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ca1752 VA - ca1819 KY

Published in the AAFA ACTION, Issue #42, Fall 1998, pages 22-23.

Charles Alford, KY Pioneer
By Lynn D. Shelley, AAFA #0484, Vice President
From all records available at this time, it appears that Charles Alford was the first Alford to reside in what is the present state of Kentucky. Why did he leave his family in Virginia and go into the wilderness? Bowman's Station, his first known residence, was settled by people from Frederick County, VA. How and when did he come to be associated with this group?

We believe Charles Alford was one of the older sons of James Alford and Lucy Bailey of Goochland County, Virginia, both of whom probably had origins in New Kent County, VA. He was probably born in Goochland County about 1752-1755. His name is missing from birth and/or marriage records in THE DOUGLAS REGISTER, which is the church record of Rev. William Douglas, kept for St. James Northam Church. Dates for several of Charles' siblings do appear there. These records began in about 1756 and some marriages are documented only by the first child registered in this record born to a given couple. This is true for James and Lucy Bailey Alford although we know they had children bom before 1756. We believe their marriage occurred between 1742 and 1745, but it was possibly earlier. There is evidence that Charles may have been named for Charles Bailey, who may have been his maternal grandfather or at least an uncle. A Charles Baley was a witness to James Alford's land purchase in Goochland County in 1740.

The first written record we have found for Charles is his witnessing of the will of Humphrey Parrish in 1773. (The Register of St. Peter's Parish shows a Humphrey Parrish was the father of several children born 1698-1701 in New Kent Co., VA including one named Henry. A Henry Parish was a neighbor of James Alford in Goochland County as seen in GOOCHLAND COUNTY ROAD ORDERS, 1728-1744, by Nathaniel Mason Pawlett, Charlottesville, VA. VA Highway and Transportation Research Council, 1975.) In November 1774, Charles and John Woodson had a parcel of land surveyed in Albemarle County, VA. Was this a joint venture because Charles was underage? What was his connection with John Woodson? No evidence of a deed or sale of this land seems to exist, so maybe it was not patented. Perhaps Charles left that area soon thereafter.

Exactly when Charles went to the area of Virginia that later became Kentucky is not known. He is ihought to have been one of the settlers of Bowman's Station which was founded about 1778 near present-day Harrodsburg, KY. John Bowman was the founder of this station and was the head of all the Kentucky County [VA] Militia at the time. Charles (as Charles OLFORD) is found in a Militia list of soldiers who marched from Kentucky County on an expedition against the Shawnee Indians on July 2, 1780, under the command of Col. George Rogers Clark. Those on the list entered duty on July 8, 1780, were discharged on August 21, 1780, and were paid 3 pounds for their 45 days of service. Thirteen of the men on this militia list are among the 26 who settled Bowman's Station, including John Bowman's brother Abraham [GEORGE ROGERS CLARK AND HIS MEN, MILITARY RECORDS, 1778-1784, compiled by Margery Heberling Harding, Frankfort: KY Historical Society, 1981].

Charles Alford was an appraiser for the estate of William Bryant, another settler of Bowman's Station who was killed by Indians in May of 1781. This was found in Lincoln County, KY Will Book 1, page 53. Further investigation into early Lincoln County records may reveal valuable information regarding associates and possible neighbors and friends. John Bowman seems to have been directly involved in some dealings with Charles. Charles was appointed overseer of the road from Dicks River to Grant's Station in October of 1785 [LINCOLN COUNTY, KY RECORDS, VOL. 2, compiled by Michael L. Cook, Evansville, IN: Cook Publications, 1987].

Charles seems to have returned to the Goochland/Fluvanna/Louisa County part of VA in 1782. In May of that year, a James Alford died in Fluvanna County. This was either Charles' father or his brother. During this time he and Pleasant Bailey Oglesby applied for a land grant. Oglesby was only 16 at this time according to a descendant, Margaret Kerns. Why did Charles do this? Fluvanna County, VA, Deed Book H, p. 22, shows that the two were granted 397¼ acres on Bailey's Creek, on Dec. 20, 1782, yet Charles was back in what became KY by May 20, 1783 [LINCOLN COUNTY, KY RECORDS, VOL. 2]. What was his relationship to this boy other than probably a cousin [Pleasant Oglesby's mother was Ami Bailey and may have been Lucy Bailey's sister, making him Charles' first cousin]?

Kentucky County, VA, was divided into three counties in 1780 - Jefferson, Fayette and Lincoln. Except for his return to the Goochland/Fluvanna/Louisa Co. area of VA, Charles is found in Lincoln County records from 1780 - 1785/1786 when Mercer County was formed. He was on the 1787 Mercer Co., VA tax lists as was his brother Ansel/Hansel. His brother Drury seems to have been in Mercer County for a brief period in 1786 but his whereabouts are unknown after that. Charles and Ansel were signers of a petition dated 1789 which seems to object to the proposal that Kentucky become a state separate from Virginia [from PETITIONS OF THE EARLY INHABITANTS OF KENTUCKY TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF VIRGINIA, 1769 TO 1792, by James Rood Robertson, John P. Monon and Co., 1914]. Kentucky did become a separate state in 1792. Ansel was in Madison Co., KY in 1795 and then got a land grant in Barren County, KY, in 1799. He died in Barren County in 1807. The Charles Alford who was made guardian of his son James is thought to be this brother Charles who was in Garrard County at that time. Charles was sued by James' mother's relatives (the Toneys) and guardianship was later taken away. It is not known what became of this nephew James Alford.

Charles was joined in Mercer County about 1788 or 1789 by his brother Jacob Alford who was a Rev. War pensioner, having been wounded in the ankle at the Battle of Brandywine. Both Jacob and Charles are found in Garrard County when it was formed from part of Mercer in 1796/1797. Jacob died there in 1803, but his widow Nancy Hunter Alford lived until 1847, and left a will [which we will be publishing in a future issue]. This will and Jacob's pension records give us much information on his family. Such is not the case with Charles' family.

We do not know the maiden name of Charles' wife but her first name was Mary/Polly. Neither the marriage place nor the exact date are known but the date was about 1782-1784 based on the date of birth of his first known child, Morgan. Did the names of their sons come from the maternal side of the family, from friends or neighbors, or were the sons named for famous Rev. War Generals Daniel Morgan and Nathanael Greene? Did Charles marry before going to what became KY in 1780, did he marry when he returned to VA in 1782 or did he marry after returning to Llncoln Co., VA/KY in 1783? The following is a list of the known children of Charles Alford and their spouses: Census records suggest there may have been an additional daughter - there were two females 16-26 in 1810 and Betsy was already married.

The exact date of Charles Alford's death is also not known but his estate was being probated by Nov. 3, 1819, in Garrard County, KY. Only the widow and the above children were listed as heirs in the division of his property [Garrard County, KY, Book G, pages 163 and 182, Nov. 1919]. We do not know the date of Mary/Polly's death either, but she was still living in 1819 and refused her dower right to the property Charles left with the stipulation that Morgan and Nathaniel take care of her. There is no evidence to indicate her presence in their households in census data for 1820 on.

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