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Biography: John Manson Alston born June 16, 1850

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Barbour County, Alabama

John M. Alston was a farmer. He was born June 16, 1850, in Georgia, the son of James Asbury and Rebecca J. (Norwood) Alston; grandson of John Alston, and of Caleb Norwood; great-grandson of James Alston who married a Yancey, a member of the same family to which the southern statesman and orator belonged, and of John Norwood who came from Wales and settled in North Carolina.

The Alstons are descended from an old Georgia family. Mr. Alston’s father was born in 1815, in Elbert County, Georgia., was taken to Marengo County when a lad, and returned to Georgia, in Monroe County, where he lived with his family until his death, in 1853, which was due to a disease contracted during service in the Indian War of 1836. James A. and Rebecca Alston became the parents of five children, namely: Mrs. Mary J. (Alston) Jordan; Joseph A. Alston; James M. Alston; John M. Alston and W. A. Alston.

Rebecca (Norwood) Alston was born December 8, 1822, in Charlotte, N. C., lived in Tennessee, Talbot County, Ga., and in Monroe County, Ga., before her marriage, and after her husband’s death moved to Sumter County, Ga., then to Barbour County, near Spring Hill, in 1874.

After obtaining a fair English education, Mr. John M. Alston began clerking at the age of twenty-one for an agricultural firm of Atlanta. Subsequently, he moved to Sumter County, Ga., and farmed for five years; moved near Spring Hill, Barbour County, and became owner of a plantation of three thousand acres. Mr. Alston paid much attention to agriculture, and as a result of close study and intelligent observance became one of the most thorough and prosperous planters in Barbour County. He impressed all with whom he comes in contact as a man of strong character, and as a citizen, few people in the community stand higher in the estimation of the public.

Mr. Alston took much interest in politics, and while a firm supporter of the principles of the democratic party believes that only good men and true should be preferred for official positions. He attended every county convention since he became a resident of Barbour County, and his wise counsel was frequently of great value in shaping the course of local affairs, and bringing to the front the most competent and available candidates. He was also greatly interested in religious work and always found on the side of measures looking to the moral and intellectual enlightenment of the community. He filled several offices in the Methodist church, including the position of steward and Sunday school superintendent.

He married April 18, 1883, in Barbour County, Willie B. Briggs, (Apr 18, 1863 AL- Jan 4, 1897, AL) daughter of Rev. A. J. Briggs and Martha A. (Brewer) Briggs.

Their known children were:

  1. James Briggs Alston (b. April 25, 1884, AL- July 27, 1885, AL)
  2. Willie Briggs Biddie Alston (Oct 4, 1889, AL – Feb. 21, 1959, GA) m. Lawson Davenport Stapleton
  3. Daisy MeFarland Alston (b. Dec. 1887 AL)
  4. Jane Norwood Alston (b. Oct 1890 AL)
  5. Martha Brewer Alston (b. Dec. 1892 AL)
  6. John “Jack” Manson Alston (April 16, 1894, AL- July 8, 1969, FL) married Ruth Lillian Powell

John M. Alston died March 28, 1899, in Barbour County, Alabama.


  1. Memorial Record of Alabama Brant & Fuller
  2. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  3. Marriage & Death Notices from Alabama Newspapers & Family Records 1819-1890. Foley, Alabama
  4. family tree Powell’s of Gordon Co., Georgia and Beyond
  5. OBITUARIES from Eufaula Times & News, 1899, Barbour Co. AL. Newspapers 1890-1905, Page 66. Published by Southern Historical Press, Greenville, SC. (I have a copy). “Mr. John M. Alston died Tuesday at his home near Cowikee (Barbour Co.). He was a brother of W. A. Alston, of Hawkinsville and a relative of Judge Augustus Holmes Alston of Clayton. Survivors ate a large family of children. Burial at Cowikee”. Eugenia Hobday>[email protected]< on 10/6/2002. States that they were members of the Spring Hill Methodist Church.

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