For many of us we enjoy reading about history and figures from the past. In our local history we only here a few names, but there are so many of our local personas that have been lost in time. Many of these personalities are unsung heroes and deserve much more mentioning and remembrance. In researching the local masonic history I have run across many of these stories. I just recently identified one of our portraits (I believe) during such research.
Not much history is recorded about Alexander Ramsey. Local history does not list his birth date or place. However, lodge records do indicate he came from Kentucky with his first two degrees being given there. He was raised as a Master Mason in 1892 in Crawfordsville, he was also a member of all three York Rite bodies. Ramsey never sat in the East for any Masonic Body. However, he was very active in lodge.
Ramsey was reportedly a very capable businessman. He owed several businesses in Crawfordsville including the Crawfordsville Ice and Coal storage , and many of the downtown buildings. Ramsey organized the Crawfordsville Trust Company in 1880, Citizens Nation bank in 1883, and was president of both until he died in 1907. Ramsey with others also organized the Indianapolis, Crawfordsville & Western Traction Company “The Ben Hur Line” an interurban road from Crawfordsville to Indianapolis and was its President until death. Ramsey reportedly had created a small fortune before his death.
Alexander Ramsey sat as the President of the Crawfordsville Masonic Temple Association on it’s incorporation and until the completion and dedication of the Temple when he resigned, but remained active. Ramsey was described in his Masonic obituary as dedicating more time and funds to the enterprise than any other person or organization.
At his death he left a large estate. He provided for his family in a highly contested will (that went all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court), and stock in the Crawfordsville Western Traction Company to a Crawfordsville Poor Relief fund, that was managed by the Crawfordsville Trust Co. The stock amounted to $70,000 in 1907. With a conversion ratio, this was equal to 2.2 million dollars today. Ramsey passed away in Hot Springs of Kidney Disease. He had just traveled there for health reasons, but passed away shortly after arrival. Ramsey had hoped that the Hot Springs water would help his condition.
This is one of those stories that we wonder why this gentleman is not forefront in our history lectures. I also believe that he embodies the ideas and beliefs behind freemasonry with his charity work, community building, and caring for the family without the need for his name to be embodied in plaques and stone.