of Stirling (1633)
1st Earl of Stirling,
William Alexander, b.1576, a.1633, d.1640
Scion of a prominent family, William Alexander was the
tutor of Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll
and later became usher to Prince Charles, son of James VI, and he accompanied
the Scottish Court
to London when
James became King of England. In 1621 he was granted a royal charter to govern
the large areas of North America that were to become Nova Scotia. In 1625 he was created 1st
Baronet Menstrie in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia and in 1626 he became
Secretary of State for Scotland.
In 1630 he was created 1st Viscount of Stirling and in 1633 was
created 1st Earl of Stirling and 1st Viscount of Canada.
Although most of his attempts to spread British influence, at the expense of
the French and Dutch, south along the American coastline failed, his influence
encouraged British settlers in Long Island, from where they gradually
supplanted the Dutch in New York.
2nd Earl of Stirling,
William Alexander, b.c.1632, a.1640, d.1640
Grandson of the 1st Earl and Janet Erskine, a
descendant of Robert Erskine, 4th Lord Erskine (for whom see the
earls of Mar) and son of William Alexander, Viscount
Canada (b.c.1604, d.1638) and Margaret Douglas (b.c.1610, d.1660), daughter of
William Douglas, 1st Marquess of Douglas (for whom see the earls of Angus).
3rd Earl of Stirling, Henry Alexander, b.?, a.1640, d.1650
Younger son of the 1st Earl.
4th Earl of Stirling, Henry
Alexander, b.c.1633, a.1650, d.1690
Son of the 3rd Earl and Mary Vanlore, daughter
of Sir Peter Van Lore, 1st Baronet van Lore of Tylehurst.
5th Earl of Stirling, Henry
Alexander, b.1664, a.1690, d.1739
Son of the 4th Earl and Judith Lee (b.c.1645,
d.1681). When he died without children, the earldom became dormant, although
there have been several claims. Most notably, William Alexander, a descendant
of the 1st Earl’s grandfather. He was still in the British Army in
1756 when he returned to Britain
from North America to testify on behalf of
General Shirley, who had been charged with dereliction of duty during the war
with the French. While here, he made his claim to the earldom and was permitted
to vote in the election of Scottish Representative Peers. Although the claim
was rejected, he returned to America
to all intents and purposes a Scottish Lord, and had sufficient riches to back
his lifestyle. At the American Revolution he sided with George Washington and
was made a senior member of the American Army, eventually reaching the rank of
Major-General. With a reputation for reckless bravery and tactical awareness,
he was considered to be one of the most important figures in the Revolution. A
later claim in 1839 by one Alexander Humphrys-Alexander, was rejected after the
supporting documents were declared to be forgeries.
(Last updated: 26/12/2009)