Abraham Alexander, Sr.



By: Ill. Bro. McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33° 

Ill. Bro. Abraham Alexander, Sr., was the son of Joseph Raphael. His mother’s name is not known he was born in London, England. He arrived in Charleston, S.C. around 1760.  

Ill. Bro. Abraham Alexander was a Scrivener and Hebrew Scholar and for about twenty years and was Minister of the Congregation Beth Elohim (House of God) of Charleston from 1764 to 1784 without remuneration, for which service his name is mentioned annually in that Congregation in the seventh escaba (prayer in memory of the dead) on Yom Kippur. 

1743  Born in London  

1763  Arrives in Charleston, South Carolina at the age of 21 years old 

1764  The Jews of Charleston were meeting in a building located on King Street and relocated their place of worship to a building in Beresford near King Street. A misunderstanding having occurred between the congregation and the Rev. Mr. De Costa at this time resulted in his resignation and Mr. Abraham Alexander officiated in this temporary Synagogue as Hazan. 

1771  Return to London to be married, his first son is born 

1780  May 12, shows Abraham Alexander served in the War as a Lieutenant in Burns Troop, Wade Hampton’s Regiment of Light Dragoons, Sumter’s brigade. During the Carolina campaign; and as Lieutenant of Dragoons in Captain William McKenzie’s Troop, in Lieutenant Colonel William Hill’s Regiment. 

1784  Return to Charleston, South Carolina. His wife dies in London. 

1785  Abraham Alexander remarries during this year to Mrs. Ann Sarah Huguenin Irby.   Mr. Abraham Alexander resigned his position of Hazan of the Jewish Synagogue. 

1790  The Charleston census lists Abraham Alexander as a head of a family in the district of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s Parish. The listing only shows him and his wife at the time with no mention of his son that was born in London by his first marriage.

1798  Abraham Alexander’s first son born in London arrives on September 4 at Charleston.

1801  Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 214 King Street.  Under the direction of Count Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse-Tilly, Abraham Alexander established in Charleston the Mother Council of Scottish Rite Masonry, of which he was Secretary-General. 

1802-1811  After the Revolution, Abraham entered the services of the new Government of the United States in the Customs House at Charleston, where he held the office of Auditor (collector of the Port) for Charleston.

1802  Is listed as the Fourth Officer of the Grand Council, as Grand Secretary of the Chapter of Rose Croix and holding the same office in the Consistory and in the Supreme Council.  Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 183 King Street.

1803  Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 129 King Street.

1806  Abraham Alexander is listed in the City directory as a Shop Keeper and living at 129 King Street

1816  February 21, Abraham Alexander, Sr. passes away. His widow who had been a Protestant Huguenot by birth and converted to the Jewish faith after her marriage to Abraham survived him. 

Abraham Alexander was the fourth founder of the Supreme Council to pass away. He is buried in the Jewish cemetery on Coming Street.


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