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ALFORD, NEEDHAM JUDGE (1789–1869). Needham Judge Alford, Methodist preacher, was born July 12, 1789, in North Carolina, the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Bryant) Alford. He held a two-day meeting near the present site of Milam in the spring of 1832 with Sumner Bacon, a Cumberland Presbyterian. The meeting was a test of their determination to preach in the area against the opposition of James Gaines and others. When a man named Johnson threatened to horsewhip the first preacher who entered the stand, Alford, a strong man, said, "I am as able to take a whipping as any man on this ground," and Johnson, taking notice of the muscular preacher, quietly retired. Before coming to Texas, Alford had been known in Louisiana as the "bulldog preacher." He was married to Martha Waddell (Waddle) in Franklin County, Mississippi, on February 18, 1815; they had nine children. He died on September 19, 1869, near Horn Hill in Limestone County.


George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod., 1962). Homer S. Thrall, A Brief History of Methodism in Texas (Nashville: Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1889; rpt., Greenwood, South Carolina: Attic, 1977).

Helen Gomer Schluter


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Helen Gomer Schluter, "ALFORD, NEEDHAM JUDGE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 26, 2015. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.