Thursday, August 17, 2017

Newspaper Subscription for Thomas Brumfield in 1908

Finding our family in newspapers is a treat. We might find a birth, wedding or death announcement. Newspaper articles might give us dates, names of family members and interesting details on everyday life. This short piece tells me that Thomas Brumfield enjoyed reading his newspaper.

Thomas Brumfield
13 Jan 1837 MS - 20 Nov 1923 MS
my 1st cousin 4x removed

 In renewing his subscription Monday for another year to the Herald, Mr. Tom Brumfield, one of the county’s oldest citizens, and one of the South’s brave defenders during the war, said that he was getting old, having celebrated his 71st birthday Jan 13, and that if he was not here next year to renew, to please continue sending the paper to his wife and little daughter; that himself and family appreciated its weekly visits and never wanted to be without the Herald. Mr. Brumfield may rest assured that the present owner of the paper will see to it that his wishes are carried out, and we thank him for his words of appreciation.

Fortunately Thomas was able to read his local newspaper for many years to come, having lived to the age of 86.

Watch for the post of his obituary in the same newspaper.

Source: (Yazoo City, MS: The Yazoo Herald, 31 Jan 1908)1; digital image, accessed July 2017.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Jeptha Alford in MS & LA; Teacher, Doctor, Politician

Jeptha J. Alford, MD

2 Aug 1830 MS - 21 Nov 1914 LA
my 2nd great grand uncle


On Nov. 21st 1914, at his home in Washington Parish, Dr. Jeptha J. Alford. Born on the 2nd of Aug. 1830 just above the State Line near his home where he died, being 84 years and three months old. The long active and useful life of the above, the great services to his fellowman, the value of his influence and the example his life has been to the community in which he lived, the importance of his acts to his country and state entitles him to more than a mere passing notice among the list of the dead.

            Beginning life at a time when the opportunities for acquiring an education was quite limited compared to the present time, he by diligent study in the country schools acquired sufficient education to teach school and in 1853 and 1854 he taught school in the Parish of St. Helena teaching and studying for his chosen profession which was Medicine. It was during the time he was teaching that he took part in his first political campaign, and showed his great ability as an orator and stump speaker. It was in 1814 when the great wave of Know Nothingism or “Sons of the Sires” swept over the country he canvassed that Parish for that party, and it defeated the Democratic Parish.

            Graduating in Medicine from old Louisiana Medical College in 1856, he began his remarkable career as a practicing physician and of his works as a doctor, a volume might be written. It was at a time when there were few doctors, and the territory in which he practiced was more than forty miles in circumference, and during the sickly season, which was in the late summer months, when there was a great deal of fever, he could for weeks at a time only get a few hours rest, and only his strong vigorous constitution enabled him to do this work. It was as practicing physician that he first displayed the charitableness of heart, that unselfish devotion to the task of relieving the needy that was characteristic of his whole life. No trips were too long, no night too dark of cold to prevent him from visiting the suffering tho [sic] he knew there was no possibility of his receiving any compensation for his service. During the Civil war he remained at home and administered to the families of the absent soldiers free of charge often compounding his own medicine. And could we but know in this long practice of forty years the homes he has visited, or estimate the thousands of suffering he has relieved, we might form some opinion of the great benefit he has been to his fellow man.

            Of a cheerful and lively nature, he carried this jovial personality of his into the sick room, and he often said that he cured more patients with his laugh than he did with his drugs. Tho [sic] great as was his work among the people as a doctor the most lasting benefit to his country will be his influence he has left upon the succeeding generation, by temperance. In 1850 when the “Sons of Temperance” was organized in the country to fight the evil of intemperance he enlisted under their banner, and for sixty years he has constantly and on all occasions pointed to the great evil of strong drink.

            Scientists tell us that if the light of a very distant star was to be shut out that the world would be hundreds of years missing its light. How much longer will a light that has shone from a life in the world that has shone on the lives of his fellows and influenced their character, be transmitted along the rolling years of time. Dr. Alford with his fellow co-workers, Wyatt Smith [Jeptha’s uncle], G. C. Fortinberry and Judge T. E. Tate and others have left their influence for good on the community in which they lived, that can never be lost. There is an incident in the death of Judge Tate and Dr. Alford that is remarkable.

            They had been close bosom friends for seventy years, had been workers together in temperance campaigns, and on every subject that had for its object the up-building of the moral force of the country and strange it is that their lives should go out at almost the same time, only twelve hours apart.

            That the life of Dr. Alford showed that he was fully aware of the needs of his country to make it great and prosperous was attested by his constant and zealous advocacy of the education of its boys and girls and he will be remembered for the earnest and strenuous efforts he made to install into the minds of the youth of the country a love of knowledge. He knows that no country could be great or happy without education.

            While not a politician in the sence [sic] the word is generally used, he took a deep interest in all the public questions and in all he showed an unapproachable honesty of purpose and consistency in his beliefs. In 1888 he was elected to the lower House of the Legislature, and served during the term as chairman of the committee on Education. It was during this term of the Legislature that there came before it a question that created more excitement and aroused the political elements of the state as it had not been done since the days of reconstruction. It was the Louisiana State Lottery Co., asking to have their franchise renewed. It was in vain that this well organized corporation tried all of its seduction and blandishments to swerve him from the path he considered his duty or to compromise him on his pronounced opposition to gambling.

            With this term in the Legislature the only other office he held was Superintendent of Education for Washington Parish.

            There was another trait in his character that deserves mention. In his long and intimate knowledge of the lives and habits of the people, and the conditions on the farm he saw how much drudgery, how much unrequited toil was performed by Louisiana women on the farm, and he deeply sympathized with them and if he could have been instrumental in relieving them of their burdens he would have considered it the greatest achievement of his life. While he so highly appreciated the happiness of congenial domestic life his own was unfortunate.

            He was married on the 7th of April [no year given] to Miss Fannie Roberts to whom
he was deeply devoted. She died in August 1861, leaving 2 children, a son and a daughter. The daughter died at the age of 2 years, about the time of her mother’s death. His son, the only child still lives. In April 1872 he married Miss Corinne Edwards of Tangipahoa Parish and she only lived four months after their marriage. Thus his home was always an asylum for the poor and distressed, his light hearted talk, his merry laugh cheered all around him. In silence he bore his own deep sorrow, nor complained of the fate that deprived him of the domestic happiness he always hoped for.

            He was laid to rest in the Silver Springs Cemetery near where he was born, in the presence of a large crowd of relatives and friends, on Sunday, Nov. 22nd. Burial services were conducted by Rev. J. N. Fortinberry.

Source: Died (Franklinton, LA: The Era-Leader, 10 December 1914)4; digital image, accessed 26 May 2017.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Alford Generation #5: Edwin Barksdale Alford, 1792 NC – 1910 MS

I am currently working on 'Our Brown Roots' which will be a book about my father's family. 
This is a small portion of that book.
Note: This is a work in progress & may be changed as more evidence is collected.

Edwin is my 3rd great grandfather.

Edwin Barksdale Alford, son of Jacob Alford and grandson of Julius Alford, was born 25 November 1792 in North Carolina. His mother, Elizabeth (Bryant) Alford, died in 1793. His father soon married Frances (Seaborn) Alford.[i] The family soon left North Carolina and moved to Georgia where the family can be found in records from 1798 to 1806.[ii] Jacob moved again, settling the family in Louisiana where they could be found in 1812.[iii]

The War of 1812

Conflicts between Great Britain and Napoleon Bonaparte’s France impacted the United States. Both countries tried to block the United States from trading with the other. Great Britain required neutral countries to obtain a license to trade with France. These trade difficulties hurt our economy. At the same time the Royal Navy removed seamen from United States merchant vessels and forced them to serve on their vessels. In 1812 Congress declared war against the British. Many battles followed. In 1814 British troops landed in the Chesapeake Bay area and marched to Washington, D. C. where they burned the White House and the Capitol.
            That same year Edwin Alford joined the fight. On 23 December 1814 he enlisted as a private in Captain William Brickham’s Company in the 13th Regiment of the Louisiana Militia. He was a participant in the Battle of New Orleans on 8 January 1815.[iv]
            The United States and Great Britain signed a peace treaty on 24 December 1814 in Ghent, Belgium. However, the fighting forces across the Atlantic Ocean did not know about this peaceful resolution and the fighting continued.

On January 8, 1815, the two sides met in what is remembered as one of the conflict’s biggest and most decisive engagements. In the bloody Battle of New Orleans, future President Andrew Jackson and a motley assortment of militia fighters, frontiersmen, slaves, Indians and even pirates weathered a frontal assault by a superior British force, inflicting devastating casualties along the way. The victory vaulted Jackson to national stardom, and helped foil plans for a British invasion of the American frontier.[v]
In February 1815 news of the peace between the United States and Britain reached the fighting troops. Edwin was honorably discharged soon after. Edwin received land for his service. Bounty land warrant #75733 gave him 40 acres[vi] and #33939 gave him 120 acres in Louisiana.[vii]

--- Pike County, Mississippi ---

Pike County, Mississippi was originally the home of Chickasaw, Choctaw and Natchez Indians. The Spaniard Hernando De Soto came from Cuba in 1539 to explore the area. The land passed from the hands of the French to the English to the Spaniards and to the United States. In the early 1800s it was Marion County.[viii]

At this period the county was comparatively an unbroken wilderness with but few inhabitants who had been lured by the thoughts of adventure to abandon their homes in the older States of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, and with their families and transportable property, penetrated the depths of this wilderness as pioneers, to begin the foundation of new homes and a great State government.[ix]

Why did Edwin Alford leave Louisiana for Mississippi? Was Edwin looking for adventure? He was in his mid twenties and single when he crossed the border into Mississippi. Had he heard about the abundant resources of the area?

The river and creek bottoms were covered with a dense growth of wild cane and the pine hill regions with a wild pea commonly known as partridge pea, beggar lice and other rich vegetation and grasses, affording magnificent pasturage for horses, cattle, sheep, goats and hogs; and the swamps with mast-producing trees, and the streams abounding with an inexhaustible supply of fish. Wild deer, turkeys, bear, wolves, panthers, cats, coons, opossums, beavers, otters, squirrels and the numerous feathered tribe for game were practically inexhaustible.[x]

This area was, at first, Marion County, which was divided on 9 December 1815 to form Pike County. On 10 December 1817 Mississippi became the 20th of the United States and the Indian lands were opened to white settlements. This available land may have been the lure that attracted Edwin Alford from Louisiana into Mississippi.

Edwin was described by his grandson Walter Edwin Tynes as being remarkably strong in character and "one of the most practical and industrious men I have ever known." Walter related how his grandfather had begun his life as a poor farm boy, working for a neighbor clearing land to put in cultivation and how he gradually began purchasing land and buying settlements from "improvident neighbors" until he had acquired some three or four thousand acres and some twenty or more Negro slaves. Walter said his grandfather worked from twelve to fifteen hours a day, had the best library of any man in the country at that time, was remarkably well informed, and was a very public spirited citizen."[xi]

On 20 December 1818 in Pike County, Mississippi, Edwin married Martha P. Smith[xii], daughter of Jeremiah Smith and Joanna Dillon. [See Smith Chapter for more information on this family.] Martha, born 25 March 1802[xiii], was 16 years old. The marriage of Edwin and Martha is the earliest record of their life in Mississippi. Two years later he was one of four Alfords enumerated in the 1820 census. He was in Pike County with a wife and young son.[xiv]
Early home life in Pike County was “simple and natural”.

The young husband, with his axe on his shoulder, his clear sounding horn swung to his side, with his ever attendant faithful dog, went about his duties with self-confidence and a buoyant heart. The young wife, with rosy cheeks, a loving smile, a happy heart, made the little home an Eden of joy and gave strength to his soul in the battle of life. They drank from the sweetest and most sparkling fountains the inspirations that cement marriage bonds.[xv]

Life for Edwin and Martha was probably not as idealized as the description by Luke Ward Conerly. However, the couple did prosper as evidenced by the value of his personal and real estate in census reports. Mr. Conerly’s book includes a photo of the “Alford Bridge over the Bogue Chitto River in the northern part of Pike County.” Mr. Conerly describes Edwin Alford as “one of the finest mechanics of his time.”[xvi]
In 1841 and 1845 Edwin was included in the Mississippi State census for Pike County.[xvii] In 1850 the United States Census shows Edwin as a farmer in Pike County whose real estate was valued at $2,000. He was living with his wife, Martha, and five of their children. Sons, Jeptha Josephus Alford and Seaborn S. Alford, were helping to work the farm.[xviii]
While they lived in the Progress and Simmonsville area Edwin and Martha were surrounded by family. Their neighbors included their son, Julius Newton Alford, Martha’s brothers, Wyatt Smith and Calvin Smith and distant relatives of the Fortenberry family.[xix] In 1840 there were 19 Alford households in Mississippi and in 1850 there were 45.[xx]
In 1860 Edwin’s real estate was valued at $3,000 and his personal estate was valued at $30,000. Son, Julius Newton Alford, was living at home and working as a teacher. Daughter, Martha Elizabeth (Alford) Brumfield [then single], was also living at home.[xxi] Edwin owned 28 slaves in 1860, ranging in ages from one to 45 years old.[xxii]

One of Edwin's ex-slaves Barney gave an oral narrative in 1930, which became a matter of record. It described his life as a slave on the Alford plantation. Barney gave a good description of the old home place, which he said was near the Louisiana State line on State Line Road. He described the house as big and being built of logs, which were in later years covered with planks. Barney said the house was like two houses put together with a big open hall and a shed room on both ends of the galley. It had brick chimneys, glass windows and a front porch. The plantation had mules, goats, cows, oxen, chickens and horses. Barney stressed that after the slaves were freed at the end of the Civil War many (but not all) chose to stay at the Alford plantation.[xxiii]

In 1870 Edwin Alford was 77 years old and living alone in Osyka, Pike County. His son, Julius Alford, lived next door with his wife, Mary and two children.
Edwin died 10 March 1878. He and his wife are buried in the Edwin B. Alford Cemetery. The cemetery is a mile and a half southwest of Silver Springs Baptist Church and less than a mile north of the Louisiana border.[xxiv]
            Edwin and Martha were the parents of a dozen children, all born in Pike County, Mississippi: Warren Jackson Alford, Cynthia Ann (Alford) Ball, Ira Payne Alford, William Harmon Alford, Harriet Jane (Alford) Tynes, Lacey A. (Alford) Ball, Jeptha Josephus Alford, Julia Ann (Alford) McEleveen, Seaborn S. Alford, Elijah Hayden Alford, Julius Newton Alford and Martha Elizabeth (Alford) Brumfield. “Edwin Alford was the progenitor of many present day Alfords."[xxv]

[i] Conerly, Luke Ward, and E. Russ Williams, Source Records from Pike County, Mississippi 1798 - 1910 and Misc. Legal and Family Records Pertaining to the Areas of Pike and Walthall Counties, MS (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978) 92 – 98.
[ii] Heard, Ruby Alford, Gil Alford. Early Mississippi Alfords (AAFA Action, III, 1990) 35.
[iii] Williams, E. R., A Potpourri of Historical Data Concerning the Founding Families and Individuals of Washington Parish, Louisiana, 1798 – 1860. (Monroe, LA: Northeast Louisiana University, 1990) 1.
[iv] NARA, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; Fold 3 ( Cpt. Wm. Brickham’s Co., LA Militia; Edwin Alford.
[v] “The Battle of New Orleans”; History ( accessed 2016).
[vi] US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records, Land. Bounty Land Warrant #75733 for Edwin Alford in Tangipahoa Parish, LA; 12 February 1857.
[vii] NARA, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; Fold 3 ( Cpt. Wm. Brickham’s Co., LA Militia; Edwin Alford.
[viii] Conerly, L. W., Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: Pioneer Families and Confederate Soldiers, Reconstruction and Redemption. (Southern Lion Books, Historical Publications, 2008 Reprint) 10 – 11.
[ix] Conerly, L. W., Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: Pioneer Families and Confederate Soldiers, Reconstruction and Redemption. (Southern Lion Books, Historical Publications, 2008 Reprint) 11 - 12.
[x] Conerly, L. W., Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: Pioneer Families and Confederate Soldiers, Reconstruction and Redemption. (Southern Lion Books, Historical Publications, 2008 Reprint) 13.
[xi] Saunders, C. A., My Alford Heritage [Limited Edition] (Texas: Morgan Printing, 2005) 47.
[xii] NARA, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; Fold 3 ( Cpt. Wm. Brickham’s Co., LA Militia; Edwin Alford.
[xiii] The Bible of Jeremiah Smith Sr.; Pages copied by Patricia (Brock) Smith and given to author, Dec. 2005; Bible in possession of Mrs. W. C. Uhlman, Tylertown, Mississippi. Martha Smith.
[xiv] Heard, Ruby Alford, Gil Alford. Early Mississippi Alfords (AAFA Action III 1990) 36.
[xv] Conerly, L. W., Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: Pioneer Families and Confederate Soldiers, Reconstruction and Redemption. (Southern Lion Books, Historical Publications, 2008 Reprint) 33.
[xvi] Conerly, L. W., Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: Pioneer Families and Confederate Soldiers, Reconstruction and Redemption. (Southern Lion Books, Historical Publications, 2008 Reprint) Pages 12 and 36.
[xvii] 1841 & 1845 MS, Pike, Census Index; Ancestry ( accessed 2016) Edwin Alford.
[xviii] 1850 US Census, MS, Pike, Police District 1; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed Sept. 2016) Edwin Alford family.
[xix] Boyd, Gregory A. Family Maps of Pike County, Mississippi. Deluxe. (Norman, Oklahoma: Arphax Publishing Co., 2005) 164 - 5. Land patents for Edwin Alford in Pike, MS.
[xx] Heard, Ruby Alford and Gil Alford. Early Mississippi Alfords, Part 2 (AAFA Action IV, Number 1,1991) p. 22.
[xxi] 1860 US Census, MS, Pike; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed Dec. 2016) Edwin Alford family.
[xxii] 1860 US Census, Slave Schedule, MS, Pike; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed Dec. 2016) Edwin Alford.
[xxiii] Saunders, C. A., My Alford Heritage [Limited Edition] (Texas: Morgan Printing, 2005) 47.
[xxiv] Parish, Ray and June Sartin, Cemetery Inscriptions Pike County, Mississippi 1750 – 1978 (MS: Privately Printed, 1979) Page 1. 
[xxv] Heard, Ruby Alford and Gil Alford. Early Mississippi Alfords (AAFA Action, III, 1990) p. 36.

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