The son of Daniel and Margaret McLeod McIver, Alexander McIver (1822-1902) was born in Sanford, NC. He entered the University in 1850, graduated with first honors in 1853, and remained for a term as a tutor of mathematics. He became the principal of an academy in Wadesboro, NC, and in 1858 married Mary Ann Wilcox (d. 1878). They were the parents of six children. In 1859 McIver accepted a position as professor of mathematics at Davidson College. He became professor of mathematics at the University of North Carolina in 1869, but when the University closed, Governor Tod Caldwell appointed him state superintendent of public instruction (1871-74). Although McIver applied for his old post when the University reopened, he was denied the appointment. He became principal of the graded schools in Greensboro for five or six years, then turned to farming, representing the concerns of farmers as a delegate to several farmers' conventions. In 1884 he married Catherine Laird Gilmour; they had two sons (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 4:151).