November 9, 1870 - September 14, 1963
Joseph Martin Alford was born in Washington Parish, Louisiana, November 9, 1870 and died in Natchitoches, Louisiana, Septem-ber 14, 1963, thus lacking less than two months of living ninety— three years. He was married in September, 1900, to Miss Carrie Wieland who preceded him to heaven by less than a year. He is sur-vived by one son, Edgar E. Alford, five daughters, Mrs. Morris Adger, (Carrie Mae), Mrs. A. R. Foye (Mary), Mrs. Drew Wilson (Gladys), Mrs. L. M. McClellan (Bertha), and Mrs. A. C. Masingill (Jo), one brother, Rev. Jason A. Alford and one sister, Mrs. Mattie Hollingsworth.
Brother Alford was admitted on trial into the Louisiana An-nual Conference In December 1895, and appointed to the Jordan Street Mission and Pine Hill in Shreveport. For the next two years he was appointed as a student in Johnston Collegiate Institute and Millsaps College. In January 1898 he was appointed to the Live Oak Circuit in the Baton Rouge District. The whole of his ministry was in the Louisiana Conference with the exception of two years, 1905-1907, when he transferred to the Mississippi Conference. Re-turning to Louisiana in 1907 he was appointed to the Baker Cir-cuit. From that day until retirement in 1942, and for ten years thereafter, he and Mrs. Alford answered the call of the church and went cheerfully wherever they were sent to labor for the Master.
Brother Alford made a record in the field of evangelism that we might all seek to equal. In fifty-five years on trial, in full connection and as superannuate supply; he added a total of 1778 to the church on profession of faith for an average of 32 per year. Truly he was an evangel of the good news that Jesus saves.
Brother Alford loved the church and his brother ministers. Even in advanced years, when physical and mental debility held him in check, he still dreamed and talked of preaching. He was an inspiration to me during his last years for I had the privilege of serving as his pastor then. He always had a word of encourage-ment and a prayer for God’s blessing for his pastor. He was happy over every success of the church and rejoiced over every new member.
Brother Alford loved to sing. Perhaps his favorite hymn was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” And since he was himself such a friend of Jesus and Jesus was such a friend to him we can confidently sing of his going:
“0 happy, happy soul In ecstasies of praise, Long as eternal ages roll Thou seest thy Saviour’s face.”
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 255, 1964 by James T. Harris.