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Oscar F. Alston Letter

Identifier: SC 00168

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Scope and Contents

Letter from Oscar F. Alston, Cleveland, Ohio, to his wife about his trip to Cleveland, partly by boat.  He took his children with him and tells his wife how much they miss her.  1865. Per a researcher, Mr. Alston was part of a major migration of free people of color to Ohio from North Carolina.


  • Creation: 1865 June 27


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

Per Alston Family researcher and newspaper article: Oscar F. Alston (1800?-1881). His parentage is unknown so far. He worked as a confectioner, caterer, and in other occupations. He lived mainly in Raleigh but did go to Ohio for a while. He is buried in Raleigh.

Oscar F. Alston was associated with the Warren County NC branch of the white Alston family.

Raleigh News, May 2,, 1879. “The Alston Family. Sketches of their history by Oscar F. Alston of Raleigh.” “A reporter of the News yesterday called upon Oscar F. Alston, one of the best known colored men in this section, to ascertain some particulars in regard to the famous Alstons to whom he is by blood related. Oscar was found in his comfortable home at the corner of Martin and Harrington streets. He is a venerable man, but though the frosts of nearly 80 winters have silvered his head, yet his eye is bright and his memory clear. It is never any trouble to induce an Alston to speak of the family and Oscar gave all the facts in his possession. In response to inquiries as to himself, he stated that he was born in 1800, and lived in Warren County until 1848, when he moved here. Being possessed of considerable means he bought a good deal of property here, both in the city and county. He owned quite a number of slaves up to the close of the war. He had always been a free man himself. He made several visits out to Georgia to visit the family in that State, and Col. Bob Alston, the elder came to see him several times. Oscar is of the Warren Alstons, and not of the Halifax portion of the now famous family.” MORE on various white Alstons going far back. News and Observer, October 14, 1881. Funeral. “The funeral of the late Oscar F. Alston will be attended to-day at half-past 3 o’clock p. m., from St. Augustine’s church. The deceased, who had just completed his eighty-first year, was one of the most widely known and highly esteemed of the colored residents of Raleigh. He was born and passed his earlier life in Warren County, in this State. He died yesterday morning at his home in this city, where he had lived many years, respected by all who knew him for his unblemished integrity and his long, useful and blameless life.”


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Acquisition Information:

Unknown, received prior to 1950.

Guide to the Oscar F. Alston Letter
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Revision Statements

  • May 12th, 2017: Transferred from an artifical collection of backlog material.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository