Our Alford History — From Mississippi to Oklahoma
The history of our family parallels and reflects the history of our country with its legacy of slavery, but also with its hope for a brighter tomorrow through the power of love, faith, and hard work.
Our branch of the Alford family originated on the Alford Plantation in Mississippi, the children of Solomon Alford, the plantation owner’s son, and a slave Lussie (Lucy). Lucy’s first child with Solomon was Matilda Ann, born in 1858. Ann was taken by the Alfords as soon as she was born and raised as a member of the Alford family while her mother worked in the household as a slave. Lussie next gave birth in l860 to Matthew Solomon, and then to Mary in 1861. They, too, were raised as members of the Alford household, not as slaves.
Solomon also some years earlier had had a child who had been born on the Coffey Plantation. His name was John Henry Coffey.
When the Civil War began in 1861, Solomon, the children’s father, went off to war as a Confederate soldier. Even though Lussie was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, she remained on the Alford Plantation with her three children to wait for his return. After the war was over and Solomon finally returned, Lussie moved with her children to her own place on the Alford land. Rosie Lee was born in 1867 and Lafayette, called Fate, was born in 1868. Despite the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and lynching’s in the South, Lussie’s children maintained close ties with their white relatives. Lussie and Solomon’s last child, Major Clemon, was born in 1880.
Lussie died while Major was still a toddler, and Solomon arranged for her funeral at the Alford family church. When Solomon’s health began to fail, he became worried about how his children would fare in Mississippi where violence against blacks was worse than it had ever been since slavery.
The Oklahoma Territory was being hailed as a haven for blacks and Indians. Solomon had to think of a way to get his children out of Mississippi and with enough money to survive. He knew the only way to get money out safely would be to give it to his youngest son Major because everyone would expect Matt, his oldest son, to have it. Sure enough, Matt’s home was attacked by the other Alford men when they discovered that Solomon had done away with a large portion of his money.
Most of the children of Solomon and Lussie escaped to the Oklahoma Territory between 1901 and 1905. Only Mary and Matilda remained with their families in Mississippi and died there. The Coffey family moved from Mississippi to Tennessee and eventually to Oklahoma. Several settled in the all-black towns of Boley and Clearview. Major went to Meharry Medical College and received a Doctor of Pharmacology degree in 1908 and in the same year Alfred Coffey, the son of John Henry, earned an MD degree from Knoxville Medical College, beginning a tradition of achievement in our family.
When Solomon died in 1907, in keeping with his request, he was buried next to Lussie in Pisgah Church Cemetery in Maben, Mississippi. On his tombstone is written: Sgt. Solomon Alford, Company H, 31st Mississippi Infantry, and Confederate States of America.
He never married and his only descendants are seven children: Matilda Ann, Matthew Solomon, Mary, Rosie, Lafayette, Major Clemon and John Henry.
These are the facts of our history. What we’ll never know is what internal struggles went on within their hearts and minds: why the Alford family chose to raise Solomon and Lussie’s children as family members and not slaves, why Solomon chose never to marry but to sire children with a slave woman and live with her after he returned from the war, or how Lussie felt bearing the slave owner’s children and not having the freedom to make another choice. We do know that Solomon protected his children from slavery and for that we must be grateful, but it is to Lussie that we must give honor and reverence. It is to Lussie that we owe our strength and unity as a family.
As written by Hedy Jackson
Known Descendants of Littleberry Alford
The following information was documented by the Alford American Family Association (AAFA). Most of the information about the descendants of Solomon Alford was documented and researched by Dr. Wessylyne Alford-Simpson. Wessylyne Alford-Simpson is a charter member of AAFA #1034. She is also the author of, PROMISES, HERITAGE OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILY (N.P.; Smith Printing & Specialty Company, 1992), which chronicles the lineage of the descendants of Solmon Alford.
The document can be found here.
Obituary of Matthew Solomon Alford
The Solomon Alford Family Crest
On September 11, 2013, three members of the Solomon Alford family, Emmett R. Roberts, Willie O. Alford and Mytia R. Green, conducted a telephone conference to discuss matters concerning the Alford family. During that call, a discussion ensued regarding the need to uniquely identify our particular lineage of the Alford family. The three decided to conduct research to determine if an Alford Crest was already in existance. After much research, the trio decided a unique family crest was necessary.
Following multiple iterations, Emmett, Willie and Mytia agreed upon an initial design. The crest still honors the original elements of the British Alford heraldic and The Alford American code of arms. However, it uniquely signifies the seven stars that denote the African American children of Solomon Alford. The team decided to present the designs at the 2014 Alford Reunion in Oklahoma City.
The crest was not presented at the 2014 Alford reunion. However, the Alford communications committee used it to brand the 2016 reunion. In 2016, the crest was redesigned. The new crest possessed a circular design and was done in a single color, making it more cost effective for printing. The 2018 reunion hosts, Mytia Black and Gloria Carr used it to brand the 2018 Alford family reunion.
On July 7, 2018, the redesigned crest was presented at the Alford business meeting. It was during this business meeting that the descendants of the Solomon Alford family unanimously voted the crest as the official Alford Family crest. The colors black and gold were also voted as the official colors for the Alford Family crest.
Stars – The 7 stars (or mullets) represent the children of Solomon Alford. The star symbolizes honor, achievement and hope.
1. John Henry Coffey, b. 1849
2. Matilda Ann Alford, b. 1858
3. Matthew Solomon Alford, b 1860
4. Mary Alford, b. 1861
5. Rosie Lee Alford Gammill, b. Oct 1867
6. Lafayette "Fate" Alford, b. Oct 1868
7. Major Clemon Alford, b. Mar 1880
Chain – The connection of our endless familial lineage
Pear - Denotes liberality, felicity and peace according to ancient heraldic authorities
Olive or Laurel Leaves - Peace and concordance.
Hands - Denotes union, alliance and peace.
Rings/Circle – A circle has no beginning or end and is therefore a symbol of infinity.
Gold Color – The gold accent denotes generosity
Black Color - The black denotes heritage and constancy
Motto - Never Ending, or Infinite Bond.
Click here for the complete history of the Solomon Alford Family Crest.