MY FATHER, DANIEL WEBSTER ALFORD
By Chleo Marie Alford Sanders
(5 Jan 1902 - 25 Jan 1999 Chattahoochee, Gadsden Co., FL)
Submitted by Faye Mitchell Lawes, AAFA #0062
(Great-great-granddaughter of Wiley Walton Alford through his daughter
Emily Jane Alford Jenkins, half-sister of Daniel Webster Alford)
Published in AAFA ACTION, Issue #68, Spring 2005.
Written in the early 1970s, this biography was given to me by Chleo in the early
1980s. Unfortunately, Chleo did not date this particular article; she just told me
she had written it "about ten or twelve years ago". -- Faye Lawes
My father, son of Wiley Walton Alford, was born May 30, 1874, and died July 27, 1931. He was one
of the six children born to the union of Wiley Walton Alford and Susan Elizabeth Morrison Alford.
My grandmother was married to M. Morrison, who died in the service. He belonged to Regiment #4
when he was killed in the Civil War.
My father got his education in the Public Schools of Calhoun County, near Ocheesee (Florida).
After my grandfather died, my father was very close to an older half-brother, Walton, that he
went to live with who we called Uncle Buddie, as did my father. Uncle Buddie taught him quite
a bit about farming and management. He worked on the farm and went to school to further his
Later he met and married Jurusha Loucretia Dickson, my mother. She was the daughter of James Abner
Dickson and Misouriann Elizabeth Culverson. My mother was educated and taught in the Public Schools
of Jackson County. She attended Florida Normals in Marianna, and in the old Chautaqua Building now
in the process of being restored in Walton County, DeFuniak Springs, Florida. This was in 1893. In
1896, while teaching at the Old Comfort School, she and my father were married and as a bride he
carried her over the threshold of a new house he had built at Ocheesee, Florida. He worked hard,
cleared the land he acquired by Homestead Rites for farming. He had a cow, calf, a few chickens,
a horse named Doag, and a buggy. This horse was a dark beige color, sprinkled with maroon colored
spots, a very unusual color and animal. This horse must have had some Lippizzan strain from the
way my father was able to train him.
Here they raised seven children, Leon Webster, Chleo Marie, Ruel Jurusha, Elon Daniel, Sibley Lee,
Libby Jean, and Duncan U. Fletcher, and we all had our first buggy ride behind this horse, Doag,
from 1898 to 1916.
We children went to Public School at Ocheesee, Florida, through the eighth grade, then to other
schools nine through twelve. My brother, Leon was attending high school in Altha, Florida, when
stricken with acute appendicitis. He died May 20, 1916.
My father sent me, Chleo, to Chapman High School in Apalachicola, Florida and I boarded with close
friends of the family, the Griffins. They requested cured pork hams, cane syrup and corn meal as pay
for my board as these items were hard to get in the town of Apalachicola. My means of transportation
was the River Steam Boat, named the John W. Callahan. Mr. McGruder was the boat captain from Columbus,
Georgia to Apalachicola. I was placed in his care and when I came home on weekends, Captain McGruder
would blow a signal at Rock Bluff and by the time the boat landed my father would be there to pick
me up. While attending school there, I took the teacher’s examination under the flying squadron, and
decided to teach. I taught school for two years; first school at Frink, Florida, second at Graceville,
Florida. After two years I decided to enter Nurses Training at the Florida State Hospital. I retired
after thirty-three years of service.
My father worked hard and was a very successful farmer. He was considered quite prosperous in those
days. He belonged to the Florida Cane Growers Association and some years there were over a hundred
barrels of syrup that went to the market from our farm.
My father’s hobbies consisted of many things such as making his own syrup barrels, logging, carpentry,
and even music. He blew what was called a harp in those days, and one of my favorites was "Boil Them
Cabbage Down". I shall never forget the day I came home from school and he said to me, "I bought you
something, come and let me show it to you." A beautiful new Adler Organ! I was never so happy in all
my life as I was that evening. I could not do my evening chores from running back and forth to look
at what I thought was the most beautiful organ I had ever seen. Believe it or not, I used to play
the organ for church.
Speaking of carpentry, you should see the home of my brother, Ruel. A beautiful example of what his
hands can do with brick, saw and tools.
Ruel Jurusha Alford’s Military Record:
Camp McClellan, Anniston, Alabama
Camp - Basic Course Army Military Training
Fort Baroncas, Pensacola, Florida
Camp - The Red Corps in Navy
Camp - The White Corps in Navy
July 6, 1942
Norfolk, Virginia - Eng. H.E.P. Dept.
Naval Operating Base
Transferred to Cheatam Annex, Williamsburg, Virginia
Transferred to York Town, Virginia
Naval Weapon Station
Transferred to Fort Eustis, Virginia, for Post Engineers as Heavy
Equipment Operator and retired from this service, February 28, 1969
After he retired he worked for the State Mental Hospital, Eastern State from June 1970 to November,
1970. He later worked for Colonial in Williamsburg, Virginia from December, 1970 to April of 1971.
My brother, Elon, is quite good with pipes, just tell him which way you want the water to go, and
he can put them in straight, up, down or all around.
Just give my sister, Libby, a sewing machine and she is a whiz. She has many talents. She won a
trip once, making and modeling a suit for the best dressed woman in her club.
My brother, Fletcher, still has the logging business in the family. He can fell a big pine tree
in a four foot path, and miss every little Dogwood tree within six inches, and does not have to
have a helicopter to take them straight up either.
Duncan U. Fletcher Alford’s Military Service Record:
January 9, 1944
Entered Armed Service - Camp Blanding Florida - was sent to Camp Croft,
South Carolina for Boot Training (Captain Jones in Command). He was sent
to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for special training and to Boston, Massachusetts
to prepare for over-seas duty (Overseas Captain was Captain Manuel)
July 25, 1944
Left Boston via route of New York and arrived in Liverpool, England, August 2,
1944. He served in the European Theatre in France, Belgium and Germany.
November 20, 1944
Injured in the Hutchinson Forest and was sent to France and hospitalized at the
American Hospital in Paris, November 22, 1944
December 6, 1944
Transferred to 81st General Hospital in England. He was sent back to the states
on the Queen Mary and landed in Staten Island, New York. He was sent to Brooks
General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
May 20, 1945
Discharged with Honorable and Disability Discharge (Commanding Officer at time
of discharge, Col. William A. McCally)
He received the European African Middle Eastern Theater Medal with three bronze stars, Good
Conduct Medal, Presidential Citation presented for service above and beyond the call of duty,
the Distinguished Unit Badge and Purple Heart.
My father’s workshop was a most complete one in those days. In fact, it was so well equipped
that one of its kind was called a rarity and most popular. He had tools to build houses, barns,
make syrup barrels, log carts and ox yokes. The worn out buggy axles were used to make unique
fire-dogs to hold wood in the fireplace. In fact, I have a pair my brother Sibley made patterned
from the ones my father made. Sibley was quite talented making and repairing things as was my
In the fall of the year after the farming and logging were finished, my father would start making
his syrup barrels. In the late evening his last chore for the day was setting up and shaping a
barrel to be finished the next morning. For this process he built a basket from scrap hoop iron,
which was used around the barrels to hold and mold their shape. In this basket he would place just
the right amount of shavings from planing the staves, set up the barrel, place it over the lighted
basket; then from a bucket of water, using a short handled mop, he would wet the inside of the
barrel. When the wood was heated to the right temperature to bend and shape, he would remove it
from the fire basket and shape it into a perfect barrel. Very few did I ever see leak when filled
My father liked people, and our home was visited quite often, especially during election time.
They could always time a stop at the Alfords about 11:00 o’clock just in time for the noon meal.
My mother was an excellent cook as they had learned the years before. Papa, as we always called
him, would call one of my brothers to take care and feed the horses while the men talked politics.
Mamma and I peeled a few more potatoes, made an extra pan of biscuits, and sliced more tomatoes
to add to the dinner.
The first night I can remember my father staying away from home was when he was on jury duty.
(They never missed calling him.) This particular time the jurors did not bring in the verdict
and were locked up in the juror box overnight. I thought when the word came that they said that
my father was locked up in jail and I pitched a "doozy". Mamma had quite a time with Chleo and
had quite a bit of explaining to do.
My father always invited the preachers, as they were called in those days, to be our guests. Once
there were two Presbyterian preachers who came to have a revival, the Reverend Sam Sibley and the
Reverend Arthur Lee. They were guests in our home. This was just before the fourth son was born,
and when he arrived he was given the name of Sibley Lee Alford. (Sibley Lee Alford died March 7,
My father liked to read and three times weekly he received by mail The Atlanta Constitution.
Rain or shine, there was always a trip to the mail box on those days. The social column was written
by Miss Laura Jean Libby and always fascinated him. So, when the stork arrived again that is where
they got the name for Libby. My father always admired U.S. Senator Duncan U. Fletcher so my parents
named their last son for him.
Papa also liked to read Zane Grey’s books and when his health failed he enjoyed many hours reading
his favorite books. When I lived too far away to visit my family I would mail my father books to
keep him happy.
I was very fond of my father, in fact, all of his family.
Uncle Henry’s home is a pleasant memory, Aunt Dora sending Lessie, Thelma, Burrell and I to the
well to wash greens, five times in fresh water. Burrell was to draw the water so he suggested
after we did four waters that we put them back through the fourth and that would be five times,
but we did not.
Other pleasant memories include visits to Uncle Buddie’s and Aunt Lula’s home, where we spent many
happy hours listening to probably the first phonograph in the community and chewing sugar cane.
I loved my visits to Aunt Emily’s home, her home cooked meals in the fireplace and her alarm clock.
Her clock was a hand full of corn on the back porch after the chickens had gone to roost so that the
"peck, peck" would wake her up early when she had to go meet the mail man and the rolling store.
Aunt Emmaline and Uncle John lived near us and they were a very devoted couple. They did not visit
like the rest of the family. Uncle John was of Catholic faith and there was not a church nearby.
They were very close friends of the Gregorys, the founders of the Old Gregory mansion at Torreya
State Park, but then it was located on the other side of the Apalachicola River.
A friend, George Atkins, who I grew up with, was a Principal of Public Schools. He liked to do
history research on prominent families and chose the Joseph P. Kennedy family. He learned that
Uncle John was a distant relative of Joseph P. Kennedy. I did know that Uncle John was Irish and
his family came from Ireland and to Florida, from the State of Massachusetts. I can remember very
well a few of his peculiar traits, such as a by-word "By Cheminie" he used when aggravated and
would put just one spoonful of "Guiano" as it was called in those days, to each hill of corn. He
would say jokingly if everybody had been like him theywould have all wanted Emmaline. He was well
educated and had a very peculiar sense of humor.
I loved to visit Aunt Jessie Wimberley’s home and the nearby pool where we went swimming.
And, to visit Aunt Lizzie Teat’s home and eat the good syrup tea cakes she could make.
I remember my father attending the funeral of Uncle Bynum at Kissimmee, Florida, and his son,
Lester and daughter, Maude, coming to visit us.
Two brothers, Daniel and Halcourt [sic: Wiley Holcott], married two sisters, Rusha and
I remember Uncle Halcourt [sic: Wiley Holcott] and Aunt Zillah and the pot that cooked
at least a ton of lima beans. Uncle Halcourt [sic: Wiley Holcott] hauled more logs than
the Apalachicola River could hold.
Uncle [Jasper] Allen died young, serving his country in the Civil War.
Aunt Annie died in 1901, the year before I was born. Her children, especially Bessie, and I have
many pleasant memories of the past.
I was very close to my father and at times we had quite lengthy conversations. The principles of
life my father taught his children to follow and to live by were quite unique. I have found them
to be very helpful to follow throughout the years.
Thanks to my father, mother and family for a life filled with wonderful memories. From this family
of seven children there are nineteen grandchildren and forty-one great grandchildren.
It would be wonderful to have a history from the other eleven sons and daughters of my grandfather
to add to this.
Photos from Shady Grove Cemetery, Grand Ridge, Jackson Co., FL www.findagrave.com
Permission granted by the photographers,
Alton & Loudonia