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 Bertha Rosalie <I>Lechner</I> Alexander

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Bertha Rosalie Lechner Alexander

  • Birth 17 Oct 1876 Darlington County, South Carolina, USA
  • Death 6 Apr 1969 South Carolina, USA
  • Burial Darlington, Darlington County, South Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 54097471

Bertha was the 2nd wife of John Luther Alexander, Sr. She was attending Luther's first wife, Nettie Hatchell Alexander prior to Nettie's death. She lived with Luther's sister Maggie Louise Alexander several years following Luther's death. At least two articles in the "Florence Morning News" featured Maggie and Bertha's living together.

Article from "Florence Morning News", February 6, 1958:


Mrs. Bertha Lockner Alexander, 81, lives with her sister-in-law, Miss Maggie Alexander in the Lake Swamp community of Darlington County, just across the Florence County line.

Her father was a Yankee and fought against her mother's first husband, who, through the irony of fate, was killed in jumping from a train in his hurry to get home quickly after the close of the Confederate War. Her Yankee father liked the South so much that he drove a pack of horses down South after the war to sell, met Bertha's mother and married her.

Her great-great grandfather, Amos Thornhill (Thornal is correct), helped organize the Lake Swamp Church, the first in Lake Swamp. He lived in a one-room log house, one of the oldest in Darlington County, was buried in the yard under a big oak tree, to which his son added another log room and hallway and moved it closer to the road. Their former home site was later converted into a cemetery, with Bertha's 2-great-grandfather's grave remaining in it. Bertha says the big oak sheltering it only fell from age a few years ago.

Bertha, her mother, and her grandmother were born in this log house, though Bertha says the outside had been all weather boarded when she first remembers it. On his death, an uncle, who inherited it, deeded it to Pine Grove Baptist (Methodist is correct) Church, which still stands and can be seen from Bertha's home.

"Well, I taught school for 13 years, ten before my marriage and three afterward.' said Bertha. ‘Yes, she is considered on of the best educated Senior Citizens in the Lake Swamp community.' interrupted Maggie, her sister-in-law.

‘Well, I did go to college about five years,' agreed Bertha, ‘though not all to the same college. I started to Converse College first with my older sister; but entered the academic department, corresponding to high school the first year, as I had not yet finished night school before going with her sister. In the middle of the second year, my sister died and the school burned, so I transferred to Columbia College (later changed to Queen's College and moved to Charlotte). Then while visiting relatives in Georgia, they persuaded my mother to send me to National Park Seminary in Washington, where I received my B.S. degree.'

‘I was a county demonstrator agent for three years, conducting a course in this work with Miss Edith Parrott at Coker College, the first, I believe that was ever held.'

‘I married John Luther and had he lived until January 24 of this year, we would have been married 41 years. He was a widower with six children, the youngest, Arnold, being only 4 ½ years old. He now manages my farm for me. The oldest, Sadie now deceased, married two weeks after I did; Julia married Herbert Jordan, who is now county manager of Darlington County. Mary lives in Darlington and Lena married a Mr. Nivens of Charlotte. In two weeks after my husband died, 20 years ago, Sadie married, and in two more weeks, Maggie, my husband's sister, who has devoted the best years of her life caring for her sister's children, then came to live with me and we have lived together ever since.'

‘Maggie has her own living quarters in the front of the house and we both spend every night at my own daughter's, Mrs. White whose home you can see at the cross roads, just a step away, across the street from the store. We do our chores before leaving in the short winter days. I live mostly on the young sprouts of corn and navy beans started in pure sand before their roots have hardly started. I contribute my good health to this died, eating about 30 tiny young plants at a time, though I do use and infra...'" (Remainder of the article not available.)

Article from "Florence Morning News", March March 17, 1958:

by Bess Truman

They have lived together in harmony for 20 years.

Perhaps it is because there is no husband to complicate matters. Mrs. Bertha Alexander lost her husband three years ago; Miss Maggie Alexander never had one - but the reason comes later.

Anyway, I got somewhat confused when I was sent to (I thought) Mrs. Alexander's to get her ‘This is my life,' only to be met at the door by Miss Alexander, who told me there was a Miss and Mrs. Alexander living there. Which did I want to see? Well, I knew the one I wanted to see was 81 years old and Miss Alexander not looking that old, I decided, it must be Mrs. Alexander - only to find out later it was Miss Alexander I had been sent to see.

So, although I have written a little about Mrs. Bertha Alexander in a previous article, the situation is so unusual, I thought I would write them up together.

Their fathers fought on opposing sides in the civil war. Miss Maggie's father, John Wesley Alexander, joined the Confederate Army at 16 and served four years, being taken prisoner twice.

Bertha's father was a Yankee, who liked the South so much, and he married the girl he met while driving a group of horses from the North to sell. Bertha's mother's first husband was killed by jumping off the train in his anxiety to get home quickly, little knowing his wife would marry a Yankee after his death.

Maggie's father came home penniless, as so many others, having lost all his Confederate money and his slaves. He would have starved if an officer, who was not quite so unfortunate, had not fed him until he got on his feet.

Evidently it did not take long for this, as he married a Miss Sallie Stewart a year later, *son of Abel S. Stewart. They reared four boys and four girls. John W. Alexander lived near Newman Swamp Church two miles north of Lamar.

He stayed there 12 years later moving to the Lake Swamp Community near the Pine Grove Church in which community Maggie has lived and taught Sunday School for 62 years.

Now comes the most important and self-sacrificing part of Maggie's life.

Due to the death of her sister, Mrs. Limuel Hill of near Timmonsville, leaving four children, the oldest four, the youngest a tiny baby, Maggie gave up all thought of marrying - even turning down her fiancé, and devoted her life to rearing these four children of her sisters, all of them turning out fine, being very devoted to their aunt and foster mother.

Well, all of her nieces and nephews (seeming like her own children to her and to them), Bertha's husband having just died and her last daughter having married, she invited Maggie to come live with her, after being alone for only two weeks.

And live together in love and harmony, they have for twenty years. Maggie's apartment is in the front, Bertha's in the back. They even cook separately as if you remember my telling you, Bertha lives mostly on the sprouts of young vegetables, while Maggie eats normally.

And I think they are wise, as it is a well known fact there is no kitchen big enough for two women. But evidently this is the exception that proves the rule.
Each prepares her own supper - in the winter before dark, as they both stay at night with Miss Alexander's niece, Mrs. White, whose home is a short distance away."

Obituary from "Florence Morning News" April 7, 1969:

"Darlington - Mrs. Bertha Lechner Alexander, 92, of the Pine Grove Community of Darlington County, died early Sunday morning in a Darlington hospital after a brief illness.

Funeral services will be Monday at 4 p.m. in the Pine Grove United Methodist Church with Rev. R.N. Wells officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery, directed by Kistler Funeral Home.

Mrs. Alexander was born in Darlington County, a daughter of the late Frank C. and Martha Thornell Lechner. She was a lifelong resident of Darlington County and the widow of the late J. Luther Alexander who died in 1955. She was a member of the Pine Grove United Methodist Church where she was a teacher of the Bertha Alexander Sunday School Class. She was a member of the Pine Grove WSCS.

Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Robert (Helen) White Jr. of Darlington; a stepdaughter, Mrs. Herbert I. (Julia) Jordan of Darlington; 25 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren.

Pallbearers will be Otto Davis, Olin DuBose, Henry Wallace, Charley Ham, Alvin DeWitt, and Earl Wallace. Honorary pallbearers will be the Men's Bible Class of the Pine Grove United Methodist Church"

Family Members






  • Created by: Val McGinness
  • Added: 25 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 54097471
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bertha Rosalie Lechner Alexander (17 Oct 1876–6 Apr 1969), Find A Grave Memorial no. 54097471, citing Pine Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery, Darlington, Darlington County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Val McGinness (contributor 47242116) .