The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Archer Alexander was born into slavery in Virginia in 1828. He moved to Missouri with his master and was sold to James Hollman, who had a farm on the border of St. Charles and Warren counties. During the Civil War, Alexander escaped and fled to St. Louis, where he was befriended by Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot. Eliot secured a permit to retain Alexander in his service under military protection when necessary—his former owner attempted to kidnap him—until all slaves in Missouri were freed. Alexander presented this watch to Eliot’s son, Christopher Rhodes Eliot, sometime before his death in 1879.