Thomas F. Alford
The "country doctor" is a figure of heroic proportions. A hero of song and
story, he has a living counterpart in thousands of fine doctors, who turn
their backs on the city and the regular hours and large fees of
specialization to dedicate their lives to the service of their friends and
neighbors in the smaller towns. Thomas F. Alford is such a man. To him, as
to his father before him, the warm friendliness and neighborliness of
small-town folks appeared more desirable than the hurry and coldness of city
Thomas F. Alford was born in Pike County on March 13, 1874 one of the
three sons of Doctor and Mrs. William David Alford. His brothers, now
deceased, were Doctor John E. Alford of Okolona, and Robert N. Alford
formerly County Treasurer and prominent political leader of Purcell,
Oklahoma. Doctor William Alford was born in Alabama the son of Ewing Alford,
a Methodist minister and farmer. Dr. Alford moved to Pike County when he was
a very small boy and early in life he learned to love the people who make
up the small towns and communities of America. The contribution which a
man of medicine can make to the health, welfare and prosperity of his
community is immeasurable, so William Alford chose medicine as a career. He
was one of the first doctors in the area and he practiced for fifty years.
He was a "country doctor" of the old school who never refused a call by day
or night, who through rain or snow, heat of day or chill of winter night,
drove his patient horse for miles to bring his skill to aid some sufferer.
His long, useful life came to an end in 1923.
From his father, Thomas F. Alford inherited the same love of the
small-town people. He attended Barnes University in St. Louis, Missouri, and
was later graduated from the University of Arkansas Medical School in 1905.
His first practice was in Howard County where for six years he worked day
and night to cure the ills of his fellow men. After his years in Howard
County, Doctor Alford moved to Murfreesboro, and there until the present
time he has ministered to the sick of his community, becoming at one and the
same time the doctor and the friend of those he served.
Doctor Alford has always found time in his active professional life to take
a real interest in the affairs of his community. He has been a longtime
member of the school board where his keen wit and genuine concern have
wrought many beneficial changes over the years. For as many years he has
been an active member of the Town Council. During both World Wars he served
as Selective Service Board Examiner, and he has been the County Health
Officer. Doctor Alford is a member of both the American and the Arkansas
Medical Associations. He belongs to the Masonic fraternal order and is a
past master of Pike Lodge No. 91. He is active in the Methodist Church in
In 1899 Doctor Alford was married to Eletha Davis, the daughter of John F.
Davis, a farmer and merchandise man of Pike County. Their son, Doctor
Harold D. Alford, is one of America's leading scholars and educators and
has been the recipient of many honors. Doctor Harold Alford received his
A.B. degree from Hendrix College. Pursuing his education still further, he
was awarded his M.A. degree from the University of Chicago, having
previously attended the University of Colorado. He went on to Columbia
University where he was awarded his Ph.D. Doctor Harold Alford is now head
of the Department of Elementary Education at New York State Teachers College
in Oswego, New York. The subject has twins daughters, Martha (now Mrs. O.L.
Baber of Waldron) and Mary (now Mrs. Mary Grizzard and a teacher in the
Murfreesboro schools). The youngest daughter, Emily Ruth, now Mrs. Chas. W.
Darnall, lives in Lufkin, Texas. All three daughters have college degrees
(A.B.). There are five grandchildren.
Doctor Alford still goes about his practice as before. No longer is his
carriage drawn by a horse, but the same kindly, friendly attention that he
bestowed when he first started practice is present. Citizens know him not
only as a doctor and a true friend but also as the president of the Pike
County Bank. He has trod his father's footsteps faithfully and well. The
long years of service which Doctor Alford has rendered to his friends and
neighbors and his charming personality combine to make a place for him in
the hearts of the people of his section which no one else can ever occupy.
Annals of Arkansas, 1947, Dallas T. Herndon, pages 1710-1711.
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