ALEXANDER MCNAIR, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on May 5, 1775. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He later attended the University of Pennsylvania, but his education was cut short when his father passed away. In 1799 he was commissioned First Lieutenant in the Provisional Army. In 1804 he moved to Missouri and settled in St. Louis. McNair first entered politics, serving as the sheriff of St. Louis County. He served as the U.S. marshal of the Missouri Territory in 1814, as well as the U.S. commissary and the register of the St. Louis land office. He also was a delegate to the 1820 Missouri Constitutional Convention, and was the adjutant and inspector of the Missouri territorial forces during the War of 1812. After Missouri became a state, McNair was elected governor on August 28, 1820. He was sworn into office on September 18, 1820. During his tenure, the solemn public bill was sanctioned; the site for the state capitol at Jefferson City was approved; a state seal was authorized; Indian land was relinquished to the state; and a stagecoach line was initiated. After completing his term, McNair left office on November 15, 1824. He then secured an appointment as the U.S. agent to the Osage. Governor Alexander McNair passed away on March 18, 1826, and was buried in the Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.
Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)
Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City, MO)
Missouri State University
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The Political Graveyard
Virtual American Biographies
Western Historical Manuscripts Collection (Columbia, MO)