Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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McNAIR, Alexander, first governor of Missouri, born in Derry township, Lancaster (now Dauphin) County, Pennsylvania, in 1774: died in St. Louis, Missouri, 18 March, 1826. He was educated in Derry, and then spent one term at Philadelphia college (now University of Pennsylvania), when he was called home by the death of his father. His mother agreed that whoever of her sons should be the victor in a fair encounter should become the owner of the homestead. Alexander, who was the eldest, received a severe whipping at the hands of a younger brother, to whom he afterward acknowledged that he owed the honor of being governor of Missouri. In 1794 he was lieutenant in command of a company from Dauphin county during the whiskey insurrection of that year, and in January, 1799, he was appointed lieutenant of infantry, but was mustered out in June, 1800. He went to Missouri territory in 1804, and settled in St. Louis, where he served for several years as United States commissary. In 1812 he was appointed adjutant- and inspector-general, and during the war with England was a colonel of Missouri militia in the United States service. Subsequently he turned his attention to mercantile pursuits. He was elected first governor of Missouri, holding office from 1820, when the state government was formed, to 1824, and thereafter held an important office in the Indian department. --His grandson, Antoine Reilhe, naval officer, born in Louisiana, 15 September, 1839, was graduated at the United States naval academy in 1860, assigned to the " Seminole," and engaged off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia during the two following years. In July, 1862, he was promoted lieutenant and engaged in the attack on Fort Sumter and the defences of Charleston, the capture of the batteries on Morris island, in the capture of Fort Fisher, and other minor engagements on the Atlantic seaboard. After the civil war he served on the "Chicopee." In July, 1866, he was promoted lieutenant-commander, and, after a year at the naval academy as instructor, saw duty on the flag-ships of the West India squadron and the European squadron until 1870. He then was appointed equipment-officer and inspector of supplies at the Norfolk navy-yard, but was retired on 26 October, 1872, in consequence of an injury that he received in the West Indies in 1868.--Another grandson, Frederick Vallette, naval officer, born in Pennsylvania, 13 January, 1839, was graduated at the United States naval academy in 1857, after which he served on the "Minnesota" in the East India squadron. He was made lieutenant in 1861, transferred to the "Iroquois," of the West Gulf squadron, and participated in the bombardment of Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, the capture of New Orleans passage both ways of the Vicksburg batteries, and the destruction of the Confederate ram "Arkansas." Later he served as executive officer of the "Juniata," of the South Atlantic blockading squadron, acting in this capacity in both of the attacks on Fort Fisher, and received special mention for his conduct. In 1864 he was commissioned lieutenant-commander, and after the civil war was assigned to duty in the Brazil squadron in 1865-'6 and in the South Atlantic squadron in 1866-'7. He was stationed at the naval academy in 1868, after which he was on the flag-ship of the European squadron. In 1872 he was commissioned commander and given the "Kearsarge," and later the "Portsmouth," becoming in 1879-'80 commandant of cadets at the United States naval academy at Annapolis. Subsequently he was captain of the navy-yard at Mare island, California, having, on 13 April, 1883, been promoted captain, and at present (1888) has command of the "Omaha," of the Asiatic squadron.
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