WALTER THOMAS ALFORD
Columbia, Richland Co., SC—Thursday, 3 January 2002
HARTSVILLE [Darlington Co.]—Services for Rev. Walter Thomas Alford, Sr., 90, will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church with burial in Greenlawn Cemetery. Visitation is from 6:30-8:30 tonight at the chapel of Young & Young Funeral Home.
Rev. Alford died December 28, 2001.
Surviving are wife, Lillie Alford; daughters, Jessie Stuckey, Mary Yarborough, Gradye Stephen, Beverly and Linda Alford; sons, Norman, William and Reginald Alford; sisters, Ellen Pickett, Alberta Mack, Minnie George, and Rosa Hines, and brother Dock Blyther.
In another article, source unknown:
Services for the Rev. Walter Alford will be held today, Friday, Jan. 4, at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Hartsville. Rev. Alford died Friday, Dec. 28, 2001. He pastored the Bennettsville Church of God.
In the tradition of a devoted life in the service of the Lord, Pastor Walter Thomas Alford Sr. made his annual trip, for the last time, to the Church of God Campgrounds in Augusta, Ga., on Dec. 28, 2001. At approximately 11:30 a.m. he was called to his final duty standing in the vestibule of the Augusta Church of God to minister to a lost soul that expressed a great desire to be set free from the burden of sin and experience the joy of salvation. In his humble obedient way, this spiritual giant labored to win the soul of a young woman for the Lord and as he prayed the Lord looked upon His faithful servant and ushered him into His presence. For, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” When the death angel came at 11:40 a.m., Pastor Alford was walking with the Lord.
On Sept. 18, 1911, Walter Thomas Alford was born to Jesse Thomas and Susanna Mack Alford. He was the second of seven children born to this union. His immediate family affectionately called him “Bubba.” He distinguished himself among his siblings early in life, as being different. By age 15, this different quality was manifested through his conversion to Christ. He started his Christian walk with absolute resolve to serve the Lord with a faithful heart. He became an avid reader of God’s Word and read the Bible in its entirety right from the start as a youth. He began his service in the Vineyard of the Lord in the Methodist church as a Sunday school teacher, choir member and church secretary at the Sandy Grove Methodist Church for two years. Then he moved his membership to Emanuel AME Church where he served in the same positions for the next two years. His study of God’s Word lead him to the Church of God Reformation Movement, headquarters in Anderson, Indiana in 1931. Thereafter, he proclaimed that this change led him to fully embrace God’s Word, which reads, “Be ye holy, for I AM Holy, and Without Holiness no man shall see the Lord.” This marked the beginning of a great servant of the Lord . . . called to be a Saint. He continued to show forth a remarkable understanding of God’s Word, always lending his spiritual ears to the voice of the Lord. He truly accepted the fact that it was the Holy Spirit who leads and directs God’s children in to all truth and reveals the deep understanding of His word. Walter’s ability to discern and teach God’s Word even as a youth amazed those who came to know him.
While still a teen-ager, Walter began to pray to the Lord for his helpmate. He often shared the story of how he put several fleece before God to get confirmation on who would become his bride. Eventually, by age 21, he was satisfied that he had received his answer from the Lord and on Sept. 3, 1932, he married the former Lillie Bell Franklin and God blessed this union with 10 children . . . five girls and five boys.
As a young family man he resided in Lamar, and situated himself with the Lamar Church of God serving in the capacity of Sunday school superintendent, youth leader, teacher and janitor. After a period of time, he moved his family to Timmonsville and joined with other pioneers of the faith to build the Timmonsville Church of God edifice.
Surviving are his beloved wife of 69 years, Mrs. Lillie B. Alford; five daughters, Jessie A. Stuckey of Washington, D.C., Mary A. Yarborough of Aiken, Gradye A. Stephen of Paterson, N.J., Beverly Alford of District Heights, Md., and Linda Rene Alford of Florence; three sons, Norman L. Alford of Freeport, Bahamas, William Alford of Darlington, and Reginald Alford of Hartsville; two sons-in-laws, Maxi Stuckey Sr. of Washington, D.C., and Allen Stephen of Paterson, N.J.; one daughter-in-law, Carolyn Alford; four sisters, Ellen Pickett of Norfolk, Va., Alberta Mack of Timmonsville, and Rosa Lee Hines and Minnie Lee George, both of Hartsville; one brother, Dock Blythers of Lamar; one aunt, Louise “Sweeter” Ashwood of Bennettsville; 18 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild; two sisters-in-law, Johnnie Lee Alford of Wilmington, N.C., and Lillian Alford of Marion; one brother-in-law, Joseph Scott of Baltimore, Md.; a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
AAFA NOTES: SSDI records confirm the birth and death dates for Walter T. Alford (SS# issued in SC).
See his funeral program, which includes more biographical information and photos.
Census records for this family:
1930 census, Lynches River, Darlington Co., SC, dwelling #4:
Jessie Alford head 48 SC SC SC black farmer
age 24 at first marriage
Beulah wife 30 SC SC SC black
age 22 at first marriage
Jessie Leroy son 19 SC SC SC black
Walter son 18 SC SC SC black
Ellin Nora dau 16 SC SC SC black
Mary Jane dau 14 SC SC SC black
Henry James son 13 SC SC SC black
Bessie dau 11 SC SC SC black
Alberta dau 9 SC SC SC black
Willie Moses son 3-3/12 SC SC SC black
Aron son 2-2/12 SC SC SC black
1920 census, Lynches River, Darlington Co., SC, dwelling #14:
Jessie T. Alford head 38 SC SC SC black farmer
Susanna wife 33 SC SC SC black
Creola dau 13 SC SC SC black
Jessie Leroy son 9-5/12 SC SC SC black
Walter son 8-4/12 SC SC SC black
Ellin dau 6-6/12 SC SC SC black
Mary Jane dau 4-7/12 SC SC SC black
Henry son 2-11/12 SC SC SC black
Bessie dau 1-4/12 SC SC SC black
1910 census, Lamar (E.D. 7), Darlington Co., SC, dwelling #55:
Jessie Alford head 27 SC SC SC married 5 years farmer black
Suzana wife 23 SC SC SC 0 children, 0 living black
George brother 18 SC SC SC single black
Jessie, his father George and his brother George have not been found on any other census.
On Jesse Alford’s 1918 WWI Draft Registration Card [Ancestry.com], he is a farmer, employed by J.S. Severance, living in Lamar, Darlington Co., SC, age 37. He was born 10 Oct 1881, his race is Negro, and his nearest relative is Susanna. He signed his name.
On Jesse’s brother George A. Alford’s 1917 WWI Draft Registration Card [Ancestry.com], he is a farmer, employed by Rollie Thompson, living in Lamar, Darlington Co., SC, age 27. He was born 11 Nov 1890 in Lamar, his race is Negro, and he has a wife and 3 children. He signed his name.
South Carolina Death Index, 1915–1949 [Ancestry.com] lists Susianne Alford, died 17 Feb 1921 in Darlington Co., age 37, non-white.
The same source lists Jassie Alford, died 21 May 1944 in Darlington Co., age 62, non-white.
His lineage, provided by Walter: Walter Thomas 1911 SC1, Jesse Thomas 1881 SC2, George 1850 SC3.
Autobiography and Family History
Written by Walter Thomas Alford for His Children
26 May 1999
I was born on the 18th day of September 1911 to Jesse Thomas Alford and Susanna Mack in Darlington Co., six miles from the town of Lamar. I was raised on the farm, attending to the chickens, cows, hogs, mules, turkeys, ducks, geese, ang guineas, and also had to help in the house. As you can see, I had a busy working life.
I had to start working hard in the fields with my father, rain or shine, at the age of seven, and we never caught up with the work.
I began to go to school when I was seven, but I could not always go because of work. By studying hard, I was able to finish the sixth grade before I completely stopped. I went to night school, even after I married, to complete at least the twelfth grade, and by wide reading, have been able to reach the height that God permitted me to acquire.
I professed to give my heart to God at the age of fifteen years of age, but I did not understand what it took to be a Christian and had no one to teach because my pastors were committing adultery. I was in the Methodist church. But God through a sister of the Church of God, invited me to their church meeting one Sunday, and from that day I began to see a little light. Until it was revealed to me that God was calling for a holy life. So I repented of all my contrary living, and gave my life completely to God—though the devil through the flesh will trick you sometimes, if you’re not careful and stay on your face before God and plead for his help and strength.
God anointed me for the ministry in 1936 and I ran from it until 1956—six-months from being 20 years before I answered the call. Since then I have never asked anyone to let me preach to them, or come and serve them, in any way. Always it is a call: come and help us, or preach for us.
Now I know at my age and condition, health wise, I cannot do as I have been doing, but I remember that Jesus said in Rev. 2:10, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” Not until you get old, but unto death, and I sure want to get my crown, don't you?
So please pray for me to be faithful in accordance to my age and condition of my body.
Walter T. Alford
My first pastorate was Hartsville Church of God, started with them in 1956, just trying to hold them together for a year. Then in 1957 I took it as pastor and served them for 23 years. Then the Lord told me to resign from it. With a record that we never had a falling out, but love until today.
Next after their pastor died, they called to me to take Bennettsville Church of God, and God led me to take it, and never had any problems, but God told me after I had been with them for 18 years to resign, and I did.
Then Bishopville Church of God asked me to take that church after their pastor died. I refused it for five years, but then God said to take it, and for 24 years I stayed. We never had any serious problems, but God told me to retire for the pastorate there, so I did.
In the midst of those years, I traveled far and near conducting revivals, from Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. I preached and served in many camp meetings.
As of today, I am serving the church where I served as pastor for 18 years, but only as an interim pastor.
MY FAMILY TREE
My grandparents on my father’s side were dead before my father was grown: George and Ella Alford. My father Jesse had 5 brothers and 3 sisters:
James “Big Bud” Alford – 6 children
Julious “Little Bud” Alford – 6 children
George “Tiny” Alford – 1 child
Henry Alford – 1 child
Norman Alford – never married
Jane Alford – 1 child
Carolina Alford – 9 children:
Betty Alford – 4 children
My grandparents on my mother’s side were John Mack and Mary Rogers. My mother Susanna had 4 brothers and 4 sisters:
John Henry Mack
I had 14 sisters and brothers. My father had been married three times, plus the out siders. [Walter’s list below includes 11 names, and it is not clear who their mothers were.]
Creola, by his first wife
Leroy [Jessie Leroy on censuses]
Aaron “J.L.” [probably the nickname for Jessie Leroy, not Aaron]
I was married to Miss Lillie Bell Franklin of September 4, 1932, and to this union were born 14 children, but we raised 10 grown, for four had passed on (and we helped in raising four others). Today we are grateful for God’s grace in it.
MY FATHER’S BIOGRAPHY
He was born October 18, 1882, to George and Ella Alford in Lee County. His parents died when he was 14, and he was reared to manhood by his older brother James or “Big Bud” as most called him.
He married first to Miss Ella Samuel, and to his Union 2 children were born. Ella died after three and a half years of marriage.
Then he married Miss Susanna Mack, and to this union 7 children were born. After 12 years of marriage, she died.
Then he married Miss Beulah Daniel, and to this union 8 children were born, but just 3 of them lived to be grown.