Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Alexander Doniphan

& Ray County

Alexander  Doniphan was born in Ken- 

tucky on July 9, 1808, to Joseph and 

Anne Doniphan. He started his law 

practice in Kentucky before moving 

to Lexington in 1830. Three years 

later, he moved to Liberty. 

In Liberty, he married Eliza- 

beth Jane Thornton on her 17th 

birthday, Dec 21, 1837. It was a 

double wedding with Elizabeth’s 

sister, Caroline, and Oliver P. Moss. 

Alexander was 29-years-old and a 

colleague of Elizabeth’s father in 

the Missouri State Legislature. 

Alexander and Elizabeth had 

two sons, but both died young.

Elizabeth was a frail lady and 

suffered a stroke while burying her 

son John. She was a semi-invalid the

rest of her life and died in New York

City at the age of 52 while visiting 

with her sisters. Alexander had 

returned to Richmond where he 

received the telegram informing him

of her death. 

He was 10 days away from his 

65th birthday and lived in Richmond

for another 14 years. Doniphan died

in Richmond on Aug 8, 1887 at the 

Hudgins House, a hotel located on 

the northwest corner of the Rich- 

mond square where the Christian 

Church once stood. Doniphan is 

buried by his wife and sons in 


Doniphan is still honored 203 

years after his death. In addition to 

being a lawyer and banker in Rich- 

mond, he was a brigadier general in 

the Missouri state militia in 1838. 

He and 2,000 troops were sent 

to Far West in Caldwell County to 

arrested Joseph Smith and his fellow

Mormon church leaders, after they 

refused to leave Missouri. Doniphan

was given orders to shoot them but 

he refused. He called the order 

“cold-blooded murder.” The Mor- 

mon leaders were taken into custody

to stand trail and Doniphan served 

as one of their lawyers. 

Many members of the Mormon

Church visit Richmond each year 

and stop to pay their respects to the 

man that saved Joseph Smith. 

When the Spanish American 

War started in 1846, Doniphan 

helped organized the 1st Regiment 

of Missouri Mounted Volunteers and

was elected Colonel of the regiment.

He would carry the moniker of 

“Colonel” for the remainder of his 


He and his troops left Fort 

Leavenworth on a journey that took 

them 3,600 miles by land and 2,000 

by boat. It’s said this was one of the 

most successful marches in U.S. 

military history. At one point in New

Mexico, Doniphan and his men 

were assisted by Sterling Price and 

the Second Missouri Mounted 

Volunteers. Doniphan had his 

picture taken by Matthew Brady 

when he was in New Orleans on his 

way home after the war. This picture

was later used to create the face of 

Doniphan’s statue. 

There are many other interest- 

ing stories about Doniphan includ- 

ing one where he met Abe Lincoln 

and Honest Abe surmised, 

“Alexander Doniphan is the only 

man I have ever met who lived up to

my previous expectations.” 

On July 29, 1918 over 20,000 

people gathered around the Rich- 

mond Square to celebrate the unveil-

ing on the 19-foot tall statue of 

Alexander Doniphan.