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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Dr. William D. Alford, physician and merchant, Murfreesboro, Ark. Among all classes and in every condition of life there are those who succeed in whatever they undertake, whether of a professional, agricultural or commercial nature, and prominent among them stands the name of Dr. W. D. Alford. He was born in Alabama in 1835, and was the eldest of twelve children born to Rev. Madison E. and Nancy (Orrick) Alford, the father a native of Alabama, and the mother of South Carolina. Rev. Madison E. Alford spent his youth on a farm, and after his marriage, which occurred in Alabama, he came to Arkansas (1841), and settled near Murfreesboro. He had made the study of medicine his profession in Alabama, and was licensed to preach in Greenville, Clark County, Ark., soon after he came to this State, by Rev. Andrew Hunter, presiding elder of Washington District, Ouachita Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church. Soon after his arrival here he began his ministerial duties, and was one of the pioneer Methodist Episcopal preachers of Pike County. He became well known as an evangelist, organizing churches in this and adjoining counties, and organized the church at Murfreesboro, Pisgah, Brocktown and near Bingen, also many others throughout the county. He owned a farm, but devoted his whole time to the ministry, and after spending his entire life in this work ceased his labors in 1876. He was a truly good man, and his influence was perhaps as great as any one residing here since. The mother died in 1875. Dr. William D. Alford attained his growth on the farm, had practically no educational advantages, and continued to reside at home until he was twenty-one years of age. During the last few years at home, he had been studying with such instruction as his parents could give him, and upon leaving began teaching school. This he continued for some time, and he was just prepared to attend college when the war cloud burst upon the nation. He enlisted in Company G, Fourth Arkansas Infantry, August 10, 1861, and participated in the battle of Pea Ridge. Immediately after the battle he was appointed assistant surgeon, and accompanied the sick and wounded troops to Little Rock from Van Buren. He remained in the hospital at Little Rock until the fall of that city in September, 1863, when he was taken prisoner and sent to Camp Morton, at Indianapolis, where he was retained as assistant for the sick. He remained there until the surrender of Gen. Lee, and then returned to Pike County, Ark., where he at once engaged in agricultural pursuits. After farming for two years he again began the study of medicine, attended the American Medical College at St. Louis, Mo., graduated, and has since been in constant practice in the town and vicinity. He is the owner of a farm of ninety acres, fifty acres under cultivation in the river bottom, and 160 acres in another tract, and has also some town property. He has been engaged in selling drugs for some time, and in 1890 formed a partnership with Mr. Dean in his present business. Dr. Alford has been married twice; first, to Miss Mary E. Brewer, in 1859. She died in 1869, Alford was married the second time, in 1870, to Miss Rebecca Ann Sharp, a native of Tennessee, and the daughter of John Sharp, an old settler here. Three children were the fruits of this union: John E., Thomas F. and Robert N. Mr. Alford is a local elder, and has been actively engaged in church work in the Methodist Episcopal denomination for years. The family are members of the same. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is W. M. of Pike Lodge No. 91. He is an earnest advocate of education, has been school director of this district for years, and is one of the enterprising citizens of the county.

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This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Pike County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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