A lifelong resident of Macoupin county, Robert E. Alford, of North Otter township, can claim intimate acquaintance with the resources of this section, and a well kept farm of more than four hundred and sixty acres is evidence of his good judgment and sound business ability. He was born October 21, 1855, a son of M. T. and Rebecca (Edwards) Alford, both of whom were natives of Tennessee. They arrived in Illinois in 1850. With nothing to depend upon but a good constitution and an indomitable will to make a creditable name for himself among his fellow men. M. T. Alford lived to witness his early dreams realized. He became a leading farmer of Macoupin county and acquired three hundred and seventy-three acres, which yielded a generous annual harvest. The mother of our subject died in June, 1869, when he was thirteen years of age. In their family were nine children, namely: William, who is now living in southwestern Kansas; Charles F., of Clay county, Nebraska; George, who is deceased; Robert E., of this review; Benjamin F., who died in 1880; Martha, Samuel and Mary, all of whom have passed away; and Caleb C., who lives in Macoupin County. The father was again married, his second wife being Susan Mary Searsey, and by this union eight children were born: Sarah, the widow of William Vogel, who lived near Palmyra; Martha, who married John Angle, of Carlinville; Rosa, who is the wife of H. A. Whithorn and lives near Mount Ayr, Iowa; Joseph, of Nilwood, Illinois; John and Bertha, both of whom are deceased; Oliver Pritchett, of Kentucky; and Cleveland H., of Nilwood. the father of these children lived to an advanced age and died May 21, 1906.
Robert E. Alford attended the public schools and continued assisting his father upon the home farm until twenty-seven years of age. He then began renting land on his own account, starting with one hundred and eighty acres for a number of years. At the end of eleven years he purchased two hundred acres, which he later sold, and then bought one hundred and sixty acres on section 25, North Otter township, where he has made his home since 1895, and to which he has added three hundred acres. He is a general farmer and stock-raiser and through good business management has prospered financially so that he now enjoys ease and comfort as the result of many years of wisely directed effort.
On the 26th of March, 1884, Mr. Alford was married to Miss Mary E. Ballard, a daughter of Wiley and Elizabeth (Brodmarkle) Ballard. The father was a native of Illinois and the mother of Maryland. In their family were three children: John H., who is deceased; Mary, now Mrs. Robert E. Alford; and Charles W., who lives in Girard. One child, Alma B., has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Alford. She is the wife of Alvan O. England, of Macoupin county, and is now living at home with her parents, being the mother of one child, Maurine, who was born July 27, 1906.
Politically Mr. Alford gives his allegiance to the democratic party. He has taken the interest of an intelligent and wide-awake citizen in local affairs and for fourteen years has served as county supervisor, a position he has filled to the general satisfaction of taxpayers irrespective of their party affiliation. He has also held various other offices of responsibility, evincing a fidelity to trust that has gained for him many friends throughout the county. He is a stanch supporter of worthy causes and his religious belief is indicated by membership in the Methodist church.