801
7. Thomas Alexander, b. 30 May 1727, d. 2 March 1801

Ebenezer Alexander, son of Ebenezer and Mehitable (Buck) Rockwell; b. 2 September 1714 in Northfield MA and d 29 July 1788 in Winchester NH; m.  abt 1737 in Winchester NH to Abigail Rockwell. He came with a group of pioneers to the valley of the Ashuelot in New Hampshire in 1734 and established a settlement in 1735. The entire settlement was burned in 1745. He drew Lot No. 31 in the newly formed town of Winchester NH. He married 1738 in Northwood MA to Abigail Rockwood who was b. 8 June 1714 in Wrentham MA and died March 27, 1788 in Winchester NH.
———————————-
Children of Ebenezer & Abigail (Rockwood) Alexander:
1. Abigail Alexander b 1738, d. 1739
2. +Reuben Alexander b 17 Feb 1740 in Winchester NH.
3. Asa Alexander b 17 Oct 1742 in Winchester NH, d. 4 Nov 1811 in Winchester NH; m. 13 Nov 1762 in Winchester NH to Mary Bond; resided Winchester NH, had issue
4. Abigail Alexander b 1745, d. 1806
5. John Alexander b 1748, d 1806
6. Anne Alexander, b. 1753, d. 1776

Reuben Alexander, son of Ebenezer and Abigail (Rockwood) Alexander was b. 17 Feb 1740 in Winchester NH, and d. 9 May 1811 in Winchester NH.  He married 3 October 1764 in Sturbridge, Worcester Co. MA to Sarah Foster, dau of Edward & Rachel (Newell) Foster. She was 6 Apr 1744, Sturbridge, Worcester Co. MA, d. 21 Jul 1826, Winchester, Cheshire, NH. He held many local public officees including that of selectman [1773 1780, 1782], census taker and justice of the peace, and was representative to the General Court in 1776. Removed to St. Johnsbury, VT in 1798; to Winchester NH in 1800. In 1776/1777 he served as captain in Capt./Colonel Samuel Ashley’s regiment which marched from Cheshire County at the request of Major-General Gates to reinforce the American Army at Ticonderoga, (Oct 21 to Nov 16, 1776).
———————–
Children of Reuben & Sarah (Foster) Alexander:
1. Caleb Alexander, b. 19 May 1765 in Winchester NH
2. Sarah Alexader, b. 26 June 1767 in Winchester NH
3. Mirriam Alexander, b. 11 Sep 1769 in Winchester NH
4. Reuben Alexander, b. 4 Sep 1770 in Winchester NH, d. 3 Aug 1809 Winchester NH. He married Hannah Pratt.
3. Edward Alexander, b. 21 December 1772 in Winchester NH
4. Foster Alexander, b. 3 July 1775 in Winchester NH
4. +Luther Alexander, b. 1 July 1778 in Winchester NH
5. Elijah Alexander, b. 1782 in Winchester NH; d. 13 May 1860 in Winchester NH; m. Sarah “Sally” Viall.

Capt. Luther Alexander, son of Reuben & Sarah (Foster) Alexander was born 1 July 1778 in Winchester NH and died 1 August 1821 in Winchester NH. He married 12 May 1805 in Winchester NH to Eunice Ripley, dau of Eleazer & Mary (Olney) Ripley, was b. 26 Jan 1783 at Winchester NH and d. 6 Dec 1869 at Winchester NH. They are both buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Winchester NH. He was a manufacturer of linseen oil at Ashuelot, and later operated a potash factory. He was captain of the first military company organized in Winchester and the land in front of his home was used as the drill ground for his command.
—————————–
Children of Luther & Eunice (Ripley) Alexander:
1. George Alexander, b 22 Feb 1806 in Winchester NH
2. Sarah Alexander, b. 5 March 1805 in Winchester NH; d. 4 April 1810 Winchester NH.
3. +Edward Alexander b 6 Sep 1814 in Winchester, Cheshire Co. NH
4. Luther Alexander, b 31 Jan 1819 in Winchester NH

Edward & Lucy (Capron) Alexander

Edward & Lucy (Capron) Alexander

Edward Alexander, son of Luther and Eunice (Ripley) Alexander was born in Winchester NH 6 Sept  1814, and died there 18 Sep  1897. He was educated in the Winchester NH public schools, and then found employment in a store in Swanzey, NH. After a time, however, he returnd to Winchester was a merchant under his own name. The book, New Hampshire : A History, states that “after his marriage, he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, John G. Capron, under the firm name of Capron & Alexander, and operated a line of freight boats between Hartford and the towns along the Connecticut River. This enterprise met with abundant success adn the firm continued to transport merchandise until the building of railroads made their freight boat transportation no longer profitable. The business was then closed out and Mr. Alexander was engaged in the lumber business for a few years. When the Ashuelot Railroad was completed he was appointed station master at Winchester, and that position he efficiently filled from 1851 to 1894, a period of forty-five years. He continued active in business until he was eighty years of age., when he retired….He was a member of the board of trustees of the Ashuelot Savings Bank and was one of the incorporators of the Security Savings Bank. He was also activ in public affairs and was chairman of the Board of Selectmen during the Civil War. In early years he gave his support to the Whig party, and when that organization was superceded by the Republican party he gave earnest support to the principles and candidates of the new party organization. He served as a member of the Board of Selectmen for fourteen years, being chairman of the board during the greater part of that time, was town treasurer for three years, and was later chosen to represent his district in the State Legislature, for two terms. Fraternally he was identified with the Masonic Order and with the Independent ORder of Oddfellows, and his religious affiliation was with the Universalist church of which he was the oldest member in Winchester.” He married 9 October 1839 in Winchester NH to Lucy M. Capron, dau of John & Persis (Hawkis) Capron. She was born 19 Aug 1817 in Winchester NH, and died 19 Jan 1896 in Winchester NH.
———————–
Children of Edward & Lucy M. (Capron) Alexander:
1. George E. Alexander, born 18 June 1844 in Winchester NH; He died Feb 28, 1913 in Boston MA, buried Melrose MA; he married (first) 4 Dec 1868 in Winchester NH to  Mary Ann Treworgy; (second) Addie L. Baker. To the first marriage was born one dau Persis C.  Alexander, born 10 Feb 1872 in Winchester NH, and died 3 Jan 1995 in El Paso TX, who married Harry Hutchins and has a daughter Lucia Persis Hutchins.  Persis is buried in Restlawn Cemetery, El Paso TX.
2. Jane Grace Alexander, b. 26 October 1848 in Winchester, New Hampshire.  This blog post is above her, see additional information above. She died 10 March 1932 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Winchester, Cheshire Co., NH.
3. Eugene L. Alexander, b. 26 May 1853 in Winchester NH, who died Dec 13, 1920 never married.

 

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