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Biography: William Jeffreys Alston born December 31, 1800

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Marengo County, Alabama

William Jeffreys Alston was born December 31, 1800, near Petersburg. Georgia, the son of Nathaniel Alston and Mary Grey (Jeffreys) Alston. His parents moved to Abbeville district, S. C., soon after his birth, and resided there until they came to Alabama in 1818 where they settle at McKinley in Marengo County, Alabama.

William was a pupil of Dr. Moses Waddell. He taught school in St. Stephens while studying law there.

In 1821, and attended the Litchfield Law School in 1824. He began the practice of law at Linden with competitors such as F. S. Lyon, Ezekiel Pickens, and John Rains. He served several years as judge of Marengo county court for many years.

Alston entered the lower house of the legislature in 1836, was returned the next year, and in 1839 began a three years’ term in the senate. In 1842, he again entered the house. He was the nominee of his party for congress and was elected in 1849, defeating his competitor, Hon. Calvin C. Sellers, of Wilcox. After his term in congress had expired he was again elected to the legislature in the lower house. After serving this term, he withdrew from public life and resided on his estate. He was a Whig until that party was absorbed in 1855 when he became a Democrat.

William J. Alston was married four times and had ten children. He married 1st Martha Cade (b. May 18, 1809-May 28, 1846 Marengo Co., AL) in 1824 and they had seven children. She was the daughter of William Cade and Priscilla Easley Cade.

After her death in 1846, he married 2nd Harriet Harwell on July 3, 1847, in Clarke Co., Alabama and they had one son. He married 3rd Mrs. Caroline Cheney ca. 1850 and his 4th was to Mrs. Mary Glover Shields Lowry in 1867. She was the widow of Cornelius Benjamin Lowry and daughter of Theodore C. Shields and Nancy A. Riggins.

They had two sons.

The following are believed to be children of William Jeffreys Alston by his 1st wife Martha Cade

  1. William Jefferys Alston (b. Sep 24, 1825 Marengo County, AL)
  2. Nathaniel Yancey Alston (b. May 12, 1830 Marengo County, AL – May 4, 1888) m. Sarah A. Shields.
  3. Sarah Alston (b. ca. 1834)
  4. Thyrza Jane Alston (b. Jan 24, 1835 Marengo Co.,AL)
  5. Mary Grey Alston (b. Aug. 26, 1837 Marengo Co., AL)
  6. Joseph Erwin Alston (b. Jan 28, 1840 Marengo Co.,AL)
  7. Emma Augusta Alston (September 24, 1842-Jun 3, 1929) m. Caleb S. Morton and Reuben Herndon Roberts
  8. Voldamar Alston (b. ca. 1844 Marengo Co., AL)

Children by his 2nd wife Harriet Harwell (b. Nov. 17, 1814 Clarke Co., AL – d. 1848 Marengo Co., AL)

  1. Robert Harwell Alston (b. 1848 Marengo Co., AL)

Children by his 4th wife Mary Glover Shields (Feb 5, 1831 Marengo Co., AL – Feb. 16, 1911 Marengo Co., AL

  1. James Eugene Alston ( b. July 15, 1873 Marengo Co., AL
  2. John Groves Alston ( Sept 23, 1896 Marengo Co., AL)

William Jeffreys Alston died on his large plantation in 1876 and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Marengo County, Alabama. His 1st and 4th wife are also buried in Magnolia Cemetery.


  1. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  2. Find A Grave Memorial # 6420931 # 74651544 # 33632902 # 33633395
  3. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  4. Family trees

Where Do I Start?: HINTS and TIPS for BEGINNING GENEALOGISTS with ONLINE RESOURCE  is filled with Hints and Tips to begin your family genealogy research and acquire Genealogy information. In this book, you will find, many on-line resources, how to do court house research, where to find birth, death, social security records free on-line, and 81 questions to ask when interviewing elderly relatives. The Tips on How to break down the proverbial ‘Brick Wall’ and Free ON-LINE resources will help even the experienced genealogists.

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By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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