The following data is extracted from Biographical Sketches, Coles County, Illinois - Charleston Township.
Randall Alexander, breeder and shipper of Poland-China swine, Charleston; about ten years ago this gentleman, in company with S. M. Shepard, made his first start in the introduction and breeding of thorough-bred swine in Coles Co. After having experimented thoroughly with the various breeds of hogs, they became convinced that the Poland-China possessed all the requisites of size, docility, fertility, early maturity, aptitude for taking on flesh, and great constitutional vigor, necessary to render it pre-eminently the hog for the farmer. From a small beginning, the business has grown to its present proportions. Mr. Alexander is now one of the most prominent breeders in the State; his trade extends to every part of the country, to the Pacific Coast, Canada, the Southern States, etc.; his farm, near Charleston, possesses all the advantages of a perfect hog farm, such as pure running water, sheltered location, shade, range, etc. Mr. Alexander was born in Madison, Jefferson Co., Ind., Aug. 5, 1842; when about 10 years old, he removed with his parents to Tipton Co., Ind.; at 14, he left home, and going to Louisiana, Mo., engaged as a clerk in a dry goods store. In 1861, he went to Tuscola, Douglas Co., Ill., and clerked one year; he then, with Mr. Robert Beech, built the Beech House, the finest hotel on the Illinois Central Railroad, from Chicago to Cairo; after running the house one year he came in 1863 to Charleston, and continued clerking till 1865, when he engaged in business for himself, continuing as a member of different firms until about four years ago; he is at present a member of the Board of Aldermen in Charleston. He was married May 21, 1866, to Miss Nancy A. Compton, a daughter of Albert Compton, of Charleston, and has four children - Albert C., Edwin R., Rufus C. and Dora T.
Source: Biographical Sketches, Coles County, Illinois - Charleston Township