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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Revolutionary War Ancestors: Lodowick Alford (and My Other Alford Kin)


One of my great-great grandmothers was born Frances Elizabeth Alford (b. March 1870).  One of her great-great grandfathers was Lodowick Alford.  Much of the information I have about Lodowick and his descendants comes from the Alford American Family Association; in particular, the document Known Descendants of Cullen Alford and Pherebe Wooten traces the connection between Cullen (or Collin, the spelling seems to vary) Alford and my maternal grandmother, and Lodwick Alford (ca1710-1800) Genealogy -- Three Generations documents the connection between Lodowick (or Lodwick) and Cullen Alford.

Right away we notice that the spellings of names are not entirely consistent, which can be a source of confusion.  Another is that the same names are used repeatedly by different generations.  In fact, a Captain Lodwick Houston Alford, retired from the US Navy, died in 2007, and yes, he was a descendant of the Lodowick mentioned above. There is also a small community in Texas called Lodwick after a Lodwick Alford -- probably Lodwick Pierce Alford (12 Jan 1812 -- 7 Jun 1896), as he lived and was buried nearby.  Another example:  Lodowick had a brother named Julius (b. Sept. 1717), a son (b. ca. 1750) named Julius, and a grandson named Julius (son of Lodowick's son Lodwick!).

Lodowick Alford was born in the early 1700's (there is some dispute regarding the exact year) in Craven County, NC.  In 1754, he was serving in Captain Benjamin Simm's company of Colonel William Eaton's Granville County regiment of the North Carolina Militia.  He seems to have been a planter of some wealth, as indeed several of his twenty-one children were (more on that in a moment), though perhaps some of that wealth was diminished by being divided among a large family.  During the period of the Revolutionary War, Lodowick Alford was a delegate to the North Carolina House of Commons from Wake County -- unless, that is, the delegate was actually his son Lodwick / Lodowick, Jr.  The same ambiguity lies over which Lodowick was appointed Justice of the Peace for Wake County.

Regardless, the Alford family was deeply involved in the Revolution.  The Lodwick Alford who served as a 2nd-major in the Wake County militia was certainly Lodowick Jr.  James Alford, Lodowick's son from whom I am descended, was granted 287 acres in Georgia as compensation for his service during the Revolutionary War, and he is referred to as a captain on his tombstone.  Indeed, all five of Lodowick's oldest sons served in the Revolutionary War, and Sion Alford, son of Lodowick's son Jacob, was a delegate to the North Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1789.

Before continuing on with my own branch, mention must be made of Col. Julius C. Alford, son of Julius Alford and grandson of Lodowick.  His biography is sketched in the second volume of Men of Mark in Georgia; please go there for the details -- I cannot do justice to the story here!  The first half of Col. Alford's life was dominated by Indian troubles:  they killed his wife's father, led to the death of her mother, and nearly killed her and her sisters; he fought them at the Battle of Chickisawhatchie Swamp; and as a congressman, he punctuated his argument for relocating the Creek Indians to the west by simulating an "Indian war whoop".  After the death of his wife, he moved to Alabama.  He did not favor secession, but considered it his duty as a representative at Alabama's secession convention to make the vote unanimous.  Having cast his vote, he also cast his energy and resources into supporting the young Confederacy; it cost him one son, and he only lived halfway through the war.

Although Lodowick and his son James (along with most or all of the rest of his descendants) were slave-owners, James' son Cullen was not, at least as of the 1830 census.  In fact, although Lodowick seems to have owned a number of slaves (Lodwick Jr. owned 13 in the 1800 census), James had only one in the 1800 census.  This is less likely to be due to moral objections to slavery than to the fact that this branch of the family was simply not as wealthy as Julius C. Alford's branch.  These facts have to be borne in mind when evaluating the statements of Faye Mitchell Lawes, a granddaughter of Wiley Walton Alford, who was a son of Cullen.
My grandfather, Wiley Alford, came to Florida in the early 1800’s. He left a wealthy home and family in Wilmington, N.C. because he wanted to work and make his own living without slaves. He had been well educated in North Carolina. He travelled [sic] by stage coach and river boats. He visited relatives in Savannah, Columbus, and Quincy. He worked a few years in Columbus. In Quincy his first cousin was a Love of the Judge Love family . Then he went to Old Aspalaga Ferry, crossed into West Florida and settled there in Jackson County. He cleared land, built a home and farmed there. There were several non-slave-holding families living near them.
This appears to be making a virtue out of necessity, but it could also be a matter of miscommunication.  "I wanted to make my own living without slaves" could mean "I wanted to stop owning slaves but still make a living," or it could mean "I didn't own slaves, but I still needed to make a living."  

In any event, the latter interpretation seems to agree better with the facts.  Remember, Florida was as wild as "the wild West" in the early 1800's; the Indian attack that killed Thomas Cupples Richards near Wewahitchka took place in 1838.  Florida was on the frontier, with all the danger and opportunity that implies, and the frontier has always attracted men who want to get ahead.

That's about it.  Wiley Walton Alford was 50 when the War started, so he appears to have remained at home, probably as part of the Home Guard.  According to Lawes, though, his son Allen died fighting for the Confederacy.  His daughter Frances Elizabeth Alford, with whom I started this posting, married my great-great grandfather, Robert V. Teat (b. October 1862) on Valentine's Day, 1888.  (The "V" is probably for "Vastine", the middle name of their son Henry.)

UPDATE:  I had wondered if the small community of Alford, FL, near Marianna, might be named after Wiley Walton Alford or one of his sons, since he was in that neighborhood at an early date.   It appears, however, to have been founded by "S. A. and Chauncey Alford, naval store operators". This Chauncey, in turn, appears to be William Chauncey Alford, b. 24 Aug 1867 and d.  26 Feb 1938 in Bonifay, FL, and he is not listed among the Known Descendants of Cullen Alford and Pherebe Wooten.  There may well be a connection, but it must be a distant one.

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