Alexander Macomb (American merchant)

Alexander Macomb (American merchant)

Alexander Macomb. was a prosperous American merchant. He was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1748 and died in Georgetown, District of Columbia, USA in 1831. His merchant father John had immigrated from Ireland to New York about 1742, and removed to Albany, NY in 1745.

On 4 May 1773, Alexander married Mary Catherine Navarre, daughter of Robert Navarre, the subdélégé Detroit under the French. Although Alexander named one of his sons Alexander Macomb (1782-1841), his son was not called junior (jr.) nor was Alexander Macomb the elder called senior (sr.). They are both known as Alexander Macomb, and neither name is followed by a designation.ref|Memoir1

In Detroit, Michigan, during the Revolution, along with his brother, William Macomb, he traded with British and Native Americans, giving them supplies in exchange for furs.

After the war, Macomb moved to New York City and became a land speculator and shipping magnate, purchasing tracts of land in Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. In 1788, he built a magnificent home on Broadway, which in 1790 was leased to become the president's home, occupied by George Washington after the president's previous residence on Pearl proved too small.

In 1791, Alexander Macomb purchased the largest tract yet, from the State of New York, 3,670,715 acres (14,855 km²), since known as "Macomb's Purchase." The tract included much of northern New York, along the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario, including the Thousand Islands, at about twelve cents an acre. The purchase was divided into ten large townships. From this purchase are derived the deeds for all the lands that are now included in Lewis, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Franklin Counties, as well as portions of Herkimer and Oswego Counties.

The enterprise was a failure; sales of land did not keep pace with the due dates for payments, and Macomb was taken to debtor's prison during the Panic of 1792, over $300,000 in debt. He never regained his fortune.

Six of his sons served during the War of 1812. His son Alexander Macomb, [ [ "Alexander Macomb" at the U.S. Army Center of Military History website] ] was a hero at the Battle of Plattsburgh and later became the only Major General in the U.S. Army and served as the Commanding General of the United States Army. The daughter of Alexander Macomb Sr., Jane Macomb, married Hon. Robert Kennedy, a Scotsman who was brother of the Marquess of Ailsa. [ [ The Peerage of the British Empire as at Present Existing, Edmund Lodge, Anne Innes, Saunders & Otley, London, 1851] ] (Their daughter Sophia-Eliza married John Levett of Wychnor Park, Staffordshire, England). [ [,M1 Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, John Burke, H. Colburn, London, 1847] ]

Additional Reading

* [ Dill, David Jr. "Portrait of an Opportunist: The Life of Alexander Macomb." Watertown Daily Times. 9, 16, 23 September 1990.]


# Geo. H. Richards, [ Memoir of Alexander Macomb] (NY: M'Elrath, Bangs & Co., 1833), 14.


External links

* [ Macomb's Mansion: Washington's Broadway Home]

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