Charles Alexander, who was born at Pittston, Maine, April 28, 1824, was deprived of both his father and mother before he was five years old, and placed in the family of Rufus Allen, of Farmington, where he remained, well cared for, until seventeen years of age, farming and attending a common school. The next few years he devoted exclusively to his education, attending the North Yarmouth and Farmington academies, and, depending entirely upon his own resources, taught a part of each year to defray his expenses. He prepared for the sophomore class of Bowdoin College, but instead of continuing his literary course, began the study of medicine with Dr. W. H. Allen, of Orono, Penobscott County, in 1845. He attended medical lectures at the medical department of Harvard College, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and the medical department of the University of New York, and received his diploma at the last-named institution on the 8th of March, 1850.
Dr. Alexander passed the first eight years of his professional life at Orono, and from 1858 until the opening of the Civil War, in 1861, was engaged in his profession at Farmington.
He entered the army as surgeon of the 16th Regiment of Maine Volunteers, and remained steadily at his post until he received a serious, though not a severe, wound at Gettysburg, where he was taken prisoner, and from an attack of lockjaw narrowly escaped death. Being exchanged, he returned to Maine, and in about seventy days was again with his regiment, and continued in the service until March 1865, when ill health compelled him to resign. While in the army he was twice promoted, the second time to the position of surgeon-in-chief.
After leaving the army Dr. Alexander returned again to Farmington, but soon removed to Old Town, in his native State; he next went to Maiden, Massachusetts, and in September 1866, removed to Wisconsin and settled at Eau Claire. Since his settlement there his practice has been marked by a gradual growth, until it has become quite extensive while he has established a good reputation, both as medical practitioner and surgeon. Before going into the army his surgical practice was extensive; in the army he had a good opportunity to extend his practical knowledge of this branch of science, and now surgery may be regarded as his specialty.
The Doctor has given considerable attention to geology and chemistry, on which subjects, as well as on anatomy and physiology, he has often lectured. He has a good collection of geological charts, and makes his lectures on the "stony science" popular as well as instructive. He also speaks, occasionally, on the subject of temperance, always treating it scientifically. In his studies, however, his profession takes the precedence over every branch, and he is constantly enriching his medical library and his mind with the fresh fruits of the best minds.
Dr. Alexander has been twice married. First to Miss Achsah E. Allen, daughter of Hon. N. T. Allen, of Industry, Franklin County, Maine, who died November 13, 1856, in the eighth year of her married life. They had one child that died at the age of fourteen months. His second wife was Miss Charlotte Augusta Bullen, to whom he was married in January 1861, and who died March 27, 1875, leaving one child, a son, now in his seventh year. Both wives were well-educated and especially active Christian women. The latter was the daughter of Mrs. Joseph Bullen, a sister of Rev. George D. Boardman, the pioneer Baptist missionary to the Karens of Burmah, who is now living with Dr. Alexander. She is in her seventieth year, and is patiently awaiting the call of the Master, when she shall join her glorified brother.
Though Dr. Alexander had a hard struggle in early life, with a firm trust in God and a manly self-reliance, he overcame every obstacle and has attained that success which invariably follows honest effort. He is a prominent member of the Baptist Church, and superintendent of the Sunday school. He is also greatly interested in secular education, and very active on the school board in the west-side district of Eau Claire.
The Doctor has a fine physique, being five feet nine inches in height, and weighing one hundred and ninety-five pounds. He has a full, round and cheerful face, looking as though he had just made himself happy by relieving physical suffering, or by administering comfort to weak and diseased humanity in some other way.
—Source: The US Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and
Self-Made Men, Wisconsin Volume (1877) transcribed by Vicki Bryan.
Located by Adam Seaman.