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Anna Henrietta Alston


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At a Glance

Anna Alston was of one of the many Alston families in Chatham County, NC and though she attended the Burwell School with Sally Alston  they were not of the same immediate family. Like Sally Alston  and Lavinia M. Alston  (another Burwell girl), Anna Alston was a music scholar and may have attended the school specifically for that purpose. Refer to [1] google [2].


Anna Alston was from a wealthy family in Chatham County, NC. While she attended the Burwell School to hone her skills in music, she often intimidated Nannie Burwell who taught music in the little Brick House. Nannie once confessed that she felt like bursting into tears after giving Anna a lesson. Anna and Sally Alston  did not stay long at the Burwell School--a year or less. Used to life on the plantation, they may have found the schedule of the school too demanding and the arrangements too spartan for their liking.

At age eighteen, Anna married Joseph Taylor who was twenty-five, and became housewife to his farming. The Census of 1860 and 1880 listed no children. The Census of 1900, Chatham County, Cape Fear lists Joseph and Anna as boarders with J. Taylor; Joseph is listed as stock raiser. The 1910 Census, Chatham County, Haw River shows Joseph and Anna living with cousins John H and Aurelia Taylor; Joseph is retired. A year later, Joseph died. In 1915 Anna died of pneumonia at age of 73, widowed. She is buried with Joseph at Pittsboro United Methodist Church [2].

Biographical Data

Important Dates

Anna Henrietta Alston was born on September 28, 1841, in Chatham County, NC. She died on March 13, 1915, of pneumonia, and was buried in Pittsboro, NC.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended

  • Burwell School, between 1855 and 1856. Anna Alston attended the Burwell School as a music scholar. As much as Nannie Burwell loved to teach music at the school, she was highly intimidated by the Alston girls and felt like crying whenever she gave Anna Alston a lesson.

    Anna and Sally Alston (of a different Alston family in Chatham County) did not stay at the school very long though. Perhaps they were used to life on the plantation and found the Burwell School too rigorous [2].


  • Parents: John J. Alston and Adaline Williams Alston. A farmer, John Jones Alston owned 34 slaves in 1820. He was born 17 March 1792 at the Alston homeplace, Harland Creek, Chatham County NC, the eldest son of Joseph John  "Chatham Jack"  Alston and Martha Kearney. He and his first cousin Adaline Williams were married in Franklin County NC 11 December 1822. John Jones Alston died at home 14 November 1842 when Anna was just one year old. His will states he was taken violently ill and died in his own dwelling house. The obituary states possible apoplexy. Adaline Williams married John Jones Alston 11 December 1822, Franklin County NC. Adaline and John were first cousins. Adaline was the daughter of William Williams and Elizabeth Alston Kearney. Adaline was born in 1805 at Harlan Creek, in Chatham County at the Alston homeplace.
  • Spouse: Joseph J Taylor (1835-1911), married on April 10, 1860.
  • Paternal grandparent: Joseph John Alston. Known as  "Chatham Jack"
  • Siblings:


  2. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).