Alexander (born about 1792, North Carolina) appears to have been the patriarch of a sizeable family. Despite this, I have a devil of a time finding him and his children on the censuses.
1840, Robeson co. NC: He's got 2 males under 5 (Malcolm and William J.), 1 male 5-10 (???), 2 males 15-20 (John and ???), 1 male 40-50 (himself), and 1 female 5-10 (?? Mary Ann?), 1 female 10-15 (Margaret), and one female 40-50 (possibly Susan, who died in 1843).
In 1850, he appears in Richmond co. GA, living with John, Margaret, Mary Ann, Malcolm, and William.
Then in 1860, he's in Mobile, AL, living with Archibald (possibly his son?), a Methodist minister, and Archibald's large family. No one from 1850 is living with them.
Back to the bunch from 1850 Richmond co. GA. Margaret married John Scarborough in 1851, so we know what became of her. Curiously, I found Malcolm served in the 11th Alabama Infantry, Company G, in 1861, but can't find him on the 1860 census! And there is no sign of John, William J., or Mary Ann.
There were two other McFatters/McPhatters in Georgia in the early 1840s. Daniel aka David, who was born about 1816, and who's descendants adopted the spelling McFather. He was living in Randolph co. GA. And Margaret, who married Allison Scott in neighboring Stewart co. GA in 1841. Randolph/Stewart counties are pretty far from Richmond county (about 300 miles). I think Daniel aka David and Margaret were siblings, but I do not think they were Alexander's children. Not only because of the distance but because Alexander already had a daughter named Margaret.
Where are John, William J., and Mary Ann from 1850?
Did Malcolm survive the Civil War?
Was Archibald the other male 15-20 living in Alexander's household in 1840? He would've been about 18 at the time so he would fit. Who's the male 5-10 living in Alexander's household in 1840? A son that died young? Or another McFatter/McPhatter male attested elsewhere on later censuses?