Tuesday, August 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks = Week #31; Edwin Barksdale Alford

This prompt comes from Amy Johnson Crow at her blog, No Story Too Small. She suggests we write once a week about a specific ancestor. I began with my grandparents and am working my way back in time.

Edwin Barksdale Alford

25 November 1792 NC – 10 March 1878 MS
My 3x Great Grandfather

Edwin Barksdale Alford was the son of Jacob Alford. Jacob was married twice. Edwin was probably the son of Elizabeth Bryant. His siblings were: Lucy, Jacob, Needham J., Sarah,
 Nancy & Moses.[1],[2]

Edwin served in the War of 1812 as a private with Captain Thomas Bickman and the 12/13th Consolidated Louisiana Infantry.[3], [4] For his service he received a bounty land warrant for 40 acres of land in Tangipahoa Parish, LA. The warrant was signed by President Franklin Pierce.[5]

On 20 December 1818 Edwin married Martha Smith, daughter of Jeremiah Smith & Joanna Dillon. In 1820 they were in Pike, MS with a young son.[6] They would stay in the area and become the parents of 13 children.

A grandchild wrote:
My grandparents, Alford, were both remarkable strong characters. Well adapted to frontier life. Grandfather was one of the most practical and industrious men I have ever known. He began life as a poor farm boy. When he was a minor, he cleared and put in cultivation a field for a Mr. Bell, walking from home on the Bogue Chitto at the beginning of each week and returning at the end. In the course of his active life he had acquired some three or four thousand acres of land, some twenty or more negro slaves. He had bought the settlements of some half dozen improvident neighbors, worked from twelve to fifteen hours per day.  Had the best library of any man in the country at that time, and was remarkably well informed and a very public spirited citizen. Made all his moderate wealth directly out of the ground.[7]

The Alfords were abundant in the MS/LA area. Edwin held many land patents for Pike Co., MS & nearby Tangipahoa Parish, LA. In Pike Co. he had land patents in the Progress & Simmonsville area in 1849, 1851 & 1859. His neighbors included: Julius N Alford [his son]; Noah P Fortenberry, Hollis H Fortenberry, Wyatt Smith [wife's brother]; Calvin Smith [wife's brother]; and Gasua Fortenberry.[8] In Tangipahoa Parish his neighbors included: Ira P. Alford [his son], Isaac E. Alford, & Jeptha J Alford [his son].[9] There were 19 Alford households in Mississippi in 1840 and 45 Households in 1850.[10]

The 1850 Census report shows Edwin as a 58 year old farmer, married to Martha. The value of the real estate he owned was $2,000. Five children were at home. Sons, Jeptha and Seaborn were farm hands.[11] 

The 1870 Census lists several Alfords living next to each other: Julius, Edwin, Jacob and Frank. Edwin was 77, working as a farmer and living alone.  His land was valued at $1,000 and his personal estate at $500.[12] 
Edwin was buried in the Edwin B. Alford Cemetery. The small cemetery is on a gravel road, one and one-half miles southwest of Silver Springs Baptist Church and 3/4 mile north of the Louisiana line.  Also buried there are Martha Smith Alford, Julius Newton Alford and three or four unmarked graves.  Edwins stone is discolored but still easy to read: "Edwin B. Alford BORN Nov. 25, 1782 DIED Mar. 10, 1878".[13]  It is directly by the roadside on a small hill.  Visiting the cemetery in August 1997, it was difficult to see the gravestones from just a short distance away because of the weeds and brush grown up all around and through the site. 
Edwin B Alford

[1] Pedigree Chart for Roy Brown; 1700's to 1948; Compiled by Zelda Marie Alford Fortenberry; Given to author, June 1994, by Rayleen Brown Hall.
[2] Creel, Bevin J. A Patriot's Legacy: The Family of Richard Dillon and Ann Lawrence From Bertie County, North Carolina To Southern Mississippi and Louisiana. Franklinton, Louisiana: Privately Printed, 2002.
[3] Heard, Ruby Alford, Gil Alford. "Early Mississippi Alfords." AAFA Action: The Official Publication of the Alford American Family Association III (1990):p. 36.
[4] Family Note from Gilbert K. Alford, President of the Alford American Family Association.  March 1998. 
[5] Land. Bounty Land Warrant #75733 for Edwin Alford in Tangipahoa Parish, LA; 12 February 1857; US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. 
[6] Heard, Ruby Alford, Gil Alford. "Early Mississippi Alfords." AAFA Action: The Official Publication of the Alford American Family Association III (1990):p. 36.
[7] Tynes, Walter Edwin. My Pilgrimage, 1928.
[8] Land & Maps. Boyd, Gregory A. Family Maps of Pike County, Mississippi. Deluxe. Norman, Oklahoma: Arphax Publishing Co., 2005.
[9] Land & Maps. Boyd, Gregory A. Family Maps of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Deluxe. Norman, Oklahoma: Arphax Publishing Co., 2008.
[10] Heard, Ruby Alford, Gil Alford. "Early Mississippi Alfords, Part 2." AAFA Action: The Official Publication of the Alford American Family Association IV, Number 1 (1991): p. 22.
[11] 1850 U. S. Census, Pike County, Mississippi.
[12] 1870 U.S. Census, Osyka, Pike County, Mississippi, Page 2.
[13] Parish, Ray and June Sartin. Cemetery Inscriptions, Pike County, Mississippi 1750 - 1978. Privately published.


  1. He lived a very long life considering the times in which he lived. It was probably his active life that contributed to his health and long life.

  2. That's a wonderful description from the grandchild. Edwin seemed driven to improve his life in every way. It's a wonder he had time for a library, but having one was certainly a sign of his success.

  3. Wyatt Smith [wife's brother]; is this Wyatt Rankin Smith married to Irene Bankston?

    This neghborhood was blessed to have Edwin and his family as neighbors.

    1. No. The Wyatt Smith, wife's brother, was born 1809 in LA.
      Wyatt Rankin Smith, son of Calvin Smith, was born 1851.
      Wyatt Rankin was the nephew of Wyatt Smith.
      Hope that is clear. ha!

  4. Do you have any wills, inventories, etc. listing the names of the twenty or more negro slaves mentioned?


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